Posted By:Nita
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Subject:Reference to Moody Killings in 1800's San Saba Co.
Post Date:August 12, 2004 at 08:22:08
Message URL:http://genforum.genealogy.com/tx/sansaba/messages/288.html
Forum:San Saba County, TX Genealogy Forum
Forum URL:http://genforum.genealogy.com/tx/sansaba/

This might help someone--no other information in the newspaper and not related to any of the surnames.


The Morning Star
Ardmore, Carter County, Oklahoma

Thursday Morning

July 25, 1911

Arrested for Murder Committed 20 Years Ago
An old man held under arrest accused of murdering man and boy in San Saba County, Texas
A simple daughter with him, she declare her father killed man and little boy, but agrees to many fictitious things, denying others.

HUGH MILLER, sheriff of San Sababa County, Texas, was in the city a few hours yesterday noon and was met by a Star reporter. He stated that he was enroute to McAlester where he was called by his first deputy, W. T. CHAMBERLAIN, who had caused the apprehension of an old man 65 years old who gave his name as MITCHELL PICKETT, but who is really believed to be W. I. or IKE CRAVENS, who is wanted in San Saba County on a charge of double murder committed twenty years ago.

Deputy Sheriff Chamberlain was enroute to Coalgate to visit his daughter when the resemblance of the old man to Cravesn attracted his attention. Sheriff Miller says that Chamberlain should know the old man and that he knows he can identify him if he is the party wanted. The sheriff promised to wire the Star from McAlester if Pickett was the man wanted, Cravens. The following from the McAlester News-Capitol about the case will be of interest to our readers:

An old man with gray hair and whiskers, giving his age as 65 last March and his name is Mitchell Pickett, is in the city jail awaiting the arrival of Sheriff Hugh Miller of San Saba County, Texas. He is being held on the theory that he is in reality W. I. or Ike Cravens who shot and killed a wealthy farmer named MOODY and killed Moody’s six year old son in August 1891 under circumstances which are peculiarly shocking.

The old man stoutly declares that his name is Pickett and that is a grand nephew of General Pickett who made himself immortal at Gettysburg and that he was never in San Saba County, that he does not know anything about the Moody killing and never heard of it before, that he has never even used a gun in his life and has never been charged with any offense before.

A woman claiming to be his daughter left last night for Little Rock, accompanied by two children, 4 and 6 years. She bore out most of his statement, when separately examined as to details, but declared to several people including a reporter that her father had come to her on the train and told her he expected a man in the car would arrest him for ‘killing that man and little boy.’

The woman was apparently half-witted and remembered readily a lot of imaginary incidents, together with names which the reporter concocted for purposes of testing her intelligence and reliability.

W. T. Chamberlain, for over a quarter of a century deputy sheriff of San Saba County, is responsible for the arrest which occurred at the Union Station here last Monday. He arrested him on the strength of his resemblance to Cravens, whom Mr. Chamberlain knew personally prior to the killings.

‘I saw him and the woman and children get on the train at Durant… the woman and the children sat on the other side and he sat in front of me. I was struck by the resemblance to Cravens at once. And then I watched him. He fidgeted around a good deal. I noticed the scar running from his ear to his nose. After the arrest he denied that he even had a scar, but it is clear on his face. Cravens had such a scar, getting it in a knife fight with GEORGE SMITH three years before he killed Moody. He nearly cut Smith’s head off in the fight. He is not as heavy as Cravens was. He has the same eye, same shaped head, same features. He wears the same shoe size. He tells me that he is not as heavy as he was. He also tells that his beard is not heavy as it was before a spell of fever. … Finally, just before we got to Atoka, I leaned over and asked his name. He answered Pickett and immediately drew a broad bladed knife and acted as if he intended to use it on me’…When the party got off at McAlester, a local officer was called and the old man was under arrest. …

He gave the story of his life. He was not very strong on dates but he was positive as to the number of years ago any particular thing happened. He told of various places where he had lived but could not give the names of officials, governors … other information any ordinary man would know. During the time of the killing, he claimed he resided in Delta County, Texas near COSTIN’s gin. He said JOHN COSTON, merchant, postmaster, and gin owner knew him. He remembered JUDGE PATTERSON, whom he called variously county judge or squire of justice of the peace. He also knew a DR. HENRY who he said later died in the nation. He also knew a blacksmith named ANDERSON who worked at Unitia and Mount Joy. This seemed to be the extent of the recollection of names and persons in that section. Cravens came to the San Saba County from Robertson County about 7 years before the killing; Pickett denies that he was ever in Robertson County.

