The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 44, July 1940 - April, 1941 Page: 189
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Law and Lawlessness on the Texas Frontier
forbids the carrying of concealed arms within the
State, except in frontier counties. We venture the
assertion that this law is violated in every county
in the State, and that, too, with the knowledge of
the fact by the officers whose duty it is to enforce
"This practice is the source of much crime. Men
become excited in debates or over an injury either
real or fancied, hot words are used, and the next we
hear is murder.
"Not a paper comes to us but contains accounts
of shooting or stabbing affrays. It seems at times
instead of progression we have retrogression in a vio-
"The people, too, are not content with the slow but
sure workings of the law, but must violate the law by
[the use of] lynch law, as instance the hanging of
Smith after sentence of death had been passed by a
competent court, also the hanging of six men in Mon-
tague county supposed to be cattle thieves . .
"Northern journals comment in severe terms upon
us as a community of murderers and robbers, and can
we with truth deny the accusation? We dare not do
it, for our State press would be sufficient evidence to
Editor Robson's contention was exemplified by his own
newspaper. Seldom an issue came out without from one to a
dozen stories of murders, murder trials, or robberies. The same
was true of other frontier newspapers. Taken as an example
at random, four of the five stories on the front page of the
Taylor County News, June 5, 1886, dealt with various instances
of lawlessness running from stage robberies to murder.
As an example of what one may find in almost any weekly
newspaper of the period, on February 21, 1876, Richard Kirk,
respected and efficient sheriff of Young County, was murdered.
Three days later a mass meeting passed a number of resolu-
tions to honor his memory, and as a permanent monument
worthy of his commemoration the citizens named the highest
hill in Young County Mount Kirk.3 Before a month had passed
a cook in a restaurant at Fort Griffin was found one morning
on a vacant lot with his head practically severed from his
'Frontier Echo, February 11, 1876.
3Frontier Echo, March 24, 1876.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 44, July 1940 - April, 1941, periodical, 1941; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth146052/m1/209/: accessed June 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.