Notes from the past…

Amanuensis Monday: The Murder of Pat Carroll

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San Saba, Texas of the late 1800′s-early 1900′s was a wild and crazy place! So much so that the Texas Rangers were sent in to try to control the situation:

The “Mob Rule” was an unusual development, according to a report carried in the San Saba County Centennial Souvenir Program of 1956. Lawlessness began to get out of hand in the San Saba area in the 1880’s and an anti-mob organization was formed by citizens to combat it. After a while, factions developed in this organization and by 1896, the factions had lost sight of the original purpose of the organization, and were almost at open war with each other. The Texas Rangers were sent into the area to quell the trouble. Later, one of the rangers reported that the “Mob Rule” in San Saba County cost the lives of forty-three men.

My 2GGU Robert Augusta “Pat” Carroll was one of those victims. On 3 Mar 1906 he was shot and killed in a San Saba saloon by a local constable, who was later convicted of second-degree murder. The conviction was appealed all the way to the Texas Supreme Court.

At Google Books, I found the Southwestern Reporter, Volume 97, which contains all the current decisions (published in 1907) of the Supreme and Appellate Courts of Texas. An excerpt:

The theory of the state, which is supported by evidence, is to the effect that appellant had some grudge against deceased, and had made threats against him. On the night of the homicide the parties met at or near a clubhouse in the town of San Saba, and appellant and Yardley, his companion, made an attack on Pat Carroll (deceased), and in the fight which ensued they shot and killed deceased. Appellant’s theory was to the effect that he was constable of that precinct, and that the sheriff on that occasion was absent. There was a show in town that night, and he had been requested to look out, and keep down any trouble or breach of the peace, and that he summoned Yardley to assist him. That after the show he and his companions went to the clubhouse, and after sitting there awhile they left. The clubhouse seems to have been shut up at this time. The owner testified that he shut it up for the purpose of dispersing the crowd, so he and some of his companions could eat a lunch. Appellant and Yardley went off a short distance, and in a short time returned, as appellant testified, to participate in eating the lunch. After arriving there, they heard talking and cursing, and heard deceased say to someone, “God damn you, turn my gun loose.” That he then went out to where the parties were in a vacant lot near the clubhouse. When he got there, Jim Meachum had hold of Pat’s (deceased) gun. Appellant asked what was the matter, and they said, “Nothing.” Appellant said, “I want you to cut out that roaring.” Brown said he was not roaring, and Pat said, “I guess, by God, you are throwing that at me.” Appellant said “no.” Pat walked around at this, and raised his gun (a Winchester) and said, “Jim Meachum, you are the cause of this whole God damn business.” Pat said the officers had dragged him around until he was tired, and he was not going to be dragged around any more. Appellant told him to put his gun down, or he would throw him in jail. At this deceased said, “God damn you, I will kill you,” and raised his gun and fired. About the time deceased fired the second time, appellant got his pistol out and fired. Deceased’s second shot powder-burned appellant. Appellant shot four or five times, and Pat turned and ran off, fell near the sidewalk, where he shortly afterward expired.

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