Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 6, Number 2, May, 1996 Page: 87
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Consider the Lily: The Ungilded History of Colorado County, Texas
simultaneously, Thatcher unleashed his second barrel. This time, however, Stockton was
protected by the fence, and if he sustained any wound at all, it was an insignificant one to
his hand. Montgomery leveled his gun at Stockton, who was, for him, an easy target, but
seeing that Stockton had given up, did not fire. Stockton's leg had been shattered. He asked
Hodges and Montgomery to carry him home. Hodges hoisted him on his back while
Montgomery ordered one of his slaves to help. The slave picked up the shotgun and
followed Hodges to Stockton's home. Five days later, Stockton died. On his deathbed, he
had reconciled with Montgomery, though he vowed vengeance on Thatcher. On June 10,
1842, Thatcher voluntarily surrendered to the authorities. He was not tried until nearly two
years later. Then, on March 6, 1844, he was acquitted.42
Stockton's murder, involving as it did, men of wealth and position, certainly
drew the rapt attention of the public, but it was far from unique. In the years since the murder
of Naham Mixon, several other murders and assaults had come to trial in Colorado County,
many involving prominent citizens. On September 10, 1838, Colin De Bland and William
B. Dewees had an altercation at John Toliver's home in Columbus. Each man attacked the
other with fists, then with chairs. De Bland drew a pistol, but did not use it. On October
1, 1839, in separate incidents, the apparently excitable De Bland fired a shot at James H.
L. Brashear and Isam Tooke beat up Robert H. Tobin. A month later, Tooke inflicted a
similar beating on John Swartz. And, on November 10, 1839, Mason B. Foley shot Jasper
Sargent in the head, killing him, apparently instantly. By 1841, even the Germans had
gotten involved in the violence. That October, Bernard Beimer was accused of beating up
a man identified as Otto Hentios, and Carl Gieseke accused of hitting Heinrich Krey over
the head with a large stick. Such unfortunate incidents certainly were as emblematic of the
civilization that was encroaching on the county as the establishment of any government,
school, or church. As they ran off the Indians and began taming the wilderness, the settlers
found new enemies in each other. Their conflicts among themselves increased both in
number and intensity.43
In February 1843, however, when the Colorado River again overflowed its
banks, the wilderness reminded them that it had not been fully tamed. The flood killed some
livestock, but apparently inflicted little damage to crops. The settlers had grown accus-
tomed to the river's wildly varying levels, and accepted with only the mildest complaints
42 Colorado County District Court Records, Criminal Cause File No. 205: Republic of Texas v.
George W. Thatcher; Minute Book A & B, p. 215.
43 Colorado County District Court Records, Criminal Cause File No. 16: Republic of Texas v. Colin
De Bland; Criminal Cause File No. 75: Republic of Texas v. Mason B. Foley; Criminal Cause File No. 76:
Republic of Texas v. Colin De Bland; Criminal Cause File No. 77: Republic of Texas v. Isam Tooke; Criminal
Cause File No. 78: Republic of Texas v. Isam Tooke; Criminal Cause File No. 175: Republic of Texas v. Bernard
Beimer; Criminal Cause File No. 198: Republic of Texas v. Carl Gieseke. The man whom Beimer assaulted was
probably actually Otto Henkhaus.
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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/m1/27/?q=nesbitt%20memorial%20library%20journal: accessed July 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Nesbitt Memorial Library.