Charles Wiley Stanley, the Crime Doctor

Charles Stanley, not to be confused with the minister from Atlanta, lived in Abilene, Kansas and was in the entertainment business all his life.  The opportunity presented itself for him to first rent and then purchase the so-called “Death Car” of Bonnie and Clyde.

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Sam Bass

Sam Bass was born July 21, 1851 in Lawrence County, Indiana and died on his 27th birthday, July 21, 1878 in Round Rock, Texas  He had lived a life that had made him famous to the point that he had become a folk hero to some.  Sam had been orphaned at the age of 13 after which he began to live with an uncle who was stern and strict with him.  As soon as he could, young Bass left his uncle and relocated to Rosedale, Mississippi where he worked for about a year in a saw mill.  In the summer of 1870, he set out for Texas, traveling with a family named Mayes who were returning to their home in Denton County, Texas.  He had heard about Texas and the cowboy life and wanted to try it.

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Unsolved mystery: Jesse James’ grave site

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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. Continue reading Unsolved mystery: Jesse James’ grave site

Tom Hickman, Texas Ranger

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A good friend of mine grew up seeing a revered old cowboy walk the small downtown area of Gainesville, Texas.  When he asked about the identity of the man, he was told that he was a retired Texas Ranger who had captured some famous outlaws.  My friend eventually learned that the old gentleman was former Texas Ranger Tom Hickman.

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Bigfoot Wallace and the Bandito Vidal

William A. A. “Bigfoot” Wallace lived from 1817-1899 and was a Texas Ranger, one of 30 to be inducted into the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame. He came to Texas after the death of his brother and a cousin at the hands of the Mexican Army at Goliad in 1836, intending to somehow even the score for his lost relatives. Wallace is believed to have many times exacted his revenge, though he was captured and imprisoned by the Mexican Army himself in the early days of 1843 in the so called “Black Bean Episode,” which he survived. Wallace is mentioned in many other historical accounts as he fought as a Ranger in the Mexican-American War, continued to serve as a Texas Ranger during the 1850s and beyond. He did not serve in the Civil War, electing instead to remain in Texas to guard the borders against Indians, renegades and Union soldiers.  The young State of Texas benefited from an uneasy arrangement with the Confederate Army to allow some Rangers to remain in place to defend the frontier.

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