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Liberty County, Texas
Obituaries and Death Notices

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ABSHIRE, ROY
Cattleman Drops Dead
Hull Daisetta - Roy Abshire, 56, life-long Liberty county cattleman and son of a family which settled in this county in 1850, dropped dead Friday at his home here.  [September 11, 1938; Heraldo de Brownsville (Brownsville, TX)]

ANDRESS, MILDRED
Mildred Andress, aged 13 years, daughter of Mr. Jeff Andress of Devers, died at the Sisters' hospital last night at 10:15 o'clock.  The remains will be shipped to Devers this morning and the funeral and interment will take place there.  Mr. Andress, the father, and Mrs. Andress, the step-mother of the deceased child, have been attending the child during her stay in the hospital since Sunday, when she was operated on for appendicitis.[The Daily Enterprise (Beaumont, TX) - Friday, December 9, 1910]

BANKS, CHILLERS
Died With an Oath on His Lips
Galveston, Tex., April 16 - A special to the News from Liberty, Tex., says: Chillers Banks, colored, was hanged Friday at Wallisville.  The execution was public and was witnessed by hundreds of people.  Banks was unmoved to the last, meeting his doom with stolid indifference.  His last word was an oath.  The crime for which he was sentenced to death was the murder of a negro-woman named Martha Penderson, on June 19 last.  Banks claimed that the woman had slandered him, and on hearing this he went direct to her home, called her out, and shot her without a word. [The Evening Bulletin (Maysville, KY) - Monday, April 16, 1888]

BRANCH, WHARTON
Funeral at Liberty
Houston, Tex., March 4 - After funeral services conducted by Rev. Henry J. Brown this morning at the home of E.T. Branch, the body of Wharton Branch was shipped to Liberty and interred in the family burying grounds.  The widow, children and a number of friends acocmpanied the body to the last resting place.  [March 5, 1908; Dallas Morning News (Dallas, TX)

BROWN, Dr. O. M.
Pioneer Liberty Doctor Dies
LIBERTY, Texas, Sept. 5. - Dr. O. M. Brown of Fostoria, 74, died at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Will Dunham of Fostoria, Tuesday, the funeral being held here Wednesday.  Dr. Brown was a widely-known Liberty County pioneer physician.  [September 6, 1930, Dallas Morning News (Dallas, TX)]

BURCH, Infant of GEO.
Devers: We deeply sympathize with Mr. and Mrs. Geo . Burch in the loss of their infant daughter. [The Daily Enterprise (Beaumont, TX) - Sunday, July 3, 1910]

CARLOS, CHARLES
Lumberjack Faces Charge of Murder
Baytown, Tex., March 31 - Ida Whitmire, 45-year-old lumberjack, faced murder charges today in the stabbing of his brother-in-law near New Caney Monday night.
     Charles Carlos, 63, died in a Cleveland, Tex., hospital shortly after relatives found him lying in a pool of blood on the front porch of his home.  He suffered a deep thigh wound.
     Whitmire was found at the home of a friend Tuesday morning by Montgomery county deputy sheriff clyde Casey, was taken to Conroe and then to Houston for questioning.
     Murder charges were filed here last yesterday before Justice R. R. Zierlein when it was determined the slaying occurred in Precinct No. 3 of Harris county. [Breckenridge American (Breckenridge, TX) - Thursday, March 31, 1949]

CARRAWAY, THOMAS
Died At Smith's Point, Liberty county, on the 23d. ult., Dr. Thomas Carraway, formerly of Mississippi, but for many years a citizen of this state. [Texas State Gazette (Austin, TX) - Saturday, June 22, 1850]

CARROLL, P. J.
Died of yellow fever, at 3 o'clock this morning, P. J. Carroll, born in Ireland, but lately a residence of Memphis, Tennessee.
     The deceased had, during a short resident in Liberty county, and a brief stay in this place, secured many personal friends. [Galveston Weekly News (Galveston, TX) - Tuesday, November 22, 1853]

