Texas Day by Day

On this day in Texas history…

Rancher accidentally shot on train

December 1st, 1901

On this day in 1901, William Riley Curtis, well-known Panhandle rancher and owner of the Diamond Tail Ranch, was accidentally shot on a train headed for Memphis, Texas. A fellow passenger's gun fell to the floor and discharged. The stricken rancher was taken to Fort Worth, where he died a few days later. Curtis had bought the Diamond Tail in 1870 and subsequently built up his herd. He began hosting an annual barbecue in the 1880s. A highlight of that event was his presentation of a baby carriage to every baby named for him that year. In 1893 when a blizzard swept across the Panhandle, Curtis saved the Diamond Tail cattle by riding ahead of them in a heavy Arctic suit and cutting the fences in his path.

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