Cover

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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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Contents

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p. vii

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Foreword

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pp. ix-xi

Following the Civil War, the citizens of Texas entered unsettling times as Reconstruction turned their routine world upside down. Elected officials were thrown out of office and replaced by political appointees who included a mixture of men ranging from competent to outright inept individuals. ...

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Acknowledgments

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p. xiii

Many people helped in the preparation of this book. Among those who deserve thanks, for this effort as well as others, are a triumvirate of historians whom the author values both as friends and colleagues. Both Rick Miller and Chuck Parsons are well-established historians and friends whose knowledge of Texas has proven ...

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Introduction: “A War of Extermination”

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pp. 1-6

Lying north and west of Austin, the Texas Hill Country is a rugged, hilly area encompassing roughly thirty-six counties. The area features high plateaus and deep gorges cut by streams and rivers. Much of it is semiarid. One early settler described a part of the Hill Country as having “vast cedar brakes, the abode of wild animals ...

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Chapter 1 “Murderous Passions Unleashed”

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pp. 7-17

Arriving in Texas during the 1840s, German immigrants left behind them a land composed of a patchwork of kingdoms, duchies, and principalities steeped in feudal tradition and dominated by Austria and Prussia. Following Napoleon’s defeat of the German states, social reform had come with the abolition of hereditary serfdom ...

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Chapter 2 “Enough Money to Burn a Wet Dog”

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pp. 18-47

Texas is considered by many the original home of large-scale ranching. In part this is confirmed by the 1860 census that reported 3,533,768 domestic cattle.1 Factoring in wild cattle, the actual total was far greater. Cattleman George W. Saunders recalled: “At the close of the Civil War the soldiers came home broke and our state ...

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Chapter 3 “Stock War!”

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pp. 33-50

Records from the early 1870s illustrate the growing animosity over cattle once the trade became profitable. Mason County’s problems began during Reconstruction. The successful removal of Franz Kettner as Hide and Cattle Inspector for Mason County during 1872 was an early attempt to dominate the cattle trade by Ben Gooch, ...

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Chapter 4 “The Fright Hangs Over Us”

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pp. 51-63

1875 dawned with deceptive calm in Mason County. Even then ample opportunity remained for matters to be resolved peacefully, but no one stepped forward as a peacemaker. In later years Ranger Daniel Webster Roberts would recall that “the men supporting civil authority, needed no arrest, and those opposing it, ...

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Chapter 5“ Another Horrible Murder”

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pp. 64-76

The lynchings in Mason County inaugurated the violence of 1875. Writing from Camp Saline, Lieutenant Dan Roberts reported on March 1, “The mob has been operating some in Llano County lately. Killed one man named Wages—ordered several more to leave the county. As yet they’v[e] harmed no good man.”1 ...

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Chapter 6 “Rance and Co.’s Band of Freebooters”

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pp. 77-90

On July 12 the summer term of District Court opened in Mason County. Although no one realized it at the time, the summer session was a pivotal moment in the feud. Three separate murder cases and the Baccus cattle theft case were all on the books to be heard. All of these cases were critical to ending mob law, ...

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Chapter 7 “A Man of Large Connexions”

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pp. 91-104

In later years Tom Gamel recalled Cooley’s presence in Mason as the ex-Ranger observed the legal proceedings and began his investigation into Williamson’s murder. When the session closed, Cooley left Mason and was gone about a month although no reason for his absence has been determined. When he returned, his first ...

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Chapter 8 “A Most Horrible State of Affairs”

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pp. 105-118

Holmes’ contention that Moses Baird was “a man of large connexions [sic]” was an understatement.1 This succinct phrase underscores the next phase of the feud as it escalated out of control. Baird was very popular in both Burnet and Llano Counties, and the brothers were connected by marriage, friendship, and business ...

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Chapter 9 “Intervention Was Necessary”

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pp. 119-132

The terror that gripped Mason in the fall of 1875 is almost impossible to comprehend. On October 4 it was rumored that John Baird was in town. The rumor proved false, but it provides glimpses of rampant tales that spread fear in the community.1 At the same time, Clark and his men rode to Loyal Valley and proceeded to terrorize ...

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Chapter 10 “Shooting Each Other With Renewed Energy” [Image Plates follow page 148]

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pp. 133-148

On October 29 Lucia Holmes noted in her diary that “Old Man” Miller was shot at dark.1 Writing from Fredericksburg one correspondent erroneously reported that “reliable information from Mason” told of the killing of a “Mr. Martin.”2 Two days later the same paper corrected itself, stating in part that “The Fredericksburg ...

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Chapter 11 “I Think There Is Some Trouble at Hand”

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pp. 149-163

With the death of Peter Bader, John Baird and Scott Cooley had effectively completed their quest for revenge. Satisfied that justice had been meted out to those responsible for his brother’s murder, Baird began to withdraw from the feud. With him went the allies who had rallied to his cause. The Mason mob was broken, ...

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Chapter 12 “More Blood”

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pp. 164-180

After reaching Loyal Valley, Ringo and Cooley separated. Ringo returned to Long Mountain in Llano County where the Farris family hid him for some time. Cooley went on to Fredericksburg where he stopped to eat at the Nimitz Hotel. Accounts from this point differ. Gamel relates in his memoirs that Cooley was heading ...

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Chapter 13 “The Gladden Trial”

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pp. 181-193

As the mob’s attention turned to the Olneys and their family, they were aided, inadvertently or not, by the editor of the Burnet Bulletin. Dean Swift Ogle made little attempt at remaining impartial. Having the opportunity to sway public opinion, Ogle used it. From the beginning Ogle was a staunch supporter of families who ...

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Chapter 14 “A Thiefs Paradise”

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pp. 194-205

By 1877 the Llano mob remained the only organized force of the original factions. While a number of Baird’s allies remained in the area, he had long since departed. Cooley was dead. Both Gladden and Ringo had remained behind to salvage what they could of their property. Gladden had a wife and daughter in Mason ...

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Chapter 15 “Casting Out Devils”

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pp. 206-217

As the Reddings and Olneys fled Texas for the safety of New Mexico, the sheriff of Coleman County arrested some of their party. Details of the arrest are lacking, but the sheriff lodged them in the jail at Brownwood due to its greater security. It was a futile effort. On May 11, 1877, a number of men rode into Brownwood ...

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Chapter 16 “A Shocking and Lamentable Sequel”

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pp. 218-231

As 1877 drew to a close, those involved in the feud continued to make news. Caleb Hall, having liberated himself from the jail at Menard, was seen in Mason County in early September.1 A. G. Roberts, accused by Barler of starting the feud, was now serving as a deputy sheriff in Burnet County. In late September, he and ...

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Conclusion “A Bitter Cup of Suffering”

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pp. 232-239

In his biography of Texas Ranger Ira Aten, historian Harold Preece wrote of the feud, “Corpses had dangled from pecan trees. Men were called to their doors at night and gunned to death before their families. Ranchers and cowboys were butchered on rocky roads, then dumped like the carcasses of wild goats into mountain gulches ...

Appendix I The Factions

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pp. 240-241

Appendix II

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pp. 242-244

Appendix III

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pp. 245-249

Appendix IV

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pp. 250-251

Notes

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pp. 252-305

Selected Bibliography

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pp. 306-318

Index

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pp. 319-332