The Comanche Chief, Comanche, Texas, 23 October 1879


Rev. J.T. HARRIS preached two eloquent and impressive sermons, at the court house, Sunday. A large audience gave him their attention.

Rev. Lewis CHAMBERLAIN will preach at the Methodist Church tonight.

Billy LEE lost his saddle bags, on the road to Hamilton, the other day. See his notice in another column.

Dr. D. DYE has arrived and will remain only a few days. all those needing dentistry should call on the doctor while he is here.

For the size of the town we will wager, Comanche has less musical talent than any town in the United States, but we are glad to note that it is improving in that respect. Several new pianos have recently been purchased and parents are beginning to take more interest in learning their children the art of performing on that excellent instrument. Miss HART, a most beautiful performer and a thorough teacher, has recently settled in our midst and is giving lessons to quite a large class.

FOR SALE-300 acres of good land in Comanche county. Will take the pay in work. Apply to J.D. STEPHENS

Messrs. GEORGE, NUGENT, BORDERS and THORNTON, of Stephenville Royal Arch Chapter, organized a chapter at this place last week, and set it to work under dispensation with the following as officers:

W.L. SARTWELLE, H.P.; James CARDER, K.; D. WALCOTT, Scribe; J.J. FRANKLIN, C.H.; W.T. LEE, P.S.; G.A. BEEMAN, R.A.C.; E.L. SHROPSHIRE, 3d V.; R. HOLLAND, 2d V.; C.S. FRITZ, 2st V.; B.F. WRIGHT, Treasurer; J.W. GREENE, Secretary; J. MILNER, Guard.


The Junior Chief and Mr. E.W. HOPE departed, on Tuesday’s stage, for Fort Worth. Mr. HOPE will bring Mrs. HOPE back with him.

Our former fellow townsman, W.J. McLANE, now a resident of Concho county, has been in town for the past week, as happy as a lark and as gay as a junebug in Jamestown-weed time.

R.T. LONG, the efficient sheriff of Erath, is in town, attending court as a witness in the MACKEY-McDONALD mob case. Mr. LONG is conceded to be one of the best sheriffs in Texas, and is a terror to thieves and evil-doers.

We were pleased to form the acquaintence of Mr. W.N. BEALL, formerly of Mississippi, who has recently settled in our town.


The cotton gin located at Blanket, or ANDESSON’s store was destroyed by fire on the 20th, with about three bales of cotton, two of which belonged to F.A. DEATHERAGE & Co. and the other to Mr. Tom NELSON. Mr. CARTER looses [sic] his gin stand, valued at $250. The fire is supposed to have originated from a match or rock in the cotton which was being ginned, as it was first discovered in the lint room.

The gin had only been in operation a short time and was doing a good business, and its loss will be greatly felt in the neighborhood. Mr. CARTER, we understand, intends replacing the gin at once.


On the Hamilton and Comanche road, a pair of Saddle Bags, containing 1 black coat, 3 shirts, a pair of drawers, socks and some smaller articles. The finder will please leave them at the Chief office and oblige W. T. LEE


The following is a list of cases tried and otherwise disposed of by the court up to 12 m. yesterday:

Civil Docket

J.O. TOLIVER vs. S.W. BLOUNT. Injunction. Judgement for plaintiff

E.J. MORGAN vs. L.T. COKER, et al. Trespass to try title. Dismissed at plaintiff’s cost.

J.F. CHILDRESS vs. P.G. CROSSLY, et al. Injunction. Dismissed at plaintiff’s cost and suit reinstated.

Wm. PENDERGRASS vs. J.S. WHALEY, et al. Attachment. Dismissed at plaintiff’s cost.

Martha ROSS vs. M.J. ROSS. Suit for divorce. Dismissed.

Milton BROWN vs. S.P. FORD. Note and lien. Dismissed at cost of plaintiff.

M.S. McKEEN et al. vs. J.F. CANNEDAY. Note and lien. Judgment by default and lien foreclosed.

Mack STADDER & Co. vs. R.T. CHILDS & Co. Debt and note. Judgement by default; clerk to assess damages.

LESSING, LYONS, SOLOMON & Co. vs. T.A. McDONALD et al. Debt and note. Judgment by default; clerk to assess damages.

J.M. HALEY vs. W.H. SIMMONS. Mandate of Appelate Court filed and case dismissed at appellant’s cost.

Criminal Docket

State vs. Thomas GRAVIS. Theft of cattle. Acquitted.

State vs. Wm. LANCASTER. Official misdemeanor. Nol. pros.

State vs. Branch HUFF. Assault with intent to murder. Found guilty of an aggrivated assault and fined $25 and costs.

State vs. E.W. HOPE. Nol. pros.

State vs. Thomas HOLCOME. Aiding prisoner to escape. Acquitted.

State vs. J.R. GORDON. Theft of mare and colt. Acquitted.

State vs. E.J. CARRINGTON. Official misdemeanor. Nol. pros.

State vs. T.L. HOSMARK. Nol pros.

State vs. L.B. WOOD. Embezzlement. Acquitted

State vs. J.B. SMALLWOOD. Dismissed for want of prosecution.

State vs. W.P. LANCASTER. Assault and Battery. Fined $2.50 and cost.

State vs. GOOLBY, alias J.W. ROBERSON. Plead guilty and penalty assessed at five years in the penitentiary.


"Not Guilty" Sayeth the Jury

The case of the State vs. W.D.D. STANIFER indicted for the murder of his wife, Lidia STANIFER, was called in the District court Monday morning last. Both sides announcing ready, the clerk proceeded to call the special veniri of sixty, and the enpanneling of the jury began. The veniri was soon exhausted, however, the State challenging six, the defence eight and fifty-three for cause. Another veniri was soon summoned, and at about 2 p.m. the last juror took his seat in the box.

The following gentlemen composed the jury: S.R. DOGGETT, W.T. WEAVER, J.N. BROUGHTON, A.J. COTTRELL, L.L. THORNTON, M.M. STONE, A.J. PETTITT, N.W. BROUGHTON, W.H. DAVIS, W.H. McKEE, J.J. MARTIN and E.J. WHITT.

After the jury was sworn in the examining of witnesses, over twenty in number including doctors TUCKER, LEE, ROBERTSON, HOLMSLEY and JACK, lasted until late Tuesday evening. Mr. N.R. opened the argument for the State in a speech of some length which was pronounced by all who heard it to be a masterly argument, well timed and delivered. Hon. Ira B. SADDLER, for the defence, came next in a long talk of over an hour and a half, after which the court, being fatigued, adjourned over night.

Yesterday morning the Hon. Jno. D. STEPHENS, also for the defence, made an able, logical and concise argument in his client’s behalf, which was followed by District Attorney MOORE in the best effort he ever made at this bar.

The argument concluded, Judge FLEMING read his charge and the jury retired, at about 3 p.m. to make up their minds and return their verdict. At half-past eleven, the sheriff was notified that they had made up their minds, and Judge FLEMING was sent for and opened court at 12 o’clock. The jury then came in with the following verdict:

We the jury find the prisoner not guilty. Whereupon the prisoner was released. STANIFER then shook hands with the counsel and jurors and retired.

The verdict was the subject of much comment, and a surprise to the many, although it is admitted by all fair-minded men who heard the evidence that the jury could have done nothing but acquit with the evidence produced in court.

Thus endeth the chapter.

©2004 Judith Michaels.  This transcription is the generous work of Judy Michaels taken from microfilm held by the Newspaper Collection of the University of Texas at Austin with a microfilm copy at Comanche Public Library.  The information may be used for personal research only and not for commercial purposes without specific permission.