CHERRY, C. C.
Sheriff Liberty County Dies
Liberty, Tex. Sept 25. - C.C. Cherry, Sheriff of Liberty County, died at 12:15 o'clock today. Funeral arrangements have been made for tomorrow at Tarkington. Mr. Cherry succeeded his brother, Lee Cherry, in office, who died a little more than a year ago. He took sick last Thursday with black jaundice and gradually, passed away, though they had all the doctors available to consult. He leaves a widow and three children. All his brothers and sisters were here when he died.  [September 26, 1910; Dallas Morning News (Dallas, TX)]

CHERRY, LEE
Liberty County Sheriff Dead
Liberty, Tex., May 2 - Lee Cherry, Sheriff of Liberty County, died this afternoon; cause, heart failure.  [May 23, 1909, Dallas Morning News (Dallas, TX)]

CLARK, Mrs. B. C.
Shooting Affray and Death of An Innocent Person - A man, known about here by the name of"Black Nash," shot a man named Obear, at Grand Cane, in Liberty county, on the afternoon of the 11th inst.  The two men were quarrelling together, when Nash leveled his gun at Obear and shot him, lodging twelve buckshot in the right breast, above the nipple, and scattering to near the top of the shoulder, without causing death.  After Obear was shot, a messenger was sent to Mr. B. C. Clark's, six miles distant, to have information on Obear's situation conveyed to his wife.  Mrs. Clark, on receiving the intelligence, started to go to Obear's house, and in crossing a fence fell and ruptured a blood vessel from the effects of which she died the following morning.  Mrs. Clark had been a resident of this county for over ten years, and was well known to all travelers through the upper portion of this county as an excellent and kind woman.  She leaves a husband and several children to mourn her untimely death.
     Obear was taken home, and his situation is considered doubtful.
     Black Nash is still at large. The officers and citizens in the northern part of Liberty county are in pursuit of him, and it is hoped that he will be arrested.[Galveston Weekly News (Galveston, TX) - Tuesday, July 27, 1858]

DeBLANC, SIMON
De BLANC Liberty, Tex., Sept. 8 Simon De Blanc, age 68 years, died at an early hour this morning after a lingering illness.  Mr. De Blanc was a descendant of a distinguished French family and came to this part of Texas from Rapides Parish, La., at an early age.  He was for a number of years Sheriff of Liberty County. [The Dallas Morning News (Dallas, TX) Wednesday, September 10, 1902]

DUNCAN, W. B.
Result of a Texas Shooting
Liberty, Tex., March 28 - W. B. Duncan and his father-in-law, W. K. Waul, were shot and instantly killed today.  A difficulty started between Duncan and Thomas Branch, and Waul and Wharton Branch, father of Thos. Branch, interfered.  Duncan and Waul were both shot through the heart and died instantly.  Wharton Branch was arrested and charged with the killing.  He was hurried to Houston on the first train.  Branch is a prominent attorney of South Texas. [Aberdeen Herald (Aberdeen, WA) - April 4, 1901]

FREIZA, BEN
Devers
Died, twelve miles below here at Hankamer, Mr. Ben Freiza, last Wednesday.  Interment took place Thursday in the family graveyard.  He leaves an invalid wife and four children besides a host of relatives. [The Daily Enterprise (Beaumont, TX) - Sunday, February 5, 1911]

GORDON, FINNEY MORRIS
Finney Morris Gordon, a resident of Amarillo for 24 years, died Friday at 11:45 a.m. in Northwest Texas Hospital.  His home was at 3107 Polk.
     Mr. Gordon was a real estate salesman.  He formerly was with Mann Bakery for seven years and with Standard Brands for 21 years.
     He was born in Liberty, Tex., and was a veteran of World War I.  He was a member of the Amarillo Real Estate Board.
     Funeral rites will be conducted at 4 p.m. today in Blackburn-Shaw Memorial Chapel by Dr. William E. Everheart, pastor of Westminster Presbyterian Church.
    Pallbearers will be Charles Wolflin, Bill Lemons, Bob Yeager, Bill McVean, Johnny Hines and Brownie Mann.
     Mr. Gordon is survived by his wife, Mrs. Ethel Gordon; three sons, Mack Gordon of Amarillo, Finney M. Gordon, Jr. of Albuquerque, and Edward Cheadle of Falls Church, Va., and two sisters, Mrs. Alice Craft of Flint, Tex., and Mrs. Guy Dunlap of Houston. Source:  Publication Unknown, December 1958, transcribed by M.K.K.

