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242 A key event of the Mason County War was what correspondent David Doole termed the “Big Raid” in a letter that was published in the San Antonio Herald of August 14, 1874. This is referred to in the response published in the Burnet Bulletin of September 5, 1874 by A. G. Roberts. Doole’s letter has not been located to date, but on August 29, 1874, the San Antonio Daily Express published the following article. From the existing references to Doole’s correspondence, the article appears to have been drawn, with some editorial changes, from that letter. Its significance is demonstrated by the fact that both newspapers considered it important enough to publish the lengthy correspondence. STOCK WAR! _____ Mason County Under Arms—A Promised Revenge and Partial Execution ____ [Correspondence Fredericksburg Sentinel] MASON, TEXAS, Aug. 18, 1874 On the ninth of August, 1874, John Clark, Sheriff of Mason county, with a posse of 18 men, went after a set of cow hands of Al. Roberts, who had made a raid into Mason county and driven off 200 head of cattle. Mr. Clark overtook the cow-raiders, eleven men, at Castell, Llano county, they having the 200 head in possession. When Mr. Clark inAppendix II 243 Appendix II formed them that he had come to arrest them they showed fight, but seeing the sheriff’s posse was too large for them, they gave up, and were brought back to Mason and lodged in jail. The cattle taken in charge by a part of the posse were penned at Mr. Bower’s [sic: Bauer’s]. During the night a party of the said Roberts commenced to shoot into the pen, and stampeded the cattle, thereby, as they thought, destroying the proof of their guilt. Thursday, August 13, 1874, two of the defendants were tried upon the charge of driving out of Mason 200 head of cattle without having them inspected. The evidence not sustaining the charges, they were discharged, and the time for trying the other nine was set for 9 o’clock Friday morning. Just as the court adjourned, there appeared a party of forty armed hands of the said Roberts from Llano and Burnet counties. John Baird, the leader, informed Wilson Hey, presiding justice of Mason county, trying the case, that they wanted to bail out the men in jail, and if they could not bail them out they intended to take them out. Judge Hey informed them that he would fix the bail at $5000 for the nine persons, and would be at the courthouse in half an hour and approve the bond if the sureties were worth the amount required. In the mean time Mr. Clark, the sheriff, rushed around summoning a posse, and by the time the court was opened, the sheriff had fifty well-armed men to see that the prisoners were not turned loose. Judge Hey proceeded to examine as to the sufficiency of the bond offered, which not appearing to his satisfaction, it was not approved, and the court adjourned until Friday morning at 9 o’clock. Friday morning [the news having spread like fire that A. Roberts had a mob from Llano county to take prisoners out of jail] there were 100 men armed with Winchester rifles, and were ready to make it hot for the cowraiders should they attempt to do anything; but seeing that the company meant business, they mounted their horses and left, and like brave men, killed cows and shot into the schoolhouse, on their way home. At 9 o’clock the defendants were brought into court for trial, Mr. Todd representing the State, and Mr. J. C. Mathews the defendant. Mr. Todd moved to dismiss as to three of the defendants for the purpose of making witnesses of them. The other parties announced themselves ready for the trial, and plead not guilty, and after a trial of six 244 Appendix II hours, the jury brought in a verdict of guilty of driving 100 head of cattle out of Mason county, and assessed a fine of $25 for each head, against all of the defendants, making the sum of $2500, whereupon Mr. Mathews moved for a new trial, which being over-ruled by the court took an appeal to the District Court. On Saturday the prisoners gave the required bond and were turned loose. Since then J. W. Gamel and Henry W. Morris have received threatening letters from Al. Roberts, saying if he did...


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