Inspector Robert Stuart Rumsey, Jr.

Inspector Robert Stuart Rumsey, Jr.

United States Department of the Treasury - United States Customs Service, U.S. Government

End of Watch Saturday, August 19, 1922

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Robert Stuart Rumsey, Jr.

U.S. Customs Inspectors Robert Rumsey, Jr., Frank Smith, and Bill Musgrave were patrolling the Corpus Christi Road about 30 miles east of Laredo on the afternoon of Aug. 19, 1922.

The inspectors met two trucks carrying tequila, which they stopped and seized. Rumsey placed Frank Smith in one of truck and Bill Musgrave in the other. He ordered them to drive to Laredo while he followed in his car. Rumsey, a former Texas Ranger, was a border veteran and knew that rifles were essential in brush fighting and six-shooters were worthless at the longer ranges. He, unfortunately, kept the two inspectors’ Winchester rifles in his vehicle. The procession came upon a vehicle with 4-5 heavily armed smugglers who were supposed to be the escort for the two seized trucks.

Inspector Rumsey stopped his car and got out to stop the smuggler’s car when they opened fire and killed him. The smugglers seized Rumsey’s car and the two inspectors were left with only their pistols for defense. The two inspectors emptied their pistols at the smugglers and were forced to escape into the brush. This encounter took place about 3 miles from Mirando City in Webb County.

Differing newspaper accounts reported a suspect was arrested -- each naming a different man. The case was dismissed.

Rumsey served 14 years as a customs officer and was survived by his wife. He was buried in the Catholic Cemetery in Laredo, Webb County, Texas.


  • Age 40
  • Tour 14 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Location Texas
  • Weapon Gun; Unknown type
  • Offender Not available

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Rest in peace Inspector Rumsey.

Rabbi Lewis S. Davis

August 23, 2020

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