Sunday, September 27, 2015

Hill County Outlaws

Pedro Vial, a Frenchmen hired by the Spanish to find a route between San Antonio and Santa Fe, was possibly the first European to enter the territory that became known as Hill County, Texas. That was in 1789.

In 1870, a 16 year old John Wesley Hardin was busy in the county, drinking, gambling and killing. By January of that year, Hardin had shot and killed 8 men, the first in a long list of 42 slayings that Hardin claimed before he was shot and killed in an El Paso saloon, in 1895 by Constable John Selman. Hardin wasn't alone.

In the years following the Civil War, Hill County was reportedly "infested with outlaws and desperadoes" who actively resisted Governor Edmund Davis' State Police. Davis had fought with the Union and was oddly unpopular in Hill County, along with the Reconstruction Government and its law. 

When the latter moved against the Kinch West -- who may or may not have ridden with Quantrill's Raiders -- and Cox Brothers gang, locals didn't give their support and martial law was declared in 1871. 

The outlaws have gone now and Hill County is comparatively law abiding. But reflect on this. 1871 isn't that long ago.



LL said...

Texas stood up the Rangers to keep a hand on the Comanche, and after they were starved into surrender, the outlaws. And there was very little law 'west of the Pecos'.

LSP said...

There really doesn't seem to have been, and Hboro was in the thick of it.

jenny said...

It's only been 100+ years. There are still plenty of outlaws, only shadier.

LSP said...

True -- no shortage of "characters" in this neck of the woods...