Brown County Historical Scrapbook: Old newspaper articles

Brownwood Bulletin
Ronnie and Donnie Lappe

Article One

This article was published in June 1884. It concerned a bloody encounter between a Texas Ranger and a prisoner in Brownwood.

A bloody tragedy occurred in Brownwood between a member of the Ranger’s force stationed here and a man giving his name as G.D. Brooks, which resulted in Brooks being mortally wounded and the slight wounding of the Texas Ranger.

The man named Brooks was charged with stealing a wagon from Frank Reinhart of Cisco. He left the wagon with R.M. Hughes near Clio.

The victim from Cisco swore an affidavit against Brooks, and the claim papers were turned over to the Sheriff of Brown County for execution. A deputy, with Captain Gillespie of the Texas Rangers, and another Ranger went to make the arrest.

Before reaching the place where the accused was camped, they heard that there were several men and two of them had gone to town. Captain Gillespie and Deputy Perry came back to town, sending the Ranger to guard the road to the camp.

Captain Gillespie and Perry succeeded in arresting the accused in Brownwood, and started taking him with them out to where the accused were camping. Before they reached the camp, the shooting started.

The arrest was made without any trouble and as they were just ready to leave camp for town, the man asked permission to get his coat out of the wagon, which was granted to him, because it was cold out.

Instead of getting his coat, he drew from under some bedding two six shooters and opened fire on the Ranger, sending one ball, at first volley, crashing through his left shoulder.

The Ranger promptly returned the fire with a Winchester. The first ball of which hit Brook’s chest, and he fell. Brooks died in the morning.

The jury of inquest returned a verdict fully justifying the Ranger in his action in the matter. Brooks said before dying that it was not because he was arrested for stealing the wagon that he was fighting about, but because of a more serious crime he had done, about which, he refused to speak.

Article Two

The second article was published in 1933.

Fifty years ago in 1883, on December 20, a news story appeared in the papers of the state from Brownwood as follows:

Brownwood – Yesterday a robber held up the Cisco and Brownwood stage about six miles from town and compelled the unarmed driver to surrender the mail. After cutting open the sacks, he took the registered mail and departed.

On the same date, another story was printed from Brownwood that said:

The Cisco and Brownwood stage was held up for a second time in two days by a lone highwayman this evening. A passenger on the stage fired a number of shots at the robber and forced him to gallop away as fast as his horse could carry him.

Brownwood – the new Young and Turner sheep ranch which was recently completed, was destroyed last night by incendiaries who set fire to the pens and fencing.

These three items were published in the Galveston News on December 20 and 21, 1883 and were reproduced in that newspaper’s Fifty Years Ago column in 1933.

Robbing of the stage in those days was not an unusual occurrence, according to the old timers who remember some of the daring robberies that took place.

Ira Hall wrote an article published in the Brownwood Bulletin about early Brownwood newspapers. He wrote about the delivering of early newspapers by the stage operated by his father. He commented on the robberies.

Mail bandits in those days would sometimes rob the stage both going and coming on the same day. F.W. Henderson, banker of Brady, was the only passenger I recollect who ever had the courage to fight back at any of these bandits. Two bullet holes went through his wife’s trunk, which was trapped on the rear of the stage by robbers firing back.

Mr. Hall, in his article, told about the early day paper called The Sunny South which was published in Brownwood, at that time, a small town that was 60 miles from the nearest railroad, by the Mickel Brothers. To get circulation, they offered contests, offering prizes from rings to 160 acre farms. The Sunny South’s circulation was built up to 150,000 copies. Many of the prizes were cheap nickel plated watches. When the bandits would open the mail and find these watches of little or no value, they would break them against the nearest railroad, by the Mickel Brothers. To get circulation, they offered contests, offering prizes from rings to 160 acre farms. The Sunny South’s circulation was built up to 150,000 copies. Many of the prizes were cheap nickel plated watches. When the bandits would open the mail and find these watches of little or no value, they would break them against the nearest tree.