I recently picked up and read your book Cattle and Dudes... a most enjoyable read. My reason for picking it up was because I am interested in John and Amanda Prude, so I found myself quickly turning to Chapter 4 and trying to learn more about this couple. The reason for my interest is that I am descended from them through their elder son, Claiborne Gentry Prude.
I would like to comment however on some of the information presented about John and Amanda Prude. prior to them relocating to McCulloch Co. from Colorado Co., TX. I have spent a lot of time tracking this family between 1850 and 1880 and I'd like to offer some of that information to you as follow up to what you presented in Cattle and Dudes.
As best as I can tell John Prude was the first person with the surname Prude in Louisiana (De Soto Par). He is listed as a single man in the 1850 federal census as a laborer in the household of Thomas Weaver. For the last 10 years or so, I have debated whether or not this John Prude was the John Prude that came to Texas. Whether he moved there as you say to follow a relative, I have no idea. A 2nd or 3rd cousin does move to Louisiana and is listed in the 1860 census, but during the 1850 census is located in Pickens Co., AL. The children of this cousin do relocate to Texas in and around Ellis Co. sometime later (after 1870). In any event, John in 1850 is a single man having left his family in Pickens Co., AL to arrive in Louisiana by 1850 and then quickly departs for Texas sometime between 1850 and 1851.
In 1851, on Nov 26th, John Prude marries Amanda Jane Maxwell of Fayette Co., TX. Amanda Jane Maxwell is the daughter of Thomas Maxwell who arrived in Texas about 1834. Thomas Maxwell served as a private under William Kimbro during the Battle of San Jacinto and for his services he was given a League and a labor of land which was on the shores of Plum Creek in Gonzales Co., TX. (now part of Caldwell Co., TX). He was also granted 320 acres of land in Fayette Co. for having served in the Texas Army. He sold a quarter of his League and labor to Josiah O'Daniel (his brother-in-law). Josiah died before ever receiving the deed and when Thomas Maxwell died intestate in 1852, the estate of Josiah O'Daniel was suing the estate of Thomas Maxwell for the deed (I must admit here, I don't read legalese all that well, but I think I got the gist of the precedings of the probate court). In Dec of 1852, the wife of Thomas Maxwell, Elizabeth died and it's here we see the first mention of John Prude in the probate records of Fayette County. John Prude is serving as surity for the administrator, George Dismukes, of what is now the Thomas and Elizabeth Maxwell estate. George Dismukes is Amanda's brother-in-law via her eldest (known) sister.
So in brief, 1851ish, John shows up in Fayette Co., marries Amanda, and is quickly embroiled in the probate affairs of the Maxwell estate.
John appears in the tax lists of Fayette county beginning in 1852 through 1856. By 1859, John Prude is found on the tax rolls of Colorado County. In 1860, The Prudes are listed in the 1860 census for Colorado County. Their eldest son Thomas (presumable named for Amanda's father) has died of typhoid (Jun 1859) and the youngest of the orphaned Maxwell children is living in the Prude household. The enumerator for this census, completely misspells their name as "Boreds". From 1859 through 1878, the Prudes reside in Colorado County and nearby Lavaca county. During the civil war, John Prude and the orphaned son of Thomas Maxwell, Robert G. Maxwell, enlist in a reserve company of the Confederate Army known as the Colorado Grays. Other research suggests that Robert G. Maxwell enlisted and served in the 27th Regiment, Texas Cavalry (Whitfield's Legion) (1st Texas Legion), Co D. Entered as a Private and Ranked out as a Private and promptly disappears from the record. As best as I can tell, the Colorado Grays never saw any action and it's highly unlikely that John Prude did anything other than serve as a militia force for ColoradoCounty.
Sometime between 1878 and 1880, the Prudes relocate to McCulloch County where I lose their specific trail to the Davis mountains and southern New Mexico, other than land grants here and there and the gravesite in Weed, New Mexico. In fact I often wondered why Weed? I've visited the site and I can certainly see the appeal of the east New Mexico prairie (Is that still Llano Estacado?). But it never made sense to me why they would leave the Davis Mts., unless it was a second feeding ground. My ancestor, Claiborne Gentry Prude, John's elder son, planted his family in those mountains about 1884 (the time of the big cattle drive) and maintained a ranch southeast of Weed for three generations. In fact, Claiborne's first wife Tennessee Donathan is buried in the same plot underneath that big pine next to Amanda Jane Maxwell Prude in the Weed Cemetery.
John Prude died in 1893 and was buried in Mitchell Co., TX. (I presume he died in Mitchell Co., as well.) His stone can be found in the Colorado City Cemetery.
Anyway, that's the history as I've discovered it. Most of the documents I used were the probate and tax records of Fayette and Colorado County census and land grant records. I still need to scour the earlier Colorado County records and the Gonzales County records for a few more details, but don't have as much time as I would prefer to do so.
I really appreciate your book, it's a fascinating story and really filled in the gaps of the more recent history for me. The sad thing is, I grew up in El Paso, have made many trips to Big Bend, had friends and neighbors that went to summer camp at the Prude Ranch and I have never even visited much less contacted any of my distant cousins
I do have two questions for you. The first is in regards to those persons in the Prude picture found on the cover of Cattle and Dudes. Do you happen to know who all the people are? Is the man sitting in the middle with the beard John Prude (above)? Second, is there anyway I can get a decent copy of that picture be it through the Jeff Davis Archives or some other source? My second question is concerned with reference #174 in your text. Where did you get a hold of a copy of that genealogy text. When I was about 15, a copy was shown to me by my grandmother, but it was quickly returned to it's original owner. I have searched high and low for a copy to examine and short of visiting the Alabama State Archives or the Library of Congress, it is not likely that I will ever see that ancient family history book. Is that a book in the possession of the Prude family or is that found in the archives of Jeff Davis County or something in your own private collection?
Maybe some day, you might be interested in hearing about some of my other ancestors, in particular the Casners, one of whom served as a Texas Ranger and also served in the Texas War of Independence. He sold his League and labor for a horse and saddle. Palm + forehead. Several members of that family wound up in Brewster and Presidio Counties. My direct ancestors moved west to New Mexico.
I believe Andrew G. Prude to be standing fourth from the left in the above photo. Sorry I do not have a better print in my files and the photo had no original captions. The genealogy text mentioned came from John Robert Prude. Suggest you contact him for a copy. Also, I did several oral interviews with John G. Prude and some years ago donated all of my Prude files and the interviews to Archives of the Big Bend at Sul Ross University in Alpine. Perhaps they can help in your research. If memory serves me correctly, you will find some of the tapes mention the Weed, N.M. Prude relatives. John G, John Robert and I made a trip to Weed and the Prude ranch and graveyard where John G. told the story of that branch of the Prude family on the tapes. Not sure if the tapes have been transcribed.
