Upton County News

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W.J. Bolin New Deputy In McCamey for Upton Sheriff Department   W.J. Bolin, 49, was named Deputy Sheriff for McCamey, according to Sheriff H.E. "Gene" Eckols this week. Bolin reported for duty on Monday of this week. He came to McCamey from Pecos where he was a member of the police department of the that city. Prior to serving on year in Pecos, he served on the force in Carlsbad and Artesia, New Mexico. Bolin is a veteran of World War II, having served 38 months with the U.S. Navy Seabees as a Special Investigator of the Shore Patrol. He served 12 months in the South Pacific theater of operations. Prior to the war, he worked as a special agent for the Frisco Railroad for a number of years and was with  the sheriff's department in Idabel, Oklahoma before working for the railroad. He is joined at this new home in McCamey by his wife, Emma (The McCamey News- Friday Jan. 19,1931) Submitted by Kyle M. Condon Jan 19, 1951

Midland County, Dec 20, 1924  P R Rankin of Upton County, is in a hospital here suffering from gunshot wounds received accidentally while he was in the town of Rankin. He is a prominent cattleman of Upton County and is the son of the man whom Upton County seat was named.

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RANKIN IN UPTON IS FAST GROWING TOWN

Nov 22, 1927   J. B. Mills who is putting  on an addition to the town of Rankin of Upton County is in San Antonio. January 1, Rankin was a small place of  about 100 people and amounted to merely a wide place in the road,  Due to the development of oil all around it the town now has about 1,500 or 2.000 people has built and occupied two big three-story fireproof hotels, a new courthouse, flre-proof school. put in water works, main and reservoir and has eight business houses where it only has two at the first of the year. Rankin is said to be the only oil town in West Texas that is said to have water. Others have to ship it in by tank car and you by water at the drugstores and you buy soda water at five cents a glass. Rankin has wells that supply the city with water. The town is already  growing  beyond the mile "square limits"  and an addition of half a section adjoining the town on the northeast is being added.

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City is Reborn In Oilfield Activity

RANKIN TO HAVE NEWSPAPER SOON, THE FIRST IN UPTON COUNTY

Special to The News. Midland. Tex., Sept. 19.1924—Rankin. county seat of Upton County, is the third town to be "reborn" since the big Reagan County oil field was opened. A townsite sale is about to be started In Rankin. The Upton County seat is following Big Lake in coming to 'life and will compete with the latter town and with Best, new oil village. In seeking oil field trade, Rankin is fourteen miles from the field to the west. Rankin shortly will have a newspaper, the first In the history of Upton County. Rankin already is building new roads. Its hopes for the oil field business are banked on routing travelers from Dallas, Fort Worth and other points east via Midland and thence to Rankin and to the oil field. The Rankin boosters say this route, either by rail or over the Bankhead highway to Midland and on to Rankin, will shorten the time from Fort Worth by twelve hours. Rankin also is getting interested in its own mineral possibilities as well as being interested in the nearby oil field in the neighboring county. Reagan. One test is drilling six miles north of Rankin. while two other locations have been made near the town. Moreover, some of the business interests of the Upton County capital are preparing to exploit the possibilities of potash finds.

 

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The following series of Articles follow the account of the

Alleged Bank Robbery in 1928 in Rankin Texas

rankinrobber1 Rankinrobber2

Officer Kills Two in Upton County Bank

Gun Battle Follows Call to Halt at Town of Rankin.

Man Unidentified

Believe May Be Pair That Staged Sylvester Robbery.

Rankin Upton Co. Texas, Jan 12, 1928 (AP) -----Caught breaking into the First State Bank here at 4 o'clock Thursday morning, two unidentified men were slain by Upton County officers in a gun fight. They are said to fit descriptions of the bandits who held up the bank of Sylvester Tuesday.

Killing of the pair was the culmination of three nights of watching by J O Barfield, who said he had received a "tip" three days ago that the bank was to be robbed. When a roadster drove up to the rear door of the bank Thursday morning Barfield and two of his deputies, Hugh Gillespie and C Shannon, were hiding in the wash rack of a near- by filling station.

The younger of the two men, who appeared to be about 25 years old, alighted from the roadster, the Sheriff said, and attacked the rear door of the bank, which he quickly succeeded in forcing open. He then disappeared into the building and turned off the light which is kept burning in the bank quarters. While this was being done, Barfield reported, the other man, about 45, unloaded and acetylene tank and torch from the car and dragged it up to the door of the bank.

