“Fore!”closed: Goat Hills, Z. Boaz, and Other Missing Links

With the planned conversion of century-old Glen Garden Country Club and golf course to a whiskey distillery, here’s a toast to the ghosts of some Fort Worth golf courses that are no more.

golf FWCC 7-18-02 11-16-02 teleIn the beginning golf in America was a game for the well-to-do, played at country clubs. Fort Worth was no exception. Golf here began in 1902 with the founding of Fort Worth Country Club near the site of Arlington Heights developer H. B. Chamberlin’s Ye Arlington Inn (burned 1894) at today’s intersection of Merrick and Crestline streets. Members of the new club laid out a nine-hole course. The Telegram said of the sport of golf: “It takes an extraordinary hold of everyone who essays it and never lets go until the player passes to that land where the bunker is known not.” (1895 map detail from Pete Charlton’s “1000+ Lost Antique Maps of Texas & the Southwest on DVD-ROM”; clips from the July 18 and November 16, 1902 Telegram.)

golf RCCC 10-24-10 stNot surprisingly, Fort Worth’s first golf course has long since gone the way of knickers and niblicks. In 1910 members of Fort Worth Country Club who wanted a full eighteen-hole course formed a new country club: River Crest. FWCC was absorbed by River Crest. Built in 1911, the River Crest course lives on into its second century. Clip is from the October 24, 1910 Star-Telegram.

golf city mulls 2-4-17 stNot until 1917 did the city begin to think about building a municipal course. Clip is from the February 4 Star-Telegram.

golf worth land bought 12-17-22 stThe city did not act rashly. Five years passed before the city bought ninety-six acres for Worth Hills municipal course near TCU. Worth Hills, nicknamed “Goat Hills,” opened in 1923. Clip is from the December 17, 1922 Star-Telegram.

golf worth sold 9-14-61 dmnFast forward down the fairway to 1961. City voters approved sale of the city’s first municipal golf course to TCU for campus expansion. Four years later Worth Hills would be posthumously immortalized in 1965 by Dan Jenkins in a Sports Illustrated article entitled “The Glory Game at Goat Hills.” Clip is from the September 14 Dallas Morning News.

golf katy 8-31-28 12-23-29 mapKaty Lake public golf course opened in 1926, built around a former railroad storage lake. Byron Nelson and Ben Hogan played there as youngsters. The Katy course was said to feature sand greens, but Dan Jenkins told Golf Digest: “The greens weren’t really sand, I found out. They were dark brown cottonseed hull. Oiled so they wouldn’t blow away. There was an iron rake on every green—you raked your line from the ball to the cup before you putted.” According to Jenkins, the Katy course closed in 1943. Clips are from the August 31, 1928 and December 23, 1929 Dallas Morning News.

golf boaz donated 10-4-28 dmnThe city got its second municipal course after Benbrook landowner Z. Boaz in 1928 donated land. His namesake course opened in 1930. Clip is from the September 4 Dallas Morning News.

golf boaz dead 12-2-35 dmnZ. Boaz died in 1935. In 2012 the city closed his namesake course. (What does the “Z.” stand for? Beats me. Boaz was listed as “Z.” in news stories, censuses, city directories, and on his death certificate.) Clip is from the December 2, 1935 Dallas Morning News.

golf GGCC opens 4-17-13 11-27-14 stGlen Garden Country Club was organized in 1913 by, among others, produce distributor Ben E. Keith and H. H. Cobb of the nearby Cobb brick plant and O. K. Cattle Company. The “inexpensive playground” was built on O. K. Cattle Company ranchland and reachable by the Cleburne interurban line. Young Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson caddied at Glen Garden. Clips are from the April 17, 1913 and November 27, 1914 Star-Telegram.

golf 6-18-39 reading eagle PAIn 1939, twelve years after winning his first amateur tournament at the Katy Lake course, Byron Nelson won the U.S. Open. Clip is from the June 18 Reading Eagle of Pennsylvania.

golf 1940 list of coursesThese were the Fort Worth courses in 1940, as listed in Texas, a Guide to the Lone Star State.

golf Oakhurst hogan 9-9-30 dmnAnother defunct country club is Oakhurst. Three former employees of Glen Garden Country Club—Ted Longworth, Harry Lee Whitaker, and Norman Voss—started Oakhurst in 1930. Longworth, former GGCC pro, and Whitaker leased fifty-four acres west of the Oakhurst neighborhood. Whitaker was the manager, Longworth was the pro. Voss built the two-story frame clubhouse building and operated it. Longworth laid out a nine-hole course. To the east was the Oakhurst neighborhood. To the west the Trinity River was a water trap. To the north, Mount Olivet Cemetery was, well, a death trap.

