The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 38, July 1934 - April, 1935 Page: 13
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Grass Lease Fight and Attempted Impeachment
received from Judge Silas Hare, of Sherman, stating that
Grass Commissioner Gass, instrumental in bringing the charges,
had said that he knew "nothing could be made of the
present charges, but that he was going up in the Panhandle to
hunt up proof that would show that Judge Willis was in collusion
with Charles Goodnight." Gass was already on his way, and Walton
asked the committee to recall him and deal with him as it thought
best. Attorney General Hogg was quite willing, after a hearing,
for Gass to "be dealt with and disgraced" if the statements proved
true, but he was for vigorous prosecution of the charges against
With evidence being heard by the House committee, with the
ambitious H-ogg rising in the political world and vigorously push-
ing the investigation, with all but two lawyers in the "Jumbo
District" and the Panhandle's own representatives in the Legisla-
ture hostile to him, Willis' prospects were anything but promising.
He wobbled between the decision to fight or resign, and was kept
from resigning only by the resolute Goodnight. Again he
entreated the support of Browning and Houston, both of whom
sat on the fence and said they would ask to be "excused from
voting." Browning told Nelson that "he would take a neutral
ground; that there were about forty lawyers in the House and
the balance were grangers, and that Judge Willis stood about as
much show as a stump-tailed bull in fly-time." Yet, according to
Willis, "Browning signed a paper vindicating me since I came
here [to Austin], with the understanding that I would resign."
Verily, this bench was a coveted place.9
The Committee moved along with its investigation and heard
such witnesses as 0. H. Nelson, Goodnight, Woodman, Arrington,
Cape Willingham and other prominent men in defense.20 II. H.
Wallace, county judge at Tascosa, testified for the state that Willis
was thought "a partial judge." Jess Jenkins, far-famed operator
of a saloon and dance hall in Tascosa's suburban Hogtown, and
recognized leader of those who patronized his business most, said,
"The Gazette, February 10, 1887; House Journal, 1887, pp. 119-120.
"Galveston Newos, February 17 and 18, 1887; The Gazette, February
"Among these were E. Dubbs, County Judge; N. F. Locke, District
Clerk; J. J. Long, Treasurer, and Henry Fleming, all of Wheeler
County. The Gazette, February 17, 1887.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 38, July 1934 - April, 1935, periodical, 1935; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117143/m1/21/: accessed January 16, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.