Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 3, Number 2, May, 1993 Page: 72
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Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal
had happened in the thicket, the two of them were on their way to the scene. Townsend
and Heartt met them on the road. Townsend immediately informed both men that they
were under arrest. Moore, who usually had relied on the presence of a gang of men, this
time decided to battle it out on even terms. It was a fatal mistake. As Moore unbuttoned
his vest and drew his revolver, both Townsend and Heartt opened fire. Moore never got
off a shot. He fell from his horse onto the dusty road. Fry, wisely, did not move a muscle
to help him. It was finally the end of H. H. Moore's notorious career.
Fittingly, as though dispatching Moore had completed his life's work, Sheriff
Townsend would shortly follow him to the grave. The incident was the most dramatic
of Townsend's career and brought him high accolades from many quarters. Somewhat
ironically, on May 4, he and Heartt went on trial for the killing of Moore. But if they
deserved any censure for ending the life of so vicious a man, they did not get it. Like
Moore before them, they had little trouble securing an acquittal.
Townsend lived through an uneventful summer and, still not 50 years old,
waged his eighth campaign for the sheriff's office. This time he was opposed by Sam
Hancock. But in' early November, just before the election, Townsend ate some canned
oysters and became deathly ill. Many were surprised he survived the night. On election
day, Tuesday, November 6, he was alternately delirious and unconscious until late
afternoon. He seemed to revive slightly, then quickly came down with what was
diagnosed as meningitis. He lay at death's door for three days. On Friday, some room
for optimism crept in. He did not recover consciousness but seemed to be in less distress.
He lasted only through the weekend. At 4:30 in the morning on Monday, November 12,
1894, he died in bed. His body was taken to Weimar on a special train the following day
and buried in the Masonic Cemetery there. In a coma since election day, he never learned
that he had won another two-year term as sheriff, swamping Hancock, 2537 to 1034.
He did lose one box, that in Weimar, where Emmett Townsend was turned out as
constable in favor of Shiver.
For years, a railroad employee preserved the rock that Dee Braddock had
thrown into the train at Borden, the simple object that had led to his arrest and thereby
to the deaths of four men, Mose Townsend, Hamilton Dickson, Braddock himself, and
H. H. Moore. The people of Wharton County immortalized Sheriff Dickson, killed in the
line of duty, with a monument on the courthouse square in Wharton. Braddock and
Moore left legacies of a different kind. By the time he died at the young age of 23,
Braddock had killed four men. Moore had been involved in some of the most brutal and
celebrated shooting incidents in the area and had been at his work longer, but, though
he shot several men, only one death can be laid directly at his door.
A Note About Sources:
All of the information presented in the article, down to the direct quotes made
by the participants, was derived from the numerous newspaper accounts of the various
incidents in The Colorado Citizen, The Weimar Mercury, the Houston Daily Post, and the
Galveston Daily News; the relevant cause files, some with voluminous transcripts of
testimony, and other district court records in the Offices of the District Clerk in Colorado,
Fayette, and Wharton Counties, Texas; and the Election Registers in the Office of the
County Clerk, Colorado County, Texas.
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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/m1/20/?q=nesbitt%20memorial%20library%20journal: accessed August 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Nesbitt Memorial Library.