De Leon Free Press

DeLeon, Comanche County, Texas, Friday, March 26, 1926

Closing Chapter of Rushing Smith’s Life Ends With Sad Tragedy

A tragedy seldom paralleled shocked this community during the last days of the past week, when Rushing SMITH, 30, succumbed to the dread scourge, hydrophobia, and four others are taking the Pasteur treatment for fear of taking the disease from contact with the dead man.

SMITH was attending his wife thru an operation at Blackwell sanitarium at Gorman on January 21st, last, when a mad dog came upon the lawn of the institution, biting him on the right arm. He took the Pasteur treatment locally, the serum being administered by local physicians. For some reason it was not effective.

Early last week SMITH gradually became ill; the physicians ordered him to Marlin to take the baths for what was believed to be neuritis. He arrived there suffering from influenza and threatened pneumonia Wednesday afternoon. Thursday morning he died a horrible death from hydrophobia.

Friday morning SMITH’s body was buried at Oliver Springs cemetery. After burial fear was expressed for the safety of the wife and little son, aged seven, and doubts of the cause of his death caused the family to have the body exhumed and the brain removed.

At midnight Friday, Dr. Edward BLACKWELL of Gorman Sanitarium, and C.H. SHARP, accompanied by neighbors of the family and A.C. POLNAC, from the M.K.T. shops here went to the churchyard and dug up the steel vault. The mechanic cut the lock with an acetylene torch and the surgeon and undertaker removed the brain. In the operation Dr. BLACKWELL accidentally let a sharp instrument slip and his arm was cut. The surgeon is now taking the Pasteur treatment, as is also the undertaker, C.H. SHARP, who handled the body, both having the serum sent out from the Terrill Laboratory and administered locally.

Immediately after the brain was removed, the wife of the dead man and her little son, accompanied by relatives, left by car for Austin carrying the brain with them. Examination at the Pasteur Institute showed that death was unmistakably caused by rabies.

Disastrous Fire At the Swagerty Filling Station

Fire originated in the workshop at Swagerty’s Filling Station and Garage last Thursday morning at 3:00 o’clock and before it could be brought under control the interior of the building and stock had been damaged to the extent of several thousand dollars. Three streams of water played upon the burning structure, and within 45 minutes of the alarm the fire was under control. The building was owned by J.A. SWAGERTY, the elder member of the family.

Damage to the stock and fixtures in the filling station and business office adjoining the garage was from smoke and heat, the stock being badly damaged and much glass was lost from the heat. The third compartment of the building, occupied by L.L. LIGHTFOOT, hardware, was damaged only slightly by smoke.

Nine automobiles were in storage and in the workshop when the fire occurred. A.L. STAMPER, San Antonio, lost a Hupmobile coupe, almost new, which cost $1585 new. He carried $1100 insurance. Hank WATSON, a grocery salesman, lost a Star touring, insured. Even BARKER and Billie BAGWELL lost a Ford touring, insured. E.W. OWEN, manager Garner-Alvis Co., lost a Ford coupe, not insured. E.L. HOUK, Katy fireman, lost a Ford coupe, insured. W.S. ROSE, traveling salesman, lost a Ford touring, not insured. Swagerty Motor Co., lost their trouble car, no insurance.

The Free Press "Slipped Two Cogs"—Two Weddings

The editor of this paper is unable to explain why two such important news items as the following could possibly have escaped the editorial attention. Perhaps the mystical "little bird" that is supposed to tell the paper all such things was busy building a nest.

At any rate our good friend S.B. GEORGE, was married to Miss Fannie NORTHCUTT on January 11th. Miss NORTHCUTT is the daughter of Mr. Robert NORTHCUTT, pioneer resident of the Liveoak community, some eight miles northeast of De Leon. They are making their home at the old NORTHCUTT homestead where the bride was born and reared. The Free Press wishes them much happiness.

The other wedding that "got by us" was that of Mr. Oscar WEATHERFORD to Mrs. Annie Mae NOWLIN. Even now the Free Press has not learned just when it happened but somewhere about a month ago, and Mr. and Mrs. WEATHERFORD are making their home near the home of his mother on the Comanche highway, while he is employed by Lowe-Carter Company here. This paper extends congratulations and best wishes.

Benefit Ball Game

A benefit ball game was arranged for Mrs. Rushing SMITH Tuesday afternoon this week and the business houses closed for the event, a large crowd going out to witness the game and incidentally to swell the fund. The game was between the "Isses and Hasbeens". Vern BROWNLEE and Ira INZER was battery for the "Hasbeens" and they defeated the "Isses" ELKINS-HARVEY-HANSFORD as battery, by a score of 7 to 4. The fund realized approximately $43.00.

County Track Meet-Comanche, Friday-Saturday

The high school of De Leon is very much enthused over the county Interscholastic meet to be held in Comanche Friday and Saturday of this week. We sincerely hope we give Comanche a run for their money this year.

Those entered in the different events from the high school are: Declamation (senior boys) Dick WEAVER; Declamation (senior girls) Bernice INZER; Debate (boys) Zollie STEAKLEY and Lowell PITTMAN; Debate (girls) Eudora NOEL and Louise LESTER; Spelling Thesil ALLEN, Violet TODD and a number of others; Tennis (boys) Walter LOWE, Zollie STEAKLEY and John D. HARVEY; Tennis (girls) Lillie REED, Eudora NOEL and Lucy Mae MERRITT. There are several literary events that have not been reported.

