Tidbits of Shelby County History
Shelby County in the News

The Louisville Daily Courier(Louisville, Kentucky) 14 Sep 1844

The Caddo Gazette reports that the feud between different parties of settlers in Shelby County, Texas grows more serious. Several skirmishes, resulting in loss of life, had occurred, and on Friday, 23 ult, it is stated, a pitched battle came off, in which the "Regulators"" were beaten, and eighty men killed. Each faction, it is said, has thrown up fortifications, and vow that one or the other of the parties must be exterminated or driven from the county. We have not been able to trace the origin of the quarrel.

The Weekly Advertiser (Montgomery, Alabama) 13 Mar 1850

We see by an article in the last number of the Gazette, that Wat Morman, the famous leader of the Regulators of Shelby County, Texas, was killed a few days since at Logansport by Dr. Burns, who shot him while quietly walking with a friend. The deed was committed in consequence of a threat upon the life of Dr. B. by Morman. Morman, it is said, was originally a mild, retiring person, and it is believed that but for the peculiar circumstances controlling his early manhood he would have passed through life an esteemed member of society. This is but another evidence of the terrible effect of evil associations. Shreveport Journal.

The Times-Picayune (New Orleans, Louisiana) 26 Feb 1852)

Dreadful Affair in Texas. - The Red Land Herald contains an account of a blood occurrence which recently took place in Shelby County, Texas. John and Henry Wadkins met Capt. Marvel H. Mosely in the road, near the residence of Col. E. Myrick, and informed him that they designed killing him Suiting the action to the word, one of the Wadkins fired a ball into Mosely's right cheek, which caused him to fall from his horse. Mosely then attempted to escape, by running, but was again brought to a halt by the discharge of a rifle from the other Wadkins. Mosely was now upon the ground and apparently in the last agonies of death, but still the assailants continued to fire at him. As many as ten or a dozen different reports were heard by persons living near the scene. Believing Mosely to be dead, the Wadkins mounted their horses and left, since which time they have not been heard of. Capt. Mosely at the last accounts was still alive, but his recovery was considered doubtful.

Bangor Daily Whig and Courier (Bangor, Maine)

From Texas - A wedding party in Shelby County, Texas, composed of sixty persons, had been poisoned by a disappointed suitor, as was supposed. Twelve of the party had already died, and thirty were not expected to survive.

Democratic Banner (Bowling Green, Missouri) 20 Nov 1848

A correspondent of the Presbyterian gives the following brief account of a subterranean fire in Eastern Texas:
There is a very singular circumstance in Shelby County, Texas, of a well that has been burning about twelve months, at the former residence of Judge Lusk. When he moved from the place, he laid some logs over the well, from which he had used water for several years. Some time after the woods caught fire, and the timber burning fell in it, and ignited some substance, supposed to be stone coal. The rainy seasons have not extinguished it, but it was burnt incessantly. It does not give a very agreeable feeling to the visitor; for it is neither sublime nor beautiful; but from the deep grumbling noise that is heard - the sulphureous smell, and the dark cloud of smoke, that is continually rising is actually fire and brimstone in the subterranean regions. Various results are conjectured; perhaps some geologist can give comfort to the anxious minds of the surrounding inhabitants by showing what will be the final termination of the Burning Well. (Note: I have found several articles regarding the burning well on Judge Lusk property but haven’t found any indication of the exact location. If anyone has additional information on this matter, please contact me.)

The South-Western (Shreveport, Louisiana) 29 Jun 1870

At his residence in Shelby County, Texas on the evening of the 11th of June 1870, in the 75th year of his age, Hon. James Truit.

The deceased was a native of North Carolina and emigrated to Texas during the dark days of the Republic. He served for a number of years in the Congress of the Republic of Texas with Houston, Rusk Henderson, and other leading statemen. Always at his post, ready and willing to serve his country in any capacity when called on, he served Texas long and faithfully in her legislature. He died as he had lived, an honest man. Peace to his ashes. North Carolina and Texas papers please copy.

