El Paso, TX Airplane Crash, May 1934

Harry Sexton Dead In Airplane Crash

Customs Collector Long Was an Associate of John Garner

By The Associated press

El Paso, May 29. – Harry L. SEXTON, 50, federal customs collector at San Antonio and minority clerk of the house when Vice-President John GARNER was speaker, was killed east of El Paso today when the coast guard plane in which he was flying crashed several miles east of the city.

Companion Escapes

Lieut. Clarence EDGE of the coast guard, the pilot, was burned when he escaped from the ship as it burst into flames. SEXTON apparently was knocked unconscious. Army officers took his charred body from the wreckage.

The men flew here from San Antonio yesterday, SEXTON coming on official business. They had left the field a half hour before the crash and were returning when, EDGE said the motor stopped and he tried to make a safe landing in the desert country.

The ship was confiscated by the United States customs service in November, 1932, from W. T. PONDER, world war ace flier, who was accused of smuggling imported alcohol.

GARNER, at Washington, was shocked by the news of the death of his friend.

Praised By Garner

“Harry SEXTON was a very fine character,” the vice-president said. “He was a dependable man and a good American citizen.”

Among those close to Texas federal patronage matters it was said the S. P. HORNBY, Uvalde editor and close friend of the vice-president, would be recommended to succeed SEXTON.

SEXTON first came to Texas in 1916 with the Iowa national guard during the border mobilization and was stationed at San Benito, in the Rio Grande valley. Upon leaving the army he became a newspaper correspondent and until 1926 he was managing editor of the Brownsville Herald. His first newspaper job was in the Merrill (Iowa) Record when he was 13 years old.

Garner’s Secretary

He finally went to Washington as secretary to GARNER when the latter was a member of congress from the fifteenth district. He later became secretary of the minority bloc when GARNER was elevated to the democratic leadership in the lower branch.
GARNER was inaugurated vice-president and SEXTON was made clerk in GARNER’S suite. A short time later he was named collector at San Antonio.

SEXTON was survived by his widow, of Brownsville, two daughters, Mrs. Jake MENCKEN of Houston and Barbara Ann of Brownsville; and four sons, H. H. SEXTON of Houston and R. L. SEXTON, Harry Floyd SEXTON and Keyes Duncan SEXTON, all of Brownsville.

Mr. SEXTON’S body will be sent to San Antonio tomorrow. It will be met at San Antonio by a guard of honor of customs officials who will accompany it to Brownsville.

Abilene Morning News, Abilene, TX 30 May 1934


What the Coast Guard was doing inEl Paso

The aircraft, a Curtiss Falcon, was from Coast Guard Air Detachment, Dodd Field, San Antonio. Texas. The mission was border patrol to counter smuggling.

Thank you Lori!

Harry Sexton was my great grandfather. Thank you for sharing this, it means so much.