In the track and field meet to take place on Saturday, De Leon has entered the following men: HOSWELL, FARROW, EASTERLING, HARVEY, STEAKLEY, J. SMITH, POLNAC, M. NICHOLE, SHORT, GILDER, NABORS, HANSFORD, JACKSON, STOVER, MASSIE, HOLDRIDGE and HOWE. Possibly some have been overlooked but this is the majority of the squad that will journey to Comanche in the name of De Leon.

Jack Haynes Adds To Shop Equipment

Acetylene welding equipment has been added at the Haynes Blacksmith shop, also a full equipment for handling pipe work. Mr. HAYNES is now equipped to give service in almost any wanted line of metal work. He has an announcement in this issue.

Mrs. Curt Gregory Injured When Car Wrecked Saturday

While returning from the home of her sister near Ebenezer last Saturday, Mrs. Curt GREGORY was painfully bruised and burned about the neck, breast and side with gasoline when the car which was being driven by Shirley STRUBE went over the side of a slight embankment and turned bottom-up, pinning Mr. STRUBE and Mrs. GREGORY and her little daughter, Frances, under. Neighbors arrived a few minutes after the accident and lifted the machine off, and Mrs. GREGORY, who was the most seriously injured of the three, was rushed to town for medical attention. She was badly bruised and burned, but no bones were broken and she is recovering. The little girl was only slightly hurt. Mr. STRUBE was bruised and lacerated, but his injuries were minor.

When the machine turned over Mr. STRUBE had presence of mind to reach up and turn off the engine, which was still running. The top of the car was demolished, but it was otherwise not badly damaged.

Wayne Weaver Finished

Wayne WEAVER has finished a two year pre-medical course at Baylor university and arrived home this week, at the end of the second period of the school year. WEAVER did summer school work last year which enabled him to finish before the end of the present school year. He will study medicine.

New Hope News

Mr. PAIR and family of Dockum visited his son, Claude PAIR and family, Sunday evening.

Miss Vergie MUNN of De Leon is spending several days with her sister Mrs. Ed LIGHTFOOT.

Mrs. Frank BASSETT of Cisco has been spending several days with her daughter, Mrs. Shirley STRUBE, who has been very sick but is improving now.

Mr. Shirley STRUBE drove to town for his sister-in-law, Mrs. Curtis GREGORY of De Leon Saturday and while returning home their car turned over. It was some time before enough help arrived to get the car off of Mrs. GREGORY. Mr. STRUBE and Mrs. GREGORY were both injured but not seriously so.

Everyone who can is invited to meet at H.M. JOHNSON’s on Tuesday morning, March the 30th, for the purpose of making a drive to kill out the rabbits.

Duster News

Mr. and Mrs. Ernest GOATES of Sally Robinson community visited his parents Friday night.

Henry JAMES and family of Lubbock were here last week visiting his father, who is quite ill.

Lieut. Arthur DUKES, of St. Paul, Minn., was in this community last week visiting relatives. He has been transferred from the station at St. Paul to the Philippines and was on his way there when he stopped here for several days.

Round Grove News

Talk about flu, we are having it over here. There has been for the last few days from one to five sick in the following homes: Howell ROS, Emmitt RIPPETOE, Ed ROSS, Frank ROSS, Dalt GILDER, Ernest RIPPETOE, Reggie TREADWAY, Herd GILDER, W.M. RIPPETOE and Herman GILDER. The majority of these have been real sick, suffering mostly with severe headache and sick stomach. So far no fatal illness or pneumonia.

On account of so much sickness the rabbit drive that was announced for Wednesday was called off.

Mrs. Rupert BLANKENSHIP, who has been sick for some time, we are glad to report, is improving rapidly at present.

Mr. and Mrs. Henry SPINKS of Lamesa, who have been at the bedside of Mrs. Rupert BLANKENSHIP, returned to their home Monday. While here Henry went to Gorman and had his tonsils and adenoids removed. He has recovered and was doing fine when he left.

Ed RIPPETOE drove to Stephenville for a short visit with relatives. His daughter, Mrs. Bernice DAVIS and sister, Mrs. R.L. BLACK, returned with him on Tuesday.

Hallie Stephens Got Nose Caved In By Pitched Ball

While the boys were warming up for the De Leon-Cisco baseball game at northside park here last Friday afternoon, Hallie STEPHENS barber with John GRISHAM, while in the pitchers box was accidentally hit on the side of the nose by a ball thrown by Dick WEAVER, the member being badly bruised, in fact the bones in the side of the nose being broken. The accident was caused by two balls being thrown to STEPHENS at the same instant and he saw only one.

First aid was given STEPHENS by the local physician and he was carried to Gorman for examination and treatment. While his injury was extremely painful, it was not serious and he is recovering.

E.E. Akers Moving

Mr. and Mrs. E.E. AKERS and daughter, Miss Helen, were here this week from Munday preparing their household effects for shipment to their old (new) home, Munday. They formerly lived in Munday before coming to De Leon to engage in business six years ago. Their many friends regret to see them moving away.

Lee & Langley Now Operate The Hodges

J.A. LEE and S.D. LANGLEY have taken a lease on the Hodges Filling Station, just west of the De Leon Bakery and Mr. LEE will be actively in charge. Mr. LEE had an operation at Colgin sanitarium recently and has taken leave of absence indefinitely as fireman on the Katy. Mr. LANGLEY is a fireman and is continuing in the service.



©2004,2005 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.