Gun Battle Follows

The officers moved forward and, as the younger man emerged from the bank after darkening it. Sheriff Barfield called out: "Halt! Throw up your hands" A shot from a .45 caliber pistol was the reply. It was fired by the younger man. A load of buckshot fired by one of the officers almost blew the back of his head off. The other man ran. He fell dying 200 yards from the bank door with two bullet wounds. It is believed that he lived for about fifteen minutes. Neither of the bodies was touched after the shooting, until they were taken in charge by an undertaker four hour later.

Both Men Armed

Each of the men was armed with a .45 caliber pistol. They wore gloves and were clad in rough clothes. The men were light in weight and dark in complexion. The two men left considerable burglar paraphernalia in the bank, officers declared, leading to the belief that they were professionals. Both men had been seen early Wednesday night around to Rankin hotels. Investigation Thursday established that the car found near the rear door of the bank, and in which one of the two acetylene outfits was found after the shooting was stolen about 7 o'clock Wednesday night in McCamey from the Mid Kansas Oil Company. One of the acetylene outfits also was stolen in McCamey. The other, officers learned, was stolen from a blacksmith shop here Wednesday night.

Find  No Money on Men

While descriptions of the two men were said to tally closely with those of the bandits who Tuesday held up the bank at Sylvester, in Fisher County, 150 miles northeast of this place, they had no money on their persons and no money was found in the car at the bank. More than $2500 was stolen by the men who held up the Sylvester institution.  The First State Bank here is the only bank in Upton County and does an extensive business with the oil concerns operating in this section. The bank was moved here from Barnhard Irion County about a year ago. John Lane, president of the bank, is the owner in fee of the land on which the McCamey extension of the Upton County oil field is located and next to Ira Yates of San Angelo, who owns the land in Pecos County, where the discovery field was brought in, has perhaps profited more from oil development than any other man in West Texas.

Sheriff Gives Version

Sheriff Barfield made the llowing statement at Rankin Thursday.

"We had been watching the bank the last three nights, About four o'clock this morning a car drove up near the rear of the bank and stopped. One man got out, pried open the back door, and went in and turned off the lights.. His companion, meanwhile, also had got out of the automobile.  "It was so dark we could not see well. we called on them to throw up their hands, and at that the younger man, started toward us shooting. My two deputies and I started shooting, and their was a blaze of shots around us. We could hardly see to shoot. The little man fell and we started shooting at the other. He, fell about 200 yards away. there may have been others in the party, but these are all we saw."

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"Yes" Telegram Traced

Special to the news.  El Paso, Texas Jan 12 1928----Tracing here of the laconic one- word telegram, "Yes" addressed to J C Frederick and found on the body of one of two men shot Thursday at Rankin, led police to believe the younger of the dead men was William Miller, a convict supposed to have been recently released from the Huntsville penitentiary. The "yes" message was sent by J M Tays, manager of the Mesa Hotel, to "Frederick" at McCamey in reply to a query asking if E C Fallon still lived at the hotel. Fallon and employee at the Southern Pacific shops says Miller visited him here Saturday, told him he was using the name "J C Frederick" and showed him a penitentiary parole.

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Disputes Hold Up Bandits Rewards

Fort Worth Texas, Feb 5, 1928 (AP).---Rewards totaling $15,000 for dead Texas bank bandits remain unpaid. whether these will ever be paid is problematical, for before the Texas bankers will pay the rewards for dead bank robbers they must first be furnished conclusive evidence that the payee held the gun and fired the shot that ended the career of the robber. The unpaid rewards are held up because of disputes and unproven evidence that the  claimants actually ended the lives of the bandits in question, according to W.M.Massie, president of the Bankers' Association. It is this factor that may cause the withdrawal of the bankers' reward in the future and not the mass of public sentiment that is being rolled up against the "sordid head price," Texas bankers point out. The three unpaid rewards are for alleged bank bandits, one killed at Cisco in the raid on the First National Bank of Cisco and for two slain in the attempted robbery of the State Bank of Rankin. In the Cisco bandit killing there are three claimants to the reward. the widows of Chief of Police G E Bedford and Police Officer G. W. Carmichael and Mrs B. P. Blassingame.. The widows claim that their husbands fired the fatal shots while Mrs. Blassingame claims a part of the reward because of the fact that she escaped  from the bank while it was being robbed and she warned the police. The Rankin reward is being contested by several, all of whom claim they fired the fatal shots. Massie said that the Texas Bankers' Association was ready to pay the rewards on the day of the killing, but his orginazation, to protect itself against lawsuits, must be sure to whom the rewards are due.

