Grayson County TXGenWeb
The Death of Charles Bigbee - Bigby

Charles Bigbee(Bigby) is buried in his family cemetery, He was 18rs old and died 16 Aug 1889. He was the son of Henry & Mary O'Dell Bigby (Bigbee).

Article from Denison, Texas newspaper 'Sunday Gazetteer', dated 1 September 1889:

The Fatal Six-Shooter
Deputy Marshal Hackney Shoots and Instantly Kills Charles Bigbee While in the Discharge of his Duty 
     A tragedy unusually sad in its results and attendant circumstances occurred in this city Monday night about 10:30 o'clock.  About this hour four young men named George Shackleford, William Bryant, William Blagg, and Charley Bigbee, residing east of the city, rode into town at an unusual and unlawful rate of speed and thus attracted the attention of the police.  They entered the city through the Crawford street tunnel and making their way to Main street by Austin avenue drove up as far as Dollarhide's gun store and one of them, George Shackleford, dismounted, went inside and asked for some cartridges.  It seems he could not get the kind he wanted, and remounting he rode rapidly, accompanied by the others, down to the Texas Barrel House.  Here, Shackleford, Bigbee and Bryant dismounted, leaving Bigbee in charge of the horses, and entering the saloon asked for a quart of whiskey.  While they were trading with the clerk in the saloon Marshal James and officers Hackney and Lawrence appeared outside and put Blagg under arrest.  Then James and Lawrence went inside leaving Hackney in the street with the  prisoner and the horses.  ?Boys, consider yourselves under arrest,? said the marshal, addressing the three men at the counter.  They turned and one of them threw his hand back as if to pull a pistol.  Lawrence threw his gun down on him as he put up his hands.  The other two made a break for the door and ran into the arms of the marshal.  One of them (Bigbee) broke loose and ran for his horse but the  marshal clung to the other and went rolling and scuffling across the sidewalk into the street.  Bigbee sprang upon his horse (which Hackney was holding along with two more by the bridle) and tried to spur it to break loose.  At this juncture Hackney states, he (Bigbee) drew a large pistol and threw it down on James, who was struggling with Bryant a few feet distance, and to save the life of a brother officer he raised his own pistol and fired.  Bigbee instantly fell from his horse and died in a few minutes, the ball from Hackney's pistol having entered his brain.  James' assailant was overpowered and the three prisoners were marched off to jail.  While the corpse of the unfortunate  young Bigbee was taken to the undertaker to be prepared for burial.
     At the coroner's inquest, which took place before Corosor J.N. Cook Tuesday, the evidence, in so far as it bore upon the justification of the officer in shooting as he did, was contradictory.  Haney and James testified positively to the young man drawing and pointing a pistol at the latter, while Blagg, who sat upon horse in full view of the melee, swore quite as positively that he never had a pistol in his hand at any time.  In apparent confirmation of his statement is the fact that no pistol was found upon the ground near the scene of the tragedy, though the official claim that one was picked up by a man named Henry Bowie but who at this writing has not been found.  A small pistol was found in the hip pocket of the deceased but it was not loaded and no one claims that he could have put it back there after being shot.  The tragedy has provoked a great deal of conflicting comments.  No one seems to think that Hackney knew Bigbee had no gun in his hand.  Most people agree that the officer thought he had a pistol in his hand but that in the excitement and uncertain light he was mistaken.  A few declare that, acting as he did upon a mere impression, it was an unwarrantable rashness; others urged that inasmuch as he could have nothing but his senses to guide him, and the moment was a critical one he was perfectly justifiable, while still another few believe that the man actually had a pistol as stated by the officers, and that it was a mere question of which life should be sacrificed, that of James or the unfortunate young man.  Concerning the latter, the Gazetteer has failed to hear anything but favorable reports.  He was 19 years of age and though occasionally given to having a little fun, as it is the nature of boys of  any spirit to be, he is generally commended for his excellent qualities of mind and heart.  His tragic death is a sad blow to his parents and friends who have the sincere sympathy of the entire community.  His remains were interred Wednesday in the country church yard east of the city near his parents' residence.  Mr. Hackney was put under a bond of 500 dollars to await an investigation by the grand jury.
     Later ? Mr. C. H. Scholl, editor of the Evening Dispatch, states that in company with Charlie Dickenson he was coming down Main street, when at the Austin avenue corner a quick word of command given by an officer drew his attention to what was going on in front of the Barrel House.  He saw a man run out of  the saloon and jump upon a horse, heard Hackney cry, ?Look out, Ed,? and distinctly heard two pistol shots, the one following the other so closely as to almost be covered up by the first.  He ran to the scene of the difficulty and found a man lying upon the ground, and, wishing to see how badly he was hurt he bent over him.  As he did so he saw distinctly in the light of the electric lamp a pistol lying upon the ground several feet from the body.  Later he visited the dead man's friends in jail and one of them admitted to him that Bigbee had been armed with two pistols.  The next morning he went to Dallas which accounts for his evidence not being taken at the coroner's inquest.  This is the substance of  Mr. Scholl's statement and should put a very different aspect upon the case.  If Bigbee actually had a pistol in his hand at the time Hackney's shot was fired there can be no blame whatever attaching to the action of that officer. 

