Category Archives: lynching

Life and Death on the Border, 1910-1920

20160314_094849Not too long ago, I read about an exhibit at the Bullock State History Museum over at Frontier Partisans.  Yes, a guy in Texas heard about an exhibit in Texas from a guy in Oregon.  I’ve got to start paying better attention.

Anyway, I managed to get away over Spring Break a few weeks ago to see the exhibit.  I’d like to thank Jim Cornelius for putting it on my radar.I wanted to make sure I had enough time to see everything, so I decided to stay overnight and catch the exhibit the next morning when the museum opened.  I popped a Tom Russell CD in the player to set the mood and hit the road.

Not only was the exhibit great, but I saw some other great exhibits, visited some small town cemeteries, ate some great Mexican food, spent way too much time and money in second hand bookstores, and should get at least six blog posts out of the trip.  (The first one on the Frank Frazetta exhibit is here.)

20160314_090333I’d never been to the Bullock Museum before.  This trip won’t be my last.  I spent half the day there, and there were some exhibits I skipped, like the food exhibit.  It was making me hungry.

The exhibit I went to see was in the rotunda, which you can see in the photo on the left.  It’s on the level with the top row windows.  Much of the lighting was from the Sun shining in, so some of the pictures that follow will have some contrast to them.  I apologize for the glare in some of the photos, as I was not able to get a clear shot because of the lighting.

Also, this is an extremely long post.  My intention here is to allow anyone who would have liked to see the exhibit but wasn’t able to attend to experience as much of the exhibit as possible.  I’ve tried to summarize the information in a coherent fashion. Continue reading

The Santa Claus Bandits


Site of Ratliff’s Lynching

This post originally appeared at both the now defunct Home of Heroics site and Adventures Fantastic in December 2011. I’ve updated it a bit and reprinted it. I feel it’s a better fit here than either of the other two venues. As I mention later, this story was adapted for radio in the 1950s. I recently heard it broadcast again, so I thought I would dust this post off and reprint it.

Four men robbed the First National Bank in Cisco, Texas on Friday, December 23, 1927. The men were Marshall Ratliff, Henry Helms, Robert Hill, and Helm’s brother-in-law, Louis E. Davis. The men started from Wichita Falls, in Northwest Texas. They chose the bank in Cisco because Ratliff’s mother once ran a cafe there, and he knew the city. To keep from being recognized, Ratliff wore a Santa suit into the bank.   Continue reading