GRIFFIN, FRANK S., Sr.
Funeral Services Held for Liberty Ex-Mayor
Liberty, Texas, Aug 6 - Funeral services were held here Sunday for Frank S. Griffin Sr., former mayor of Liberty.
Griffin, longtime drugstore owner, died in a Beaumont hospital Saturday after a brief illness.
He served as chief executive of Liberty during the late 1930's.  [August 7, 1950; Dallas Morning News (Dallas, TX)]

HARDIN, Col. A. B.,
The Liberty Observer announces the death of Col. A.B. Hardin, at the advanced age of 75, and says:  He was here during all the struggles between Texas and Mexico, and was, we believe, a member of the Provisional Congress that declared the independence of Texas, and established a provisional government.  [August 25, 1871, Union (Houston, TX)]

HARDIN, WILLIAM
Top Of Head Blown Off - Prominent Man Found a Corpse After Breakfast
Liberty, Tex., April 6 - Judge W. F. Hardin died here Sunday morning from wounds from a charge from a shotgun.  He had been in bad health for some years, but during the last few months seemed to be improving.  He at his breakfast with the family as usual.  Soon after, while all the other members of the family were out of the house, he stepped into another room.  Immediately thereafter the sound of a shot was heard, and it was found that the top of his head had been blown off, a shotgun being used.  The weapon lay on the floor near the body.  Judge Hardin had removed one of his shoes.
     The deceased was a Confederate veteran, and about sixty years of age.  A quarter of a century ago he was county judge of Liberty county.  He is survived by three sisters - Mrs. J. Skinner of Lampasas, Conelia G. Davis of Dallas and Miss Helen Hardin of this place, besides a large number of other relatives.  He had friends all over the state. [Jefferson Jimplecute (Jefferson, TX) - Friday, April 10, 1908]

KOEN, IRENE and  NELLIE

MOORE, ZONA
Miss Zona Moore died at her home on the 23 inst., after a lingering illness. [The Daily Enterprise (Beaumont, TX) - Sunday, July 3, 1910]

NELSON, J. N.
Liberty Farmer Dies.
LIBERTY, Texas. Oct 4. - J. N. Nelson, 32, Liberty County rice farmer, died Friday at his home south of Devers and was buried in the afternoon in the Anahuac Cemetery. Surviving are his wife; his father, J. N. Nelson, and three brothers.  [October 5, 1930; Dallas Morning News (Dallas, TX)]

NORMAN, JOSEPHINE
Hull: Died, July 27th, Josephine, the infant daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Joe Norman.  Interment was in Oak Dale cemetery.  We deeply sympathize with the bereaved family. (The Liberty Vindicator, Liberty, Tex, Aug 12, 1910)

NUGENT, OVERTON
Held On Murder Charge
Liberty, Tex., Jan. 8 - John Hill and Hobert Taylor were arrested by Sheriff Cherry, charged with complicity in the killing of Overton Nugent at his home, five miles from here, and for which crime Gilbert Taylor is already under arrest.  Nugent was shot to death. [El Paso Herald (El Paso, TX) - Saturday, January 8, 1910]

OVERTON, ARCHIE W.
One Dead the Other Dying
Liberty, Tex., Feb. 27 - Sam P. Perryman, the attorney, of Houston, Tex., shot and killed Archie W. Overton.  He was probably fatally stabbed himself.  An old feud was the cause. [The Bourbon News (Paris, KY) - Tuesday, March 2, 1897]

PARTLOW, ELLEN
Price Daniel's Grandparent Dies
LIBERTY, Tex., Nov. 30 - Mrs. W. S. Partlow, 93-year-old grandmother of State Attorney General Price Daniel and Liberty County's oldest native citizen, died at her home yesterday after an illness of four weeks.
     Born in a log cabin on a grant received by her grandfather, H. E. Johnston, from the Mexican government, Mrs. Partlow had lived all her life in Liberty county.
     During her girlhood, because of limited school facilities, she received most of her schooling in Ball High School at Galveston, making the trip between the two cities by boat on the Trinity River.
     Funeral services have not been completed. - [Breckenridge American (Breckenridge, TX) - Thursday, November 30, 1950]