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Wants Hamer To Tell Story

Rankin Editor Calls on Ranger To Testify Before Grand Jury

Special to The News. Rankin, Upton Co., Texas. March 24, 1928--The Upton County Journal has publicly asked that Capt. Frank Hamer, veteran Ranger, who made the statement that he has evidence of an "alleged frame-up in connection with bank robbery cases in West Texas, with particular reference to the cases at Rankin and Odessa, appear before the Upton County Grand Jury, which convenes here on March 26, and lay before that body such evidences as he may have.

B. W Barnes, editor of the paper, who made the request, says: "My attitude in this matter is not one of criticism to Capt. Frank Hamer, or any particular person, other than W.M.Massie, head of the State Bankers' Association. I do not believe Capt. Hamer has evidences of a nature that will reflect unfavorably upon local officers, either of Upton or Ector Counties.  This attitude can only be understood by the man who is in this section and is familar with the local conditions, and the manner in which the peace officer must respond to the suggestion of a "tip." My feelings in this case are those of friendship for Capt. Hamer and the peace officers of this district. My whole interest and thought in asking Capt. Hamer here is to secure facts in these and other cases that may be made public, and thereby arouse public sentimeny against the reward of $ 5,000 for each "dead: bank robber.

The purpose of this reward system may well be founded and good, but it is resulting in the death of innocent men, as is evidenced by the Stanton case, in which two men were killed by men who claimed to be deputy sheriffs. It is also causing criticism of peace officers, who can make no halfway grounds. The bank bandit and the officers know that somebody is going to get killed. "There is not one officer in a thousand who wants to kill a man if it can be avoided." said Reeder Webb of Odessa the other day. The same sentiment is expressed by Bud Barfield, Sheriff of Upton County. Bud never even shot at a man until these amateur bank robbers were killed here on the night of Jan. 11. The alleged bank bandits were told to throw up their hands. Instead they came out shooting. There was no other course for local officers to take. "My little paper has been fighting the bankers' award system. My investigation leads me to believe that the "dead" man reward is becoming repulsive to the peace officers, as well as to other thinking men. It is casting a shadow as well as suspicion and mistrust upon peace officers, whose names have been above reproach. It is breaking down the morale of law enforcement. "I am asking Capt. Hamer to make public his information for the benefit it may be breaking up this reward system. Peace officers, and the public, would have no objections to the payment of a reward for the capture and if necessary, death of bank robbers.

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Hamer Called in Robbery Inquiry

Special to The News. Rankin Texas April 5, 1928---Capt. Frank Hamer, from Texas ranger headquarters in Austin, arrived in Rankin Wednesday afternoon and went before the Upton County grand jury Thursday, before which body he had been summoned to reveal his information as to alledged bank robbery frame ups in West Texas.

Galloway Calhoun First Assist. Attorney and grand jury in making the investigation. Ranger J E McCoy of Austin, Capt Wright of McCamey, Light Townsend of Raymondville and Graves Peeler of Campbellton are among members of the ranger force here for the investigation. Sheriff J.O. Barfield of Upton County has welcomed this investigation and asked the grand jury to call Capt. Hamer.

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Rankin Sheriff Gets Dead Bandit Award SAN  ANGELO, Texas, March 1<AP>.-~Sheriff  J O. Barfield  at Rankin has been awarded $10,000 by the state Bankers" Association for the killing of two alleged bank robbers at Rankin on the morning at Jan 11.  1928-03-11 Page One San Angelo News

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Upton Officer Exonerated In Bandit Killing

Rankin, Upton Co., Texas April 6, (AP) Exonerating Sheriff J.O.Barfield and his deputies for the killing of two alleged bank robbers here on the night of Jan. 11 the grand jury which has been in session here for two weeks, adjourned Friday without attempting otherwise to act on the charges of Ranger Capt. Frank Hamer as to the existence of a bank reward murder ring in Texas. Capt. Hamer left Friday for Austin after being before the grand jury for two days. The investigative body voted unanimously that under the circumstances the killing of the two men could not have been avoided and gave Sheriff Barfield and Deputies Clarence Shannon and Hugh Gillespie a clean bill in the matter, declaring the officers did their full duty. The grand jury was assisted in it work by Galloway Calhoun of Austin, First Assistant Attorney General. No evidence it was declared was ever presented to implicate the Upton County officers in the "reward ring" Other rangers who testified in the case were Capt. Wright of McCamey, Light Townsend of Raymondville, Graves Peeler of Campbellion, Graham Barnett and Ranger Smith. Others who testified were H L Johnson, of Lubbock County, Sheriff Simpson of Lynn County, Sam Arnett president of the City National Bank of Lubbock. Deputy Sheriff Green of Big Spring, Otis Frances Sheriff of Midland, Sheriff Reeder Webb of Ector County, Joe Hogan inspector for the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers" Association, Operative Rogers of the Burns Detective Agency, W M Massie of Fort Worth, president of the Texas Bankers' Association, and several Rankin residents..

