Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 3, Number 2, May, 1993 Page: 68
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Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal
not of a mind to let the others get away. He had recognized fifteen or so of the men,
and announced that they would soon be arre, ed. Soon enough he would have more
serious matters to which to turn his attention.
On January 17, 1894, Dee Braddock was caught on a Southern Pacific
excursion train without a ticket. When the train stopped at Borden, the enraged Braddock
was booted off. As the train pulled out, he picked up a rock and hurled it through one
of the train's windows. Fortunately, no one on the train was hurt by the projectile, but
this rash and pointless yet seemingly innocuous act would shortly have fatal conse-
quences for four men.
When the train arrived in Weimar, someone notified local officers of
Braddock's rock-throwing exploits, and they made their way to Borden to arrest him.
There is no account of his arrest on record; therefore it can be presumed that he was
taken peacefully. In any case, he spent the night in the Weimar city jail. Braddock, who
had already gotten away with killing the two Brownlow brothers in 1892, was not in very
much trouble this time, but he was nonetheless fully determined to avoid what of it there
was. By the afternoon after his arrest, still in the Weimar city jail awaiting transfer to
Columbus, Braddock had already hatched an escape plan and had taken the first steps
toward carrying it out. Somehow he had gotten his hands on a knife and was now
waiting for a chance to use it against his jailer. That night, when Constable Mose
Townsend delivered dinner, Braddock got his chance.
Townsend, the sheriff's nephew, was probably happy to have such a
mundane chore to perform. At least it kept him out of the driving rain that was falling
that night in Weimar. Townsend's career in law enforcement had been a brief one. He
had run for the position of Weimar city marshal the previous year, but been defeated by
the able and popular incumbent, Hatch York. Casting about for opportunity, he got one
in an unexpected and unwelcome way. His brother, Tup, who had been elected constable
of Precinct 4 (which included Weimar) in 1892, suddenly died on June 26, 1893. In
March, Constable Townsend had heard a disturbance on the east side of Weimar, and,
picking up his brother, had gone to investigate. With both men on the same horse, they
rode to the sound of the disturbance, but found only silence. They reined up to look
around, then heard a noise again, this time behind them. Taking a shortcut, they ran into
a barbed wire fence at a gallop. The horse, badly cut, fell on Tup, injuring him so severely
that he lost consciousness. Whether or not the injuries he suffered in the fall had
anything to do with his untimely demise is unknown, but three months later he died in
bed at the age of 27. A week later, on July 3, 1893, Mose Townsend, not yet 22 years
old, was appointed to take his place.
He had been serving as an officer of the law for slightly more than six months
when his duty called for him to take dinner to the dangerous Braddock. Because of the
way the jail was constructed, Townsend had to open the cell door to give Braddock his
meal, and as he did so, Braddock curtly demanded that the deputy surrender his pistol.
Townsend, apparently failing to see that his prisoner had a knife, chuckled at what he
thought was Braddock's joke. Braddock responded by driving the blade into the deputy's
chest and bolting out the still open door. Mortally wounded, Townsend snatched up his
gun and fired a wild shot at the fleeing killer. Three men on the street, hearing the
commotion, immediately rushed to Townsend's aid. Only one of them was able to spot
Braddock racing through the rain. He got off two rounds, but missed. The three men
carried the wounded constable to the home of his wife's parents, where he died shortly
afterward, the first victim of the thrown rock.
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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/m1/16/?q=nesbitt%20memorial%20library%20journal: accessed January 16, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Nesbitt Memorial Library.