|Sam Bass, Outlaw|
Soon Bass became interested in horse racing. In 1874, he acquired a racing horse that became known as the Denton Mare. After winning most of his races in North Texas, he took this mare to San Antonio. When his racing played out in 1876, he and Joel Collins gathered a small herd of longhorn cattle for their several owners. The two drovers reached Dodge City and decided to trail the cattle further north where prices were higher. After selling the herd and paying the hands, they had $8,000 in their pockets. Instead of returning to Texas where they owed the money, they squandered it gambling in Ogallala, Nebraska and in Deadwood, South Dakota.
|After Union Pacific |
|Sam Bass, standing |
at left, with his new gang
On July 14, 1878 Sam, Frank Jackson, and Seaborn Barnes arrived in Round Rock to case the bank one final time while Jim waited at camp. They went into Kopperal’s General Store. Williamson County Deputy Sheriff Grimes decided to investigate the men’s actions, and was accompanied by Travis County Deputy Sheriff Morris Moore. Shooting broke out and Grimes was killed and Moore severely wounded. Barnes died, but an injured Bass was helped by Jackson and escaped. Texas Ranger Ware, who was getting a shave at the time, ran into the street and fired at the escaping bandits and believed he shot Bass. Ranger Harold believed he wounded Bass. Ranger Jones was at the telegraph office, heard the commotion, and he also fired at the bandits.
Who actually shot Sam Bass was never completely decided. The Rangers called off the search to avoid what they feared as an “outlaw war” of reprisal. But on July 20, two men discovered Bass leaning against a tree. He’d given Jackson his mount, guns, cash, and all his ammunition. When approached, he said, “I’m Sam Bass, the man that has been wanted so long.” He died the following day on his 27th birthday. Jim Murphy died the following year, but no one is certain whether he committed suicide or Frank Jackson killed him.
Rosston (twenty miles from Gainesville, Texas) where Bass reportedly lived, celebrates Sam Bass Day on the third Saturday in July. Round Rock has celebrated Frontier Days on July 4th since 1964.
The preceding material was taken from data available from Texas State Historical Society Handbook of History Online and the City of Round Rock information.
Caroline Clemmons writes western historical, time travel and contemporary romances. Her website is http://www.carolineclemmons.com/ and her blog is at http://carolineclemmons.blogspot.com/ She loves to hear from readers at firstname.lastname@example.org