Oakhurst opened on June 28, 1930. The green fee was twenty-five cents for nine holes and fifty cents for all day.

Historian Harry Max Hill writes: “On September 7th [1933] two Dallas men were robbed at the golf course. The robbers hid in the dense Oakhurst woods and approached R. L. Johnson and R. B. Greenlee on the 5th hole of the golf course. Johnson lost $111 and Greenlee $300 in the daring hold-up. Ben Hogan was playing at the course during the robbery. He wanted to chase the robbers using the rifle he kept in his automobile. His playing partners dissuaded him from pursuing the robbers.”

In 1937 Ben Hogan, who had played the course when it was new, became Oakhurst’s manager-pro. But the country club closed the next year. (Map detail from Pete Charlton’s “1000+ Lost Antique Maps of Texas & the Southwest on DVD-ROM”; clip from the September 9, 1930 Dallas Morning News.)

golf oakhurst pro shopThe campus of Calvary Cathedral International covers much of the Oakhurst course now, but this building, Max Hill says, was the pro shop.

golf harmon map 1956In the early fifties, as African Americans continued their crusade for equality, they were not allowed access to the city’s municipal courses. Under pressure by the Fort Worth Negro Golf Association and other groups, the city built nine-hole Harmon Field for African Americans. The course, located south of Greenway Park, opened June 13, 1954. The pond seen in the aerial photo north of the soccer fields was created as a water hazard by diverting water from a storm-drain channel.

golf harmon jenkins 6-4-54 fwpNote the byline in this clip from the June 4, 1954 Fort Worth Press. But Harmon Field golf course was short-lived. When U.S. Highway 287 was built it squeezed out Harmon Field. The course closed on April 1, 1958 and, like the other courses surveyed here, passed “to that land where the bunker is known not.”

(Thanks and a tip of the flagstick to historian Harry Max Hill.)

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The ’24 Parrot: Buncha Hundred-Year-Old Teenagers

Even the youngest “fish” of the freshman class would be a centenarian now. But in the Poly High School yearbook of 1924 these students remain forever young, perpetually studious, goofy, and intense in ways that we thought we invented.

poly 24 coverHere are some pages from the yearbook when the school was on Nashville Avenue in the 1922 building that would become Poly Elementary and then a vacant lot.

poly 24 buildingIn these photos, the lawn appears to be still unsodded.

poly 24 senior officerspoly 24 pages 60-61poly 24 baseballpoly 24 faculty Maurine Martel would still be at Poly forty years later. Martel and music teacher Charles X. O’Brien composed and arranged the school song. And manual training teacher J. P. Moore would survive the splinters of woodshop to become superintendent of Fort Worth schools.

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Camp Taliaferro: The British Are Coming, the British Are Coming, Y’All!

Camp Bowie was not Fort Worth’s only military installation during World War I. After the United States entered World War I in 1917, U.S. Army General John “Blackjack” Pershing invited the British Royal Flying Corps to conduct its winter training of cadets in Texas, where the weather allowed flying most of the year.

taliaferro announcement 8-17-17 stOn August 17, 1917 the Star-Telegram announced that Fort Worth had been selected as the site for a training camp for Canadian fliers. So, as the War Department was building Camp Bowie on the West Side it also built in outlying areas three fields to train cadets in the new military science of aerial warfare. The three fields were Hicks (Wing 1) at Saginaw, Barron (Wing 2) at Everman, and Carruthers (Wing 3) at Benbrook. The Canadian pilots named the three fields collectively “Camp Taliaferro” after Walter Taliaferro, a U.S. Army flier who had been killed in 1915.

taliaferro 1916 FW Aircraft Cross Country MapThis map detail shows the three fields of Camp Taliaferro. (From Pete Charlton’s “1000+ Lost Antique Maps of Texas & the Southwest on DVD-ROM.”)

