Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 6, Number 2, May, 1996 Page: 86
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Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal
recently been hired by Montgomery's father to work on the plantation, and George
Washington Thatcher, who had married Montgomery's sister, went with him. They
intended to cross the river near the home of Montgomery's uncle, Thomas H. Duggan,
however, when they reached the river, it was too deep to ford. They tied their horses to
trees, went across in a canoe, and dined with Duggan. At Thatcher's suggestion, they
abandoned their attempt to find Stockton, and the next day they again crossed the river,
retrieved their horses, and returned to their homes.40
Stockton quickly heard about this innocuous expedition, though by the time it
came to him, it had been transmogrified into something quite sinister. The way he heard
it, Montgomery had set out with two of his army buddies to ambush and kill him. Aggrieved,
and determined to press matters to a confrontation on his own terms, he began visiting the
Montgomery plantation armed with his shotgun and asking the slaves questions about Sam
Montgomery, apparently in an attempt to confront him alone. On the morning of April 20,
1842, Montgomery, because he was ill, asked Hodges to supervise the slaves. In the field,
Hodges saw Stockton, carrying his shotgun, talking to the slaves. As he approached,
Stockton turned and walked toward his plantation. When he got to the fence, he turned,
recognized Hodges, with whom he had become friendly, and waited for him to join him.
Leaning on the fence together, Stockton told Hodges that he had heard that Montgomery
and two of his army buddies were out to kill him, and Hodges, quite surprised, confessed
that he had been one of the two men with Montgomery, and that there was no such plot.41
Meanwhile, Thatcher had come to visit Montgomery, and together, the two,
both armed with shotguns, had wandered out to the fields to see how work was progressing.
As they approached the fence, Stockton grew apprehensive. Hodges encouraged him to
wait, then jumped off the fence and walked up to meet Thatcher and Montgomery. He
persuaded Montgomery to discuss his differences with Stockton. As Montgomery and
Stockton sat on the rail fence, ironing out their dispute, Thatcher stood some twenty yards
away. Stockton's shotgun was leaning against the fence, but both Montgomery and
Thatcher were holding theirs. When Stockton related what he had heard about Montgom-
ery's two friends, Thatcher inserted himself into the conversation. He and Stockton
exchanged a few angry words, with Stockton finally calling Thatcher a liar. What happened
next is not precisely clear. Probably Thatcher raised his shotgun. Stockton certainly swung
his right leg over the fence, evidently intending to get his own shotgun. Thatcher fired,
grievously wounding Stockton in the left leg. Stockton fell to the ground, snatched up his
gun, aimed at Thatcher, and pulled the trigger. The gun, however, failed to fire. Almost
40 Colorado County District Court Records, Criminal Cause File No. 205: Republic of Texas v.
George W. Thatcher. Duggan was a half-brother of Montgomery's mother.
41 Colorado County District Court Records, Criminal Cause File No. 205: Republic of Texas v.
George W. Thatcher.
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Nesbitt Memorial Library. Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 6, Number 2, May, 1996, periodical, May 1996; Columbus, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth151397/m1/26/?q=nesbitt%20memorial%20library%20journal: accessed April 29, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Nesbitt Memorial Library.