Perhaps most unusual of all is the tone of the item, set forth below, that ran in the Wills Point Chronicle on the occassion of Hartwell Marable's release from the Texas State Penitentiary.
Presented with the article is a poem written by Hartwell at the close
of the year in 1940. The imagery of the "The Year is Done" clearly shows
that his socialist ardor persisted past his sixtith year. Below these documents
is a recounting of the events at Mineola, Wood Co., Texas, in 1915 -- family
legend that should be regarded primarily as an example of my father's storytelling
craft rather than as history.
Wills Point Chronicle, April 9, 1925
The Year is Done
The year is done, its record made,
Through ages past mankind have striven
When they have failed 'twas not because
Perhaps some day mankind will find
Regrets but follow in the train
The Tragedy at Mineola, Wood Co., Texas, 1915
Hartwell's neighbor kept a pig, which was not unusual in those parts, of course. One day the pig broke into Hartwell's corn, however; and that was something that Hartwell could not abide Hartwell ran the pig back to the neighbor's place and told the man to to keep the pig penned up. The next time he gets out and gets into my corn, Hartwell said, I'll shoot the damned pig.
Not long thereafter the pig got out again and again got into Hartwell's corn. Having already resolved how this situation would be handled, he picked up his rifle and killed the pig that fateful morning.
Later that day Hartwell was in town standing outside his brother-in-law's hardware store when the neighbor and another man approached him. The man was in a rage about the loss of his pig and, with his friend, he said something that you didn't say in Texas in 1915 unless you meant it. The two men told Hartwell that he had until sundown to get out of the county and that, if they found him or any of his kin in the county after sundown, they would shoot them dead. The two men turned and started walking across the street.
Hartwell must have believed them. As they walked away, he stepped into the hardware store and reached into the gun counter. He pulled out a revolver, loaded it and stepped back outside. Without another word, he shot the two men just as they were reaching the opposite side of the street.
This being Texas in 1915, it was generally agreed that Hartwell had done the proper thing, except in one particular. The men had challenged him and threatened his family, and a man could not let that go unanswered in Texas in 1915. His error, however, was that he shot the men in the back; and it was against the law to shoot a man in the back, even in Texas in 1915.
So it was that Hartwell received two ninety-nine year sentences, one for the killing of each of the men. The provocation was apparently taken into accout by the judge in mitigation, as he allowed that the sentences should run concurrently rather than consecutively.
It is said that Jim Ferguson was very grateful to Hartwell for withdrawing from the Governor's race in his favor in 1914 and that Hartwell wouldn't have been in prison as long as he was if Jim's little troubles hadn't kept him out of the state house for a while. When they worked their way around those problems, however, and Jim's wife, Ma Ferguson, was elected governor in 1925, her first official act was to pardon Hartwell Marable.
Actually, it is doubtful that Miriam A. Ferguson's first official act as Governor of the State of Texas was to pardon Hartwell Marable; but she clearly didn't waste any time, as he was free by the beginning of April. It should also be noted that Hartwell was not the only man pardoned by Ma Ferguson. In fact, large numbers of pardons characterized the regimes of both of the Fergusons.