I'm trying to find info about four gunfights, certainly not famous ones. I have a newspaper clip about the first one and just the family stories about the others. I'm not even sure I've posted in the right place. Just searching for more (better) info. :)
1) Smokey Joe Miller was a RR "special officer" and they made a stop in Duran, NM in late August or very early September 1908. Joe was then from Cheyenne, OK. There's not much to find on Duran itself other than a brief desciption of it being a short lived railroad town, and I wasn't able to find a darned thing on the man named Marquez. I found several decendants of the name "Duran" who are also trying to find more out about the town. lol Joe survived the fight and lived to be a very old man. Below (#1) is pretty much all I have:
"Cheyenne Star, September 10, 1908
Smokey Joe Miller shot and killed J.C. Marquez, a saloon keeper at Durand [sic], New Mexico a few days ago. Marquez shot Miller through the right shoulder and hip. Smokey was special officer in the employee of the Southwestern Railroad Company at Durand where Marquez was shooting up the town and terrorizing the citizens. Marquez opened fire on Miller with the result above mentioned. It is not thought that Miller’s wounds will prove fatal. Smokey Joe was one of the pioneers of this part of the country and was one of the old time cowpunchers of Roger Mills Co. in the early day. "
"The El Paso and Southwestern Railroad was a short-line railroad railway company which operated in Arizona New Mexico, and Texas, with line extensions across the international border into Mexico. The railroad was known as the Arizona and South Eastern Railroad from 1888 to 1902."
2) Charlie Miller, age 21, (son of Francis Marion Miller, Sheriff of McCulloch Co., TX) was killed in a gunfight in San Angelo, TX with the San Angelo County Sheriff, 14 October 1885. Who was the Sheriff of San Angelo Co. at that time? Is there a way to access the local San Angelo newspapers of that time? I'd like to find out WHY? And apparently Charlie had been in trouble a lot but I can't find any records of that either anywhere in TX. This one is kind of important to me.
3) Willie (William) F. Deans (grandson of Francis Marion Miller, Sheriff of McCulloch Co., TX) was killed 17 March 1909, at age 19, in a gunfight with Bob Corbell near Voca, McCulloch Co., TX. This is ALL I have on this one. I have a photo of Willie and he was a VERY handsome boy.
4) Christopher Columbus "Lum" Breazeale killed in a gunfight over a horse race, on the streets of Llano, TX, 16 June 1871. He was about 31 years old. I believe he fought a cousin (or closer relative) and they both died.
Thank you for any help !!!
So far I haven't found out anything about the gunfights but it has been amazing anyway. I've found several articles about the families in several states. THANK YOU!!!! This is fabulous!!
And I was wrong in the original posting, Columbus Breazeale was about 50 yrs old, not 31. And a man named Elihu Emory Casner was killed also in the fight, collateral victim. Apparently there were more than just 2 shooters, it was a free-for-all right in the middle of town. The town is also apprently in question, either Honey Creek or a short distance away in Llano, but it seems most are leaning towards Llano since that's where the Breazeales had their businesses.
Killed By An Officer--San Angelo-Oct 14--Dallas Morning News
A Deputy Sheriff named Mart Merrill, while attending the arrest of Charlie Miller at Sherwood yesterday, shot him through the head. Miller died this afternoon at 3 o'clock.
Angie, a bit more that may help..
1 Dead--1 Wounded--Robert Corbell Surrenders To Sheriff Following The Affray--Brady, TX--March 20--Fort Worth Star-Telegram--3/21/1909
A serious affray took place at Voca, a small town twelve miles southeast of Brady, in which Willie Dean lost his life and Jim Wooten was injured by a gunshot wound in the thigh. Robert Corbell, a young man who resides in the community, came in last night and surrendered to the sheriff.
The shooting occurred on the place occupied by Corbell, and on the banks of the San Saba River, where Dean and Wooten were fishing. Dean was shot in two places, one wound being in the stomach, and the other in the back, death being almost instant. Wooten is not thought to be seriously injured. Both parties to the affair are prominently connected.
3/26/1909--Dallas Morning News
Brady, TX-March 25-A trial was held before the County Judge, in the case of Bob Corbell, charged with killing Will Dean at Voca. His bond was allowed to remain at the amount fixed in the examining trial, $4,000.
San Antonio Express--7/2/1871
While at Round Rock, we met Mr. P. G. Snow, just down from Burnet County, who gave us the details of one of the most deadly conflicts ever transpiring in this section. A difficulty arose between a man named Higgins and Lum Brazil, at the store of Frank Brazil, in Llano County, near what is know as the cove on the Colorado. Brazil fired upon Higgins and shot Elihu Casner a mortal wound (Higgins jumping behind Casner as Brazil was in the act of firing), Higgins then fired upon Brazil missing him, and the fire was returned by Brazil, missing Higgins and breaking the arm of a bystander named John Brantley. Higgins then shot Brazil a mortal wound, and Brazil fired again killing Higgins instantly. This shocking tragedy originated from some trivial disagreement, the result of card playing and bad whisky--Georgia Watchman
Oh my gosh!! I've been gone a couple days and this is so awesome to come back to!!! Everyone is right when they say you are magical!! This is so cool! Thank you Gay, you don't know how much! It's just amazing!
I was able to find another newspaper article on the Smokey Joe shootout.