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FIRE BURNS ON WESTWARD SLOPE OF SIERRA VIEJA
LOW FLYING SINGLE ENGINE PLANE SCOUTING AND SPRAYING THE FIRE IN MUSGRAVE CANYON
(Candelaria, Texas, 12p.m., 5-14-09) A large fire is presently still burning in the Sierra Vieja as aircraft continue to drop fire retardants this morning. The fire, said to have been started yesterday by “illegal aliens trying to block their pursuers.” Early this morning the fire crossed over the rimrock heading westward and continues to burn about 16 miles west of Valentine. From below the rimrock, the fire appears to be a little south Viejo Pass and is burning in a fire front perhaps a miles wide as it sweeps over the mountains. Moderate but gusty winds, especially in the higher elevations, are spreading the fire into Musgrave Canyon below the rimrock. The fire seems to be spreading out of Musgrave Canyon in spite of efforts to extinguish it. Atop the rim, firefighters are using larger aircraft and bull dozers to fight the fire. The Presidio Valley above Candelaria is filled with smoke. I approached the fire it started to crest over a hill a few miles away. Since the fire was burning in my direction with the wind fanning the flames as two small aircraft dropped fire retardants in the nearby canyon, I decided it best to retreat.
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I am researching some family oral history which occurred in Presidio, likely in the summer of 1917. I am looking for a newspaper/official account of this event. Can you suggest some directions/web sites?
In the summer of 1917, Presidio County deputy sheriff John Fletcher Rawls, a rancher in the Casa Piedra area of Presidio County, Texas was wounded in a shootout in the Anaya Cafe on Main Street in Presidio , Texas. The gunmen were renegade members of the US Army who were protecting the border against Pancho Villa. Rawls, commissioned by Sheriff Ira Cline, of Presidio County, Texas was the only lawman in the immediate area and alone, challenged the band of seven armed men when he discovered them in a back room of the cafe with the waitresses who had been taken prisoner for sexual purposes. The waitresses were daughters of the owner, part of a family that had taken refuge in Presidio to avoid the revolution that was taking place in Northern Mexico, particularly in their home state of Chihuahua. When Rawls opened the door to the back room the shoot out began. Rawls tripped on the step to the room which was raised above the ground floor level of the main floor, and as the shooters ran past him, as he scrambled to get up off the floor, they unloaded their service pistols into him, escaping but leaving the girls unharmed. They were never identified or tried as their identities were never known. Somehow Rawls lived, although severely crippled. After a year of hospitalization with a huge amount of doctor bills, Rawls sold his ranch and moved to El Paso, Texas He died in Austin, Texas Dec 21, 1958. After the revolution, the Anaya family returned to their home in Chihuahua.
The following is a response to the above account from Monty Waters:
You published e-mail from Hugh Fletcher in February 2008. He sought more information on a shoot out involving his grandfather in Presidio Texas. I have since spoken with Hugh Fletcher and his son Tyler (of Fletcher’s books in Salado). I have done more research into the career of my grandfather, A. G. Beard, a law enforcement officer in Presidio County from 1916 to about 1920. I think the story of Fletcher Rawls and my grandfather are connected, beyond the fact that they were both law enforcement officers at the same time and in the same place, though I’ll admit I can’t prove it. Written below is what I do know. I won’t try to attach or insert footnotes here but unless otherwise indicated, all of my information comes from documents and published sources I have reviewed.
I can provide a bit more detail on the events described in Hugh Fletcher’s e-mail about his grandfather’s brush with death. First, this probably did not happen in 1917. He dates it as during the tenure of Presidio County Sheriff Ira Cline, who did not take office until 1918. Cline served until 1921 after losing the 1920 election to Jeff Vaughn. His grandfather, Fletcher Rawls served both Cline and his predecessor, Milton Chastain as deputy for many years and was certainly involved in the violence of the times. The Alpine Avalanche published a story on October 14, 1914 with the following headline: “Fletcher Rawls killed Marin Dominquez, a bad and treacherous Mexican, at a dance held at the Rock House.” The “Rock House” (aka Casa Piedra) was very near Rawls’ ranch in southern Presidio County. Sheriff Chastain, in May 1917 recommended Fletcher, his brother Tom and his nephew (Tom’s son) Jack for “Special Ranger” commissions, which could usually be obtained by having the local sheriff request them from the governor. Chastain cited the Rawls’ proximity to the border as the reason for their request, and also cited Fletcher Rawls’ nine years of service as a deputy to him. Governor Ferguson granted the request and all three Rawls got commissions, which allowed them to carry firearms openly, and assist the local ranger company when needed, though they were not on the state payroll. Ultimately these commissions were surrendered when a new governor and new adjutant general took over in the wake of Ferguson’s impeachment, and only Tom Rawls bothered to renew. This is probably because the other Rawls received or resumed their commissions as Presidio County deputies and didn’t need them.
Hugh Fletcher wrote that the incident occurred in the summer. His son Tyler remembered his great grandmother telling him she was in class and was called out and told something terrible had happened to her father. He thought it was during the school term. For reasons I give below, I think they were both correct, and the incident happened in May of 1919.
Hugh told me that his grandfather borrowed a new holster from his nephew Jack, before the incident, and his gun stuck in his holster, making it impossible for him to draw his weapon. This explains the lopsided outcome of the gun battle. He also told me his grandfather’s interest in the woman in the café was not entirely professional. He thought his grandfather, single at the time, was sweet on one of the women who worked there. He asked his grandfather what happened to the men who committed this act of violence against him and was told that they “were taken care of by friends,” and wouldn’t elaborate.
On August 5, 1919 my grandfather, A.G. Beard, Charlie Craighead, and Jack Rawls were indicted by the Presidio County grand jury for “robbery with firearms, assault to murder . . . [and] threat against life and false imprisonment.” My grandfather had been honorably discharged from Jerry Gray’s Marfa-headquarted company of rangers in March 1919, and sometime thereafter he took a job as town marshal of Marfa. Charles Craighead, another former ranger, had a long and “colorful” career in Texas law enforcement. He was a son of a former Wilson Co. sheriff, brother to ranger Pat Craighead who lost a leg in the “San Benito shootout” in south Texas that took the lives of a deputy sheriff and ranger. Charles Craighead, shortly thereafter took the life of a Mexican suspect, for which he was indicted and acquitted on grounds of self-defense. In 1915 he was involved in the shootout with members of Chico Cano’s gang that took the lives of Eugene Hulen and Joe Sitter. As of May 21, 1919 he resigned a position as an inspector for the Texas Cattle Raisers Association, and the special ranger commission that went with it, to become a Presidio County constable. Jack Rawls was 21 years old, had recently married and become a father. He was the son of Tom Rawls, a prominent Presidio County rancher and county commissioner. His involvement in a violent escapade with two veteran law enforcement officers seems out of place unless, as I assume, it was directed against parties he blamed for his uncle’s wounds.
But I know very few facts about what caused these indictments to be issued, aside from what is written in the grand jury report. All of the files concerning it are missing from the Presidio County courthouse except a few entries in court minutes, which are summarized below. The incident obviously happened sometime prior to August 1919. The grand jury mentioned that crime, and “lewd women” were a problem in Presidio County. It also chastised local law enforcement officers for taking the law into their own hands, instead of reporting criminal activity to the grand jury. This remark suggests that the victims of the violence were not entirely upstanding citizens.
Beard family folklore suggests that A. G. Beard got in trouble for using too much force in shutting down a local business that my 100-year-old cousin has variously described as a “gyp joint” or a “house of ill repute”. The owners were influential and caused him to lose his job as marshal (the indictment is not mentioned). Could these assaults relate to the Anaya café?
