|WILD BILL LONGLEY
|The Jane Wells Woods Chapter of the
Daughters of the Republic of Texas, Burnet: dedicated a
Texas Veteran Marker at the grave of Campbell Longley* who was born 30 Sept
1816 in Sevier County, Tennessee and who died 15 Sept 1907 in Lometa, Lampasas
Longley had 183 living descendants survived him, and his second wife, Mary
Catherine Dockery Craighead who was the last surviving widow of the War. Longley
came to Texas in 1836. Four men (not named), including Campbell Longley, arrived
at San Jacinto to see General Houston lying wounded against a tree. The next day
they saw Santa Ana brought in a prisoner. Gen. Houston gave Longley and the
others orders to rejoin their group; he also gave them a letter for the men at
Goliad. When they arrived at Goliad they helped bury the dead. He (Longley) was
shipwrecked at Matagorda Island, on his way back to Tennessee, when rescued he
sold his first land grant for a change of clothes. Staying in Texas, he married Sarah Ann Henry; the couple had ten children, including the famous
outlaw "Wild Bill" Longley.
|William Preston "Bill" Longley was born on Mill Creek in Austin
County, Texas 6
Oct 1851, the son of Campbell Longley. The Henry Anderson family is on the 1850
census in Austin County near the Campbell Longley family. In 1853 Campbell bought a
farm about three miles west of Evergreen (just north of Giddings), Washington
(now Lee) County, Texas and the 1860 census shows that the Longley and Anderson
families must have moved together from the Mill Creek area to the Evergreen area
as the brother, Cale Longley, of Campbell is a next door neighbor of
Henry Anderson who married Caroline Willingham, parents of Wilson Anderson.
The 16 Sept 1877 issue of the Galveston News printed an extensive story on Bill
Longley as "related by Longley to a News reporter"; this story
and several others concerning Bill Longley are reprinted in THE HISTORY OF LEE
Bill Longley's first troubles occurred when, after a conflict, he killed a Negro
near Evergreen shortly before 10 Dec. 1866. To avoid the authorities Bill left
the area to go westward and obtained employment as a cowboy with
John Reagan of Karnes County, Texas. In April 1867 on his way home he was mistaken
for Charlie Taylor of the Taylor party and was chased by a Calvary Regiment;
Bill escaped after killing one of the soldiers. This encounter resulted in
a $1,000 reward being offered for his capture by the military authorities; Bill
soon left for Arkansas.
Bill Longley wandered wide and far with trouble his constant companion. He
relates stories of outlaws and killings in Arkansas, Texas, Indian Territory,
Missouri, Nebraska, Wyoming Territory, Iowa, Kansas. For a while Bill used the
name Tom Jones. Finally, Bill returned home to his father's farm in Texas, but
left again after a mob was going to capture him for the $1,000 reward previously
offered by the military. Trouble and killings
traveled with Bill as he attempted to work at various ranches in western Texas
and he finally returned home to his father's ranch only to leave soon after for
Mason County where he traveled under the name William Henry.
Here he was recognized by the sheriff of Mason County, Mr. Finley, who befriended,
followed, and finally, with the help of a posse, captured Bill and took him to
Austin to collect the $1,000 reward. In Austin Finley was
informed by Governor Davis that the reward could not be collected; William
Patterson of Austin, a cousin of Longley's, gave Finley $500 in gold, and Bill Longley was released.
After a short stay at his father's farm, Bill left and wandered across the state
always encountering trouble. Again he returned home and heard of the death
of his cousin, Cale Longley, son of Cale Longley Sr., and that Cale had been
killed by Wilson Anderson on 31 March 1875. Other stories related that Cale
Longley was killed when his horse went under a limb and knocked him off as he
and Wilson Anderson, his next door neighbor, were returning home from Giddings,
but this story did not satisfy Bill who went to the field where Anderson was at
work and shot him with a double-barreled shotgun.
After killing Anderson, Bill was on the run again; he used the names Jim
Patterson and William Black; he finally wound up in De Soto Parish, LA were he
was arrested by Sheriff Milton Mast of Nacogdoches, Texas after being recognized
by a deputy of the sheriff of De Soto Parish. Bill Longley was returned to
Giddings, Lee County, Texas where he was charged with the murder of Wilson Anderson;
Bill is credited with killing thirty-two men.
Bill was tried 3 Sept 1877 in Lee County, convicted of the murder of Wilson
Anderson, and hanged 11 Oct 1878. "The widow of Wilson Anderson,
who attended the execution with her two children, was satisfied that Longley was
Summer/Fall 2002 DRT newsletter, Daughters' Reflections
History of Lee County.
Yeats, John W. "Facts of Longley Hanging Explained", HOUSTON POST-DISPATCH, Magazine Section, October 25, 1931, p. 3.
Facts, as related to me by a descendant of Martha Jane
Longley, sister of Bill Longley:
WILLIAM PRESTON "BILL" LONGLEY
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