taliaferro wellesley 11-20-17 stOn November 20, 1917 the Star-Telegram printed a photo spread. In the middle of top photo is Camp Taliaferro’s most famous flier, dancer Vernon Castle. Left photo at bottom is Castle and pet monkey Jeff. Right photo at bottom shows, on the left, Carruthers Field commander Lord George Wellesley, great-grandson of the Duke of Wellington of Waterloo fame.

taliaferro lady w 11-25-17 stLady Wellesley and her two children spent the winter of 1917-1918 in Fort Worth with Lord Wellesley. Her first husband, Lord Wellesley’s brother Richard, was killed in the war. Photo is from the November 25, 1917 Star-Telegram.

taliaferro 11-29-17 stOn November 29, 1917 the Star-Telegram reported the numbers of the three fields. During 1917-1918 RFC instructors at the three fields would train about six thousand men, both American and Canadian. Each field housed about two thousand men. RFC instructors taught men to fly in the Curtiss JN4 Canuck (“Jenny”), a biplane weighing just over one ton and having a top speed of seventy-five miles per hour.

taliaferro roscoe 12-11-17 stOn December 11, 1917 the Star-Telegram printed this photo of Lieutenant Colonel David Roscoe, commander of Camp Taliaferro.

taliaferro Carruthers benbrook aerial BPLCarruthers Field in Benbrook as seen from a Jenny. Photo from Benbrook Public Library.

When the young pilots ventured off base, the Canadian fliers were quite popular with the local girls.

C. W. Hunt in Dancing in the Sky: The Royal Flying Corps in Canada quoted one local woman, a Miss McCluer, as saying, “Many of the girls I knew couldn’t wait to get in their cars to drive to town and would ride up and down the streets to see if they could pick up some of the RFC cadets and officers.”

The U.S. cadets, to render their Canadian social rivals less appealing to the local women, were said to have started the rumor that the white band that fledgling Canadian cadets wore on their caps indicated that the wearers had a social disease.

taliaferro dance 1-27-18 stOn January 27, 1918 the Star-Telegram reported that the Daughters of Caledonia had entertained members of the RFC. “William Marsh” and “W. J. Marsh” are probably William J. Marsh, composer of “Texas, Our Texas.”

talia soccer 12-19-17 stThe men of the RFC also formed a soccer league. Clip is from the December 19, 1917 Star-Telegram.

taliaferro carruthers BPLMen and machine, Carruthers Field. Photo from Benbrook Public Library.

taliaferro carruthers clover squadron BPLClover Squadron, Carruthers Field. Photo from Benbrook Public Library.

taliaferro carruthers field crash BPLTraining to survive the dangers of war was itself dangerous. Photo from Benbrook Public Library.

taliaferro 2 fliers stDuring the few months that pilots trained at Camp Taliaferro, thirty-nine men were killed. On December 9, 1917 and February 10, 1918 the Star-Telegram reported the burial of one cadet and the death of another.

camp bowie money 12-16-17 stOn December 16, 1917 a Star-Telegram writer pointed out the effect of Camp Taliaferro and Camp Bowie on the local economy.

After the war the three airfields of Camp Taliaferro yielded to housing subdivisions and industrial zones. One of the last surviving remnants, the munitions building at Barron Field, for a while was owned by, incongruously, a local garden club.

taliaferro rfc graves hootenShakespeare wrote of his native island in 1595: “This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England.” That description could be applied to another island—this one also British but measuring just six graves wide and two graves deep and tucked into section G of Greenwood Cemetery on the West Side. Twelve of the thirty-nine pilots killed while training at Camp Taliaferro are buried in a plot bought in 1924 by England’s Imperial War Graves Commission.

