Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 3, Number 2, May, 1993 Page: 70
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Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal
The black citizens of Precinct 4, in a separate meeting on February 1, also
condemned the appointment. Ben Baker, in the new constable's hometown newspaper,
The Colorado Citizen, chimed in with his opinion, "The selection [is] unfortunate for 2
reasons: 1st The appointee is physically incompetent to cope with the 'toughs' the duties
of office require; 2. Citizens of Weimar are entitled to select their own precinct officers."
The citizens of Precinct 4 began discussing the possibility of hiring an attorney to have
Townsend removed legally. That was followed by a rumor that the county judge had
declared the appointment illegal. But, the countywide outcry and the opposition of his
new constituents notwithstanding, Emmett Townsend became the new constable of
Two days after Sheriff Townsend wrote Sheriff Dickson to be ready to move,
they each gathered a posse and met at Northington's Store in the northern Wharton
County town of Egypt. Townsend apparently had confirmed his suspicion that Braddock
was being sheltered by a friend in the bottom and that that friend was none other than
his own old nemesis, H. H. Moore. He arranged to meet Dickson, and set out for Wharton
County with deputies Sam Reese and Dick Bridge. When Townsend and his posse
arrived at Northington's, Moore happened to be on hand, and they promptly arrested
him. Dickson and his group arrived about thirty minutes later. The now enlarged posse
set out for Moore's home, leaving him in Northington's custody.
Soon after leaving, they ran into Thornton Fry, who was on his way to
Northington's. Dickson was well acquainted with Fry and warned Townsend not to
believe anything Fry said. Forcing Fry to ride along, the posse continued on its way to
Moore's house. As they rode, Fry apparently started to get edgy about his role in the
affair. He rather suddenly told Dickson that he had been serving as a courier between
Moore and the hiding Braddock and that he could lead the posse to the exact spot where
the fugitive was concealed. Dickson informed Townsend of the startling confession and
the two agreed to follow Fry's lead.
However, Fry had neglected to tell the sheriffs one important fact. He had
just been to see Braddock and warn him that posses were in the area looking for him.
When, about three o'clock that afternoon, they arrived at the thicket in which Braddock
was hiding, Dickson and Townsend went in after him. Creeping warily through the
woods, rifle at the ready, Dickson spotted a figure lying on the ground next to a log. He
rose from his crouch to point out the apparently sleeping Braddock to Townsend. As
soon as he straightened, a shot broke the stillness. Braddock, concealed behind a nearby
tree with Moore's Winchester in hand, had shot Dickson in the chest. Dickson, mortally
wounded, crumpled to the ground, where he would die minutes later.
The recumbent figure he had seen was in fact a dummy planted by Braddock
in anticipation of the sheriff's approach. Townsend, luckier than Dickson in not having
seen the dummy first, was now left to do the job himself. But he proved to be up to it.
As Dickson fell, he spotted Braddock. He squeezed off a quick shot at Braddock, circled
around behind him, got the drop on him, and put a bullet through his head. Thinking then
of Dickson, he frantically called to the posse waiting on the road for assistance.
Foolishly, they sent Fry and one other man they had picked up on the road back to
Northington's for help and waited for Townsend to emerge from the woods. When he
did, he was shocked to find Fry gone. Taking charge again, he and Wharton County
Constable C. W. Heartt immediately set out after Fry.
But Fry had already reached the store. On some pretext, he had gotten
Moore free of Northington's custody, and, probably because they were uncertain what
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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/m1/18/?q=nesbitt%20memorial%20library%20journal: accessed April 23, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Nesbitt Memorial Library.