There is one other tantalizing clue. In ranger force Special Order 21, which announced my grandfather and others were to be honorably discharged in March, they were specifically made eligible for future service should openings occur in the force. By April Gray’s company was again recruiting rangers, and it is likely my grandfather tried to re-enlist. I infer this because on May 24, 1919 Captain Gray wrote to his friend, Captain Roy Aldrich in Austin (who would need to approve any reenlistment) a cryptic letter, which said “This is on the Q.T. Don’t have beard [sic] put in my company until you see me personal. There has ben [sic] something doing out here.” After his signature Gray wrote “Destroy this don’t file it away.” I suspect the “something” Gray referred to was the incident that caused Beard, Rawls and Craighead to be indicted two months later.
In addition to the indictment, in August Beard, Craighead and other ex-rangers and law enforcement officials became suspects in a July 30th robbery of a Mexican payroll officer of $21,600, mainly in gold coins. No one was ever indicted for this robbery, but the suspects are all identified in internal [federal] bureau of investigation documents examined by historians Sadler and Harris. The other suspects included Sheriff Ira Cline, his brother Buford, prominent local rancher Jesse “Buck” Pool, ex-rangers Boone Oliphant, and Andy Barker (nephew of long time Presidio sheriff Dud Barker). The last three were all participants in the 1918 “Porvenir massacre”.
If Craighead and Beard did share in the proceeds of this robbery, they would need it for bail and lawyers. Charges were eventually dropped against Jack Rawls. Craighead spent part of this period in Hebbronville where his brother was by now sheriff. After lengthy delays he pled guilty, in 1921 to a charge of aggravated assault. The record does not disclose what sentence, if any, was imposed on him.
My grandfather A.G. Beard never stood trial. All we know for certain is that in early 1920 he was still living in Marfa and told the census taker that he was employed as a peace officer. But by the spring of 1922 we know he was working as security for an American oil company in Tampico, Mexico. It is probably not coincidental that the ex ranger captain under whom he served for two years, James Madison Fox, was also employed there. Fox resigned from the rangers in June, 1918 following the firing of five of his men for their actions at Porvenir. Fox held a variety of jobs until he returned to the rangers as a captain in the mid 1920s under the patronage of the newly elected Miriam Ferguson.
As noted by Hugh Fletcher, the injuries to Fletcher Rawls ended his career as a Big Bend rancher, but his brother and nephew continued to ranch there until the 1950s. Beard eventually returned to Texas, and in 1923 married my grandmother. He died in 1941 and is buried in Austin. Charlie Craighead resumed a career with the Cattle Raisers where he served many years. He died in Hebbronville in 1951. In the late 1950s the Texas Legislature funded a pension for rangers of their era and both Beard’s and Craighead’s widows received ranger pensions until they died.
Thanks for the update Monty. Unfortunately no microfilm exists of the Marfa New Era newspaper of those days since it burned in a fire sometime in the 1930's. The El Paso Public Library has microfilm and an excellent index of the El Paso Times which may contain some info about the shoot out. Newspaperarchive.com also has El Paso Times. Gj
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Our dear friend and colleague Gerald Raun passed away March 25, 2009 in Alpine, Texas. He will be greatly missed. Services are to be announced later. Gerald Raun was born July 14, 1932 in Maryville, Missouri. After living in Lincoln, Nebraska, San Francisco, California and Tulsa, Oklahoma his family moved to Odem, Texas, where he graduated from high school in 1949.
Gerald enrolled at the University of Texas at Austin in 1956 and received an M.S. in Zoology in 1958 and a Ph.D. in Zoology in 1961. His thesis was an ecological study of the terrestrial and aquatic vertebrates of Palmetto State Park, a moist, relict area in Central Texas. He was awarded a Welder Wildlife Foundation Fellowship and spent three years at the Welder Wildlife Refuge near Sinton, Texas, where he completed the fieldwork for his dissertation, a study of the population dynamics of the wood rat, Neotoma microus.
Gerald was appointed Curator of Zoology at the Texas Memorial Museum in Austin, in 1960, where he served until accepting an appointment as Assistant Professor of Biology at North Texas University in Denton in 1967. He was promoted to Associate Professor, and in 1970, moved to Angelo State University in San Angelo as Professor and Head of the Department of Biology. He remained at Angelo State until 1978 when he resigned and entered private business.
He became involved in advertising, including positions with the San Angelo Standard Times and the Thrifty Nickel. He became publisher of the Devil’s River News in Sonora, Texas and in 1989 moved to Alpine as publisher of the Alpine Avalanche. He retired in 1993 and returned to research interests including Trans-Pecos cacti and the history of the Big Bend, particularly as affected by the Mexican Revolution 1910-1920.
Gerald served for almost ten years as Editor of the Texas Journal of Science and was a Fellow and Honorary Life Member of the Texas Academy of Science. He held offices as Secretary, Vice President, and President of the Texas Herpetological Society. He was a member of the Board of Scientists, Chihuahuan Desert Research Institute, the Advisory Council of the Center For Big Bend Studies, and also served on the Center’s Editorial Advisory Board. He was an adjunct Professor of Biology at Sul Ross State University and served on the Alpine City Council.
He authored two books, one book chapter, several monographs and over 50 scientific articles dealing with amphibians, reptiles and mammals of Texas, and more recently on cacti. He has also authored several historical articles, which have been published in the Journal of Big Bend Studies. In 1997, Raun completed an index for the Journal, and most recently he completed another index for the publication (volumes nine through nineteen) to be published later this year.
Condensed and edited from “Spotlight on Gerald and Dian Raun,” in La Vista de la Frontera—Newsletter of the Center for Big Bend Studies, Summer 1997, Sul Ross State University.
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Thank you for posting the photo of Jerry Gray's Ranger Company. It has been reproduced many times in books, but not on the internet.
The list below is from multiple sources. The first name is as it appears in the Adjutant Generals records of Ranger enlistments (online). The names in brackets are from other published sources. This picture is usually dated September 1918. If this picture is the entire company, it was taken in early October: specifically after the departure of Frank Patterson (October 1) and before the enlistment of Lee Trimble (October 4).
Unless otherwise indicated, all men hold the rank of private. From left to right:
W.A. Miles [Arthur]*
Captain Jerry Gray
C.H. Hagler [Charles]*
DeWitt T. Barnett
William M. Murdock [Jack]
Sam H. Neill [Samuel Houston]
A.G. Beard [Alexander Glenn]
Mark L. Langford [Marcus Lafayette]
Frank W. Hillboldt [also spelled Hillbolt or Heilbolt]
Harold A. King
Nathan N. Fuller
Frank C. Crittenden
Sergeant A.H. Woelber [Albert Henry]
S. F. Schurman Buffalo Bill
Cecilia Thompson's caption (in History of Marfa and Presidio County) says that this company;replaced the Captain Fox Company that was busted; for taking part in the invasion of Pilares Mexico. This incident occurred January 28, 1918 when several local ranchmen, rangers, and mounted cavalrymen descended on the small settlement of Porvenir, Texas. Fifteen residents were killed under highly suspicious circumstances. The whole story is well told in Little Known History of the Texas Big Bend. Eight Texas Rangers were identified as participants. Three resigned in the ensuing five-month investigation. Five others were fired in June, when Company B was disbanded. Captain Fox resigned in protest. Historian Walter Prescott Webb erroneously claimed the entire company was dismissed.
