Written in Blood
The History of Fort Worth's Fallen Lawmen, Volume 1, 1861-1909
Publication Year: 2010
Published by: University of North Texas Press
Title Page, Copyright Page
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So many people to thank, so few words in which to do it! There's a rule of thumb in history: the bigger the book and the more footnotes, the more people there are to thank. That includes colleagues, collectors, librarians, archivists...
Introduction to Volume I
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The lawman is a mythic figure in Western history distinguished from mere mortals by the badge on his chest. It was that badge, not the gun he carried, that separated him from other men. Most men carried guns; few were defenders of law and order. The symbolic importance of the badge...
Part I. The Frontier Years (1861-1888) and Introduction
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Before the first cattle drive came through, before there was even a town worthy of the name, Fort Worth marked the frontier where civilization ended and "the West began." There was a community around the fort as early as 1853, but law and order was slow in coming. For the next twenty years...
CHAPTER 1 Sheriff John B. York (1861-1888)
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Tarrant County's first sheriff was Francis Jourdan (sometimes Anglicized to "Jordan"), elected in the first countywide elections on August 5, 1850. Since the little community of Fort Worth would not get its first town marshal...
CHAPTER 2 Deputy Marshal Christopher Columbus Fitzgerald (August 25, 1877)
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The second local peace officer to die in the line of duty was Christopher Columbus Fitzgerald, mostly remembered as C. C. Fitzgerald, who joined the little community on the Trinity after it was incorporated as a city in 1873. Far removed from...
CHAPTER 3 Deputy Marshal George White (August 2, 1879)
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When is a police officer justified in using "deadly force"? Today that question is a weighty legal and ethical issue. In nineteenth-century Texas the answer was simple: an officer's decision to draw his weapon was circumscribed only by his own good judgment. There are always two sides to every question, and this one is no different...
CHAPTER 4 Deputy Marshal William T. Wise (October 2, 1884)
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Five years passed before another local officer died in the line of duty. Once again the case involved a question of jurisdiction: What business does a Fort Worth deputy marshal have joining a Mississippi manhunt? That deputy marshal was William...
CHAPTER 5 Deputy Sheriff Dick Townsend (April 3, 1886)
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April 3, 1886, was the single bloodiest day in Fort Worth law enforcement history. Three officers were shot down, one of whom died. The injuries of the others certainly shortened their lives. The fact that the "enemy" was the Knights of...
Part II. Black and White Justice (1889–1909) and Introduction
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The report of the Kerner Commission investigating racial violence in America in the 1960s pointed the finger at the nation's police as one of the main causes of that violence. If the Kerner Commission had been transported back to Fort Worth at the turn of the century, they would have found race to...
CHAPTER 6 Police Officer Lee Waller (June 30, 1892)
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Lee Waller was a typical nineteenth-century Western lawman: a farm boy who did not care that much about the law but did want something better out of life than being a dirt farmer. He took a round-about route to police work...
CHAPTER 7 Police Officer Andrew J. Grimes (May 12, 1902)
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The day after Lee Waller was shot, while he was still fighting for his life, another Fort Worth Officer, J. J. Garrett, told a Gazette reporter, "About the only thing going on in the criminal world is killing policemen." It certainly...
CHAPTER 8 Special Officer John D. Nichols, Jr. (December 22, 1906)
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Not every officer who died in the line of duty was a regular officer. Special police and special deputies were also duly commissioned lawmen who laid their lives on the line to defend law and order. John Nichols was the first "special officer" in Fort Worth history to die in the line of duty...
CHAPTER 9 Police Officer Hamil Scott & County Attorney Jefferson McLean (March 22, 1907)
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After the death of John Nichols, public indignation over the Acre reached new heights. It was a blight on the city and the site of at least two dozen murders over the years. The gamblers seemed the particular objects of the public"s fury. The man who was the instrument of that fury was...
CHAPTER 10 Police Officers Dick Howell & Oscar Montgomery (April 11, 1908)
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The deaths of most of the officers in these pages were the direct result of being assaulted in the performance of their duties. It is not that simple with Dick Howell and Oscar Montgomery. Both men were severely wounded in the line of duty and in fact given up to death, but they were too tough...
CHAPTER 11 Police Officer William Addison Campbell (August 12, 1909)
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Not until 1908 did the Fort Worth Police Department finally get around to drawing up a list of qualifications for men seeking to join the force. With the sweep of a pen, a new era had dawned. Henceforward, all would-be policemen must be between the ages of 25 and 45, able to read and...
Conclusion: The End of the Trail
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By 1909 the Progressive era was running at full tide. Reformers angling for a thorough house-cleaning of American society did not overlook law enforcement. There was a new emphasis on professional standards, on modernizing...
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Page Count: 384
Illustrations: 51 b&w illus.
Publication Year: 2010