TEXARKANA
HISTORICAL ITEMS

BOWIE COUNTY, TX / MILLER COUNTY, AR

Some items were extracted from the Texarkana Papers that are on microfilm at the College Library.  Some are submitted from their files.  
When you see East Texarkana that is Miller County.
When you see West Texarkana that is Bowie County.

 

1865

TEXARKANA GAZETTE

  Sunday 26 Sept. 1948

 MURDER AND LOVE TRIANGLE POSED SERIOUS PROBLEM FOR
    RESIDENTS OF DALBY SPRINGS IN DAYS OF RECONSTRUCTION DURING 1865

             Reconstruction in the South after the Civil War was a tedious matter, and life- and death- would not wait for the new  government and new  laws to be instituted.  The people of this area were under the rule of a military government which was struggling to deal with the freed Blacks, regulate the  migration of burned out Southern farmers to the new lands to the west, and keep the burning embers of North-South hatred from bursting      again into flame. In such a setting as this a love triangle and murder could be a serious problem.
             A man was found murdered at Dalby Springs in 1865, and his wife's lover was suspected.  Bowie county had no legally instituted courts  or authorities to take charge of the case in the interest justice.  Residents of the community, however, had a great respect for justice and  would not permit themselves to dispose of the case without court action.  The suspect was taken into custody by a group of citizens, and then a letter was dispatched to the, district military judge, the Honorable B. W. Gray of Mt. Pleasant, who was requested to come to Dalby Springs to hold a trial.  Records of the case do not reflect the reason, but the Hon.  Mr. Gray did not make the trip, despite the fact that the letter sent him was lent great importance by an attached note written by A. H. Latimer, one of the signers of the Texas Declaration of Independence and a member of the Congress of the Republic of Texas who was staying at Dalby Springs at the time.     In the note, Latimer said that he was staying temporarily at Dalby Springs and that he knew the information contained in a letter to Judge Gray describing the case to be true.  (Latimer, who was practicing law in Clarksville, Texas, 1833, has many descendants still living in Clarksville and Red River county).  The letter referred to by Latimer was dated July 16, 1865, and was signed by W. K. Dalby, W. E. Estes, G. D. Dalby, B. S. Greenhaw, and others.  It follows:
             Dear Sir:
             An unprovoked and cold blooded murder was committed near this place on Thursday last.  The victim, a quiet inoffensive man was decoyed from his home and after being most barbarously assassinated was secreted in the woods and his remains were found yesterday in a state too horrible to describe.
             We have under arrest the man who was last seen with the deceased, near the place where the murder was committed, the accused being armed with a double barrel gun and the deceased unarmed.
             " The voluntary confession of the wife of the deceased establishes her guilt as accessory to the murder for she has known that the deed  was contemplation for a long time and relates the manner it was committed.
             " We will not attempt to give you evan a summary for the evidence in this case but will only say that the evidence is clear and conclusive against both, the woman and her paramour.
             " We are informed that you occupy a position giving you jurisdiction over such cases, and this is to ask you that if possible you come over and examine into it.  As the witnesses are here, this would be the most convenient way especially if you are authorized to preside at summary trials.
             " The citizens are law abiding men, do not wish to resort to mob law, but we feel called on to act promptly in the premises, if the law will  not apply to the case.
             " We have no jail and no officers and under the circumstances a removal of the accused parties amounts to an acquittal.
             " We respectfully refer you to the bearer for any additional particulars you may desire."
             Other documents relate how the citizens handled the matter after the military judge failed to appear.
             On July 18, 1865, 60 citizens of Bowie and surrounding counties met and wrote, " We have only one recourse and feel that our lives, our property, and the safety of all those looking to us for protection demand our speedy action in the premises.  We will proceed to the trial of the accused according to the law and evidence, not admitting any evidence for or against the accused that would be excluded at a trial before a regular court ".
             Warren K. Dalby was required to act as chairman and William E. Estes was required to act as secretary and Luke C. Powell was required to detail a guard and take charge of the prisoners.  A. H. Latimer was appointed to act as asstant chairman and they proceeded with the trial.
             The prisoner was introduced and a jury of 12 men of lawful age selected.  The records read " J. M. McCowen, Harvey Daughterty, J6s.   Easton, William Hall, T. P.Curbow, J. J. McClusky,      W. H. Harrison, S.R. Proctor, K. H. Willowford, R. P. Lumpkin, Joe Hudgins and W. S. Proctor were duty empaneled."
             The prisoner was informed that he was charged with murder to which he pleaded not guilty.
             W. E. Estes was appointed to act as attorney for the accused and G. D. Dalby was appointed secretary to fill the vacancy.
             Witnesses were F. M. Fulgham, Captain James Clark, R. S. Greenhaw, D. B. Burks, J. Thomas, William Greenhaw, L. C. Powell, Thomas Treen, James Phillips, J. L. Criner.
             The witnesses testified they saw 11 the slain man and the accused riding off into the woods on their horses and saw a gun on the accused."
             They said thev had seen the accused and slain man's wife together on many occasions.
             The case was submitted to the jury who gave a verdict, " Guilty of murder in the first degree."
             The convicted man " was ordered to be kept -in close confinement until the next day when he was to be hung by the neck until he was  dead." Soon after the trial and conviction , a pine coffin was made by some members of the citizeh's court and the coffin was placed in a two horse wagon and driven by a Black named Ferry.  The convicted man was made to get into the wagon and they were driven to the spot where the murdered man's body was found.  The wagon was followed by the group of citizens and the convicted man was blind folded and hung on a tree.  He was, then buried in a grave which had been dug under the tree.
             The wife of the murdered man had been kept tied to a bed post since the discovery of the murder.  After the trial, she was set free and according to documents, " she left Dalby Springs and was never heard from again."
             W. K. Dalby, who acted as judge at this trial, was the father of Judge N. L. Dalby, who now presides over 102 nd district court in Bowie  County.
             G. D. Dalby, who was secretary of the citizen's court, was a close kinsman of W. K. Dalby, and the father of Joe Dalby, who now lives in  Texarkana.
             Dalby Springs, the scene of this unique and historic trial was named for the Dalby family. 

Submitted by Wayne Adcock.

 
 
© 2002 TUSAGS
02/28/04