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Monthly Archives: July 2016

Murder of “Alamo” Actress, 1959

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(Image credit: Albuquerque Journal)

On October 12, 1959, the Associated Press column appeared in newspapers across the country with similar headlines to this one, “Admirer Kills Young Actress In Alamo Movie.”  The article reported the death of LaJean Eldridge, an actress in the John Wayne film project being shot in Bracketville, Kinney County, Texas.  Ms. Eldridge, about 26 years old, had died the day before, the victim of a stabbing that took place in a rented residence that she and five male actors shared in nearby Spofford, Texas.  The group were members of a little theater troupe.  Eldridge had been cast in the film as “Mrs. Guy” and the alleged killer, Chester Harvey Smith, about 32 years old, was her boyfriend who had been cast as an extra in the project.

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Posted by on July 28, 2016 in history, texas

 

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Elmer Kelton

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(Image credit: AmericanCowboy.com)

Elmer was born in 1926 on the Five Wells Ranch, one of the Scharbauer ranches, in rural Andrews County, Texas.  His father was Robert William “Buck” Kelton and mother was the former Neta Beatrice “Bea” Parker.  Three years later, Buck took a job at the McElroy Ranch in Crane, Texas near Midland, where he would remain for 36 years.  Elmer grew up on the ranch, hearing the colorful stories told by Buck and the other cowboys on the ranch.

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Posted by on July 21, 2016 in authors, biography, folklore, texas

 

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Sam Walker, Texas Ranger

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Samuel Hamilton “Sam” Walker is a Texas Ranger legend and is one of only about three dozen Rangers who are in the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame.  Sam was born in Maryland on February 24, 1817 and served as a soldier for most of his adult life.  His first recorded term was with the Washington City Volunteers (now Washington, D. C.) in a campaign against the Creek Indians in 1836.  It is believed that he then lived in Florida where he took a railway job until he moved to Texas in 1842.  He joined John Coffee “Jack” Hays’ Ranger outfit that same year, serving as a scout under Capt. Jesse Billingsley.

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Posted by on July 14, 2016 in biography, county names, history, texas, texas rangers

 

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Funerals of Bonnie and Clyde

After the May 23, 1934 ambush of Bonnie and Clyde on a Wednesday morning near Gibsland, Louisiana, their bodies were taken about twenty miles away to a local funeral operation in the back of the S. A. Conger Furniture Store and Funeral Parlor in Arcadia, Louisiana.  An undertaker who worked for a nearby funeral parlor in Ruston came to identify the bodies.  The undertaker, H. D. Darby, and Sophia Stone had actually been kidnapped by the gang about a year earlier in Ruston.  The couple was eventually released in Arkansas, but while they were captives of the gang, Bonnie had laughed when she found out that Darby was an undertaker and speculated that one day he might be working on her.  It turned out to be prophetic, since Darby did indeed assist with the embalming process.  A coroner and five other individuals conducted an inquest, the bodies were formally identified and the embalming process began.  The authorities tried to maintain control, but the news got out in the small town, creating a buzz of interest.  Arcadia briefly was crowded with media and other curious visitors.

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Posted by on July 7, 2016 in bonnie and clyde, history, outlaws, texas

 

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