Lackey Murders & Lynching

from Blanco County History by Moursand, and others, including the account as given in the Blanco News and reprinted in Frontier Times magazine, Bandera, Tx. April 1936 by Mr. Lee Brown. What is printed here is from the account written by Mr. Lee Brown (all spelling and punctuation is as was written)

"The Lackey Tragedy in Blanco County"

August 24, 1885, witness the most dire tragedy of the history of Blanco county, when on the morning of that day Al Lackey maddened or demented slew six of his immediate family or relatives on the Perdenales River and Hickory Creek, in the north end of the county. Saddling his horse and taking his Winchester rifle he started out to exterminate, seemingly, the entire Lackey connection.  Going up the valley, he shot his niece who was sitting near the front door of her little home, rocking and singing to her little baby.  And when the body was found lying on the floor the baby was asleep against the body covered with its mother's blood.  His brother ran in endeavoring to escape but tripped and fell, and as he begged for his life Lackey stuck the gun behind his ear and pulled the trigger.  Mr. and Mrs. Stokes, and aged couple fell before the fire of his rifle, and then his own daughter and another relative were slain, and then to Lackey's chagrin he found he had no cartridges.  He rode back to his own home where he tried to kill his wife and small baby with a knife, but she managed to escape from the house and ran to a nearby thicket where he chased her for some time, fianlly giving up the chase and she saw him slash his own throat.  he seemed to back out after one deep gash had been cut; went to his horse and getting into the saddle headed in the direction of Johnson City.  On the road he met a neighbor, Al Bundick, and asked him to ride to a spring with him.  Bundick noticed that Lackey had a handkerchief to his throat but took it to be a red bandana. Lackey rode behind Bundick and shortly attacked him with his knife, and having the faster horse of the two he was able to cut his victim until he fell from his horse, and then lackey again rode toward Johnson City.  Upon reaching town he told that Bundick had killed some of his family and had attacked him, but he had escaped after his throat had been cut by Bundick.  A posse was formed, but before it left town a son of Lackey came in and told officers his father had committed the crimes and that he did not know how many were killed. Bundick was found and taken home where physicians attended him; he was badly cut but recovered after some weeks.  Mrs. Lackey told officers of her escape and seeing her husband cut his own throat.  Six were dead and on August 25 the bodies were laid to rest in a little cemetery on Hickory Creek, some two miles below the Sandy post office.  Blanco was then the county seat and Lackey was brought to jail here after physicians had sewed the deep cut in his throat.   On the afternoon of August 26, Charlie Cabaniss was coming in from the ranch on Miller Creek when just behond Brushy Top he was overtaken by a large party of men who told him he could wait with them, have an early supper and come on to town with them.   They ate supper at a spring some few hundred yards below the present crossing of highway 66.  Some time after dark they rode quietly into town, captured the officers before any demonstration was made, then silently and in order rode to the jail.  A few citizens discovered something was wrong and found the mob at the jail.  Phil P. Cage, knowing several of the leaders, advised them that a very sick woman was in a home near the jail and asked that no commotion be made; some of the party thought he was trying to stop the lynching party, but the leader knew Mr. Cage well and toldhis followers to keep quiet.  he then led the way to the cell in which Lackey was confined, told him that they had come for him to pay the price for his crimes and opened the door to his cell.  Lackey grabbed alargeiron bucket which was in the cell and would have brained the leader had the bucket not hit the top of the cell;  he was overpowered and taken from the jail yard. It had been the intention of the party to get to Blanco in the afternoona nd make a public hanging on the square, to a live oak tree which still stands at the southwest corner of the old courthouse building, but now they granted Mr. Cage's request and the mob, supplemented by quite a number from this section, rode north out of town and so quiety that very few knew that a new crime was about to be perpetuated in their midst; the only kind of its nature to darken the history of Blanco county,  A mile north of town they stopped.  At the side of the road stood two large live oak trees.  SOmeone suggest a a limb on the nearest tree but Lackey who held to stoic silence looked up and said, "That limb is too low and almost over the road".   Another tree just a few feet away was selelcted; the wagin in which Lackey was seated drove under the limb and the noose, which had been tied in the real hangman's knot, was placed abouth is neck: someone had suggested shooting on account of the deep cut in Lackey's throat; however the rope was thrown over the limb and as the wagon was started up he was told to jump from the chair in which he had been placed in standing position; he failed to jump and was dragged from the wagon by the rope on the limb.  His neck was not broken and strangulation ended the life of one whose only request was to be permitted to return to the scene of the crime to finish his intended work of killed seven others.   As the body swung and turned in the night breeze the rope untwisted and stretched until the feet almost touched the ground; another rope was tied in the noose and the body raised quite a distance higher, after which the main body dispersed north, going back to their homes in and about the scene of the tragedy.  Next morning, August 27, Esquire Lewellyn Robinson held an inquest at the place of the hanging.  Prof. W. H. Bruce made a pen sketch of the scene. Lackey was a large man with iron gray hair and mustache, and looked a terrible and gruesome giant as he swung in the air, the rope having buried itself in the cut he had inflicted in his throat.  The body was brought to town and contract made with John R. Robinson for the interment of the body which was buried in the southeast corner of the Robison (now Alvin Wegner) field, one halfmile northwest of town.   The "Lackey tree" stands just north of Paradise Hollow, one mile north of Blanco, on highway 66, just west of a topped tree near the highway, the second fork of the oak pointing toward the road is where the rope ended the career of Al Lackey, in a lynching party, for the murder of six of his own family connection; at that time the road the was just west of the trees, between them and the old rock fence.

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