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64 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 The man killed in late February was William Wages. Like many others involved in the feud, little is known of Wages’ background. In late 1874 he had been charged with killing cattle in Mason County. Ironically, Wages was defended by George W. Todd, who only weeks previously had prosecuted A. G. Roberts and his men. He was convicted and fined twenty dollars, twice the amount of the cows’ value.2 Beyond this, virtually nothing is known of the man. What criteria Roberts used for determining who was a “good man” is unknown, but from the existing correspondence Roberts appears to have given tacit support to the mob during his involvement in the feud. An eyewitness to the lynching, Roberts made no move to investigate the incident or arrest any of the mob. There is also an ominous silence in the official reports filed by Lieutenant Roberts during this time regarding both the Baccus lynching and the killing of Allen Bolt. Nor was any attempt made to learn the identity of Wages’ killers other than the passing reference to the mob. It was a severe error in judgment bordering on dereliction of duty. Had Roberts acted decisively at that time much of the violence that followed might have been avoided. He did not. chapter 5 “Another Horrible Murder” 65 “Another Horrible Murder” In his memoirs, Roberts provides little indication of his thinking at this time. The lone exception was during the hearing for Charley Johnson, where he recalled “we were glad he did not tell any more than he did, as it might frustrate our plans of catching them.” What Roberts’ plans were remain unknown. None ever evolved, and there is no evidence to show that such plans ever existed. No one was ever charged for these mob killings. Writing nearly forty years after the events, Roberts may well have been second guessing what he should have done, attempting, perhaps, to put the best light on his activities at the time. His memoirs provide no clue. Possibly he believed that Clark and the local authorities would handle the investigation. However, it appears equally possible that he was predisposed to favor the Germans. His father, Alexander “Buck” Roberts, had left Texas rather than fight for the Confederacy during the war. If Roberts believed that the Germans were the victims during the feud and were supporting the law in the form of John Clark, he may have been prone to accept their version of events. Whatever the case, no action was taken by the Rangers. The mob can only have interpreted this as approval of their actions. But if the Rangers posed no problem for the Hoo Doos, Tom Turley remained a loose end. Turley had survived the attempted lynching and remained in the dubious security of the Mason jail. Wages was scarcely cold in his grave when Lucia Holmes reported a rumor of mob activity in her diary on March 6: “Feel anxious and worried tonight about rumor of a gang of forty men coming up here to take out the prisoners. Hal loaded all his arms.”4 Turley must have been particularly worried, and the following day he and another prisoner escaped from the jail. There were no guards to stop them as they made their daylight break, a point obvious from Mrs. Holmes next entry, “Tom Gurley [sic] and Caleb Hall escaped out of jail this afternoon by digging through the partition into next cell.”5 This was the last the feud saw of Tom Turley. How Caleb “Kale” Hall, trusted posseman less than a month previous, came to be in jail is a mystery. Considering the lax security of the jail, Clark’s role as an officer again comes into question. Hall and Turley’s escape from jail poses unanswered questions. Why was the jail left unguarded when Clark was aware that the mob might attempt another lynching? Was Hall put in the jail simply to assist Turley’s escape? No serious at- 66 Chapter 5 tempt was made by Clark to recapture either man, despite the fact that they escaped during the daylight hours. One plausible theory is that the mob had...


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