RIVIERE, JOSEPH
LIBERTY. Texas, March 3 - Joseph Riviere, 66, retired capitalist and a pioneer of this city, died at the family home here Sunday morning of heart trouble. He had been confined to his bed since Thursday, but had been suffering from heart trouble for several months. Mr. Riviere came to Liberty County from Valence, France, fifty years ago. He is survived by three sons, B. C. Riviere, president of the First Liberty National Bank; Tink Riviere, Texas League baseball pitcher with Beaumont, and Joseph Riviere Jr., all of this place. A daughter, Mrs. A. J. Hartell of Hull, also survives, as do a brother and sister living in France.  [March 4, 1929; Dallas Morning News (Dallas, TX)]

ROBINSON, KIT
Hanged - Kit Robinson Pays the Death Penalty - Executed At Liberty in Presence of a Large Crowd - Neck Was Broken
And the Noted Murderer Died With Hardly a Single Struggle
Robinson Was Convicted and Executed for the Cold-Blooded Murder of Dowdy Johnson
Liberty, Tex., Oct. 11 - (Special) - At 11:35 o'clock today in the presence of large crowds of people from the surrounding country.  Kit Robinson was hanged for the murder of Dowdy Johnson.  His neck was broken by the fall and he died without a struggle.
     The crime for which Kit Robinson was executed was one of the most heinous in the history of Eastern Texas, and when his confession is heard the most tender hearted person can stand and see him swing in regular motion from the gibbet without quivering for him.  While he denied being the perpetrator of circumstances is stronger than is weaved in many cases and the supposition is that before he left the place where his victim was writhing in his blood that Robinson kindled the fire that charred the bones and burned to a crisp the human flesh that formed the anatomical construction of a once harmless man.
     "Dowdy" Johnson, as he was known, was in the employ of the Houston East and West Texas railway, his duties being a visit at regular intervals to the tanks at West river and East river, both of which are located on the lines which separates Montgomery and Trinity counties and pump water enough to supply the tanks of passing trains, Johnson was about 55 years of age.  He lived at West river tank with his family, and by long and faithful service with the company he had been given the employment which would be easier for him in the latter part of his life.
     June 1 last was the day upon which the old pumper made his regular visitation to East river tank, which is in Trinity county.  He had with him about $55 in cash.  In the afternoon of that day a man passing the pump house saw smoke issuing from the door of the engine room and investigated what he believed to be an incipient fire which had started from coals from the fire box.  As the passer entered the place he was met with the odor of burning flesh.  Lying upon the floor of the small building, within three feet of the boiler, was the lifeless body of Dowdy Johnson, partly burned by a fire which had been kindled and the corpse thrown across it.  It was a scene that chilled the blood in the veins of the explorer, and he hesitated for an instant as he gazed upon the inhuman work of the murderer.
     While the aged engineer was engaged at his work he had been struck on the head with a billet of wood, the skull being crushed on each side.  Death probably occurred instantly, and bending over the bleeding corpse the assassin rifled the pockets of earnings of the inoffensive victim.  Not satisfied with his cowardly work the perpetrator sought to destroy the evidence of murder, and kindling a fire with the pumphouse wood he threw the body across it and left.
     When found the left foot and hand of the old man were burned completely off, the flesh of the left leg burned to a crisp, the face beyond recognition, and the flame had eaten into the abdomen, from which crisp intestines protruded.
     When the murderer left the dead man he crossed the county and reached West ricer tank after the family of Mr. Johnson had departed to meet the remains of the husband and father.  Here Robinson continued his work of robbery.  Among other things he took was a pistol, which was afterwards found upon his person.  He left the keys to the pump house, which he had taken from the pocket of his victim and departed on foot for Humble Station.  At this place he stole a horse and rode to Aldine, a station on the International and Great Northern railway.  Officers were within a mile of him when he deserted his horse and were within sight of the train when it pulled out of Aldine with him aboard.  There being no means of using the telegraph Robinson was enabled to proceed to Keo, where he found refuge at the home of a relative and where he was afterwards arrested.