Seven Company B Rangers were cleared of involvement and transferred to the new command of Captain Gray. Three resigned following the transfer, but four are in this picture (Neill, Beard, Fuller and Woelber). These Company B survivors formed the nucleus of the newly formed Company D. Most of the other men in this picture were recruited in May or later (marked with an asterisk: *). The other veterans are: Cox (served '09-'11, reenlisted 12-22-17); Captain Gray; and Schurman (enlisted 12/14/17).
When this company was formed in June it was Company D;, but by October it changed to Company B;. This picture is usually labled Co. B, but if it really was taken in September it might properly be called Co. "D".
The attrition of the Co. B veterans recruited by Fox suggests they and Gray didn't get along. When the force needed to be downsized in March 1919 Gray selected Beard and Woelber to be (honorably) discharged. Gray liked Fuller, but his acrimonious departure is described in a previous post. The oldest veteran (in more ways than one), Sam Neill, who was described by Gray as "A good man for his age", played a heroic role defending his family during the Brite Ranch raid, Christmas 1917, but was finally dismissed on account of old age on April 15, 1920. He was 62.
Thanks Monty very much for sharing your research. Many astounding updates coming here on the Porvenir massacre soon. Much newly found ballistic evidence found at the massacre site strongly indicates that the Porvenir victims were killed by a U.S. Army firing squad. This does not rule out Ranger participation in the murders. Gj
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http://www.alpineavalanche.com/articles ... ront04.txt
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For more check out:
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www.dancarlin.com or from www.apple.com/itunes/
No you don't have to have an ipod or a Mac to hear "Hardcore History" just go to the website and listen. What does this have to do with Texas History? Download Dan's "Apache Tears" podcast and find out.
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Thanks for the info about DeArment book. Don't know where Gardner is buried but am doing some searching and will let you know if I find anything. If you want to know where Gardner is buried, search cemetery records and see if you can find an obituary.
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After viewing your page about your various titles I thought I would ask you a question which no one else seems to know the answer, for sure.You are no doubt familiar with the story of John R. Hughes intending to marry a young woman . . . but she died of some disease prior to the wedding. Because of this loss, Hughes never married. There are at least two photographs of Hughes and the woman together. One in a group with other friends and one of him and her standing together on a beach, supposedly taken in 1904. This book, I think the book is by Maude T. Gilleland, indicates she is buried at Rockport, Aransas County. But again -- she has no name. Can you tell me the name of this woman that Hughes was going to marry?
Sorry, I looked through my library and files and could not find anything about the identity of this woman. Obviously, she was the love of his life. Also, searched Newspaper Archives. Captain Hughes stands out in history as a Texas Ranger beyond reproach, something rare in those days of rangers who were corrupt, politically motivated, racist and so many of them were little more than hired guns. Does anyone out there know anything about her? If so, please let us know.
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On December 2, 1747, Spanish Captain Commander Joseph de Ydoiaga arrived at the Pueblo of San Cristobal after crossing the Rio Grande somewhere in the vicinity today’s Presidio, Texas. Captain Ydoiaga, escorted by a contingent of militia and six Indian guides, came to San Cristobal during his exploration of the La Junita region to report to the Viceroy of New Spain the feasibility of establishing a presidio to protect the Spanish missions near La Junita against Indian attacks. Apache and Comanche raids had decimated La Junita and northern Mexico forcing the Spanish to seek a military solution to the ongoing Indian problems. Ydoiaga made careful and detailed written observations of the people and places he saw in the region and his writings offer the single best single source of information we have about Spanish colonial attempts during this time. Enrique Madrid superbly translated Ydoiaga’s writings in the excellent “Expedition to La Junita de los Rios 1747-1748” published by the Texas State Historical Commission 1992. This is a book that everyone with an interest in Big Bend history needs to read. When Ydoiaga came to San Cristobal, he held talks over a three day period with the pueblo leaders and residents, inquiring about their community and their farming methods, which were greatly affected by droughts, and flooding of the Rio Grande. Also, the Captain conducted a census of the community that numbered 157 individuals.
In June 2003, city workers were digging a trench with a backhoe to replace an aging water line on Third Street on the southeastern edge of Presidio. To their surprise, they accidentally dug up some very old human remains and reported the incident to the Center For Big Bend Studies in Alpine. CBBS archaeologists came to the site and during an initial assessment documented three burials in and near the backhoe trench. In January 2006, armed with grant money from the Preservation Texas Trust Fund, the City of Presidio, and the Trans-Pecos Archaeological Preservation Program of the CBBS, archaeologists began an extensive investigation of the Millington Site. CBBS Director William A. Cloud worked as Principal Investigator and Project Archaeologist with Dr. Jennifer Piehl as Assistant Project Archaeologist. The archaeologists discovered fourteen features including parts of three structures, five human burials, a ring midden, and two small hearths along with a total of 2,745 artifacts. The Millington site proved to be the place described by Ydoiaga 261 years ago as the San Cristobal Pueblo.
The project finally resulted in a fine new book by William A. Cloud and Jennifer C. Piehl titled, “The Millington Site: Archaeological and Human Osteological Investigations Presidio County, Texas”. Published by the Center for Big Bend Studies, the 211-page book contains an amazing amount of data and information. As a historian, I found this book to be absolutely fascinating because in addition to the detailed and complete archaeological information, the authors did a superb job of explaining the importance of the data, the historical context and how the study greatly advances our knowledge of the La Junta people and their environment. It like, “Expedition to La Junita de los Rios 1747-1748” is a book that cannot be overlooked by anyone wanting to truly understand Big Bend history.
“The Millington Site” is available at Front Street Books in Alpine. It can be ordered online at: http://www.fsbooks.com or by calling 432-837-1126.
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Anybody who thinks central Texas was not a dangerous and violent place to live following the Civil War needs to read Ross McSwain’s fine new book, “See No Evil, Speak No Evil: A History of Mob Violence In The Texas Heartland 1869-1904”. This dark and disturbing part of Texas history has long been obscured and overlooked for a variety of reasons. Many of the participants in these mob actions and their families kept silent during their years out of fear for their reputations and in some instances, their very lives. And it is not something local historians have wanted to address. But it is truly a topic we today cannot afford to misunderstand.
As author Paul L. Wellman put it, “Wars breed crime and criminals, and the American Civil War did not differ from others in this respect.” And that is exactly what happened in Texas after the war. Thieves, bandits and murderers found a safe haven in central Texas because of the remoteness of the area and the poor and often simply non-existent law enforcement. Bad men stole cattle and horses, robbed stores and banks, and killed any lawman that tried to intervene. Sometimes the lawmen themselves were only criminals with badges. Cattlemen, storekeepers and honest citizens found themselves forced to take the law into their own hands in an attempt to deal with the outlawry. In seventeen chapters McSwain deals with mob actions in a dozen central Texas counties during this era and does a fine job of telling the stories in a most readable way. Equally important, McSwain puts these bloody events in context and did a masterful job of researching and documenting these long forgotten days.
In the forward of the book Elmer Kelton wrote, “Ross McSwain has brought together as many of the facts about the mob as can be found a century or more after the incidents had occurred. What he uncovered is a startling view of Texas at its wildest and most violent, a time when hardened men thought no more of cold-blooded murder than of blowing out a lamp. It is a sad truth that many of these crimes went unpunished except, in some cases by a reciprocal murder. For those who believe who believe Old West violence is sometimes exaggerated, check the mob’s body count”.
