Captain Thomas G. Williams

Captain Thomas G. Williams

Texas State Police, Texas

End of Watch Friday, March 14, 1873

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Thomas G. Williams

On January 14, 1873, the sheriff of Lampasas County was shot and wounded. When the district judge ordered the arrest of Wash and Mark Short, three of the five Horrell brothers drew pistols on the deputies and allowed the Short brothers to escape. Local authorities asked Governor Davis to send state police to maintain order.

State Police Captain Thomas G. Williams and six state policemen were sent to Lampasas on March 14, 1873, to arrest anyone carrying a firearm and the Horrell brothers. They saw Bill Bowen carrying a pistol and enter a saloon. Captain Williams left three state policemen outside and he and Privates J. M. Daniels, Wesley Cherry, and Andrew Melville went inside to arrest him. When Captain Williams told Bowen he was under arrest, Mart Horrell told Bowen he did not have to submit to arrest. Captain Williams drew his pistol and wounded Mart Horrell. Gunfire erupted from the 10 or more men inside the small saloon. Williams and Daniels were killed instantly. Cherry made it outside before being killed. Melville was mortally wounded and ran to a local hotel. Tom Horrell was also wounded in the exchange. The men came out shooting and the three remaining state policemen fled back to Austin. Andrew Melville died on April 10, 1873.

In October of 1876, Tom, Mart, and Merritt Horrell were acquitted of the killing of the four state policemen with the jury reaching its verdict without leaving their seats. After being twice acquitted in lawmen killings and cattle rustlings, Merritt Horrell was killed January 22, 1877 in a gunfight in Lampass, New Mexico. In 1878, Mart and Tom Horrell were arrested in Meredian Texas on armed robbery and murder charges and killed by vigilantes. In 1936, Sam Horrell died in California.

Williams, Daniels, Cherry and Melville were buried in Oak Hill Cemetery in Lampasas. Melville's grave has a marker, but no grave site or marker has been located for Daniels and Cherry. Williams was re-interred and buried in the Texas State Cemetery.

A posse of seven state police officers was sent to a saloon to enforce a law prohibiting the wearing of side arms. The posse had arrested one man outside the saloon and when they attempted to enter the saloon a gun battle ensued.

Captain Williams, Private Cherry and Private Daniels were killed instantly. Private Melville died one month later.


  • Age 28
  • Tour Not available
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Gun; Unknown type
  • Offender Tom, Mart and Merritt Horrell

Most Recent Reflection

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Capt. Williams,
On today, the 150th anniversary of your death I would just like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice for the citizens of the state of Texas.


United States Border Patrol

March 14, 2023

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