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The Flatiron Building: Three-Sided Icon

With its distinctive footprint, it has been one of Fort Worth’s most iconic buildings for more than a century.

building flatironThe Flatiron Building, at a vertiginous seven stories, also was one of Fort Worth’s first “skyscrapers.” It was also an early effort of the architectural team of Sanguinet and Staats and one of the city’s first buildings to have a steel frame.

flatiron nyc 12-19-02 teleOur Flatiron Building was modeled after Manhattans’ Flatiron Building (1902, twenty-one stories), which is located a block from where “our” General Worth is buried. Coincidentally, our Flatiron Building is located a block from our General Worth Square. In this photo of Manhattan’s new Flatiron Building in the December 19, 1902 Telegram, the yellow arrow points to the top of General Worth’s obelisk on Broadway.

flatiron land 12-31-04 teleOn the last day of 1904 the Telegram reported that Dr. Bacon Saunders, dean of the medical college of Fort Worth University, had bought the triangular two-story building at Houston and 9th streets.

flatiron 1898The earlier building can be seen in this 1898 Sanborn map.

flatiron planned 2-5-06 teleSure enough, the February 5, 1906 Telegram reported that Saunders had plans to build on the site.

flatiron surveyThe February 5 clip says the triangular shape of the lot (A7 on this TAD map) conforms to the angle of Houston Street and the Jennings-Daggett survey boundary, but this map seems to indicate the Jennings-Childress survey boundary.

flatiron contract 8-18-06 teleThe construction contract for the building was let on August 16, 1906. Plans for the building were reduced from ten to seven stories to save money. The building opened in July 1907. Clip is from the August 18, 1906 Telegram.

flatiron factory place  3-24-07 teleFirst tenant of the new building was West Fort Worth Land Company, which was developing the Factory Place addition near today’s Union Pacific Davidson railyard. The full-page ad features an engraving of the Flatiron Building and boasts—apparently with a straight face—that “during the long summer months” the residence area of Factory Place “is favored by the cool breeze from the Gulf.” Clip is from the March 24, 1907 Telegram.

look up swastikas flatironThe Flatiron Building is one of two adjacent Sanguinet and Staats-designed buildings that features swastikas.

look up flatiron archeslook up 3 panther heads flatiron

entry flatironnight flatiron 2

night flatironbirds chickadee

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The Black Hole of a Red-Light District

The 1300 block of Rusk Street, where police officer W. A. Campbell was shot down on August 12, 1909, was the Black Hole of Hell’s Half Acre. That block and the adjacent blocks were a dense mass of saloons and bordellos that exerted a gravity-like attraction for many. That attraction could be fatal. Many a man went into the Black Hole but never came out. At least not vertically.

acre sanborn 1893This 1893 map of the 1300 block of Rusk Street and environs shows seventeen saloons and eleven structures labeled “F.B.” for “female boarding,” a euphemism for “bordello.”

acre murders head 8-13-09 stEven into the early twentieth century the Black Hole was a dangerous place. So dangerous, in fact, that after the Campbell murder the Star-Telegram on August 13, 1909 printed a compilation of homicides that had occurred within two blocks of where Campbell fell.

acre 2 officersOfficer Campbell was at least the third police officer to be killed in the Black Hole. The first, the Star-Telegram said, was C. L. Waller, shot on Rusk Street between 12th and 13th streets by Acre gambler Jim Toots in 1892. The second was officer John Nichols, shot to death on December 22, 1906 while on duty in the Standard Theater on Rusk at 12th Street. Barney Wise of Red River County was tried and acquitted.

Of the three men accused of killing these officers, only one—Toots—was convicted.

Other killings in the Black Hole of Hell’s Half Acre, classified by outcome of the case, included:

Conviction

 

acre mcgrath mug 3-28-96 dmnIn December 1894 city alderman Martin McGrath shot and killed James Rushing in McGrath’s saloon on Main at 11th Street. McGrath was convicted and sentenced to nine years but in 1896 “took French leave” from the county jail, the March 26, 1896 Dallas Morning News reported. He just walked out. “Without violence to lock or bars, his cell was unlocked and the coast clear.” The Star-Telegram in 1909 said McGrath had not been captured,

In 1905 John Rains stabbed Charles Lee to death in a barber shop on 11th Street near Rusk. He was convicted but, the Star-Telegram said, escaped from prison.

Acquittal

In April 1890 horse trader Walker Hargrove killed hotel cook Bill Williams at the Ridgway Saloon on Calhoun Street at 13th Street and was acquitted.

