Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 3, Number 2, May, 1993 Page: 55
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The Conflict Between
H. H. Moore and Sheriff Light Townsend
Concluding With the Story of the Rock
Which Triggered the Deaths of Four Men
by Bill Stein
The area south of Eagle Lake, known generally as the Eagle Lake bottom, was
probably the roughest and most dangerous part of Colorado County for about twenty
years beginning in the 1870s. Populated by tenant farmers and itinerant laborers, the
Eagle Lake bottom was the site of gun and knife fights seemingly every week. Some
of the quarrels involved whiskey or card games. Many were racially motivated. The most
brutal incident in the bottom since the Stafford War in 1876 occurred in the last week
of February 1888. Near Spanish Camp, a small settlement in northern Wharton County,
five blacks were killed. Their assailants trapped them in a building, saturated the ground
around it with kerosene, and set it on fire. As the people inside ran out to escape the
fire, they were shot down.
Much of the activity in the bottom centered around Frazar's Store. The name
"Frazar's Store" was used like the name of a town and meant not just the store itself,
but included Vineyard & Walker's, a combination grocery store and saloon across the
road. The stores were about six miles south of Eagle Lake. A group of "regulars" made
extensive use of the saloons in the two stores. One of the regulars at Frazar's Store,
and perhaps the most dangerous man in the entire county, was a professional wood
cutter named Henry Moore. Though Moore was certainly called Henry by his friends,
he was known to those who regarded him as a bully and a gunman only by his initials,
H. H. Moore.
Moore had inaugurated his short but eventful career of gunplay and murder
on February 28, 1888, killing a man named Frank Ricord because, he later claimed,
Ricord had insulted his wife. That defense would prove to be good enough for the courts,
for at his trial three years later, in March 1891, he would be acquitted. In the meantime,
he continued his violent activities. He was at Frazar's Store again when, less than a
month after his first known gun battle, he got into his second.
It was Saturday, March 24, 1888. Most of the farmers in the area did their
trading on Saturday, and this Saturday was no different. The stores were buzzing with
activity. There were many black farmers at Frazar's that day, among them Jack Williams,
Davis Green, and Dennis Winslow. About six o'clock that evening, Green got drunk and
started a quarrel with Williams, who was his brother-in-law. He struck Williams in the
face before stepping over to his horse, which was tied to a tree near the saloon, and
slipping his Winchester out of the saddle. Waving the rifle at Williams, he called out,
"Goddamn you, if you come any further I will kill you."
Williams stopped, but replied, "Davis, you would not shoot me, would you?"
Green mounted his horse, keeping his Winchester in front of him. Winslow's
son John, carrying a sack of flour that Green had bought, threw it into his hack, crawled
in, and implored him to leave. Getting no response, he set out for home with his father
riding horseback beside him.
Andy Mason, sitting on the porch, apparently now entered the dispute, for
Green leveled the gun at him and yelled, "Damn you, what have you got to do with it?"
Mason, riled but in a vulnerable position, wasted no time in letting Green know that were
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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/m1/3/?q=nesbitt%20memorial%20library%20journal: accessed October 18, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Nesbitt Memorial Library.