From the Carrizozo News, 28 Aug 1908:
"DURAN HAS A KILLING: J.W. Miller, commonly known as "Smoky," [sic] shot and killed C.D. Marquez, a saloon keeper, at Duran, Monday of this week. Miller was an officer and had taken a pistol from Marquez, who was drinking, and had become disorderly. Marquez, however, had another pistol, which he pulled and shot Miller twice, hitting him in the right shoulder and right hip. Miller, although partially paralyzed, managed to draw his weapon, and shot Marquez four times, killing him. Mounted Policeman W.E. Dudley [Sgt. Will E. Dudley, NM Ranger assigend to Alamagordo], who happened to be in Carrizozo at the time, received notice of the trouble, went to Duran and placed Miller on a southbound train and lodged him in the hospital at Alamogordo, where his injuries were attended to."
Smokey Joe lived to be a very old man, and died in California. When he was in his 70's his neighbors came to him for help because their cattle had gotten out and they couldn't catch them on the very steep hills in their area of California. Smokey borrowed one of their horses and threw on his old gear, which he still had from his days in Texas and Oklahoma, and showed them how to "bust" a steer. He caught a couple and tied them to a tree, then went home and let them do the rest themselves.
I love that story!!!
All these stories are of family members and its very exciting to uncover them.
Thank you again, Gay!!!!!!
Not Mart Merrill, but "Mort" Merrill (the deputy in Shooting #2):
Mr. J. Marvin Hunter, Jr.
"In the February issue of Frontier Times, pp 114, I see an article regarding people who have been drowned in the Concho River.
"I am trying to get some information regarding a family by the name of Merrill, reportedly drowned in a flood of the North Concho, probably in the '80's. According to saga, this man, Mort Merrill, had settled near Sherwood in Irion County, establishing a ranch on a branch of the Concho. He reportedly returned to his ranch one night to find waters flowing where the ranch had stood. He turned his horse loose and spent the night swimming around searching for his family. He found one boy who he saved. He is now Sam Merill, an attorney in East Texas.
"Mr. Merrill came to Hale County in 1891..."
Wow, that's sad!! Angie O.
Angie, here is Mortimore E. Merrill's burial place & stone (link below)..The son, he managed to save, Samuel Riley Merrill was listed as an Attorney General of TX, as well..
Lubbock Cemetery, Lubbock Co, TX
Gay, I really appreciate your spending time on this. It's been so elusive and you can find it with a snap. It's amazing.
I'd sure like to know what Charlie did that particular time to get killed. He was said to be a trouble maker, too bad for his Sheriff father, always trying to cover his backside.
FM also had two nephews that went bad. He had asked them to handle his ranch while he was Sheriff of McCulloch county so they did for several years. While there, they became members of the Vigilantes of San Saba, killed their sister's mother-in-law's brother (LOL .... strung out there) because he was threatening to tell on them. They ran to Oklahoma. Got away with it for almost 10 years, then the two boys and their mother "mysteriously" all died within a few days of eachother in different places. I think ... the dead man's brother found out who did it (because their sister told on them) and they were "done in". he'd swore he'd get whoever did it. Yowzer. They may be the last people ever killed in the San Saba vigilante war.
I found a little on Mort Merrill. He was a miner in NM in 1870 with his brother. Then in Sherwood in 1882 when the flood came through (the Ben Franklin flood?) it killed his whole family except Sam. They said he was built like a "bowling ball", very large frame but as wide as he was tall, sandy haired and blue eyes. Much of his family wouldn't talk to him (?), his brother wouldn't because he wouldn't put pressure on his son, Sam, to get him out of a legal fix. Guess they didn't talk till the day they died.
Brazil (Breazeale) was married to Logan Vandeveer's neice. Logan was my gg-grandmother's first cousin. My gg-grandmother's family came from KY to Burnet to live with Logan and his family the year Logan died.
Charlie Miller was Frances Marion Miller's son. FM was my gg-grandfather's brother. Willie Dean was FM's grandson. Smokey Joe was Fm and my gg-grandfather's (Wm J. Miller) much younger brother. These guys had the most amazing lives, maybe not easy, but dang they were exciting people!!!
Angie, that would be the "Ben Ficklin Flood" August 1882..A relative of mine, McArthur Cullen Ragsdale "M. C. Ragsdale," photographed the aftermath of the flood..
Here's a bit more on Corbell who killed Willie..
Brady, TX--March 5-Bob Corbell Aquitted--Dallas Morning News-3/6/1910
The jury in the Bob Corbell murder case brought in a verdict of acquittal within an hour after receiving the charge of the Judge.
I am still poking around in the newspapers for you..Glad to be of some help..
Thank you. I'm not even going to ask how, I am just grateful!!
It must have been a massive flood and done incredible damage. The town of Sherwood itself has been very interesting to read about. I recognize the name Ragsdale for photography, incredible stuff back then.
I've found a Corbell family in McCulloch County, I'm sure they're related to this Bob. I've found a one year old child by Bob that died in McCulloch County ... but no Bob. lol
They must have been trespassing or something for a fight to break out like that. But who knows.
Funny, in all this researching lately I've found more than I've found in the last 4 years of researching. People must be posting more things. Today I found someone else's "interview" with an old trail driver that talked about the "Miller boys" and an Indian fight near McCulloch Co. (in the 60's if I remember right), in which the "boys" (FM, Bill and their younger brother Daniel Harve) stood and fought for quite a spell. It was, of all places, (LOL) from an old Frontier Times publication, 1920. I'm in heaven this week!!!!
On the 1910 McCulloch Co, TX Census Voca is a Robert Corbell born about 1886 with his 1st wife Nellie living next door to Charley W. Corbell..I believe "Bob" most likely was a nickname for "William Washington Corbell" son of Charles W. Corbell & Rowena Hemphill..
The child listed as Rita Blanche Corbell (dau. of Bob) from your post has this listed on her 1910 McCulloch Co, TX death certificate: Parents: William Washington Corbell & Nellie Willis