Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 3, Number 2, May, 1993 Page: 63
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The Conflict Between H. H. Moore and Sheriff Light Townsend
turned and the night erupted with shouts and gunfire. Several of the men opened fire
on Wyatt at once and he fell, grievously wounded, about twenty yards from the house,
at the edge of the cotton field.
In a panic, someone in the mob said, "Let's kill all the sons of bitches." Moore
turned on Armstrong and shot him at point blank range, the bullet passing through his
right arm, continuing through his ear, and lodging in his neck. He fell as if dead and
pretended to be so. As Armstrong fell, Moore shot Mills in the chest. The bullet passed
completely through Mills but did not kill him. He ran, jumping over the wagon's tongue
and taking another bullet in the arm, before collapsing in a cotton patch some thirty yards
from the house.
One or two of the assailants must have gotten cold feet, for someone yelled,
"By God get around here and look for them." Another of the mob must have run from
the scene, as someone shouted, "Come back here," in a tone a witness later
characterized as the way a man talks to a dog. Another shout rang out: "Make haste."
A reply came: "I am making haste." A couple of the men checked Armstrong, pulling
his arms from beneath his body. One took hold of his ear and said "We got him. Here
is where the ball went in behind his ear." Mills lay in the cotton, not daring to move,
while a few of the men came looking for him. He could see them approach and heard
them speak as they got to within seven or eight steps of him, "I knew you did not hit
him." "I will be damned if I didn't."
As the men searched for Mills, Armstrong, who had fallen around the corner
of the house, was obscured from their view. He got up and sprinted away. Wyatt,
evidently in great pain, yelled from his hiding place in another part of the cotton field,
asking his assailants to bring him a drink of water and then to finish him off. They walked
over to where he was lying and, without another word, shot him twice more, killing him.
The men then left quickly, stopping only to warn Martin not to tell anyone what he had
seen. The whole incident, from the time Moore woke Martin to Wyatt's death, had taken
no more than fifteen minutes.
Mills shortly regained some of his strength and got up and began walking.
He wandered around the bottom all night, stopping many times to rest. In the morning
he would come upon the house of Hilliard Mead and prevail upon him to fetch a doctor.
Meanwhile, Armstrong had gotten hold of a horse and was riding to Ramsey's Point,
north of Eagle Lake.
The mob of assailants rode at a full gallop back to Frazar's Store. They
pounded on the door of Vineyard & Walker's Saloon until Tally, who was sleeping
upstairs in the same room as Hughs, woke up and let them in. They got him to produce
another bottle of whiskey and told him what had happened.
Martin and his other hands were too terrified to venture out of their beds until
the morning. Ballinger had been so frightened that, while the shooting was going on,
he crawled up inside the chimney. Weller went to work the next day at Frazar's gin before
daybreak, not bothering to look for the three men who had disappeared the night before.
It was left to Martin, who arose routinely the next morning, to "discover" Wyatt's body
in the cotton field.
Both the wounded men were soon in Eagle Lake and in the protective custody
of the town's marshal, W. T. Eldridge. Sheriff Townsend joined Eldridge in Eagle Lake
late that afternoon. He consulted with the men's doctor and was told that they were
too weak to talk. He made sure that they had a round-the-clock guard and went off to
arrest the assailants.
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Nesbitt Memorial Library. Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 3, Number 2, May, 1993, periodical, May 1993; Columbus, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth151388/m1/11/?q=nesbitt%20memorial%20library%20journal: accessed May 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Nesbitt Memorial Library.