In a cemetery in Fort Stockton, TX is a gravestone which bears the name
Andrew J. Royal, the date Nov. 19, 1894, and a one word epitaph: "Assassinated". No one was ever brought to trial for the murder of this brave lawman. West Texas legends said that five prominent business men feared that the Sheriff knew too much of their nefarious deeds, and that on the night of November 19, 1894 they drew beans from a hat in which there were placed four white beans and one black. In the late evening hours while Sheriff Royal was doing paperwork at his desk, the murderer crept up to the window of the Sheriff's Office and emptied a shotgun into the back of the unsuspecting Sheriff's head. This poem is my tribute to one of the nameless ones who "won the West", and made America a safe place to live.
Beneath a clear West Texas sky-
There stands a weathered stone…
A lawman, fate decreed must die,
Now rests there all alone.
Murdered by a villain foul-
At night the deed was done….
A shotgun blast, a window smashed
Away the killer run.
“Assassinated”, reads the stone-
What more was there to say?
No killer hung to right the wrong-
Unsolved until this day.
The Pecos County Sheriff, they say-
Knew far too much to live…
They chose a rather novel way…
The dirty job to give.
Five men were gathered late that night-
Each one to draw the lot..
Four of them drew beans of white,
Just one the black bean got.
Sheriff Royal, at his desk-
Looked up, he’d heard a sound-
A silver badge pinned on his vest,
The night they gunned him down.
The law, it holds no terror-
For the honest this is true..
I’ve heard it said the guilty flee
Although no men pursue….
The killer did his dirty deed-
Buckshot in the head….
He killed a better man than he…
And then he turned and fled.
The nineteenth of November
In eighteen ninety four…
A good man slain, the lawless reign
No need to tell you more.
Way out in old Fort Stockton-
In a lonely, unkept grave…
The Pecos County Sheriff sleeps
The slumber of the brave.
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[This message has been edited by Gunslinger (edited 03-04-2000).]