Cravens was married twice. The prisoner claims he was married once. He says that he came to Texas from LINCOLN COUNTY, TENNESSEE late in 1869 with his father E. H. PICKETT and brother ANDY PICKETT, both dead over 14 years. He says his wife was SARAH HESTER and they were married at Petersburg, Tennessee Oct. 1. 1869. He said that he had to go to Fayetteville to get the marriage license.

Records show that James M. Pickett was married to Sarah Hester Sept. 30, 1869 by REV. J. R. WARREN. As yet cannot learn where they went. Will make further investigation, giving you the results. This was in answer to the a telegram sent to Fayetteville by authorities.

The old man has insisted all the time on his names being MITCHELL PICKETT. Without having been informed of the receipt of the telegram from Fayetteville, he was asked if he hadn’t gone under some other name in his youth. ‘No sir, I’ve always been Pickett.’ ‘But what was your first name?’ ‘J. M.’ ‘What was your first Christian name?’ ‘James.’ He did not recall the name of the preacher who married him. He described him as a tall, slim man, light complexioned. J. WAGGONER who used to live at Fayetteville said the description answered that of the late REV. J. B. Warren mentioned in the telegram. He says that Warren was reared at Peterburg being a pastor of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. The prisoner last night had stated that his father was a Cumberland Presbyterian. Mr. Waggoner asked the old man whom he knew around Petersburg. The old man mentioned the names of a few. When questioned as to the names of brothers he answered readily and Mr. Waggoner said that in every instance he got them right.

While Mr. Chamberlain last night seemed to take no stock in the old man’s story as to his name having been Pickett in early life.

Bu when shown the telegram this afternoon and after he had heard the old man questioned by Mr. Waggoner, he said he did not doubt that the old man was telling the truth about his early life and that he might have changed his name to Cravens and then changed it back to Pickett.

He told of Cravens having killed a man in Robertson County and his having been acquitted for it. He was then going under the name of Cravens. He also told the story of Craven having a brother named Henry last heard of in Kent County, Texas. Henry lived in the neighborhood sometime after the killing of Moody. Cravens’ family also lived there some time and a son, BEN CRAVENS, was sent to the penitentiary after the killing on conviction for horsetheft.

The half-witted woman bore out her father, examined separately as to the names of all relatives, including the maiden name of her mother. She said she had an uncle Andy once but never an uncle Henry. She also denied that she ever had an brother Ben. She says that er brother HENRY PICKETT is now at Blanchard with her married sisters, MRS. L. L. FAGLEY. They all admitted that the woman had been in jail for vagrancy at Durant and that their fare was being paid to Little Rock. The Durant Democrat contained considerable stuff last week about the woman being in jail, the old man who had been living in a tent near town, having sat around with the children, praying for somebody to send him to Arkansas. In addition to their ticket, they had $5 in money. The old man cried over the money, saying part of it belonged to his little grandchildren.

Some sort of waiver was secured and the officer started with Pickett for Coalgate this afternoon but a citizen called for the district attorney, told him of the result of the partial investigation of the old man’s story and said that he thought a warrant as fugitive for justice should be sworn out and the whole thing done regularly. County attorney TARTER agreed that was the proper proceedings and the old man was ordered back to jail. The Texas sheriff is expected here tonight or tomorrow.

The sole question is one of identity.

Cravens had worked for Moody and they had some trouble. One evening he came to Moody’s house, carrying a Winchester. Moody was not armed. He started to run into his house when Cravens drew down and shot him through the head. The little boy about 6 years old ran to Cravens and clutched him by the leg, pleading with him not to shoot his father. Cravens kicked him away and the little fellow got up to run toward the house and Cravens fired at him, one through the calf, then Cravens went up to him and shot him through the head. Mr. Chamberlain was deputy sheriff at that time and arrived that night before bodies had been taken up from where they fell.

Six years ago, a man was arrested in Arizona on the suspicion that he was Cravens but he was later released.

Cravens’ brother Henry was indicted by the grand jury as being an accomplice in the murder, but was acquitted, it being clearly shown that he was trying to dissuade his brother. In the presence of two physicians, Ike Cravens exonerated his brother, waving his Winchester to emphasize his remarks. ‘Maybe after the smoke clears away I will come back here,’ he said to the doctors, TURNER and SIMS.

Pickett is slightly deaf but when he is looking straight in the face, he seems to hear much better.