In October 1890 Hargrove shot and killed saddler Harry Tackett in Captain Shields’s saloon on Main at 10th Street. The two men had argued, the Gazette said, over “the affections of a young woman whose affections anybody could have bought quite cheap.” Hargrove was again acquitted. (In 1908 Hargrove, “survivor of a half dozen gunfights,” the Telegram said at the time, was himself shot to death in a saloon, but that saloon was located uptown at Main and 3rd streets.)

Mart Davis spent about as much time before the bar of justice as he spent behind the bar of his Shamrock Saloon on Rusk Street between 12th and 13th streets. In 1885-1886 Davis killed John Christ and Bill Davis within a block of where officer Campbell was shot. Davis was acquitted both times.

In 1902 in a saloon near 13th and Main streets a man and a woman were shot to death by the woman’s husband. He was acquitted.

In 1902 Minnie Strauss—said by the Register to be “an expert in the art of separating men from their money”—shot Jack Snow to death in Mart Davis’s Shamrock Saloon on Rusk Street and was acquitted.

Unsolved

In the 1880s, the Star-Telegram said, a half-dozen persons unknown shot to death Joe Collins as he entered a gambling house at 12th and Rusk streets. No one was arrested.

In 1906 a man in a black derby hat rushed into The Cave saloon at 1306 Rusk and stabbed to death “man about town” Pete Newman as Newman was singing a song at the bar. Dutch Murdock briefly was a suspect but was never tried.

In 1909, after the assassination of officer Campbell, District Judge James Swayne predicted that the Acre itself would soon be fitted for a toe tag (see Ambush in the Acre (Part 1): The Victim). Swayne’s prediction was premature, of course, by a few years. The Acre would rebound, as it always had, until such forces as J. Frank Norris, the Army’s Camp Bowie, and plain old change shut down the Acre brothel by brothel, saloon by saloon.

acre rusk wikiAs a primary downtown street, Rusk Street had been named in honor of Texas statesman Thomas Jefferson Rusk (photo from Wikipedia). But the street had become the Acre’s heart of darkness and, some people thought, increasingly brought dishonor to its namesake. Four months after the murder of officer Campbell, the city, to end that dishonor to Rusk the man (so the story goes), changed the name of Rusk the street to “Commerce.”

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Ambush in the Acre (Part 1): The Victim

It is the story of one remarkable place and two remarkable men. The place: Hell’s Half Acre. The men: police officer W. A. Campbell and saloon owner Bob Hammond. One man was remarkable for enforcing the law, the other for breaking the law.

On the police force only a few months at age thirty in 1909, William “Ad” Campbell pounded the toughest beat in town—the Acre. But in the contest of W. A. Campbell versus Hell’s Half Acre, Campbell felt that the Acre was the underdog.

campbell injunction 7-9-09 stEven into the early twentieth century the Acre remained a rough place, and police employed law enforcement methods there that today would bring lawsuits. This July 9, 1909 Star-Telegram clip says Acre slumlord Robert Markham sought an injunction against Campbell and another officer who, Markham said, would not allow him to collect his rents on Jones Street tenements.

campbell clean up man 8-13Campbell pounded his beat with the zeal of a reformer. Clip is from the August 13 Star-Telegram.

campbell shoots hammond 7-11Officer Campbell knew no fear. His superiors, on the other hand, did know fear: the fear that Campbell would get killed. In fact, Campbell made so many enemies with his by-the-book policing of the Acre that his superiors on more than one occasion assigned other officers to guard him as he walked his beat.

On July 10, 1909 Campbell, with two “guardian angel” officers in tow, was walking down 12th Street between Rusk (Commerce Street today) and Calhoun streets when he passed Bob Hammond, owner of the Dew Drop Inn on the eastern fringe of the Acre. On the mean streets of the Acre, Bob Hammond managed to stand out as gratuitously mean. Campbell had been warned about Hammond. As the saloon owner walked past Campbell and the other two officers, the two guardian angels were close enough to Hammond to later claim that Hammond “gritted his teeth . . . and reached for his gun.”