 

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No Preliminary Trial for Dumas

Rankin, Upton Co., Texas April 11, 1928 (AP) Preliminary trial for J H Dumas indicted by the Rankin County grand jury for murder and conspiracy to commit murder, will not be held, District Judge Sutton said here Wednesday. Dumas case probably will be held over until the next term of court unless a special term is called, which is not likely, Judge Sutton said. Dumas was indicted in connection with alleged bank robbery frame-up charges. Another man, also indicted on the name charge, has not been apprehended, so far as is known here.

 

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Examining Trial for Dumas to be Held Wednesday

Lubbock Morning Avalanche--April 17, 1928 Attorney McWhorter, Chief of Defense Counsel, off to Rankin, Scene of The Examining Trial. Announcing that he would: institute, habeas corpus proceedings, in an effort to free his client, Owen W. Mc Whorter, former Lubbock county attorney and chief counsel for  J H. Dumas, who faces charges of murder and conspiracy as a result, of. the fatal shooting of two men Rankin, Upton county, left here yesterday afternoon for Rankin where an examining trial . for J H Dumas  will be held Wednesday. Dumas, who has been held .in Austin since being taken from the county-jail here a week, ago last Sunday by Rangers McCoy and Aldrien; will be taken, to Rankin today to stand  examining trial. 

Dumas Denies Charges

According to Attorney McWhorter , Dumas denies any connection with the shooting of the two men who fell before officers'  bullets while they were allegedly attempting to rob a Rankin bank last January. His indictment was returned  by an Upton county grand jury as a result of charges of Ranger Captain Frank Hamer, that an "organized murder ring"  was operating in  Texas as a result of the $5,000 dead bank robber reward offered by the Texas Bankers association. A second man, ,the identity of 'whom has not been announced, was indicted at the same time but thus far has not been apprehended. J Dumas has resided in Lubbock for the past several years. Judge C. R Sutton, of the 83rd Judicial district, will preside Wednesday.

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Bail Is Granted in Conspiracy To Murder Case

Special to the News.

Austin Texas May 16, 1928 J H Dumas indicted  with Carl Wood in Upton County on a charge of murder conspiracy growing out of investigation by Ranger Captain Frank Hamer , who said there exists in Texas a "murder ring" for the purpose of sharing in dead bank robber rewards offered by the Texas Bankers' Association, was allowed $5,000 bail by the court of Criminal Appeals Wednesday. Dumas had been denied bail by the District Court of Upton County and he and Wood were transferred to Travis County on a change of venue for trial. They have been in the County Jail at Austin several weeks. Wood has not applied for bail.

In granting Dumas bail the court held there was no evidence introduced to show that an offense had been committed. The state having made no proof touching on the guilt of the accused, the court said it became the duty of the court to grant bail.

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Bonds on Murder Charge Forfeited

Austin Texas, Nov 12 1928(AP) --Two bonds of $2,500 each Monday were ordered forfeited by District Judge J R Hamilton when J H Dumas of Lubbock failed to appear at call of his case, involving charges of murder and conspiracy to murder in connection with the killing of two supposed bank robbers at Rankin in an alleged scheme to collect the Texas Bankers' Association $5,000 reward for robbers killed. Dumas and Carl F., alias Red Woods who is in jail here were indicted by the Upton County grand jury before which state ranger Capt Frank Hamer offered evidence that a "ring" existed to lure weak characters into bank robbing jobs and then to tip peace officers with the idea of sharing the Bankers' Association reward. Dumas and Woods were charged with murdering a man named Miller and another man described as 40 years old, with dark hair, weight, 165 pounds few teeth and a sallow complexion.

In each case the Court of Criminal Appeals, in habeas corpus proceedings, set bond at $2,500. Dumas made his two bonds and was released. they were signed by Mrs M C Bruce of Lubbock, who claimed to be worth $50,000 and J D Dumas.

Another capias for the rearrest of Dumas will be issued, District Clerk Axel Philquist said. The cases were reset for Dec.3 when Woods case also will be called. They were transferred here on the Upton County District Court's own motion and the defendants refused bail. They appealed to the Court of Criminal Appeals.

