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.
Category Archives: unsolved mystery
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.
“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.
Billie Solomon Estes was born January 10, 1925 to John Levi, Sr., a farmer, and Lillian Alice Coffman Estes in a rural area near Clyde, Callahan County, Texas. It may be a legend, but the story was told of the thirteen year old Billie’s “parlaying” of a single lamb that he was given into what became the sum of $38,000. He is said to have raised a flock of sheep with his one lamb, selling them two years later and investing the proceeds into a sow and piglets which, along with some dealings in feed, he turned into the final sum of $38,000 by the time he was eighteen.
A couple, Jimmy Hollis and Mary Larey, had been on a date after which they had parked on the last road of a subdivision in Texarkana the night of February 22, 1946. At the time, Hollis was 25 and Larey was 19. After a double date to a movie, they had only been parked for about ten minutes when someone walked up to Hollis’ side of the car and shined a flashlight in his eyes. The man with the flashlight ordered the couple to exit the car. Hollis recalled that the man was armed with a gun. The man then demanded that Hollis remove his trousers. Hollis had initially resisted but complied, only to be struck hard in the head either with the gun or some other object. Hollis suffered a fractured skull in the attack. Thinking it was probably a robbery, Larey was scared but pulled Hollis’ billfold out of his trousers to show the man that Hollis had no money. The man then ordered Larey to open her purse. She replied that she didn’t have one and she was knocked to the ground by the assailant after being struck with an object. The man then ordered Larey to get up and run, which she did. The man quickly caught her and bewildered Larey by asking her why she was running. Larey was again knocked to the ground and this time was sexually assaulted. After the attack, the assailant disappeared and Larey was allowed to escape, managing to get to her feet and run to a nearby house.
Josefa “Chepita” Rodriguez ran an inn on the old Cotton Road between Refugio and Aransas Pass around the time of the Civil War. Sometimes her name is spelled Chapita or Chipita, but Chepita appears to be the most common spelling. Her story began when John Savage, a cotton dealer and horse trader, was found dead, his body wrapped in burlap in the Aransas River near San Patricio.
The outlaw Jesse Woodson James (1847-1882) is generally thought to have been shot and killed by Robert Ford on April 3, 1882. Ford, a James gang member, reportedly shot James, then 34 years old, in the back of the head at the Kearney, Missouri home of Ford’s sister as they prepared to head out for another robbery. Ford’s motive was to obtain a reward. Ford and his brother pled guilty to murder but were pardoned by the Missouri governor Thomas Crittendon. Although James body was identified and buried in Kearney, Missouri, alternative accounts persist that he somehow faked his death and moved to Texas. Read the rest of this entry »