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History - Marlow Brothers Tragedy

We learn from Elder W.H. Wright, who was in Graham at the time the prisoners were attacked by the mob, the following particulars, as currently reported:

Some months ago Ed. Johnson, United States deputy marshal, of Graham, went to the Indian Territory and captured five Marlow brothers, charged with theft of horses, and indicted in the federal court. After a little time the Marlows gave bond, and located on the Brazos River sixteen miles below Graham.

A few days after they were released on bond there was from Wilbarger county a warrant for the arrest of one of them, for crimes in their county. Sheriff Wallace of Young County and Collier, his deputy, went to the Marlows to arrest the one charged with murder. On that occasion Sheriff Wallace was mortally wounded by one of the Marlows, who made his escape.

When Wallace was wounded, the bondsmen of the Marlows gave them up to the authorities, and great indignation was kindled against them because Wallace had been killed. They were again placed in jail at Graham. In a short time they escaped from jail by the use of burglar's tools. They were followed the same night and recaptured before they had time to arm themselves.

Following that they made several other attempts to cut out of jail. On last Thursday night a mob gathered at the jail, captured the guards and attempted to enter the jail with the avowed purpose of taking the Marlows out and hanging them. But the Marlows were apprised of their purpose and stood the mob off from the cell door with pieces of sewer pipe. The mob retired without accomplishing their purpose.

Gen. Cabell, having heard of the attempt to mob the prisoners, ordered them to be taken to Dallas. Dept. Marshal Ed. Johnson, and five others as guards, started from Graham on Saturday night, the 10, with four Marlows and two other prisoners to Dallas. Is the mean time, a mob from Belknap stationed itself at the crossing of Dry Creek [paper torn] Weatherford road and waited for the prisoners and guards, the six prisoners were in the hack in front with a driver and then afterwards were behind.

When the front hack reached the top of the creek back the mob ordered a halt, expecting to identify the Marlows and kill them, but as soon as the halt was ordered the Marlows jumped out two and two shackeled together, and ran to the guard hack and grabbed guns and pistols and opened fire on the mob, this plan was understood among the Marlows before they started from Graham.

The mob returned the fire. Another report says, the mob pulled Marshal Johnson out of the hack and then the firing began opening a most deadly conflict lasting twenty-five or thirty seconds. The mob was scattered and left the Marlows in possession of the field. At this time thirteen men killed and and wounded were lying along the road. Two of the Marlows were shot dead and the other two wounded.

The four Marlow brothers along with two other prisoners, were transferred during the dark of night with Deputy Marshal Johnson and several other guards. The group was ambushed by a mob and a gun battle began. Alfred and Epp Marlow were killed, but Charley and George each chained to a dead brother, cut the feet of the corpses with their pocketknives, and escaped. According to accounts from the incident "thirteen men, killed and wounded were lying along the road."

Bruce Wheeler and Frank Harmonson of the mob, and Sam Creswell of the guards were also killed on the spot. Marshal Johnson, L. Logan and the other two prisoners, Cliff and Burkhart were all wounded. The wounded Marlows left in possession of the dead, arms and hacks, dragged their dead brothers who were ironed to their ankels, to where they got a knife from Wheeler's pocket and cut off the shackeled feet of the dead men at the ankle joint, pulled off the shackels, got into the hack with the other two prisoners and drove to Finis and asked two men to take them to Jacksboro, they declined to do it, then the prisoners drove to their home on the Brazos 16 miles from Graham.

Sunday morning they sent for a doctor, and forty or fifty men, others say two hundred hastened to the place. The Marlows declined to surrender to any one except a United States Marshal. Thus matters remained until Tuesday, when Mr. Morton Dept. U.S. Marshal arrived, to whom they surrendered.

Public sentiment is altogether against the mob. No person has been heard to justify it, the universal feeling of the people is that the law should reign supreme.

Transcribed by Dorman Holub of Graham, Texas.
 
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