Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 3, Number 2, May, 1993 Page: 69
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The Conflict Between H. H. Moore and Sheriff Light Townsend
Braddock proved to be a clever fugitive. Aided by the rainfall on the night
of his escape, which had obliterated his tracks, he eluded an extensive manhunt for
several weeks. He fled to the south, stealing a horse near the settlement of Content,
riding through Oakland and proceeding toward Sublime. He remained in the Sublime area
for just a few hours. Then, officers lost track of him. The search for Braddock spread
across several counties and involved several sheriffs. Finally, in the first week of
February, Sheriff Townsend turned up a lead. He had thought all along that Braddock
would flee to the Eagle Lake bottom, and now his suspicions had been confirmed. On
February 5, he wrote Wharton County Sheriff Hamilton Dickson a mysterious letter
which indicated his belief that Braddock was being harbored by a friend who had
apparently accidentally stumbled onto him in the bottom. The letter, which was
reproduced in The Weimar Mercury of July 25, 1896, refers to Braddock as "B" and sets
up a code between the two officers.
Columbus, Tex. Feb 5, 1894
H. B. Dickson, Wharton, Texas
I saw old man Williams and he says emphatically that it is all a lie about B.
stopping with him on Wednesday night, and further that B. never was in his house in
his life and still further that he never spoke to him in his life. I learned from a party that
on the day B. was to have gone down the river, as we heard he was to have done, that
he, B., got lost in the bottom, and was seen the next day by a party who knew him, and
talked with him. To make a long story short, I have another scheme on foot that may
work all right and now, and here, let it be understood by and between us, that we have
given up any further search and lay still on our oars a few days; in the mean time, keep
eyes open for anything that may turn up. In case I want you to meet me, and you receive
a telegram to this effect: "Everything busted - blow off the dogs," take the first train
and come to Rosenburg and stay 'till I come, if I am not there when you arrive - and we
will have some fun (if I ain't a fool). Now, Dickson, don't you mention this to a living
soul, until I see you, not even let your deputy know a word about it, 'till further notice.
Make it convenient to be about home Thursday next. "Mum" is the word.
J. L. Townsend
P. S. Everything busted - blow off the dogs, means meet me at Rosenburg Junction.
Though Sheriff Townsend was busy with the pursuit of Braddock, he was
apparently not too busy to pass up the opportunity to get another of his relatives into
the ranks of Colorado County's law enforcement community. The Commissioners Court
met on January 29, 1894, to appoint a constable to replace Mose Townsend. There
were two principal candidates: Joe Shiver of Weimar and Emmett Townsend of
Columbus. Shiver presented a petition from the citizens of the precinct in question,
Precinct 4, but the commissioners, by one vote, appointed Townsend to the post. The
citizens of Precinct 4 reacted with outrage. The day after the appointment they held a
meeting in Weimar, and more than sixty people signed a formal resolution protesting
Townsend's appointment as "contrary to the genius and principles of all republican forms
of government." The resolution went on, "The action of the majority of said court is high
handed and against all precedent and calculated to lead to other illegal, extreme
measures." The Weimar Mercury of February 3, 1894 went further, saying "Colorado
county needs a new set of commissioners, and needs 'em bad too."
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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/m1/17/?q=nesbitt%20memorial%20library%20journal: accessed February 18, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Nesbitt Memorial Library.