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Alleged participants in mob killing go on trial
May 24, 1869

On this day in 1869, twenty-four defendants went on trial in the celebrated Stockade Case. On the night of October 24, 1868, a Marion County mob dragged five Republicans, arrested the previous night after a Republican meeting ended in a gunfight with local Democrats, from the Jefferson jail and killed three of them, a white and two blacks. After the killings Reconstruction officials arrested some thirty-five suspects, and eventually tried twenty-four of them. The trial involved the testimony of 176 witnesses, and a verdict was not delivered until August 23, 1869. Only seven of the defendants were found guilty of any of the charges, and it is unclear whether any of them served any time in prison.

El Paso civic leader and cigar manufacturer born in Prussia
May 24, 1857

On this day in 1857, Ernst Kohlberg was born in Beverungen, Westphalia, at that time a province of Prussia. He left home in 1875 with Solomon C. Schutz, who had business interests in the El Paso area. Kohlberg agreed to work for Schutz without salary for six months to a year in order to defray the costs of his passage to Texas. The two reached Franklin, as El Paso was then called, by stagecoach. Kohlberg's first impressions of his new home were less than glowing. He wrote to his parents that the town was "nearly the end of the world and the last creation." After working off his debt to Schutz, Kohlberg invested in a Mexican gold mine and worked in San Francisco before returning to Franklin in 1881 and opening a cigar store in partnership with his brother. On a family visit to Germany in 1884, Kohlberg met and married Olga Bernstein. The two became prominent civic leaders and philanthropists in El Paso; Olga Kohlberg founded the first public kindergarten in Texas. In 1886 the Kohlberg brothers established the first cigar factory in the Southwest. Among Ernst Kohlberg's other holdings was the St. Charles Hotel, which he leased to a compulsive gambler who in 1910 shot and killed Kohlberg after falling far behind in his rent.

Future Alamo defender and survivor elope
May 24, 1829

On this day in 1829, Almaron Dickinson eloped with Susanna Wilkerson. Dickinson, a native of Pennsylvania, was born around 1800 and later moved to the area of Bolivar, Tennessee, where he met Wilkerson, who was born in that state in 1814. The couple moved to Gonzales, Texas, in 1831 and had a daughter, Angelina Dickinson, in 1834. As a colonist in Green DeWitt's colony, Dickinson received a league of land on the San Marcos River. He participated in the battle of Gonzales in 1835 and distinguished himself as a lieutenant of artillery at the siege of Bexar; at the battle of the Alamo he was the captain in charge of artillery. Although he died at the Alamo, his wife and child survived; legend says Susanna displayed her husband's Masonic apron to a Mexican general in a plea for help. General Santa Anna sent Susanna and her daughter to Sam Houston with a letter of warning dated March 7. Susanna married four more times before her death in 1883.