In response, Campbell shot at Hammond three times, hitting him twice—once in each leg. Despite such wounds, Hammond ran to the Standard Theater, where he was arrested and “disarmed.” Historians Richard Selcer and Kevin Foster, in their Written in Blood (Volume 1), write that Hammond did not have a gun on him. Note that the news story says that on the previous Thursday night, four officers had accompanied Campbell on his beat because police had heard that an attempt would be made on Campbell’s life. Clip is from the July 11 Star-Telegram.

campbell grand jury commend campbell 7-13-09On July 13 the Star-Telegram printed a commendation from the grand jury, saying the Acre needed more officers like Campbell.

campbell hammond charged 1 8-13-09 stOne month later, about 9:40 p.m. on August 12, officer Campbell, with officer Tom Jones tagging along, walked past the window of a room above the Jockey Club at 1315 Rusk Street in the Acre. A single blast from a shotgun fired from the window peppered Campbell with buckshot, killing him.

Minutes later Bob Hammond went to the police station—to learn more about the shooting, he claimed—and was arrested for the murder of Campbell. Clip is from the August 13 Star-Telegram.

campbell room searched 8-13Police quickly built a case of circumstantial evidence against Hammond. Police searched the room above the Jockey Club and found a “still warm” double-barreled shotgun. One barrel contained a spent shell. The other barrel contained a shell loaded with No. 7 buckshot—the charge that killed officer Campbell. Police also said that the shotgun used in the killing was owned by Hammond and that Hammond had left the shotgun in the Jockey Club “a couple of nights ago.”

Selcer and Foster write that Hammond claimed (1) that he had merely gotten the shotgun out of pawn for another man and (2) that he did not know what had become of the shotgun. Clip is from the August 13 Star-Telegram.

campbell hammond denies 8-14The Jockey Club proprietor said Hammond had been in the saloon about 8:30, had ordered a glass of water, and had with him a flask. The bartender identified a glass of water found in the upstairs room as the glass that Hammond had or a duplicate. Police said a flask found in the room had been bought by Hammond. The flask, the glass, and cigarette butts in the room, police said, indicated that the shooter had waited at the window a while for Campbell to pass on the sidewalk below.

The bookkeeper at Anderson’s gun shop also said Hammond had bought No. 7 buckshot shells.

Hammond denied everything and said he was a suspect only because Campbell had shot him a month earlier. Clip is from the August 14 Star-Telegram.

campbell jockey photo 8-13-09 stPhoto from the August 13 Star-Telegram re-creating the crime scene shows the second-story window and the location of Campbell and officer Jones below.

campbell meat 9-8-9 stOn September 8 the Star-Telegram quoted a man who said that on the day Hammond was released from the hospital after Campbell shot him, Hammond said, “Campbell was his meat and he would get him.”

campbell fearless as lion 8-13Police officers praised Campbell for his fearlessness in the August 13 Star-Telegram.

campbell petition 8-14As often happened after a crime in the Acre, the public reacted to the assassination of a police officer with calls to clean up the “cancerous sore.” A petition was circulated. Clip is from the August 14 Star-Telegram.

campbell sermon 8-15Sermons were preached. Clip is from the August 15 Star-Telegram.

campbell clean up acre 8-16Resolutions were adopted. Clip is from the August 16 Star-Telegram.

campbell swayne 8-14Grand juries were impaneled. On August 14 District Judge James Swayne, who had come to the legal aid of Jim Toots in 1892, said he would call a grand jury to investigate the killing of Campbell “and other things in the ‘acre.’” Swayne said that just as the murder of County Attorney Jeff McLean in 1907 had been the “death knell” of gambling in Fort Worth, so would the assassination of officer Campbell be the “death knell” of the Acre.

As for Bob Hammond, accused of assassinating police officer William “Ad” Campbell, the state seemed to have a strong case of circumstantial evidence.

Means? Check

Motive? Check

Opportunity? Check

Quick conviction? Maybe not

See Ambush in the Acre (Part 2): The Accused

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Ambush in the Acre (Part 2): The Accused

When the Devil was doling out meanness in Hell’s Half Acre, Bob Hammond went through the line twice. As he went through a second time he punched the guy in front of him and shot the guy behind him.

hammond bar cdSaloon owner Hammond, accused of killing police officer W. A. Campbell in 1909 (see Part 1), had himself been a Fort Worth police officer for a few months in 1907-1908, write historians Richard Selcer and Kevin Foster in Written in Blood (Volume 1).

