1888 opens with lots happening

As 1888, got underway, Walter Meek wrote to his fiancé in Ohio that Duval County paid 50 cents for a dead bobcat and “sometimes in winter we kill two to three a day.”  Dead wildcats were not the only carcasses found.  Jeffreys, the Corpus Christi paper’s correspondent in San Diego, found a dead cat at one of the plazas, a dead dog on a street, two dead calves and a dead chicken at the other plaza.

In the first week of 1888, there was a lot going on.  There was a train accident between Collins and San Diego.  The train’s conductor directed passengers to jump and no one was hurt.  Also, that week, Mr. Niland finished painting the courthouse and jail, but still had much of painting to do in town.  The circus was in town with 20 acts.  Before it pulled up stakes, the circus took considerable of the town’s money.

The District Court session was in San Diego during the second week of January.  County Attorney Charles L. Coyner was filling in for District Attorney D. McNeil Turner, who arrived a day late.  Other officers serving the court were District Clerk R. B. Glover and Sheriff L. L. Wright.  Grand Jury members included foreman R. R. Savage, C. Spann, H. E. Parkham, J. H. Thomas, Isidro Benavides, R. H. Corbett, John Carrillo, Charles Hoffman, F. G. Tovar, C. Tibilier, Otto Brandt, and Julian Ureste.  Only seven members of the grand jury showed up for to hear cases.  The court summoned 100 special jurymen.  U. S. Deputy Marshall S. R. Peters was also in town attending court.

The grand jury returned only six indictments, which was notable given the rampant crime along the border.  One of the border crimes that transferred to Duval County was the Meully and Riverton cases, which the court dismissed expecting that they would be indicted in Webb County.  The murder trial of Jose Zepeda, accused of killing Juan Yldifonso Lopez, was heard and charges were dismissed.  The jury reportedly agreed on his guilt but could not agree on the penalty.  Representing Zepeda were James Wells, Pat Dougherty and County Judge James O. Luby.  The jury was picked by noon and closing arguments were at six in the evening.

While the grand jury was not disposed to return many indictments, the petit juries were equally unprepared to return guilty verdicts.  Juan Dix was found not guilty in trial for false imprisonment and James Ashworth was not guilty of theft of a gun. Pedro Martinez did not fare as well, he was convicted of stealing a pig valued $4 and was sentenced to three months in county jail.

There was a lot of selling going on as 1888 got underway.  J. G. Gallagher returned from Louisiana, where he reported success with selling horses.  Fred Perrenot, meanwhile, reported similar results on his horse selling trip to Mississippi.  Back in Duval County, the Gravis brothers sold their Duval County pasture of 20,000 acres to E. Morris of Corpus Christi for $28,003.  Attorneys McCampbell & Welch were offering 2,000 acres, part of Ynojosa land grants, for $1.50 an acre.  Moritz D. Cohn leased the business operated as E. Mortiz and Co. and planned to operate it under his name.