The Comanche Chief, Comanche, Texas, 5 February 1880

Thursday morning last, Messrs. DICKSON & GREEN and LESSING & Co. missed several valuable hides which they owned the night before. Mr. A.L. HAMILTON also discovered that his store had been burglarized to the amount of three or four dollars in small change. Sheriff CUNNINGHAM immediately undertook the job of finding the thief, and he succeeded in working up the case most admirably. His only clue was a wagon trail which led in the direction of Brownwood, and he immediately started for that town accompanied by Mr. KEY, for the purpose of intercepting the thief. At Brownwood it was discovered that the missing hides had been purchased by Mr. STEPTOE, of that place from a young man named R.E. SMITH, and that he had spent the money in that town, and had then returned to his home, near Mercer’s Gap in this county. Sheriff CUNNINGHAM immediately returned to Comanche, and arrested SMITH early Friday morning, at his home, and brought him to town.

Much surprise was expressed at SMITH’s arrest, as he was generally supposed to have been a straightforward young man, apparently square and attentive to his own business. The proof against him, however, was overwhelming. Saturday morning the officers discovered over two wagonloads of goods at SMITH’s house, which were identified by numerous citizens as their property and went to show that SMITH had been systematically stealing from our merchants for several months and it is a matter of surprise that he had not been captured long since. His plan of stealing appears to have been as follows: He would drive his wagon in the rear of one of the store, in the day time, and leave it. He would then lounge around town until after the stores were closed for the night, when he would open a back window and climb in the store, take what goods he wanted, put them in his wagon, and drive home before daylight. Among the stolen property in his possession was a clock and set of shirt studs which were stolen from Mr. J.M. CLOWER, several months ago; innumerable articles of dry goods and groceries, such as overcoats, blankets, bolts of calico, shirts, drawers, socks, handkerchiefs, parasols, fans, canned fruits, mackeral, several sacks of flour, canvassed hams, bundles of shingles, a keg of molasses, pickles, two boxes of cigars, and numerous other articles, all of which were identified by Messrs. STEPHENS, HAMILTON, HOLMSLEY, BEEMAN and others.

SMITH waived an examination before Justice BROWN, Saturday, and, in default of $1,000 bail, was committed to jail to await the action of the grand jury. SMITH, so rumor says, was to have been married last Sunday, and stole a good many articles for the purpose of starting house-keeping.


Wm. DYER has gone to Sipe Springs, where he will sell goods for A.G. RICE & Co.

Messrs. Geo. KNIGHT and Henry STEPTOE, two of Brownwood’s jolliest boys, were in town Saturday on business. Come again, boys.

Mr. J.B. HALL, the efficient agent for the Waco stage line, returned from Waco Sunday.

Miss Ellen HARRIS has returned to our little city after an absence of over a year. She was heartily welcomed by her many friends.

MARRIED the residence of the bride’s mother, Mrs. HART on the 1st of February, 1880, by Elder J.T. HARRIS, Mr. C.R. COOK and Miss Sarah J. HART. All of this county.

DEATHERAGE-BOATMAN..At the residence of the bride’s parents, near Blanket postoffice, Brown county, Texas, Sunday, Feb. 1st 1880, Mr. F.A. DEATHERAGE to Miss Lizzie BOATMAN.

©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.