Ross McSwain has lived in the Texas heartland since 1938 and is a retired award-winning journalist, freelance writer and author of eight books. He has served as president of the Tom Green County Historical Society and the Permian Historical Society and is a member of the Edwards Plateau Historical Association. “See No Evil, Speak No Evil” is available at Cactus Book Shop in San Angelo. To order, telephone Felton Cochran at 325-659-3788 or order on line at http://rossmcswain.com/.
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Also see: http://banderasnews.com/0607/nw-deathmask.htm
Amazing frauds about Mexican history. G.W. is the death mask in Chihuahua City at the Pancho Villa museum now and what can you tell us about it?
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Unbridled Cowboy is a riveting firsthand account of a defiant hell-raiser in the wild and tumultuous American Southwest in the late 1800s. At the age of fourteen, Joe Fussell hopped trains to escape from school and the authority he scorned. Joe became a roving cowpuncher across the Texas territory, tilling the land, wrangling cattle, and working in livery stables, moving on whenever his feet began to itch. In a time and place with no law, the young cowboy exacted revenge on those who trespassed him or those who abused authority. Joe recounts tales of cowboy adventures, narrow escapes, and undercover work as a Texas Ranger and life on the railroads. A spark of his wild cowboy spirit remained even after he went to work on the railroads and rose to the position of yardmaster.
Joe’s unadorned prose is as exposed and simple as the wide open Texas plains. His unpretentious, unique voice embodies the spirit of the old West.
While making preparations to break camp one afternoon a couple of young Mexicans we knew (they were fellow employees) showed up at our camp, ate dinner with us and extended a pressing invitation to a baile, a dance, to be held in the nearby pueblo that night. I did not want to go because I knew Mexicans had no love for gringos in general and for Texans in particular. And I figured they thought we might create trouble by blaming them for slaughtering cattle that belonged to our outfit. I was afraid they were setting a trap we’d be walking into and end up murdered.
I told Art I did not want to go and tried to persuade him against the idea. I told him how I felt about the whole thing, the dangers of exciting the jealousies of both sexes, and the ease with which they could kill us both, bury our bodies and make sure no report of their crimes would reach the ears of our boss. But he insisted on going and having a whirl with the senoritas. We postponed moving camp, and over my protest, went to the baile. I went because I didn’t want him to go alone.
After we ate at the camp fire, we saddled fresh horses and rode forth in our work clothes - chaps, boots, spurs and six-shooters inside our shirts – Art, the trouble hunting “Don Quixote” and me, his “Sancho Panza,” the simple and faithful.
We arrived at the baile and acting on my suggestion left our horses in a secluded spot apart from all the other horses and entered the hall which, as I remember, was a room about twenty feet square. The young men who had extended the invitation made themselves most agreeable, introducing us as their guests and seemed overly anxious to have us enjoy ourselves to the utmost. Art entered into the spirit of the festivities whole-heartedly and immediately started a flirtation with a very attractive senorita. Suspicious of a trap, I warned him, a time or two, against any indiscrete act.
He ignored my warnings and monopolized the time of the coquettish senorita. I soon noticed trouble brewing and, at the first opportunity again warned him and suggested we depart for camp. Again he spurned my warning saying he would show the “chili pickers” a few tricks in lovemaking and make them like it.
Knowing the storm was about to break I put my back near the only entrance to the hall and waited. It wasn’t long. After a dance Art escorted his lady to a seat. As he turned away, a young man approached him and began a conversation, while another stepped in behind Art and reached in his sash for a stiletto.
I pulled out my six-shooter and called to Art to look out behind him. He jumped aside, pulling his six-shooter and faced his antagonist whose arm was raised ready to strike Art in the back. Art shot the Mexican twice.
”[O]ne of the most compelling memoirs I have ever read….I had come to like the old rascal by the end of the book….[A]powerful ending.” —Mike Cox, author of The Texas Rangers: Wearing the Cinco Peso, 1821-1900
“Arguably, this is one of the finest personal reminiscences of life in the American West….riveting”—Alfred Runte, author of Allies of the Earth: Railroads and the Soul of Preservation
E. R. Fussell was born in Peru to American citizens and moved back to the United States at the age of five. He received his law degree from Loyola Law School in Los Angeles and began practicing law in California. Since 1972, he has practiced law in his hometown of LeRoy, New York.
Joseph B. Fussell was born in Tyler, Texas, in 1879, the son of a cowboy and buffalo hunter. Fussell trekked most of the Southwest and worked as a cowboy, livery stable operator, and at other jobs. When he was a ranch hand in northern Mexico, he barely escaped the fate of his American friend who died at the bottom of a well. Fussell worked as an undercover Texas ranger before beginning his railroad career. With little formal training, Fussell wrote his riveting memoir about real life in the West at the turn of the century. He died in 1957.
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Rick Albin is my friend, and he suggested that I should contact you on this. I have a Walker & Co. San Carlos, Texas token which through a great letterhead/letter copy (which I think you provided?), it was proven that this particular San Carlos was in Presidio County. Previously this token was thought to be from another San Carlos in Hidalgo county (extreme south Texas). My problem with the Hidalgo San Carlos had been that it was not that old, and also an internet 1895 Atlas Map opens to reveal a San Carlos in Presidio county.
A new book on mining tokens is being written, and I am trying to learn the name of this San Carlos mine. Also was it a copper or silver mine such as at nearby Shafter?
Your information will be greatly appreciated.
The token you have is indeed authentic and was issued by Walker and Company aka Humpries and Company whose main store was located in Marfa, Texas. Humpries and Company had a branch store located at the San Carlos Coal Company mining camp located in northwest Presidio County Texas during the 1890’s. The camp was only in operation for a few years, and appairently never had an official U.S. Post Office although the San Carlos Humpries and Company store distributed mail for the employees of the San Carlos Construction Company who built the Rio Grande Northern Railway from Chispa to the camp the and employees of the coal mine. These types of tokens and script were fairly common at mines during those years. Some workers were paid with these tokens and could redeem them for needed items from the camp stores. See below my article on the San Carlos Coal Company and the Rio Grande Northern Railroad.
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The Accolade recognizes film, television and videography professionals
who have demonstrated exceptional achievement in craft and creativity, and those who produce standout entertainment or contribute to profound social change. Entries are judged by highly qualified professionals in the film and television industry.
Information about The Accolade can be found at www.theaccolade.net.
In winning an Accolade, Meals joins the ranks of other high-profile winners of this internationally respected award. Thomas Baker, Ph.D., who chairs The Accolade, had this to say about the latest winners, “The Accolade is not an easy award to win. Entries are received from around the world. The Accolade helps set the standard for craft and creativity. The judges were pleased with the exceptional high quality of entries. The goal of The Accolade is to help winners achieve the recognition they deserve.”
This is a truly wonderful must see film. See below post for more info. Congratulations Donnie!
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On Friday, November 21, 2008, 09:41 AM, Monty Waters wrote:
Gary Owen asked for more information on Nathan Fuller. I can supply some.