August 26 - Kit Robinson was tried in the criminal court of Liberty county, the verdict being guilty with the death sentence as the penalty.  He confessed the crime of murder, but denied the burning.  He was then taken to Houston for safe keeping.

Houston, Oct. 11 - Before Robinson was taken from the jail in this city Monday a Gazette reporter asked him about his crime.  He acknowledged that he struck the old man with a stick, killing him, but said he had no motive.  He denied the robbery and the burning.  He was a desperate negro.  The day before  he was removed from the Harris county jail his cell was searched and beneath the blankets of his bed was found two long iron bars, which had been wrenched from the jail cot, his intention no doubt being to resist any attempt to take him from prison.  When this evidence of desperation was discovered a ruse was used to entice him from behind the bars so that there would be no trouble. [The Fort Worth Gazette (Fort Worth, TX) - Saturday, October 12, 1895]

SWINNEY, JOSEPHINE
Liberty County Pioneer Buried.
LIBERTY, Texas, July 9. - Funeral services were held at Moss Bluff Wednesday for Mrs. Josephine Swinney, 72, Liberty County pioneer, who died at the home of her son, Lee Swinney, at Raywood Tuesday. Mrs. Swinney is survived by her son.  [July 10, 1931; Dallas Morning News (Dallas, TX)]

WASHINGTON, HUGH
A tree Hugh Washington, a negro, was sawing down near Liberty, Tex., fell on him, killing him. [The Caucasian (Shreveport, LA) - Thursday, July 25, 1907]

WATSON, JOHN
A Man Shot Dead at Liberty
Liberty, Nov. 20. - Yesterday John Sweley rode up to John Watson and said: "You charged me with stealing a cow." Before Mr. Watson could reply, Sweley shot him down with a shotgun, killing him instantly. Mr. Watson was a good citizen. Swelley is a young man about 23 years old, 5 feet 10 or 11 inches high, upper part of right ear off, under part of left ear split. When last seen he had on a light pair of pants, brown sack coat and coarse shoes. One hundred and twenty-five dollars has been offered for his capture.  [November 21, 1885, "Dallas Morning News" (Dallas, TX)]

WAUL, W. K.
Result of a Texas Shooting
Liberty, Tex., March 28 - W. B. Duncan and his father-in-law, W. K. Waul, were shot and instantly killed today.  A difficulty started between Duncan and Thomas Branch, and Waul and Wharton Branch, father of Thos. Branch, interfered.  Duncan and Waul were both shot through the heart and died instantly.  Wharton Branch was arrested and charged with the killing.  He was hurried to Houston on the first train.  Branch is a prominent attorney of South Texas. [Aberdeen Herald (Aberdeen, WA) - April 4, 1901]

WILLOUGHBY, GERALDINE
Liberty County Official Killed
Beaumont, Texas, May 20 - Miss Geraldine Willoughby, 24, Assistant Liberty County Auditor, died Monday of injuries received when a car in which she was riding collided with another car Sunday.  [May 21, 1935, Dallas Morning News (Dallas, TX)]

WHITE, EUGENE
Devers, March 8 - Eugene White, aged 36, eldest son of James White, an old resident of this county, died at his home six miles from here at 2 a.m.  Friday morning after a weeks illness with pneumonia.  He leaves a wife and four small children, mother and father, besides a host of relatives to mourn his early demise.  He was a good friend and neighbor. [The Daily Enterprise (Beaumont, TX) - Wednesday, March 9, 1910]

WOODS, DELL
Dystrophy Leader Dies at Liberty
Liberty, Texas, Oct. 24 - Dell Woods, a symbol of strength to thousands of muscular dystrophy victims, died thursday at the age of 44.  She and her sisters, Nadine and Sallie Woods - all victims of the crippling disease - founded the National Foundation for Muscular Dystrophy Research in 1950.  All three sisters worked for the foundation from wheel chairs.
Miss Woods was also survived by her mother, Mrs. Terry Woods; two brothers, Terry Jr., and Riley, and another sister, Mrs. John Bartholomew.  Services will be at 9:30 a.m. Saturday in Liberty. [October 25, 1957, Dallas Morning News (Dallas, TX)]

 

 


 

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