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51 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, urged equal claims of being right, but would not submit their grievances to law.”1 This is not true. During 1874, both sides had submitted their grievances to the law. The law had failed them. In Mason County, nonresident cattlemen such as Jim Trainer were met with hostility. The German element controlled the law, as represented by John Clark, who did nothing to curb the cattle theft going on in the county by Mexican bandits, Indians, and Anglo outlaws. Likewise the law failed to protect the interests of nonresident cattlemen. A. G. Roberts had submitted his grievances to the Llano courts, and the resulting indictments and arrests served to intensify the animosities between the factions. Although Dan Roberts does not mention the events of 1874 that propelled the Hoo Doo War into open violence, he cannot have been unaware of them. Unlike Roberts and Thomas, both of whom were exonerated by a Mason County jury, John Clark remained on the Texas Ranger wanted lists until 1878 for the charges brought against him in Llano County.2 In his recollections of the feud, Roberts put the best light he could on both his role and that of his company. It was his first test in a feud situation, and both he and Company D would prove wanting. chapter 4 “The Fright Hangs Over Us” 52 Chapter 4 In Llano County the law moved against Clark’s posse as the indictments were served. Both Frederick Schmidt and Christian Oestreich were arrested, and it seems likely that the law aggressively hunted the others. Christian Oestreich had been arrested on December 2, 1874. The sheriff was also actively hunting Sheriff Clark whom he could not locate.3 It appears probable that the balance of the posse had already been charged in Llano County and made bond or were evading the sheriff. Clark remained on the dodge, and as late as August 1875 attorney Henry M. Holmes would write: “His statement that the Sheriff was out of town 10 or 15 miles is true, and generally is, as his usefulness has lately been sadly interfered with by a visit from the Sheriff of Llano who wants him for over zealously discharging his duty, his friends say, the indictments call it ‘Robbery and False Imprisonment.’”4 Using the court system and the law, A. G. Roberts had fought back effectively against Clark. Clark’s actions had backfired, and the posse now viewed the possibility of hefty fines or prison terms on their collective horizons. Moreover, cattle were still being raided and nonresident stockmen were still operating in the county. Clark’s big arrest had done nothing to resolve the problems. In February 12, 1875, Clark arrested nine men and a boy. While one modern writer describes the leaders as the “notorious Backus [sic] brothers,” evidence indicates that they were neither notorious nor brothers.5 Elijah Baccus was born c. 1850, apparently in Lamar County, Texas, to Joseph and Lucinda Brown Baccus. While records of his early life are scarce, by 1860 he and an older brother, Charles, were living with an uncle, Thomas Baccus, in Collin County.6 The reason for their relocation is unclear, but it may have been due to the death of their mother. Their father Joseph married Rachel Cook on March 1, 1866, in Denton County, Texas.7 Elijah Baccus has not been located on the 1870 federal census. Sometime prior to 1875 he married Josie Bigelow. L. P. “Pete” Baccus was born c. 1856, apparently in Collin County, Texas, to Benjamin Baccus, a cousin of Joseph Baccus, and his wife Roxanne Stovall.8 By 1870 the Benjamin Baccus family had moved to Denton County.9 By 1874 both of the Baccuses had left north Texas. Although the exact time period has not been determined, local sources state that they and a number of other residents had fled the area due to the 53 “The Fright Hangs Over Us” Lee-Peacock feud. Elijah’s aunt, Louisa Baccus, was married to Henry Boren, an ardent supporter of Peacock.10 The men left the region to avoid being drawn into the conflict.11 According to Tom Gamel, the people arrested consisted of...


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