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194 chapter 14 “A Thiefs Paradise” 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 but was unable to get them away from the area before he was captured and imprisoned . Ringo had three younger sisters to support in California, and abandoning the Hill Country meant starting over. Their determination had cost them their freedom. Only Joe Olney remained at large, and the frustration of the mob was echoed by the Burnet Bulletin: “Several unsuccessful attempts have been made lately to catch Joe Olney, who has been hanging around his father’s in this county. The supposition now is that he has left the country.”1 The Rangers remained in Llano County, and on January 8, Henry Hoy, charged with theft of cattle, was arrested by Private Maltimore and five other Rangers.2 To this point the Hoy family had been only peripherally involved in the feud. John Kelly was killed in 1875 while attempting to reach safety at the Hoy household. Hoy’s arrest was followed by the burning of the Mason courthouse by arsonists on January 21. One paper reported that Mr. Nimitz, of Fredericksburg, brings the news that the court house at Mason was burned on last Sunday night. It is due to the better class of citizens of that 195 “A Thiefs Paradise” county to say that they have recently made a noble effort to redeem themselves from the rule of bloody cut throats, who have so long tyrannized over them with a perfect reign of terror. At the last term of the District Court of Mason county, the Grand Jury, encouraged by the resolute and strict charges of Judge Blackburn, and assisted by the excellent new Jury law, have indicted for every violation of the law in that county, including the series of murders that have been committed during the past two years. This is doubtless the cause of the burning of the court house, but we learn that there has been no destruction of the criminal records, as they were kept by the Clerk in another house.3 Writing from Llano, J. W. Davis also noted that Mason’s courthouse had burned, but made no mention of arson. The postscript for his January 22 letter states simply, “Have just heard the Court House and records of Mason County were burnt last night.”4 The identities of the arsonists have never been determined. There were a number of men on both sides of the feud who would have bene fited from the crime, and it appears probable that the courthouse was burned to eliminate records pertaining to the feud. However, Baird’s allies gained no benefit from the courthouse’s destruction. While the original indictments were lost for their cases, others were substituted, including indictments for Ringo, Baird, and A. G. Roberts. No indictments were substituted for any mob member. Contrary to Miles Barler’s claims, Ranger records for the month of January indicate that cattle thieves continued to find Llano County hospitable to their operations. In addition to Hoy’s arrest, Sheriff Bozarth requested assistance from the Rangers to arrest Green Ferguson and James Martin, both charged with cattle theft.5 Another former mob member was back in the news during February. In a letter from Brackett, Texas, a correspondent signing himself Wanderer reported that unknown parties had made off with the cattle of James Gordon and Celeste Pingenot. A posse pursued them, overtaking the raiders on February 5. The three thieves made a run for cover, but one of them, Frank Enoch, was captured. Enoch 196 Chapter 14 was the same Enox whom the Rangers had hoped to capture months earlier. While the stolen property, some ninety-five cattle and eight head of horses, were being driven back to their range, Enoch made an attempt to escape. He was shot in the leg, the bullet passing through his right thigh and coming out the lower part of his abdomen. Enoch died a little after midnight on February 7. Enoch’s testimony while under arrest indicated that Caleb Hall and a man identified only as Brunsen were the others involved in the crime. A fourth man, Sam Evans, was arrested on February 7 as an...


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