He notes some confusion about Fuller's re-enlistment in May 1918. This occurred at the height of the Porvenir investigation and decision to dismiss those involved. "General Order No. 5", dated June 4, 1916 had several purposes: first to discharge the five rangers, still on the payroll that participated in the Porvenir operation; second, to transfer the remaining Co. B rangers to Captain Gray's Company D; third, to reassign Fox to Austin; and finally, to terminate Co. B as a unit. Fuller was one of the rangers reassigned to Co. D. This letter was sent at the time Fuller's application was pending to re-enlist in Co. B, which is why his warrant still reads "Co. B", though by the time his warrant was endorsed by the Adjutant General, Co. B ceased to exist. Fox's reassignment to Austin never occurred because he resigned with a very public letter to the Governor. The well-known photograph of the mounted ranger company is often labeled Company A, but on the date the photograph was taken, Gray was captain of Company D.
Fox was a controversial captain, but he did hold Fuller in high regard. In an October 15, 1917 letter listing men under his command, Fox praised Fuller, Beard, Trollinger, Woelber, and Holden as the only rangers of his group that had over one year service with him and whom he considered "alright in every respect . . . sober and honest". He listed a total of 13 other rangers in this letter, quite and expansion from the Sept. 1917 payroll seen by Owens. All the other rangers were new enlistments (Boone Oliphant resigned in Sept. 1917; he re-enlisted in December), though some of them had law enforcement experience.
Fuller resigned Feb. 11, 1920 sending a letter to the Adjutant General highly critical of Captain Gray. He complained that Gray put him (Fuller) under the supervision of a less experienced ranger, P.F. Dyches. Not only was Dyches inexperienced, but he an another ranger had recently suffered the embarrassment of losing a handcuffed prisoner to armed Mexicans near Lajitas. Fuller wrote: "I told Gray I wouldn't work under Dyches. I will not work under no man who let a few mexicans come to this side and shoot him loose from a prisoner, in broad open daylight, and the prisoner hand cuffed."
But Gray had other complaints about Gray: He'd "done more lectionring [sic] the last two months than the man he wants to be elected. It is well known he has brought all the pressure possible to force the rangers to vote for Jeff Vaugn [sic] for sheriff. In fact he publicly stated that all rangers who did not so vote would soon be hunting a job." Finally Gray was hypocritical on the subject of alcohol: He was "always harping on the booze question, when he buys as much or more than any man he has under him, this is not hear say [sic] I know what I am telling."
The last two items in the indictment require some explanation. Presidio county had for ten years been a county that was partly wet (legal alcohol sales) and partly dry (alcohol prohibited). For instance, in 1918 the legislature made it illegal to sell liquor within ten miles of a military base, thereby making Marfa "dry." Needless to say some people found ways to slake the thirst of the men stationed near Marfa, despite the law. On October 18, 1919 the entire state became "dry" a year prior to the rest of the United States. Thus bootlegging, which had always existed, became even more lucrative. Gray believed the Presidio County Sheriff, Ira Cline, was protecting the activities of his bootlegging brother, Buford.
He was also using ranger [Jefferson Eagle] Vaughan to investigate the involvement of the Clines and other ex-rangers in a sensational robbery of a Mexican payroll officer near Marfa on July 30, 1919. Though several law enforcement officers were implicated in this crime in internal federal and state documents, no indictments or convictions were ever brought against the perpetrators. It is possible that Gray had very good reason to wish Cline out of office. Or it is possible that, for political reasons, he wished to have him connected with any criminal activity occuring in the county.
In any event, Fuller resented the pressure to support Vaughan and Gray's hypocrisy on the issue of alcohol. Vaughan did win election over Cline in 1920 by a very close (33 vote) margin. Cline blamed the votes of the recently enfranchised women voters for his defeat. This may've been a factor, for Vaughan was a tall "matinee idol" type of ranger and one of the models Zane Grey used for his novel "The Lone Ranger". He served as sheriff until 1927, and eventually became a ranger captain in the 1930s.
Nathan Fuller never served as a regular ranger again but he did obtain a "special ranger" warrant, which was basically a permit for him to carry a gun, when he went to work in 1922 as a railroad detective for the I&GN railroad. He held this warrant from August 22, 1922 to January 5, 1923. This warrant was endorsed by Captain Jerry Gray who either did not know of Gray's 1920 letter to the Adjutant General; forgave him for it; or had no choice but to endorse a warrant that in many cases was awarded through the governor's office.
I came across most of this information in my research on my grandfather AG Beard, who served with Fuller in Co. B. Sources:
"Texas Adjutant General Service Records 1936-1935" (online)
Harris and Saddler, "The Texas Rangers: The Bloodiest Decade, 1910-1920" (Univ New Mexico, 2004"
Alvarado, "Ira Cline-Disciple of Law" (1972, on the Marfa Public Library web site)
Thompson, "History of Marfa and Presidio County" Vol II, (1985)
Texas Legislature, "Proceedings of the Joint Committee of the Senate and the House in the Investigation of the Texas State Ranger Force" (typescript, 1919, microfilm copy at the University of Texas, Center for American Studies)
Stopka, Christina; Partial List of Texas Ranger Company and Unit Commanders; (2005, Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum) www.texasranger.org/ReCenter/Captains.pdf.
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Donnie Meals new documentary film “EL CORRIDO, THE TWO SIDES OF THE SONG” is simply outstanding and a definite must see for anyone interested in Mexican history or Mexico today. I have long been fascinated with corridos, those powerful Mexican ballads that so simply but effectively communicate the stories of Mexico’s rural downtrodden and their iconic heros. Corridos originated with the Mexican War of Independence as romantic ballads but flourished during the Mexican Revolution of 1910 as a means of communicating news of events and people in rural Mexico before the arrival of 20th century mass media. Perhaps the best-known corrido is La cucaracha, the Mexican equivalent of Yankee Doodle. One version pokes fun at President Victoriano Huerta, the cockroach who can’t function because he has no marijuana to smoke.
The film covers a lot of ground beginning with a fine look at Mexican history and culture. Meals then moves on into the Pancho Villa Corridos before focusing on today’s narco corridos leaving his audience with a much greater understanding of Mexico. Parts of the film were made in Ojinaga and Candelaria and Meals’ cinematography is superb.
El Corrido premiers in San Antonio, Texas at San Antonio College at 2 p.m. on Friday, November 14th. Below is a schedule of upcoming showings at film festivals. A DVD version is to be released soon.
Tuscon (October 17 2008 to October 19 2008)
New York (October 31 2008 to November 01 2008)
La Joya (December 19 2008 )
San Francisco (February 05 2009 to February 17 2009)
Ann Arbor (March 24 2009 to March 29 2009)
Nashville (April 16 2009 to April 23 2009)
Mexico City (April 18 2009 to April 19 2009)
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Robert Utley (Lone Star Lawmen)does a good job of explaining how the disciplining of company B was entangled in Texas politics. By May it was impossible to conceal what happened in Porvenir, but Governor Hobby was in a primary election battle with his impeached predecessor, James Ferguson. The governor did not want to alienate the ranchers of west Texas (who strongly supported the rangers) nor the Mexican Americans who resented the racism evident in the ranger's actions. He waffled by firing the ranger participants (backdating the firings to February though in fact it was done in June), accepting Captain Fox's resignation and disbanding company B. Those members of the company (like Beard and Fuller) who were not at Porvenir were in limbo until after the primary in July. If Owen's and Fuller's memories are good, it appears the rangers were questioned intensely about their knowledge of events that night. Eventually their re-enlistment was endorsed by the adjutant general and they resumed their ranger careers. Incidently Walter Prescott Webb, in his book on the rangers states twice that all members of the Porvenir company were dismissed, but the service of Fuller and Beard refute this.
