Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 3, Number 2, May, 1993 Page: 65
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The Conflict Between H. H. Moore and Sheriff Light Townsend
W. D. Crockett met Townsend and the three proceeded to Robertson County. Bouldin
was living on a farm near the Brazos River. Townsend sent a local black man to tell him
that someone wanted to see him, and then he, Teague, and Crockett hid along each side
of the path. When Bouldin walked down, they seized him without resistance. Bouldin
later confessed that he had a rifle, a pistol, and 100 rounds of ammunition at the house
and was prepared to die resisting arrest.
That summer, Dee Braddock of Flatonia, who had just turned twenty years
old, got into trouble with the law for the first time. On August 22, 1891, three brothers,
Jim, Anthony, and George Brownlow were engaged in a friendly shooting contest, firing
a shotgun at a peach tree, when Braddock came over with his Winchester and demanded
that they stop making so much noise. Anthony refused and Jim called to the youthful
Braddock, "You are a damned fool." Braddock leveled the rifle and shot first Jim
Brownlow, then Anthony Brownlow, who was attempting to run into the house. He had
time to shoot Jim Brownlow again, this time in the back, before the third brother, George,
returned his fire. A few more ineffectual shots were fired, then the brief battle ended.
Jim Brownlow died instantly and Anthony, thirty minutes later.
Moore, meanwhile, again was struggling to secure bail. In July, Vineyard,
Cabiness, Mason, Williamson, and Langston had been released from the La Grange jail
on bail, and Moore was trying a new tactic. He had become ill, apparently with
tuberculosis, and on September 3, he secured a statement from Dr. W. W. Lunn that
"continued confinement would be the cause of his death." Dr. J. C. B. Renfro provided
a second opinion, saying "if he is kept in any species of confinement while suffering from
said disease, it will endanger his life." Late in September, he was granted bail of $8000,
and though that was a rather large sum, quickly posted it.
Moore's trial began on December 3, 1891 and dragged on for more than two
weeks. Much of the mountain of testimony concerned whether or not anyone could be
sure that Moore had indeed been the man behind the mask. Sheriff Townsend and
Columbus City Marshal Brack Smith testified that, though they did not know what
Moore's reputation in his own community was, county officers regarded him as "a
dangerous but not a violent man."
Moore took the stand in his own defense, calmly swearing that he had not
been to Martin's place the night of the killing, and that he had not been part of the mob
that perpetrated the murder. He stated that he, Bowers, and another man had left
Frazar's Store and gone to his home, where they had remained for the rest of the night.
Strangely, neither Bowers nor the other man was asked to take the stand to corroborate
The case went to the jury three days before Christmas. The next day,
December 23, the jury returned. In an instant, the courtroom was hushed as the
numerous spectators anticipated the verdict. As the jury filed in, Moore's wife, sitting
beside her husband, dropped her head into his lap as though afraid to hear the decision.
Moore gazed implacably at the jury, the muscles of his face twitching as he chomped
on a cigar.
"Gentlemen, have you agreed upon a verdict?"
The foreman handed a slip of paper to Fayette County District Clerk John B.
Holloway. Holloway read aloud, "We, the jury, find the defendant, H. H. Moore, not
guilty as charged in the indictment."
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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/m1/13/?q=nesbitt%20memorial%20library%20journal: accessed May 30, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Nesbitt Memorial Library.