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Chapter 8. “The mob has been operating some”

David Johnson University Of North Texas Press ePub

CHAPTER

8

“The mob has been operating some”

THE YEAR 1875 began deceptively calm. Lieutenant Dan Roberts of Ranger Company D wrote his commander Major John B. Jones, “Nothing having transpired of much interest since my report of the 1st.”1 The year might have seemed equally uneventful for John Ringo despite the charges of disturbing the peace that he faced in Burnet. They were hardly serious, and Ringo was undoubtedly busy gathering cattle for the upcoming drives to Kansas.2

On February 12, 1875, once again Clark crossed a county line and arrested cattlemen where he had no authority. He arrested Elijah and Pete Baccus and eight others on Brady Creek in McCulloch County. Among those arrested were Abe Wiggins, Tom Turley, and Charley Johnson. All were charged with illegally driving a herd of cattle beyond the county line without having had them inspected, not with theft of cattle. Mindful of his blunder of the previous year when he drove the cattle across a county line without inspection, Clark committed a yet worse one, abandoning the herd without leaving anyone to preserve the integrity of the evidence. Clark lodged his prisoners in the Mason jail on February 13 to await a preliminary hearing.3 All of them made bond and were released. Four immediately left town. The rest remained and were promptly arrested a second time.

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Chapter 8: “A Most Horrible State of Affairs”

David Johnson University of North Texas Press PDF

chapter 8

“A Most Horrible State of Affairs”

Holmes’ contention that Moses Baird was “a man of large connexions [sic]” was an understatement.1 This succinct phrase underscores the next phase of the feud as it escalated out of control. Baird was very popular in both Burnet and Llano Counties, and the brothers were connected by marriage, friendship, and business to a number of large families in the area who in turn had ties to others. These alliances provided a small army of fighting men, many of whom would have sought vengeance even had John Baird not. Prior to this, the feud had been a private vendetta, but it had now escalated into a full scale war. The opportunities for peace were gone.

The Baird family originated in Ireland, their grandfather William

Baird having settled in Missouri. One of his sons, Hartshorn, married “Arminty Eten” there on August 11, 1846.2 Census data indicates that Hartshorn “Beard” [sic: Baird], age twenty-eight was born in Missouri. Living in the household were his wife, Areminthy, age twenty-four, born in Tennessee, and two sons: John R., age three and Moses B., age one. Both of the brothers are noted as born in

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Chapter 1. “A Hamlet among outlaws”

David Johnson University Of North Texas Press ePub

CHAPTER

1

“A Hamlet among outlaws”

IN THE YEARS FOLLOWING HIS DEATH, John Ringo has fascinated readers. Ringo’s legend “began to slowly sprout and take root” only four days after his death.1 The seeds of that legend were sown in Texas’ bitter Hoo Doo War. At the time he was no different from dozens of other men engaged in the conflict, each with his own story. Yet unlike most of them, Ringo was destined to become a legend.

Walter Noble Burns can be credited with almost single-handedly popularizing John Ringo. From his pen emerged a tarnished knight errant who rode out of nowhere and died mysteriously. In 1927 Burns wrote, “John Ringo stalks through the stories of old Tombstone days like a Hamlet among outlaws, an introspective, tragic figure darkly handsome, splendidly brave, a man born for better things, who, having thrown his life recklessly away, drowned his memories in cards and drink and drifted without definite purpose or destination.”2 With that single, emotional sentence, Burns set the stage for the romantic myth of John Ringo.

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Conclusion: “A Bitter Cup of Suffering”

David Johnson University of North Texas Press PDF

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.

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Appendix IV

David Johnson University of North Texas Press PDF

Appendix IV

The following list was developed by Glenn Hadeler based upon the assumption that men who band together have other affiliations in common. The list presents a scientific approach to determining some of the mob members during the Hoo Doo War but should not be interpreted as a definitive fact. It was first presented at the Second

Hoo Doo War Symposium held at Mason, Texas, during 2003.

Llano

Leather Jackets

Methodist

Church

August 1874

Clark Posse

Carl Bader

Mathew Bast

Jacob Bauer

Wilhelm Bickenbach

Peter Bickenbach

Fred Brandenberger

Otto Donop

Mathew Bast

Jacob Bauer

Wilhelm Bickenbach

Peter Bickenbach

Fred Brandenberger

Otto Donop

Jacob Durst

George Durst

Jacob Durst

Heinrich Hasse

Frederick Hoerster

William Hoerster

Ernst Jordan

Dietrich Kothmann

Fritz Kothmann

William Kothmann

Carl Lehmberg

Germans Mentioned

In the Hoo Doo War

Carl Bader

Peter Bader

Bernard Durst

Heinrich Hasse

Frederick Hoerster

William Hoerster

Daniel Hoerster

Ernst Jordan

Peter Jordan

Dietrich Kothmann

Fritz Kothmann

William Kothmann

Carl Lehmberg

250

Henry Doell

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