(Ted's note: Shackleford, Blagg and Bigbee are cousins.  George Shackleford is the son of  Phoebe Bigbee who married William Shackleford, William Blagg is the son of Susan Bigbee who married Joseph Blagg and Charles Bigbee is the son of  Henry Clay Bigbee and Mary O'Dell.  They are also my cousins since my gr-gr-grandparents were Susan Bigbee and Joseph Blagg.)


Sherman Siftings, Dallas Morning News, 27 Sep 1889 page 6
The Judge After the Jury....
Sherman, Tex, Sep 26- It having appeared in Denison papers that the grand jury had indicted Henry Hockney for the murder of young Bigbee, the district judge called the grand jury in this morning, and after reading what the Denison Herald said, turned to the grand jury and in substance said: "Gentlemen, this item may be based upon reliable information or it may be just based upon rumor and given as facts. you as members of the jury, know whether the statement of the paper is correct or not. I do not. If it is true it would be well to see who it is that is divulging secrets which you alone or possibly me or two officers have a right to know, and I hereby instruct you to investigate this matter closely and locate the man who has divulged a matter which should be held in secrecy until the proper time for publicity, that is if the statement of the paper is correct.:"
The grand jury retired to their room. Further than that the reporter does not have 'reliable information'.
The matter has created some comment, and especially in newspaper circles in both the cities of Sherman and Denison.

Dallas Morning News, 21 Nov 1889 page 1
Sherman, Tex., Nov 20-The case of the state vs Henry Hockney, charged with the murder of Charles Bigbee, is on trial in the district court at this hour. The theory of the prosecution is that the defendant unwarrantedly shot the deceased, and that he was not forced to do so in the discharge of his duty as a peace officer. The witnesses  for the defence state that the deceased had a pistol drawn at the time he, Hockney, fired the shot.

Dallas Morning News - Sherman, Shavings, 23 Nov 1889 page 2
The Hackney-Bigbee Killing Case Near to Close... Sherman, Tex., Nov 22.-...Argument pro and con in the case of the state of Texas vs. Henry Hackney, charged with the murder of Charles Bigbee in Denison in August last, was finished about noon to-day. The state summed its case up in about this light; A crowd of county boys rode into Denison and in doing so rode by some officers who formed an idea that they should be arrested on the charge of fast riding, of which the state alleges they were not guilty. The officers followed, and in endeavoring to make an arrest met with some resistance, which put the officers in a bad humor, and when (Charles) Bigbee mounted his horse to get away (Henry) Hackney shot him for no other ground than that Bigbee's animal moved upon him. In substantiation of this they quote the words of a witness who testified that after the killing Hackney said he had killed Bigbee because he had tried to ride over him. The state denies on that the deceased had a pistol drawn on Marshal James at the time he, Hackney fired the fatal shot.
The defence takes the position that the crown who came to Denison started out to a dance and on the way became intoxicated, or at least under the influence of wine, and they armed themselves with pistols. Subsequently they came to Denison to have a whiz, and one of the first things they did was try to buy cartridges. it is further claimed by the defence they rode into town at a very rapid rate that being against a city law of Denison. The officers followed them to a saloon and attempted to put them under arrest when they resisted. Officer Hackney was on the outside holding the horses when he saw the stuggle going on on the sidewalk, and that when he saw Bigbee dashing out of the saloon he called for help. 
Bigbee mounted his horse and proceeded to present a pistol, as if to shoot Marshal James, who was struggling with Bryant on the sidewalk. Hackney called on him to hold but he still seemed determined to shoot James, and Hackney, to save James' life, fired the fatal shot. The charge consumed fully a half hour in being read to the jury. The charge dwelt upon the right of one officer to protect the life of another in making an arrest and said the jury must look at it as it reasonably appeared to the defendant. The charge also called attention to the penalty for the failure of an officer to make an arrest of a person for carrying a deadly weapon.
At 5 pm the jury reported thay could not agree, but were sent back.

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