History

The Texas Longhorn: Noble Symbol or Omen of Death

By  | 

We hate spam too, we'll never share your email address

 

 

The Texas Longhorn: A symbol of pride. A beacon of solidarity, hope, strength, and steadfastness. Worldwide when people see the longhorn standing solid in a pasture with the western sun setting in the backdrop, they think of Texas.

But according to a news report from The Moulton Eagle newspaper, there was one particular steer whose appearance signaled something much more dark and sinister: death.

A Mysterious Brand

Murder 1889

Photo: Flicker/Terry Shuck

The story goes that there was one longhorn of a particular herd who had killed nine men. Whether he gored, trampled, or paralyzed them with his steely cold gaze, no one is quite sure. He had a reputation as being a dangerous item of livestock and bore an odd brand of “Murder 1889” on his left flank. The origin of this brand was the subject of much discussion and theorizing.

The White Steer Appears

Dead man's hand

Photo: Flickr/mlhradio

Despite the steer’s allegedly violent history, he was still much desired stock. In a dispute between two local ranchers over the ownership of “Murder”, one rancher killed the other. According to The Moulton Eagle, the longhorn was only a yearling at this time. The new owner fled, but his cattlemen branded the steer “Murder 1889”, a signpost to the bloody history regarding ownership.

The owner and alleged murderer was a man by the name of Fino Gilliland. A short time after the murder, Gilliland’s nephew, Jeff Webb, was killed in a poker game near the town of Alpine. After the killing witnesses claim that standing outside of the saloon where Webb was killed, staring into the window, there was a big white steer bearing the mark “Murder 1889” on his left flank.

A Spirit or Coincidence?

Texas Rangers range
Photo: Flickr/Debbie

Page 1 of 2:12