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232 conclusion “A Bitter Cup of Suffering” In his biography of Texas Ranger Ira Aten, historian Harold Preece wrote of the feud, “Corpses had dangled from pecan trees. Men were called to their doors at night and gunned to death before their families . Ranchers and cowboys were butchered on rocky roads, then dumped like the carcasses of wild goats into mountain gulches and creek bottoms.”1 Aten recalled that in 1884 the feud again threatened to erupt, this time in McCulloch County “right next door to Mason County—scarcely an omen of peace.”2 The Rangers hustled to the area, all too familiar with the passions that governed the Hill Country. Another upsurge in the feud was avoided, and in time the violent passions of the region began to cool. Age was overtaking the fighters, and death came for them all in time. Among the Germans charged with organizing the mob, Ernst Jordan was the first to die. Crippled for life from the gunshot wound to his leg, Jordan was unable to enjoy the active life that he once had. Descendants recalled that “our father had a bitter cup of suffering to drink the last sixteen years.”3 During 1891 Ernst Jordan developed a heart problem. For over a year he battled the disease before death claimed him on December 23, 1892. Ernst Jordan had provided for all of his children at the time of his death, and was considered one of the best citizens of Mason County. At the time of his death the Mason County News eulogized: 233 “A Bitter Cup of Suffering” Mr. Ernst Jordan, Sr. died on the 23rd day of December at his home 6 miles east of Mason, leaving a wife, 3 sons and 3 daughters. Mankind ever stands appalled before the impenetrable mystery of death. No voice has ever broken the sombre [sic] silence of the grave, but God in the wisdom of His Revelation has responded to the yearnings of the soul and faith gives us a vision of the “city not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” No man more truly realized these sentiments than Mr. Jordan, and the many christian [sic: Christian] virtues which were exemplified in his life gives assurance that he was ever ready.4 For Heinrich Hoerster death came on June 20, 1900. Like Jordan, he was considered one of the pioneers of Mason County. Heinrich Hoerster never forgot either the son or son-in-law that the feud cost him. Unlike the Jordans and Kothmanns, the Hoersters refused to discuss the past and never left memoirs concerning his role in the feud. The Kothmann brothers all lived into the twentieth century. Dietrich Kothmann was the first to die on August 14, 1914. Descendants recalled that he was “a strict disciplinarian, resorting to drastic measures when he deemed it necessary.”5 Little more than a year later, his brother Fritz followed him to the grave on September 1, 1915. Fritz Kothmann had dedicated his life to the accumulation of wealth and was known as a fine businessman.6 The feud left him with lasting scars. Following the reprisals of 1875 he was never again elected to the public offices that he had coveted in his youth. On his death the Mason County News reported simply: “Mr. H. F. Kothmann of Loyal Valley died at his home Wednesday, Sept. 1, at noon. The funeral will be held at his late home Friday afternoon at 3 o’clock.”7 A more fitting epitaph appearing in the next edition of the paper recalled that he “supported the church and God’s cause most liberally with his material wealth, ever ready to help those in need and all worthy objects.”8 Wilhelm Kothmann, the last of the brothers to die, went peacefully on April 19, 1935.9 To a man they died believing that they had done the right thing in the early 1870s. All of the families remain prominent in the community to this day. 234 Conclusion While the German mob members successfully lived down their violent past, Baird’s allies were not as fortunate. Some acquired reputations that would remain with them throughout their lives. The most famous of the feudists on either side was John Ringo. Following the dismissal of the charges against him in Mason County, Ringo remained in the area throughout 1878. During 1879 he left Texas for Arizona where enduring fame awaited him in connection with Wyatt Earp. Evidence suggests that Ringo...


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