Wyoming Democrat (Tunkhannock, Pennsylvania) 07 Apr 1875

A Cold-Blooded Parricide

A terrible tragedy was enacted in De Soto parish, Mississippi (Note: this should read Louisiana), It seems that a man named Samuel Sanford, seventy-seven years old, his son, John Sanford, aged thirty years, and a son-in-law of the old man, named Ben Pittan, while on their way from Shelby County, Texas, to Shreveport, stopped on the side of the road to eat dinner. As the old man was sitting against a tree, his son stepped up to him, drew his six-shooter and remarking, "I have got you where I have wanted you for four years," fired two shots into his father's side or breast. The latter sprang up, mounted his horse, and galloped off, when the son pursued him, and overtaking him, presented his pistol at his head. The old man begged him not to shoot him, saying, "You have killed me, and I wish to say something before I die," or something to that effect. The son then rode off and made his escape into Texas. A party from Spring Ridge shortly after horrible tragedy went in pursuit of the murderer but failed to overtake him. At last accounts Mr. Sanford was alive, but not expected to recover. The act was prompted by a desire on the part of the sone to get the property of the father.

The South-Western (Shreveport, Louisiana) 10 Aug 1870
Shelby County, Texas April 12, 1870

Messrs. Kirksey & Buckner, Shreveport, La:

Dear Sirs - In reply to your inquiry as to how I liked the Utley Cotton Press I purchased of you, I will say that I ran press in connection with my public gin and it gave entire satisfaction in every particular. John L. Moore.

The Galveston Daily News (Galveston, Texas) 25 Dec 1877

Jas. W. Truite senior editor of the Laborers' Champion, published at Center, Texas, paid the office of the News a visit yesterday afternoon.

The Times (Shreveport, Louisiana) 12 Dec 1874


On December 3rd, 1874, by Rev. J.M. Burrow, at the residence of the Hon. Wm. C. Carrow, Centr, Texas, Dr. R.W. Burns to Miss Nannie Hardey, all of Shelby County.

The Houston Post (Houston, Texas) 02 Dec 1899

For Sale - Five thousand dollars ($5000) buys my two-story hotel on south side of the square at Center, Texas, the county seat of Shelby County, including 7 1/2 lots 50X100 feet, good barn, and 2 acres of land adjoining the barn; this is a bargain for 30 days only; good reason for selling; I will take a small farm as part pay. Apply J.H Armstrong. Center, Texas.

The Houston Post (Houston, Texas) 08 Mar 1896

County Attorney Resigns

Center, Texas, March 6 - Hon. Frank P. Brewer, county attorney, resigned his office some two weeks ago, which took effect yesterday, when the commissioners' court met and appointed Hon. I.O.B. Richardson to fill the unexpired term. Mr. Richardson is a bright young lawyer and from one of the oldest and best families of the county, and his numerous friends feel that he will make an excellent officer.

Weir Weekly Tribune (Weir, Kansas) 24 Apr 1891

He Couldn't Find Her

The Center (Texas) Champion publishes a letter to the county clerk of Shelby County, that state, which is worthy of a place in our collection of gems. It is as follows:

   Mr. J.R. Swanzy county clerk Dear sir the Girl that I taken out a license To marry Went rite back on me and of Corse I was at my rose end I could not do Eny more And I thouGht the best thinG I could do Was to send the license back To you please send me the money Back That I pade you for them if you please I think it is rite for you to do so dont you? The reason Why I havent sent them back to you sooner I have been trying to finde out Why the Girl dun so but I have not bin able to see her yet the night After I left center I came back to mr.______________ Whair I left the Girl And she Was gone I did not find Whaire she was until a few days ago I got a letter From her and she said She had no use for Me hate she never intended to marry me she hated me I red myself down Trying to find her and I never did Find her it was the strangest thing I ever new of if you send my money to me Please direct it to _________ Po office ___________ co Texas I will close for this time so I remain yoors truly.  (Note: I typed this as it was written in the paper)