To Keep Rankin Case Men In Austin Jail

Austin Texas, Dec 4, 1928--District Judge J R Hamilton decreed Tuesday that J H Dumas and Carl F Woods must remain in the county jail here unless they make bond before April 1. in the cases against them involving charges of murder and conspiracy to murder in connection with the killing of two supposedly bank robbers at Rankin, Upton County. Defense Attorneys wanted the men kept here as a measure of safekeeping. It is understood here that the Upton County District Court's next session will be in April.

Dec 4, 1928-----Block Trial Of Two For Runkin Slaying (spelled wrong in article)

Austin, Texas, Associated Press-----Alleged failure, of the court of original jurisdiction to arraign one of the defendants has blocked the scheduled trial here of J. H. Dumas and Carl F. "Red"-Woods for the slaying of two men in an asserted bank robbery in  Rankin, Upton county, last spring. When Woods alleged he had never been arraigned and was not even- under arrest at the time the case  was transferred to Travis county. Judge James R. Hamilton ruled that his court lacked jurisdiction and sent the case back to Upton county. Woods said he was arrested in Missouri after the change of venue had been ordered

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Dec 5, 1928--Port Arthur News---TRIAL FOR KILLING OF BANDITS POSTPONED - AUSTIN. Texas— Alleged failure of the court of original Jurisdiction to arraign one of the defendants has blocked scheduled trial here of J. H. Dumas and Carl F. "Red" Woods for slaying of two men in a bank robbery in Rankin, Upton county, last spring. When Woods alleged he had never been arraigned and was not under arrest when the case was transferred to Travis county, Judge Hamilton ruled his court lacked jurisdiction and sent the case back to Upton county. It was the second case involving: the Texas Bankers* association $5000 award for dead bandits which came up in state courts yesterday.

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Dumas,Woods Case Goes to San Marcos

LOCKHART, Apr13, 1929 —The case of .J.H. Dumas and Carl Woods charged with shooting two men  to death in front of the bank in Rankin in Upton County has been  transferred to the district court and tried at San Marcos in the fall term of court, It was announced here today  by Judge J Jeffers now holding the spring term of district court.

 

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Wood- Dumas Case Passed

San Marcos, Texas Oct 6 1930, (AP) The case of Alton ((Red) Woods and J.H.Dumas, jointly charged with murder in connection with the fatal shooting of two men at Rankin in 1926, was passed in District Court. here Monday. It had been sent here on a change of venue from Upton County. The men were killed in what was described as an attempted bank robbery, but the State contended the men had been planted as a part of a conspiracy to collect the $5,000 reward for "dead bank robbers" offered by the Texas State Bankers' Association.

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One of Three Charged in Bank Killing Freed

A special to the news-San Angelo Texas June 19, 1931--- J. O. Bud Barfield former Upton County Sheriff, one of three men indicted at Rankin Thursday for murder in connection with the deaths of two men in the attempted Rankin bank robbery Jan. 12, 1928, had furnished bonds totaling $10,000 Friday. Bonds had not been furnished by Clarence Shannon, now a Deputy Sheriff at Lovington, N.M. and Hugh Gillespie, former Chief of Police of McCamey, who were the other two men indicted.

The indictments charge the murder of W.W. Miller, alias Blackie, and of a man called Whitie, whose name never was learned. Barfield, Shannon and Gillespie, together with J. H Dumas and Carl Wood, were indicted for conspiracy, Dumas is in jail, while Wood is at liberty under bond under previous indictments.

Frank Hamer, Texas ranger captain, was one of those who appeared before the grand jury at Rankin. The Banker's Association paid $5,000 reward for the killing of the two attempted bank robbers at Rankin.

 

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Man Beaten Dead

McCAMEY, July 29. 1933— Brownsville Herald---An Inquest was called today at Rankin, Upton county sent. Into the slaying of George E. Berry. 50, McCamey blacksmith. Berry died last night after being beaten with an automobile spring in his shop. Three men were Jailed here in connection with the slaying but,  they had not been charged. Officers' were told an argument which started in a cafe precipitated the fatal beating.

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FEAR FOR 20 MEN IN OIL PLANT FIRE By Internationa News Service) McCAMEY, UPTON COUNTY, Texas, Jan. 28, 1928 —One man is dead and more than 20 others are missing in the Humble Oil Company's Topping plant near here. Little hope is held that any of the missing men would be found alive. Fire was still raging this morning, 17 hours after the first tank exploded and until the flames are subdued it will be impossible to get an accurate check of the death toll Company officials said.

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