By exonerating my grandfather from involvement with Porvenir, I don't mean to whitewash his career. After leaving the rangers in March 1919 he became the first town marshal of Marfa Texas. While there he was implicated with other former rangers in an armed robbery of a Mexican payroll officer (see Sadler and Harris page 478-480, who get some of the facts about him wrong including his first name), and also was part of a group of American scouts and law enforcement officers who murdered four criminal suspects near Carrizo Springs Mexico during the U.S. Army's incursion into Mexico in August 1919. In that same month he was indicted by the Presidio County grand jury for "robbery with firearms and assault to murder"(this incictment was unrelated to the payroll robbery). He was never tried or convicted of any of these crimes, and I'm not sure of the facts behind the indictment. Family folklore implies that he used too much force in shutting down a popular local bordello.
Anyone with more information please let me know.
Glenn, I really enjoyed reading your book and continue to enjoy this blog.
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ABOVE IS THE RIO GRANDE NORTHERN RAILWAY TUNNEL BLASTED THROUGH BRACKS CANYON IN 1895
In May 1892, the San Carlos Coal Company leased and purchased some 54,000 acres of land in northwest Presidio County, Texas with the intention of mining coal. Because of the remote location of the mine it became necessary to build a 26.25-mile railroad from the Chispa siding on the Southern Pacific Railroad to San Carlos. The Rio Grande Northern Railway Company incorporated in February 1893 with the line being completed three years later. A major part of the construction took place with the blasting though Brack’s Canyon one of six railroad tunnels in Texas. During this time, the San Carlos Mining Company commenced mining operations but the coal produced proved to be of varying quality and insufficient quantity. The Rio Grande Northern Railroad was utilized only once to transport a few carloads of coal from the mine in 1896. Mining operations then ceased and the following year, Presidio County Sheriff Den Knight sold the abandoned railroad for unpaid taxes.
For over a hundred years now, the story of the San Carlos Mine and Rio Grande Northern Rail Way has been shrouded in mystery. While the venture was short-lived and ended in failure, it is an important part of Big Bend history that reflects the great optimism felt by the thousands of settlers who came to the region following the coming of the railroads. The 1880’s proved to be a pivotal time of economic expansion in the Big Bend. In the early 1880’s, John Spencer discovered rich silver ores in the Chinati Mountains near Milton Faver’s ranch headquarters setting in motion a boom in mining boom lasted into the early twentieth century. Even more importantly during the early 1880’s the Southern Pacific Railroad laid tracks eastward across the sparsely populated desert landscape of the region and the trains started running bringing passengers and freight to and from the outside world. Cattlemen could now ship their livestock to a hugely expanded market. The good grass and cheap land attracted countless ranchers and settlers in search of better times to the Big Bend. By 1885, more than 60,000 cattle grazed in Presidio County. Towns that would become the future trade centers of the region sprang up and prospered. Times were good and optimism ran high.
Little today remains of the Rio Grande Northern and the coal mine with the exception of the Bracks Canyon tunnel, the railroad bed, a trestle and two mineshafts. Following the sale of the railroad, the tracks and ties were torn out. The once bustling mining camp of San Carlos that served as a base of operations to some 300 miners and construction workers sits empty in the desert. Only piles of rubble mark the location of a few jacales where some of the miners lived. Little has been known about the railroad and mine because the surviving records and correspondence of the RGNR and the mine are few.
I first visited the tunnel and San Carlos in the late 1970’s and have always been fascinated with the story. For nearly thirty years, I was only able to locate scattered documents that left so many gaps in the story. However, two years ago, I found the papers of Humpries and Company preserved in some thirty dusty boxes in the archives of the El Paso Public Library. Beginning about 1885, Humpries and Company became the largest mercantile in the Big Bend with stores located at Marfa, Shafter, Chispa and San Carlos. The records contain the correspondence of John Humpries who was present when the railroad and mine were being built. It is through his correspondence and the Humpries store records that I have been able to finally tell the whole story.
Born in England, John Humpries was a fascinating Big Bend character that came to Marfa in the town’s first years. The former sheriff of Duval County, John Humpries was not a man to be underestimated. In 1883, he wrote “I would advise all my friends doing business on the frontier to provide themselves with a No. 10 double barrel shot gun, and keep it loaded with buck shot, where they can get hold of it quickly as I have found it is a good thing to have. I am afraid from the looks of things, we have no chance of protection either from the American or Mexican authorities, and a man must be prepared to defend his property himself or leave the country.”
I will present my paper titled “The San Carlos Mine And The Rio Grande Northern Railway” at the Center For Big Bend Studies Annual Conference at Sul Ross University in Alpine on Saturday November 8th. Below is a tentative schedule for the conference.
2008 Center for Big Bend Studies Conference
November 7 and 8
Sul Ross University Center 2nd Floor, Espino Conference Center
Tentative Presenter Schedule
Session 1: TAP Rock Art
Session 2: Warriors of Color
Chair: Mark Saka
Session 3: Current Cultural Issues in the Big Bend
Session 4: Beyond the Alamo
Chair: Lynn Whitfield
Session 5: Community Rock Art Session
Session 6: Biographies
Session 7: Current TAP Investigations
Chair: John Seebach
Session 8: Mining in the Big Bend
Session 9: At-large History
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http://www.ftd.de/karriere_management/b ... 28931.html
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Yes, I read the news article I have again and it stated that Herbert Cody Blake actually enlisted one of the uncles of the Gardner boys into the search. Blake even followed the treasure map. It would be nice to find those gold bars though!
If I get enough information I just might make a movie called "The Gardner Boys", kind of like "The Newton Boys".
Leon Metz suggested that I search the El Paso newspapers. The Gardner boys were probably outlaws who formed a gang during the late 1870s and then split into the Guadalupe Mountains. The newspaper suggested that their were copies of these newspapers which mentioned the notorious Gardners, but I would love to know where these newspapers are now.
I have heard of a gunfighter named Zeb Gardner, but again a mystery. I've also found fast guns such as Tom Gardner, a notable rancher during the Johnson County War in Wyoming, and a supposed noted fast gun named Billy Gardner, a prominent New Mexican who was killed in a "Duel to the Death" in 1902 as newspapers reported.
Their was also a notable Texas gunman named "Lige" Gardner, who worked as a timekeeper for the Southern Pacific railroad in 1901 and suffered from Bright's disease. He would often boast, "If I've got to cash - in I might as well take along some of my enemies". He was known to have killed two white men and several blacks. However, he was in Eastern Texas near Beaumont.
I am also researching my ancestor who I have wondered might have been the leader of the gang, but most gunmen were loners instead of desperadoes, plus he was never in that area.
However he lived in south Texas around Brownsville near the King Ranch, and hardly any information there either.
