Friday, March 13, 2015

Wallace testifies.

Yesterday was kinda a fun day for me @ work....
Instead of analyzin' fingerprints, processing evidence, digging up dead bodies, etc. I got to do "gun stuff"!!!
Secretary had a long list of stolen guns she needed help with before entering into computer (brands, models, calibres, all stuff she wasn't confident in)...I came to the rescue...hahaha!
Detective had a recovered projectile from a woman's chest he needed info on....right down my alley!!!
Also had to look @ recovered live rounds and render my opinion if they were same as bullet dug out of woman (they were. 158gr Federal RN Lead fired from .357 Mag revolver)
He wanted me to type up a report of my findings/observations and explain .38 Special can be fired from .357 Mag revolvers....right up my alley even more!!!
Finally, DA from courthouse had an urgent request I come post-haste to examine a revolver to see if it was capable of firing. Apparently the defense attorney was claiming the revolver was incapable of firing.
During a recess, I examined the H&R "Victor" ( or, Victory) model chambered to .32 S&W. Although it was a hunk-o-junk, it was fully functional. Rotated cylinder into alignment w/barrel, indexed properly, mainspring had plenty of strength to power the hammer forward, hammer mounted firing pin protruded sufficiently to contact primer, etc.
Prosecuting attorney instructed me to stand by as I would be put on the stand to explain all this to jury.
I did testify as an expert a kick out of being asked "Officer, just how long have you had exposure and working knowledge of firearms?" ...I answered, "Oh, about 50 years!"
I was in my element....explained and demonstrated how a revolver works and what makes a self-contained cartridge go bang.
Jury was all ears. DA investigator gave me the thumbs up after testimony saying that was exactly what they needed and my testimony was professional but presented in layman's terms for the benefit of the jury. I think it disarmed the defense attorney....his only rebuttal was "so officer, without actually firing the gun, you cant 100% say this gun would fire?" ...I had to answer "that's correct but, mechanically, there's no reason it wouldn't fire a live cartridge"...he passed the witness.  
Kinda fun getting to testify on something you are confident on besides it always being fingerprints and/or processing items of evidence. Don't mind that either but, gun related stuff is more fun!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Cousin Wallace recounts the Indian Wars in West Texas.

( This was published in a pamplet back in 1926 by an ole feller that experienced this. Next county east of where I grew up. My Dad told me of his grandmother, Granny Barnett of the Jewell community, in Eastland Co between Carbon & Gorman, relating to him about the time her mom & her hid under their table/table cloth when the indians raided their cabin. This happened during the day whilst the men folk were out working in the fields. I can remember Great Granny Barnett, she died in the mid-60's in her late 90's. The cabin is long gone but I know the place it was on. It was on the east side of the dirt road that runs south off of Tx Hwy 6 to the ghost town/community of Jewell,  just north/northeast of the Jewell cemetery. To me, this is HISTORY of the best kind!!! Especially since I actually knew someone who experienced it where I grew up. Way kool stuff!!!  Anyhow, read the story below and imagine if you will, the hardships of folks trying to scratch out a living back when the real west was really wild!  Wallace)

 WHILE visiting his sister Mrs. Currie in San Angelo, a few years ago , W. N. Nicholas kindly furnished the following partial sketch of his eventful life on the frontiers of Texas:
When I was sixteen years old, I went to Stephenville, Erath County, and entered a school taught by a Mr. Allard. I had been in school only two weeks, when a runner brought word that the Indians were in the country and had murdered the Woods family and that of Mr. Brumley, and had burned their houses. Two of the Brumley girls and the two Woods girls had been carried off by the savages. At the time of this occurrence all the available men were out in pursuit of another gang of Indians that had raided another settlement, leaving no man to take, the trail but the teacher, Mr. Allard. In his school there were sixteen boys from 12 to 17 years of age.
He explained the situation to us and said: "Boys, I'm going after those Indians, who'll go with me?" Every boy in school, even to the small boys, lined up and told him to lead out and we'd follow him to the jumping off place. He chose sixteen of us and in less than an hour were mounted and off. For the benefit of the youth of this degenerate age, it may not be amiss to state here that the boys and girls on the frontier in those days, were taught to ride and shoot from the time they were large enough to sit on a pony or hold a gun and when a little older, boys as well as men carried their guns everywhere they went, at church, at school, or a frolic. Their horses were always handy and when the word came that Indians were in the country the boys and men were ready to respond to the call for help. That's why the boys of Mr. Allard's school fell in line so quickly; they were minute men and ready.
But in this instance some of the boys had no guns. A Mr. Carter, who owned a hardware store in Stephenville, threw open his store and told Mr. Allard to help himself to all the guns and ammunition we might need.
About 10 a .m. we started all armed with double-barreled shot-guns and six shooters and after striking the Indians trail we came upon the dead bodies of the Woods girls. We wrapped these bodies in blankets and laid them side by side and stretched between two bushes and over the bodies a white shirt as a fright to keep the buzzards away until they could be removed. This was on the divide between Stephenville and Dublin.
Here, I will digress in so far as to say that after being stripped of every thread of clothing the Brumley girls were liberated some time during the night or early that night, and made their way back to Stephenville. Having cared for the bodies of these poor murdered girls to the best of our limited ability, we pushed on with a firm resolve to avenge their brutal murder if we ever came up with the inhuman butchers.
When we reached Leon creek, about twenty miles from Stephenville, the water in the creek was still muddy and we knew by that we were close on their trail. We hurried forward until we reached a slope that led off clown to Copperas Creek. Here we came up with the, Indians and charged them. There were eighteen of them and seventeen of us but, being armed with six-shooters, we had all advantage.
In the fight that ensued Mr. Allard's horse was shot through the neck with an arrow and fell. Mr. Allard was thrown with great force against the ground, and an Indian rushed upon him to finish him with a lance. Recovering himself almost instantly and seeing his peril, Mr. Allard seized a stone with which he knocked the Indian down and before he could rise the teacher was on him and gave the finishing touch.
The action became a running fight for about four miles and only two of the eighteen got away. Six of us were wounded, myself of the number, having stopped two arrows in my thigh. We got all of their horses, about 75 head, which they had stolen. One of the Indians killed had on one of the captured girl's dress, which was riddled with bullets.
On our return we came by where we had found the murdered girls and strapped their bodies on horses and reached Stephenville sometime after midnight. very well pleased with our day's work .
I had no further desire to attend school. I decided to go a ranging, and that two weeks in Mr. Allard's school was all the schooling, in a literary sense, I ever received.
* Note: Incidents like the one described in this article, occurred fairly often in the Frontier Counties of Brown, Coleman, Comanche, Eastland, Erath and others. Life was hard and tragedy struck without warning. These brave individuals, youths, men and women, tamed the frontier for others to follow. -CR