|Maurice Moore - 1887|
During the early morning hours of November 10, 1887, Deputy Maurice “Morris” Moore was shot and killed while serving a civil paper on the McNeil brothers in the Eanes area of Western Travis County.
During an arson investigation of the Eanes Schoolhouse, Deputy Moore discovered that the McNeil brothers had written a letter to the Travis County Sheriff confessing to the schoolhouse arson and expressing their desire to surrender. In this letter, the McNeils warned the Sheriff not to send Deputy Moore as they would kill him if he tried to apprehend them.
Deputy Moore (a former Texas Ranger), married to the Eanes schoolteacher who was the victim of the arson, by happenstance intercepted this letter. Deputy Moore took this warning as a threat and personal challenge. Deputy Moore and an Austin City Marshal embarked into the mountain country, as it was called then, to arrest the McNeil brothers with a “Writ of Attachment”. The two lawmen camped overnight. Early the next morning, the two officers approached the McNeil cabin and tried to gain entry. Old man McNeil held the officers at bay with a rifle.
During the standoff, the Austin Marshal tried to disarm Old Man McNeil while Moore tried to enter the cabin. A shotgun blast from behind the door cut Deputy Moore down and he died instantly.
In 1905, a man believed to have assisted in Deputy Moore’s murder was hanged in Georgetown, Texas. The man, Thomas Young, was hanged for the brutal torture killing of a 15-year-old girl. Before his execution, (the last public Texas hanging) Young was asked to clear up the matter of Deputy Moore’s murder, as he was a suspect. Young did not confirm nor deny killing Deputy Moore. No arrest was ever made in the case.
FOOTNOTE: Deputy Moore was a participant in the 1878 Sam Bass shootout in Round Rock, Texas, and he is partially credited with the killing of Bass, a notorious bank robber. During the shootout, Williamson County Deputy Sheriff Grimes was shot and killed before he could fire a shot. Deputy Moore was also critically wounded with a through and through gunshot wound to his chest. Deputy Moore was able to return fire and wound Bass who was found the next day and later died from his wounds.