The Spikes Brothers Murders

The January 23, 1902 article was widely reported in United States newspapers that in New Mexico, three brothers had been ambushed while riding horseback on the way back to their homes. Dick and John Spikes were killed and Fred Spikes was badly wounded, but managed to make it to the home of a neighbor who helped him to obtain medical treatment. The Arkansas Gazette article shown below ended by stating that Fred Spikes said that he knew the attacking party but would give no names.

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Did the Real Josey Wales Die in Texas?

Internet Movie Database (www.imdb.com) lists the origin of the 1976 film “The Outlaw Josey Wales” to be a screenplay by Phillip Kaufman and Sonia Chernus which was in turn based on a fictional book believed to have been written by Asa Earl Carter under the pen name Forrest Carter. Carter’s book was first published in 1973 as “The Rebel Outlaw: Josey Wales,” republished two years later as “Gone to Texas” and published once more under the name “Josey Wales.” In the film the time period of which is set during the Civil War years, the character Wales’ family is killed and his home is burned by Union irregular troops. Seeking revenge, Wales aligns himself with a Confederate irregular group (Quantrill’s Raiders). After the Confederate surrender and the end of the war, the character Wales continues to seek revenge on those individuals who were responsible. The story continues with Wales eventually finding peace and a relationship with a female rancher, presumably escaping his violent past and living out his days.

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Doc Goodnight and the Goodnight Gang

The Goodnight Gang was a name given to a group of outlaws operating in East and Central Texas headed up by William E. “Doc” Goodnight.  Members of the group included Goodnight, Hugh Merrick, J. R. Willis and J. H. Johnson according to various newspaper accounts.  They were by reputation robbers and the crimes mostly attributed to them involved the theft of cash from local individuals.  There was a legend that William E. Goodnight was somehow related to rancher Charles Goodnight of North Texas, but we can find no obvious connection after looking into Charles Goodnight’s extended family.  Perhaps coincidentally, Charles Goodnight had a number of relatives in Illinois and the State of Illinois appears to also figure into Doc Goodnight’s early history.

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Unsolved Mystery: Murders of Dr. and Mrs. Roy Hunt

On the morning of October 26, 1943, Littlefield, Lamb County, Texas awoke to learn of the brutal murders of residents Dr. Roy Elwin and Mrs. Mae Franks Hunt.  Dr. Hunt had been killed by a gunshot at close range and Mae had been killed by at least one blow to the head from an object not found at the scene.  Their bodies were found by the couple’s five year old daughter.  The couple was buried a few days later following their funeral at Littlefield’s First Methodist Church, attended by an overflow crowd.

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The “Twin Sisters” and Dr. Henry North Graves

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“Twin Sister” replicas at San Jacinto Battleground (image in public domain)

The “Twin Sisters” refers to two field pieces (artillery pieces) donated by ladies of Cincinnati, Ohio to the cause of the Texas Revolution.  According to an article in the Austin American-Statesman from 1874, they were two identical six pound rifle cannon that were built by a Mr. Tatum at a foundry in Cincinnati and shipped by riverboat to Texas.  They were delivered in person by Mr. Tatum himself in time to be used by General Sam Houston in the Battle of San Jacinto.  Following the Revolution they became prized relics and were known to have been fired at ceremonial occasions including the fifth anniversary of the Battle of San Jacinto and the inauguration of Gen. Houston as President of the Republic of Texas.

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