hammond girl shot 7-23-08 teleThen Bob Hammond turned in his badge and went over to the other side. With a vengeance. He soon had a rap sheet that reads like a Monty Python script: violence of an absurd level. For starters, sometime in early 1908 Will Chadwick sold to Hammond the Dew Drop Inn on East 13th at Jones Street. The transaction was not amicable. In July 1908 Hammond and Chadwick argued. Hammond debated the issue with the only form of argument he knew: a gun. Hammond shot at Chadwick but missed. But before the smoke cleared, a man and a woman—W. R. Hunt and Sophia Wolfe—and a dog were hit. Hammond was charged with two counts of assault to murder. Clip is from the July 23 Telegram.

hammond panel 6-23 7-11 7-19 stAlthough Hammond was often convicted of penny-ante offenses, when it came to the big offenses—assault to murder in the Chadwick case, murder in the Campbell case—Hammond would seem to be Teflon-coated. Clips are from the June 23, July 11, and July 19, 1909 Star-Telegram.

hammond shot by campbell 7-11A year after the Chadwick shooting, on July 10, 1909 it was Hammond’s turn to be shot. As officer Campbell and Hammond passed each other in the Acre, Campbell thought Hammond was about to draw a gun on him and fired at Hammond. Clip is from the July 11 Star-Telegram.

hammond purdy 7-27-09 stBarely out of the hospital after being shot in both legs by officer Campbell, Hammond found time to assault a kindergarten cop (perhaps hitting him with a crutch?). Clip is from the July 27, 1909 Star-Telegram.

hammond my own merits 7-29-9 stTwo days later the Star-Telegram announced that Hammond would be a candidate for sheriff in the 1910 election! The article ticked off candidate Hammond’s recent violent run-ins with the law and then quoted him as saying he was running “strictly on my merits.”

hammond campbell charged 1 8-13-09 stThen, of course, came August 12 and the assassination of police officer Campbell on a sidewalk in the Acre. Hammond was charged with murder. Clip is from the August 13 Star-Telegram.

hammond candidate banner 8-13 stOn August 13 candidate Hammond got some free campaign publicity on page 1.

hammond sketch 8-18A preliminary hearing in the case was held in August. For the state’s case against Hammond, so far, so good. Sketch is from the August 18 Star-Telegram.

hammond continuance 12-10-09 stBut as soon as the state began rounding up witnesses in the case, it hit a brick wall. Or rather a stonewall. Eyewitnesses and others who knew something about the murder of Campbell lived or worked or played in the Acre. They were not eager to be on the witness stand and have their lives exposed to “the law.” Witnesses began disappearing. Suddenly the case that had looked so strong began to falter. The state began asking for continuances.

Hammond was freed on bond. Clip is from the December 10, 1909 Star-Telegram.

hammond dilatory 3-19-10 stIn March 1910 Hammond’s defense accused the state of dragging its feet. In fact, the state dragged its feet so long that the original indictment was quashed. Hammond had to be reindicted. Clip is from the March 19 Star-Telegram.

hammond dynamiting beat witness 4-22-10While free on bond in his murder case in 1910 Bob Hammond, the man who would be sheriff, got busy campaigning: First he was charged with dynamiting the Trinity River while fishing. Then he was charged with having a teenaged relative beat up a teenaged witness against Hammond. Clip is from the April 22 Star-Telegram.

hammond nose 4-28-10And then, after being found guilty of blowing up fish and assaulting a teenaged witness, Hammond “pulled the nose” of S. M. Gross, the state’s witness in Hammond’s assault on the fish-dynamiting witness. Ka-ching. Another charge of assault. (Are you getting all this?) Clip is from the April 28, 1910 Star-Telegram.

hammond 2 assault dismissed 5-11-13Meanwhile, back to the more serious charges. In 1913, five years after the wounding of Sophia Wolfe and W. R. Hunt in 1908, charges of assault to murder against Hammond were dropped. Clip is from the May 11 Star-Telegram.

And in 1914, after five years of trying to convict Hammond of murdering officer William “Ad” Campbell in 1909, the state gave up. With only circumstantial evidence—unsupported by today’s DNA, fingerprinting, and other forensics—the state just couldn’t find the witnesses to convict Hammond. The murder charge was dismissed.

Bob Hammond walked.

On the other hand, at least he wasn’t elected sheriff.

Coming Thursday: The Black Hole of a Red-Light District

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