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181 chapter 13 “The Gladden Trial” 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 had ties to the mob, such as the Rountrees. When John J. Strickland, sheriff of Burnet County, appointed another brother-in-law James Martin as deputy to replace his brother, the Bulletin reported: “Mr. James Martin, brother of the deceased S. B. Martin, will take the place of his brother as Deputy Sheriff. He is a quiet man, sober and discreet, but is cool and brave, which is a characteristic of the family.”1 Martin may have been an excellent choice, but the appointment can hardly have been viewed with any degree of warmth by Olney supporters. Also on Strickland’s payroll was Joseph T. Bozarth, John J. Bozarth’s brother. The Bozarth brothers had served under L. H. McNelly in the State Police during 1872 but were dismissed with three other state policemen during August of that year.2 His presence should have insured that J. J. Bozarth and Strickland worked closely together. It did not. Evidence of this was provided on September 13 when he arrested Sheriff John Bozarth in Burnet. Mr. John Bozart[h] was arrested Wednesday for carrying a six-shooter by Sheriff J. J. Strickland. A bond of one hundred dollars was given by Mr. Bozart[h] for 182 Chapter 13 his appearance next term of court. He was on his way to Llano county, and, having been told that his life was threatened, he belted on a pistol for self protection . He is confident that he will come clean, so he says.3 Residents of Burnet County were well aware that the feud threatened to expand into their community. The Bulletin reported under a column called “Every-Day Locals” that on September 9, Town livelier than it has been for many days. . . . We were called upon by many of the old and substantial citizens of our county. They all express deep regret that a tragedy should have occurred like the one recorded in our last issue, and hope the friends of Martin and Rowntree will act with prudence and judgment , and only seek to aid the law in its vindication of justice.4 Martin died on September 11, 1876, at around four o’clock in the afternoon. The Bulletin published a memorial to him on September 15 noting the death of their “young and much beloved friend.” Martin’s funeral was well attended and at the time was the largest funeral that had ever taken place in Burnet. Ogle’s partiality became more evident with the publication of another letter dealing with the killing on September 22. In what appears to have been a blatant attempt to rally Burnet citizens to form a mob, a correspondent signing himself F. S. angrily replied to the letter supporting Joe Olney’s actions. TOO THIN! TOO THIN! _____ What is it that is too thin? That letter from Olney’s relative. He gives “another version,” he says, as gathered from Olney himself. Olney himself! Ah! Indeed! He seems to regard the first version as a smattering of facts gathered from flying reports, and not to be cred- 183 “The Gladden Trial” ited at all. Mr. Editor, let us examine the two versions, and see which is stamped with the most credibility. In the examination of all cases, the character of the witnesses has great bearing. The first version of this tragedy has for its authors W. B. Rountree and S. B. Martin, young men of good standing and well known integrity. The other version has for its author Joe Olney—an outlaw. 1st, Olney states that Martin shot first; this is untrue according to Martin and Rountree. 2d, he says Martin fell from his horse; this is false according to Martin and Rountree. Again we don’t believe Mr. Martin used the oaths which Olney said he did, as he was a strict member of the Baptist church, and not in the habit of swearing. And again, he says Martin and Rountree were perfect strangers to him. This is too thin; outlaws generally know the officers— besides, Olney has betrayed himself in this by saying that Martin received two wounds and Rountree one. If...


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