Texas Day by Day

On this day in Texas history…


Notorious Texas outlaw born and dies

July 21st, 1851

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On this day in 1851, notorious outlaw Sam Bass was born in Indiana; his short and violent life also ended on July 21, in 1878. Bass arrived in Texas in the fall of 1870 and, after trying his hand at a number of occupations, began robbing stagecoaches and trains in 1877. In the spring of 1878, Bass and his gang robbed four trains within twenty-five miles of Dallas. They did not get much money, but the robberies aroused citizens, and the bandits were the object of a spirited chase across North Texas by posses and a special company of Texas Rangers headed by Junius Peak. Bass eluded his pursuers until one of his party turned informer. In Round Rock on July 19 Bass and his men became engaged in a gun battle in which he was wounded. The next morning he was found lying helpless in a pasture north of town and was brought back to Round Rock. He died there on July 21, his twenty-seventh birthday. He was buried in Round Rock and soon became the subject of cowboy song and story.

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