Part 8, Note 68

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Colorado Citizen, August 3, 1876, August 10, 1876, August 17, 1876, September 7, 1876; Henry Calhoun Thomas, "A Sketch of My Life," Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, vol. 1, no. 3, February 1990, pp. 84-86. Thomas, who was one of the Stafford cowboys, stated that the incident was ever afterward referred to as the Stafford War. Besides Cotton and Gaskin, the sheriff identified Zach Hughs, Dick Terrell, Isam Devenport, and Reuben Wheeler as the men killed in the war. Thomas identified the man who was wounded on August 10 as Wiley Balock. The story of the Stafford War evidently made it as far as New York, though by then it had been expanded to include the deaths of thirteen blacks and one white man, former union soldier and former Wharton County sheriff Isaac N. Baughman (who is identified as J. N. Baughman in the article). The New York story had it that one black man was "shot seven times in the legs and arms, before killed" and that Baughman was "taken from his sick bed, where he had been confined for weeks, tied up to a tree, for he could not stand by himself, and eighteen bullets put into his body." Baughman was indeed killed in August 1876, though not until August 27, some two weeks after the Staffords went home. The Colorado Citizen reported, "He was shot in the middle of the forehead, through the right temple, one arm torn off, and otherwise mutilated by fire-arms. As to who did the killing, there are conflicting opinions." Baughman had, for years, been vilified by some residents of Wharton County, eleven of whom, in 1875, published a lengthy statement accusing him of cattle theft, incitement to riot, financial impropriety, and "basely insulting" his partner's wife (see "The Horrible Murders in Texas," New York Times, September 18, 1876 as reproduced in A History of Eagle Lake Texas (Austin: Nortex Press, 1987), p. 27; Colorado Citizen, March 11, 1875, August 31, 1876; Wharton County District Court Records, Civil Cause File No. 839: W. J. Godsey, et al. v. Isaac N. Baughman and L. L. Lacy). There was one other brief postscript to the Stafford War. In March 1877, a notice, signed "Committee of 25 Navidad," arrived at the post office at Texana (which is now Edna). The notice, which stipulated that the "committee" had been organized on August 4, 1876, during the height of the Stafford War, and which contained several spelling and punctuation errors, threatened cowboys with some vague retribution if they worked for Stafford, or for another cattleman, Samuel William Allen. Nothing further is known of this "committee" (see Colorado Citizen, July 19, 1877, August 9, 1877).