My ancestor, Lewis Gardner, was a sixty something year old gunfighter in south Texas. He was born about 1810 at SC, lived in GA where he married and fathered about thirteen children, farmed, owned slaves, removed to MS where he owned a farm, his wife divorced him during the Civil War, he gave her the farm and then he went to Texas. He lived in Houston County for a time where he remarried to a widow, and he made his living as a horse trader. Gardner was a notorious gunfighter and I need to find newspapers from the 1870s in south Texas. His death is a mystery. He was supposedly ambushed and killed in a gunfight with horse thieves at a place pronounced "Natchez" in Texas while transporting horses to Louisiana, but it is also stated that he spent his last years in Johnson County, Texas. He was supposed to have been described from a postcard photograph as a tall, big boned man, with a long flowing white beard, and striking sky eyes.
I did find a professional gambler named Gardner during the early 1870s in Refugio, Texas.
A lot of horse traders migrated to south Texas and Mexico to buy cheap horses, and transported the horses to Mississippi and Louisiana.
Thank you for the information and it will probably be awhile before I find anything, and I need money to travel, and since microfilm is difficult, then I will probably have to hire a researcher!
If you know anybody who has searched through newspapers from the late 1870s, for example Billy the Kid, and has read about these outlaws, just let me know.
The Gardner boys were perhaps the most ruthless desperadoes in the West if the gang actually stole over a million dollars.
Is there anyone out there that knows anything about the Gardners? If so, please join us in the discussion and see if we can help Corey find some of this. Post a comment or email me.
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I hope and believe that the Gardner boys are real, and just the fact that Blake mentioned, or the newspaper mentioned those old newspapers, it convinces me.
I am not hunting treasure, don't have the time, patience, and money to do so. Herbert Cody Blake didn't sound like he would believe anything written by this guy named Dobie.
Herbert Cody Blake debunked just about everyone, such as Wild Bill and Buffalo Bill, and he would have ripped Dobie a new one.
Could you somehow get somebody who has come across old newspapers from the 1870s and 1880s in the west Texas area that mentions the Gardner boys?
It annoys me that people have researched every outlaw gang or outlaw character without the name Gardner. It's like the name is cursed or something. Their was a famous outlaw named Roy Gardner with a way more amazing and real tale than any other outlaw. Another was a noted Missouri horse thief named George Gardner, alias "Skoddallo" mentioned in newspapers in 1889, but can't find anything on him. Their was a very infamous outlaw named Big Phil Gardner who was the leader of a gang in the Colorado Territory, but he was gunned down in 1870 at Montana.
Their was a Gardner family in west Texas that could have been the Gardner boys. Their names were Alex, John, Peter, Tom, Charlie, and Willis Gardner. They were cattle raisers, a rough crew. These men were cowboys and Indian fighters, but only one seemed to have a bad man reputation.
These Gardner brothers were only together from 1877 to 1880 in west Texas.
Alex Gardner was a cowboy, Confederate soldier, Indian fighter, and rancher in west Texas and later moved to Arizona to raise horses.
John Gardner was a notable trail boss mentioned in "John Gardner's Trail Herd", a Texas folk song which described him as the "biggest cow - thief" and "you meet him on the square". He was a Texas Ranger, cowboy, Indian fighter, and an alleged member of the Sam Bass Gang, but by 1877 he was a family man. He was definitely a friend of Sam Bass, because Bass talked about his friend John Gardner on his deathbed. However, no evidence states he was a wanted man. Gardner wrote a short bio on himself in which he stated that he was involved in many fights with Mexicans and Indians, but would not give details as it would sound "fishy" these days. He lived his life as a rancher in Frio County and his son, Joe Gardner, was a very noted roping champion.
"Peter" Gardner was a distinguished Indian fighter, trail driver, and rancher in Frio County, Texas.
Tom Gardner was a cattle raiser and lived in Tom Green County, but married and moved back to Frio County, Texas.
Charlie Gardner was a cattle raiser and moved to New Mexico where he married in 1889, which I found interesting.
Willis Gardner died at age eighteen in 1882, strangely.
Their was also a famous army scout and Indian fighter named Raymond "Arizona Bill" Gardner, known for his tall tales. He was indeed an army scout and served with Custer, Miles, and Crook, and he claimed he had been raised by Indians, knew every Old West character, did every frontier trade, was a Wild West performer, lawman, Arizona Ranger, and many other claims. He looked kind of goofy when he was in his nineties, smiling and riding a burro, but I had seen a few pictures of him when he was about seventy and he looked like he could handle himself in a fight.
He was a very shady character aside from his military service. I read that he "reportedly" buried a treasure near Camp Grant, Arizona in 1877 from a robbery, and was sounds truthful is that it wasn't his claim. He might have had his own gang. His book, which is terrible, stated that he had a brother named Charlie Gardner who was a ranchman.
I don't know if they were known as the Gardner gang, or the Gardner boys, but some of those possible first names might help.
I don’t doubt the Gardner boys were real people and if you dig deep enough, you will find some information about them. But that means you must look at more than just newspapers to find what you are looking for. Problem #1, there weren’t any newspapers in west Texas in 1877 to 1880. There were newspapers in Austin and Houston beginning in the 1850’s. There weren’t many Anglos or towns in west Texas before 1880. Newspapers did not exist before the coming of the railroads in the early 1880’s. The Marfa New Era did not go into business until 1888 and sadly most of the New Era newspapers were destroyed sometime in the 1920’s. or ‘30’s. The Alpine Alvalanche started about the same time. The Archives of the Big Bend at Sul Ross University have the Avalanche on microfilm but there is no index. The Avalanche in those days was a poor newspaper, little news, just lots of gossip about who was coming and going. Fort Davis had a newspaper, I think called the Rocket but I have never seen any copies of it. The El Paso Herald, later called the El Paso Times published from the 1880’s. The El Paso Public Library has all of the Herald and Times on microfilm and has an excellent card index. I think that might be a good place for you to look. UTPB Library in Odessa has El Paso Times on microfilm but no index.
Another source you will need to examine is True West Magazine. The Haley Library in Midland has a good collection of True West Magazine and an index. The Haley Library has probably the best collection of ranching, outlaw stuff and might well be able to help. I found a few articles about the Gardners treasure by searching for Blake at newspaperarchive.com. But only reprints of the article you have only found. Also, the Barker Texas History Center at U.T. Austin has the largest collection of microfilm newspapers in existence. They also have a great collection of vertical files on many Texas subject. Maybe something is there.
I think the first think you should do is prepare a list of names of who you are looking for and where you think they lived. Search U.S. Census records to try to establish if these people are shown in the Census. Probably an outlaw would not have wanted to give any personal information to a census taker. Another place to look is Civil War records such as the Records of the War of Rebellion. The National Archives has an on search site. I think Records of the War of Rebellion are also now on line. You might find some things if any of these people fought in the Civil War but must know their full name and where they lived. Same for U.S. Census on line at ancestry.com. See my links. Also look at the county histories for the counties you know the Garners lived. Example, try finding Tom Gardner in Tom Green County books and records. No reference to Gardners in Presidio, Brewster or Presidio County histories. Go to the local libraries and check their vertical files and county histories. San Angelo State University in San Angelo has a wonderful West Texas collection and has San Angelo Standard Times. Read every book you can find on the Sam Bass Gang and check the references.
Good luck on your project. It won’t be easy but will be fun. However, you may find information on the Gardner Boys to be as elusive as their treasure. Don’t be annoyed that other historians have not written about the Gardners. Maybe they couldn’t find anything either. The historian is bound by the document, no document, no way to write a history.
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