Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 3, Number 2, May, 1993 Page: 59
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The Conflict Between H. H. Moore and Sheriff Light Townsend
Columbus. He approached the man and learned that his name was Bob Johnson. After
the two talked for a while, Johnson offered to sell Townsend his horse. Townsend was
convinced that Johnson was the horse thief he had been warned of, but Johnson was
armed and he was not. He pretended to be interested in the horse and got on it for a
test ride. Seeing Otho Crebbs, he went over to him and sent him to the jail to get a gun.
He then returned to Johnson and started dickering over the price of the horse.
When Crebbs returned, he and Townsend went into Kauffmann's Store near
the corner of Milam and Spring Streets and the sheriff buckled on his pistol. Thus armed,
he returned to the street, put his hand on Johnson's shoulder, and informed him that he
was under arrest. Johnson reached into his coat and Townsend drew his pistol. But
Johnson did not stop. He spun away from the sheriff, then drew and fired his pistol very
near Townsend's face. As the sheriff staggered away, Johnson turned and ran south
on Milam Street. Townsend recovered his balance, fired, and hit Johnson in the side.
Seriously wounded, Johnson scrambled to cover behind a tree in front of
Zwiener's Saloon. As Townsend too leaped behind a tree, Johnson shot him in the leg.
Bystanders cleared the streets while the two exchanged several more shots. Townsend
was shortly in trouble. Crouching behind his tree and bleeding from his leg, he continued
firing wildly at Johnson until he was out of ammunition. A man inside Kauffmann's Store
noticed his predicament, called to him, and held up a pistol. Under fire, Townsend
scrambled into the store and got the gun. He went through the store, out the back door,
through the kitchen of Zwiener's Saloon, and emerged on Spring Street. From his new
position, he had a clear shot at Johnson, who was aiming at the front door of
Kauffmann's, waiting for Townsend to come back out. Townsend called for Johnson
to surrender. Johnson spun around and took aim at the sheriff. But before he could get
off another shot, Townsend fired and fatally wounded him. As Columbus City Marshal
Henry Middleton approached from the direction of the water tower, Townsend fainted
from loss of blood.
Though the gun battle with Johnson seems much less controversial than the
killing of King, because opposition to the sheriff had been steadily growing, it too caused
an uproar. The prospect of bullets flying wildly down Milam Street did not please many
citizens. Townsend issued a long statement defending his conduct, was exonerated at
an inquest held the next day, and, fully recovered from his wound, won another easy
victory at the polls less than a month later.
The news of the killing of Henry Garner reached Sheriff Townsend in
Columbus later the morning it occurred. Sometime before noon, he and Constable
George Crawford left Columbus. They arrived at the scene that evening. Garner's body,
wounded five times by four bullets, had been moved to his house. Townsend took a
description of the assailants, telegraphed it to the Galveston News, and he, Crawford,
and Dick Bridge began scouring the bottom. But, though they searched through the night
and all the next day in both Colorado and Wharton Counties, they did not find either man.
Durham and Simpson had been seen at Frazar's Store about two o'clock on the afternoon
of the killing, looking for Moore. When told that he was out bird hunting, they had left
and had not been seen since. Later it would develop that the rifle Durham had used that
morning belonged to Moore.
On Friday, July 13, the description Townsend sent to Galveston paid off.
That morning, a Montgomery County deputy named S. N. Birard came across the
description in the Galveston News and read it to a man named Davis. Davis rode off,
but shortly returned. He evidently had heard that the fugitives had been seen going
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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/m1/7/?q=nesbitt%20memorial%20library%20journal: accessed July 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Nesbitt Memorial Library.