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CROCKETT WEEKLY COURIER - June 16, 1893

AN EXCITING CHASE

On Wednesday evening two young men arrived in our town from Leon County.  They were mounted on splendid horses and had a third horse with them.  They put up at Berry's hotel, and nothing in their conduct betrayed the fact of their being crooks.

On Thursday morning, one of them carried his horse to Bever's shop to have him shod.  When the shoeing was completed, the young man, who was evidently in no hurry, complained of it, and insisted on the work being done over.

In the meantime, Sheriff Robinson, and a deputy of Leon County arrived in pursuit of the men, they having committed a highway robbery in Leon on the evening before.  Hunting up Sheriff Daniels, they started to find the two men who had arrived the previous evening.

They ascertained that one of them had gone to the blacksmith shop, leaving the other two horses in the stable, one of them saddled and bridled.  When they got about 20 yards from Bever's shop, they saw the man they wanted and Sheriff Daniels called to him to stop.  He replied by brandishing his pistol, and running through the shop, scaled the high board fence behind it.  Running down to the branch, he struck the lane between Mrs. Dunwoody and Maria Janes, with Deputy Spence in hot pursuit.  Mr. Spence fired four shots at him as he went through the lane, but none of them took effect.

Sheriff Daniels mounted a horse, but lost 10 minutes before the brute would start at all.  Having emptied his own pistol, he borrowed another and started in hot pursuit of the fugitive, who in the meantime had run to the John Millar field and placed a wire fence between himself and his pursuers.

M. Leighty describes the race as viewed from the depot and certainly if ever a criminal deserved to escape, this one did.

The whole town in the meantime had heard the news and men started on horseback, in wagons, and afoot after the runaway.

When he tired, he would stop and fan himself with his hat, and when his pursuers got too close he would make another start.  He had wisdom enough not to waste his powder, wisely reserving that for close quarters, if it became necessary.  The fugitive kept on running until he reached the woods, when he chase was about over.

His partner was certainly an honorable man, in his fidelity to his pal.  He showed a generosity worthy of a better cause.  As soon as the crowd started after the first man, this one came quietly back to the stable and, mounting his horse, rode off with perfect nonchalance.  He took the direction his pal went in, instead of taking the opposite, as most men would have done.  And the laughable part of his business is the manner in which he hood-winked the men who were pursuing his partner.

He of course, whished to overtake his pal, and take him up on his horse, so that both could escape.  In order to find out which

way his pal was  going, he  made the  pursuers  believe  that he
was also in pursuit as an officer, and they innocently gave him the very information he desired.  He actually had the audacity to invite Sheriff Robinson's deputy, who is a mere lad, to accompany him through the woods in the pursuit.  Had the young man done so he would probably have had to surrender his horse at the point of a pistol, for this is just what the fellow wanted with him.  The coolness displayed by the second man and the honor he displayed in sticking to his pal have made many people rejoice at his escape.


THE FACTS:
Our account of the attempt to arrest the fugitive was incorrect in some respects.  The facts are about as follows:

Ben Tullis and Jernor Pearce came through Leon County from Limestone or Milam.  They shot at some peddlers in Leon, and then, it is said, robbed them.

The peddlers made complaint and a couple of deputies followed them to Crockett.

Sheriff Daniels undertook to arrest the one that was having his horse shod.  The man fled.  He was shot at by Sheriff Daniels three times near the blacksmith shop.  John Spence also emptied his pistol at him.

Two dozen or more took after the fugitive who got into LeGory's pasture.  Over there he was shot at some fifteen times, making in all, according to the most reliable accounts, some twenty odd shots that were fired at him.

He made his escape to the woods and down the railroad.  Just before day he called on Charley Brannen at Lovelady to hire a horse.  Brannen refused to let him have it, but gets up and wakes up John Wakefield who opened his saloon.

Tullis appeared at the saloon and called for a drink.  Wakefield handed out a decanter with his left hand and threw a pistol down on him with his right.  He was taken in this way.

He was brought up in the afternoon by Sheriff Daniels and lodged in jail.  The writer interviewed Tullis soon after he came in.  He said he was from Limestone County and had been farming there; that he and his pal who escaped were on their way to Sabine County; that he (Tullis) was 22 years old and a native of Glenville Parish, Louisiana; that his partner was only 18 years of age; that he (Tullis) had been in this county twice before; that he was acquainted with Dan Little and inquired where Dan lived; he said with all the shooting the crowd did he only heard two balls; that he didn't want to hurt any body and could have killed several of them; that he bought a ticket at Lovelady intending to take the train north, but concluded he would hire a horse and come back for the horses here.

One of the horses in the stable here is claimed by a man in Milam County and an exact description of the horse appeared in the News last week.  Sheriff Daniel has advertised both horses and the owner of the other will probably turn up soon.
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