Newspaper Archive of
Hays Free Press
Kyle, Texas
February 15, 2017     Hays Free Press
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February 15, 2017

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Hays Free Press February 15, 2017 COMMUNITY Page 3C + Texas History Continued from pg. 1C Mason County voters elected a new sheriff, who promised a complete cleanup. John Clark did his best, but the rustler rings were always one step ahead of the inexperi- enced lawman. In February 1875, the sher- iff got lucky. He caught five members of the notorious Backus Gang red-handed with a herd of stolen cattle. That evening a crowd of irate citizens overcame light resis- tance at the local lockup and whisked the prisoners off to the nearest tree. A Texas Ranger, who just happened to be passing through, crashed the necktie party in time to save a pair ofthe badmen. Sheriff Clark suddenly appeared to back his play but swore he could not identify any members of the mob that disappeared in the darkness. Word of the lynching spread like wildfire. Al- though the "native" ranch- ers could have cared less about the Backus bunch, they feared indiscriminate attack from an aroused Ger- man community. In a show of force, they occupied the county seat. At the head of 60 armed Germans, Sheriff Clark retook the town and ne- gotiated a fragile truce. Six weeks later, the cold- blooded killing of a popular "native" rancher shattered the peace. Lured offhis property by a deputy sheriff, The senseless slaying brought into the simmering feud Scott Cooley, the victim's half-crazed adopted son. Since Indians slaughtered his parents and held him captive as a child, Cooley had never been quite right in the head. The murder of the stepfather he idolized pushed the grief-stricken youth over the edge. Tim Williamson was brutally bushwhacked. The senseless slaying brought into the simmer- ing feud Scott Cooley, the victim's half-crazed adopted son. Since Indians slaugh- tered his parents and held him captive as a child, Cool- ey had never been quite right in the head. The murder of the stepfather he idolized pushed the grief-stricken youth over the edge. Coming upon the guilty deputy digging a well, Cooley shot him six times, repeated- ly stabbed his dead body and removed his scalp. To prove his gruesome point, he made the rounds of the Mason saloons proudly displaying the grisly trophy in each and every establishment. Both sides suffered casualties in the ensuing county-wide conflict. Cooley organized his own band of trigger-happy misfits, who had no stake in the affair but relished the combat. Mason County quickly became a blood- soaked battleground. After weeks of strife, a Ranger company command- ed by Major John B. ]ones temporarily restored order. Sheriff Clark complied by immediately resigning and vanishing without a trace. Cooley, however, calmly stayed put. The former Ranger bet his old comrades would be reluctant to bring him in, and to the disgust of Major ]ones, he was right. Six weeks later, the Rangers pulled out of the war-torn county leaving a token force to keep up the half-hearted hunt for Cooley. Meanwhile, the fugitive shrewdly steered clear of Mason but continued his search for German targets. In late 1875, Cooley and sidekick Johnny Ringo, the same gunslinger who later blazed his way into the his- tory books in Arizona, were arrested in Bumet. Hopes for an end to the bloodshed soared in Mason County only to be dashed by news of a suspicious jailbreak. Freed by friends in Lampasas County, Cooley resumed his rampage. But revenge did not put food on the table, and to satisfy his grumbling followers as well as his own stomach, he turned to the tried-and-true practice of rusting cattle. In a few months, Cooley was teaching old hands a thing or two about swiping steers. Deliverance sometimes comes in strange packages, and for Mason County it came in a bottle. Cooley stopped for dinner at Fred- ericksburg and bought a fifth of whiskey for the road. Sev- eral swigs later, he tumbled from the saddle and lapsed into a coma. By dawn Scott Cooley was a goner, done in not by a dose of lead but poison. With him died the Hoodoo War, and the barricades at last came down in battle- scarred Mason County. Barrel's three books "Texas Depression-Era Desperadoes," "Murder Most Texan" and "Texas Boomtowns: A History of Blood and Oil" are avail- able for purchase at bartee- Sudoku Solutio 7 I= J c 49 8 5 23 NN 7 15 3 8 ii i 8 5 3 igii 4- 6 2 i!i iiiii ,Sii 9 I 7 6 4 ,ii, il 3 2 --2 3 8 i ,i iiii ii 5 7 9 Sudoku Puzzle, from page 2C Texas Crossword Solution Texas Crossword, from page 2C I ' "B ~ 1 5 :: : I" TEXAS LEHIGH1 CEMENT CO. LP! 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Pastor Bible Study for all ages, 9:45 a.m. Worship Service, 10:55 a.m. WEDNESDAY: Bible Study, 7 P.m. Pastor Rodney Coleman 4000 East FM 150 (4 miles east of Kyle) (512) 268-5471 NaO God with us CONFESSION OFFICE HOURS Saturdays: 4 p.m.-5 p m. Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. MASS SCHEDULE: Saturday evening: 5:30 p.m. Sunday ~ : '~sl~:~t~ 8:30 a.m. (Spanish), 11 a.m. (English) 5 p.m. (English) Baptist Church 9:30 a.m ~. Oassic Servke 10:45 am. Contemporary service Mull (i~l~ing an 8:30 a.m, early bird class), teen, children's classes * Children's,~xship . . Professionafly-staffednursery&pre-school 1401 HYFM 16Z? St. John Lutheran Church of Uhland, LCMS Highway 21, Uhland Bible Study Church Services 20N. 9:15 a.m. 10:30 a.m. Pastor: Rev. David Goeke 210-635-8584 Camino Real (State Hwy. 211 Uhland, Texas 78640 First Baptist Church A loving & caring Southern Baptist Church 104 S. San Marcos Street, lJuda Buddy Johnson, Pastor 295-2161 Sunday School 9:30 a.m. Morning Worship 10:45 a.m. Wednesday Bible Study/Youth Activities 6:00 p.m. AWANA's (Wednesday) 6:00 p.m. Nursery Provided ~[~g~[g~gli~II~.~g~ ~ outhern Hills Church of Christ fist Serving Others ITH US! Sunday 900am B,ble Class lO:OOamWorship 6:00pm Worship Wednesday 7:00pm Bible Class 3740 Ranch Road 967 Buda, Texas (512) 312-5900 All services are sign-interpreted*for the deaf Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) 2315 FM 967 Buda, Texas 78610 Pastor J.D. Elshoff 512-638-6312 Thursday Evening Bible Study, 6 p.m and Open Communion on the first Sunday of every month, 6 p.m. Make THIS your church home! ast Baptist Chur-- ch ::::::::::::::::::::: Bibl~ :~/y:!:~i~5 a.m. Wo~i !!!~ a.m. Pr~g~ion: Ih d + Ii ;ll :1