When Vigilantes Patrolled Central Texas

Mollie Moore Godbold

Mollie Moore Godbold

Mollie Moore Godbold’s parents, Thomas Oscar Moore and Sarah Thomas Moore, lived in Galveston, Texas in the early 1870s when Mr. Moore developed tuberculosis. Upon the advice of his doctor to move farther west, Moore decided to make a trip to Comanche County, Texas (then a part of the Texas frontier) to discover for himself if this was the place he wanted for his family.

T.O. Moore traveled to Waco by train and then borrowed a horse for the remainder of his trip. I’m sure he found it a little strange when the owner of the horse stopped him from riding away before he had given him a written pass that stated that he had been given the right to use the horse.

It would not belong before that pass became Moore’s most prized document!

I don’t know just where the young Moore was or how far he had traveled when he saw a number of riders coming toward him in the distance. According to his daughter, Mollie, he was very glad to see them, thinking that they would be men to visit with, breaking the monotony of his trip.

“They talked for a while, Dad asking questions about the country, the men answering them and questioning Dad about himself in a seemingly casual way. Then Dad became aware that as they talked, the strangers were looking covertly, but none the less closely, at the fleabitten gray gelding he was riding.

“This, together with a subtle change he detected in their manner, caused his mind to jump to something the owner of the horse had said to him when he set forth on his journey the day before.

“‘Wait! I’d better give you a pass!'”

With that, the owner of the horse took a piece of paper and wrote, “Pass the man Moore; he’s all right.”

T.O. Moore shown here as an old man wearing his Confederate uniform and standing beside a grandson

T.O. Moore shown here as an old man wearing his Confederate uniform and standing beside a grandson

Handing the paper to Moore, the man told him that the vigilantes were on patrol and that if they saw him riding a horse with another’s brand on it, they just might hang him.

I’m sure all of this was flying through the young man’s head as he sat in front of what he now knew were vigilantes.

“‘That’s a good horse you’re on,’ commented a burly, middle-aged man who appeared to be the leader of the party. He gave Dad a sharp look.

“‘Belong to you?'”

Moore replied that he had, in fact, borrowed the horse and when the man asked him if he could prove it, that piece of paper must have felt like the keys to Heaven as he pulled it from his pocket.

The leader of the group read the pass aloud to the rest of the group, nodded to Moore and said, “‘There’s been a lot of horse stealing going on. We aim to put a stop to it.'”

Can you just imagine the sigh that T.O. Moore must have heaved as the group rode on off, leaving him to his travels?

Our thank you goes out to Ruth Adelle Waggoner who allowed us to print this part of Mollie’s story.

About Fredda Jones

Fredda Davis Jones was raised “in the country” in Comanche County and learned very early that creativity and innovation are traits that can flourish even in small-town Texas and that with enough effort, indeed nothing is impossible, including being married to the same man for over 40 years! Rickey and Fredda have 2 children, 5 grandchildren, and a crazy life that includes sitting in the bleachers several times a week. The rest of her time is spent creating great content for texansunited.com and marketing small-town Texas.
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2 Responses to When Vigilantes Patrolled Central Texas

  1. al worthy says:

    I really like Texas history and like reading your stories.I belong to two facebook groups about Texas.I share a lot of Texas history on them.I would like to share this story about T.O.Moore.Thanks and have a blessed day!!!!!!!

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