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12: THE GENERAL

Gary M. Lavergne University of North Texas Press ePub

12
The General

I

The heat—they remembered the heat. Virtually all of the wounded knew that the best way to avoid another shot from Charles Whitman was to lie still and play dead, but for many the heat became unbearable. Onlookers pitied the wounded as much for the pain caused by hot pavement as for the wounds. Claire Wilson had no choice but to lie still for more than an hour as the sun beat down on her until she could be rescued. Instinctively she picked up one leg and moved it from side to side. Witnesses mentally pleaded for her to put that leg down and keep still. “We could see people moving a bit, but they never could get up and walk away.” It would have been easier if they had known that Whitman never shot anyone twice.1

From the top of the Tower, Charles Whitman not only held off an army but he also pinned it down and stayed on the attack. After the tragedy many police officers' written reports stated that they were unable to move from their positions. Whitman's rapid fire suggested a shift to a greater use of the 30-caliber carbine, an automatic rifle. Earlier he tended to use the scoped 6mm Remington, a far more accurate weapon over long distances, but one that required the manual use of a bolt action. Whitman pinned down Patrolman Jim Cooney as the officer made attempts to assist Roy Dell Schmidt, the electrician Whitman killed near University and 21st Streets. “I couldn't get to the man,” said Cooney.2

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10: Houston

Gary M. Lavergne University of North Texas Press PDF

Houston

--------------------....-,Im

Only seconds befo re confronting Charles

Whitman, Houston McCoy had to dodge friendly fire from police and civilians, but he stilI had flashing thoughts of his wife

Ruth and sons Stefan and Kristofer. Ruth would not find out about Houston's hero ics un til he got home late in the afternoon of I August 1966. Photos courtesy of Ruth

McCqy.

gested agrarian roots and hard work as a boy and young man.

McCoy hailed from Menard, Texas, a hamlet about 150 miles west of Austin near no large or even mid-size city. "If you find yourself in Menard, it's probably 'cause you want to come here," mused one resident. In 1958, Houston graduated from Menard High

School, home of the YellowJackets, and was named "Best All-Around

Boy." He spent his young adulthood attempting to leave his hometown. He enrolled in Lamar Tech (now Lamar University) in

Beaumont and attended classes there for a short time before serving a three-year hitch in the United States Army which included an assignment to Germany, where he met and then married a native

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Appendix II

David Johnson University of North Texas Press PDF

Appendix II

A key event of the Mason County War was what correspondent

David Doole termed the “Big Raid” in a letter that was published in the San Antonio Herald of August 14, 1874. This is referred to in the response published in the Burnet Bulletin of September 5, 1874 by

A. G. Roberts. Doole’s letter has not been located to date, but on

August 29, 1874, the San Antonio Daily Express published the following article. From the existing references to Doole’s correspondence, the article appears to have been drawn, with some editorial changes, from that letter. Its significance is demonstrated by the fact that both newspapers considered it important enough to publish the lengthy correspondence.

STOCK WAR!

_____

Mason County Under Arms—A Promised

Revenge and Partial Execution

____

[Correspondence Fredericksburg Sentinel]

MASON, TEXAS, Aug. 18, 1874

On the ninth of August, 1874, John Clark, Sheriff of Mason county, with a posse of 18 men, went after a set of cow hands of Al. Roberts, who had made a raid into Mason county and driven off 200 head of cattle.

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15: To Whom It May Concern

Gary M. Lavergne University of North Texas Press PDF

mJ--------------- To Whom It May Concern bulletin didn't come right back, so I called the station, and I asked them to repeat the news bulletin. At first they wouldn't repeat it , so I said, "My name is Patrick Whitman.

Would you please repeat it." Then I broke up and went and got my father. From then on it was turmoil. They had to sedate me . I

It probably went exactly as Charles would have hoped. Much of the world's media began to ask questions, many of them directed at

C. A. Whitman of Lake Worth, Florida. The glare of publicity for the Whitman family was only beginning. Still to be discovered were the notes Charles had left at 906 Jewell Street and Penthouse Apartment #505 .

"Johnnie Mike" Whitman was still on a cross-country trip with his friend Jim Poland when his brother Charles began his killing spree . After the news of the sniping broke, the Whitman family began a search for the youngest Whitman boy, eventually locating him in Asbury Park, New Jersey, a small town along the Atlantic Coast.

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Chapter 17 I Have Killed A Many Man

Rick Miller University of North Texas Press PDF

Chapter

17

I Have Killed

A Many Man

A

fter Long­ley was sentenced on Tuesday, September 11, 1877,

Jim Brown discussed with Judge Turner his concerns about the security of the Lee County jail while Long­ley was awaiting the outcome of his appeal. Turner agreed that it was “not a safe jail for the confinement” of Long­ley, and ordered that he be conveyed to the Travis County jail in Austin “for safekeeping during his appeal.”1 Turner initially ordered Long­ley sent to Galveston, but crossed it out in favor of Austin.

Apparently there was no room for Long­ley in Austin where John

Wesley Hardin was currently being detained. Brown sent a telegram that evening to Sheriff Christian Jordan in Galveston: “I want to imprison Bill Long­ley with you. Answer instanter. Can you take him?”2 Jordan promptly responded that the county commissioners of

Galveston County had prohibited him from receiving prisoners from other counties until the county jail could “be placed in a more secure condition.” On the 13th, Brown again telegraphed him: “By request of many citizens I telegraph you again to take Wm. Long­ley for safekeeping. He is convicted of murder and is threatened by mob.”3

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