Heart O' Texas News
30 April 1931
Jim Wall's word was law in McCulloch County for twelve eventful years.
He first entered the sheriff’s office Nov. 4, 1894. He served at
a time when lawlessness reigned throughout the western counties.
There were no railroads, no telephones, no cars to assist the officers
of the law in getting their men. Sometimes he rode night and
day, on horseback, through the hills in search of criminals. Then
there were the saloons. Often the cowboys would ride on horseback
through the saloon door, up to the counter, tear a ten dollar bill in two,
drink half of it, and then pitch the other half to the bartender who could
put it together the best way he could. The Mexicans were always fighting.
One morning Dr. Harcourt came by in search of a Mexican who had stolen
something. Mr. Wall got his hat, they went around to the rear of
the Mexican's house. It seems the Mexican was sitting in the front,
heard them coming, grabbed a Winchester and shot Harcourt in the foot,
then escaped on horseback. Bill Walker rode up during the fight but
by that time the Mexican was off on the run. They followed his tracks
for two or three days but did not succeed in finding him. Mr. Wall
says to this good day people think they shot that Mexican.
Fences were being cut and cattle stolen. That was in the days of the Wilson gang - Wilson's and the Herring's. When Mr. Wall took eleven of them (not handcuffed) to Coleman for trial as he passed through Lohn people came out to look at the men and predicted that he would not come back live with that Wilson gang along! They ate at noon on the bank of the Colorado. While they were there, Boyd Hill (a desperate character in those days) rode up. Mr. Wall expected trouble but Boyd got off his horse, at with them and was still there when they left for Coleman.
One day the Wilsons sent word they would be in “to shoot up the town.” Mr. Wall sent them a special invitation to come along but make it some time when he would be there! They came with Winchesters and a great deal of gusto, but failed to start the big show-Wilson said he weighed a thousand pounds, (it must have been the liquor) and that no officer could take him. However, before Joe got through he paid a 'considerable' fine. It seems the gang got "pretty bad" about burning houses, stealing cattle and horses, robbing people in general, but they finally disbanded-some were killed and some went to the pen.
One of the most interesting events, according to Mr. Wall, was the finding of the elk head on the Ford Ranch. It was discovered by Jeff Benson and brought to Brady. Can you imagine this! It had 78 horns. The head is now in San Antonio in what was formerly the Elk Horn Saloon, owned and operated by a man named Frederick who heard of this particular head and wanted it for his collection. He traveled by stage coach to Brownwood and on to Brady. He gave Mr. Wall a hundred dollars for the head and today it can be seen at Frederick's curio shop in San Antonio.
Heart O' Texas News
30 April 1931
ABOUT J.C. WALL
The Brady Standard
March 7, 1936
Today relatives and friends will join with J.C. Wall in the celebration
of his 82nd birthday, with a sumptuous birthday dinner to make the occasion
all the more memorable. Incidentally, his scores of friends will
join in extending congratulations and good wishes to this well-loved and
highly-respected pioneer citizen.
Born in Fayette County, Tenn., Mr. Wall, while yet an infant, moved with his parents to Texas, the family, by coincidence, taking up their residence in Fayette County of this state. Mr. and Mrs. Wall were married some fifty-odd years ago in Colorado County, where Mrs. Wall was born and reared. Leaving Colorado County in 1882, Mr. and Mrs. Wall first located in Concho County, where he engaged for a year in the stock business, and then in December, 1883, they located in Brady, and where they have made their home since.
For a number of years Mr. Wall operated a feed store and which was located on the northwest corner of the square, no occupied by the F.R. Wulff buildings. He served four years as County Commissioner of Precinct No. 1, and then, in 1894, he was elected Sheriff and Tax Collector, in which capacity he served twelve years, or six terms. After being out of office for four years, he was again named Sheriff, the offices of Sheriff and Tax Collector having, in the meantime, been separated. As Sheriff he served another 12-year term, his 24 years of service as peace officer constituting a record throughout West Texas.
After retiring from political life, Mr. Wall for a number of years, operated a filling and service station, but for the past couple of years, he has been retired.
Mr. Wall relates many interesting incidents of early days in Brady and McCulloch County, and as well of Brady’s gradual development cityward. When he first located here, the courthouse square was dotted with prairie dog holes, and it was a custom among business men to stake their horses out to crop the mesquite grass which grew abundantly on the square. When Mr. Wall in 1894 built his home, it was considered away out of the city – today it will be but one block from the new postoffice building.
H.F. Winslow was sheriff the two years before Mr. Wall was elected. Five years after Mr. Wall first took office, the present three-story courthouse building, of cut sandstone construction, was erected, replacing the two-story courthouse building which had occupied the same site. While construction was in progress, the county officials were housed in the one-story rock buildings a block east of the square, now owned by Mann Bros., and which up until then had been known as Capt. Harvey’s store.
When Mr. Wall first came to Brady a log cabin still stood on the west side of the square, being occupied by Fritz Haberer as a boot shop. In fact, while Mr. Wall was in the livery business, he moved Mr. Haberer here from Brownwood so the ranchers and cowmen would have someone to cobble their boots.
Mr. and Mrs. Wall have had three children, all girls, two of whom are dead. The remaining daughter, Miss Myrtle Wall, has been in Temple for the past eighteen years as a bookkeeper and stenographer at Scott & White sanitarium. She is home now on a week’s vacation, and will join in the celebration of her father’s birthday as well as Mrs. Wall, who while in bad health for a long time, has recently been much improved.
The Brady Standard
March 7, 1936
Submitted by: Louann