Sherman, TX Grayson County Courthouse Burned by Mob, May 1930

To Use High School.

County Judge Allie S. Noble said Friday night that a joint meeting of the County Commissioners and the City School Board arrangements were made for the county officers to occupy the Junior High School Building on North Travis Street. This building, directly across the street west of the Federal Building has been unoccupied for some time.

Judge Noble also said that if the crowd will permit the work to be carried on, the vault of the District Clerk’s office will be opened and the body of the negro taken from it. The work of transferring the county records to the improvised county courthouse will be carried out as soon as possible.

A portion of the east wall of the courthouse fell late Friday afternoon and the ruins are a menace to those who go near them.

Says Rangers Were Helpless.

Immediately after the fire, Captain Hamer and his four other Texas rangers borrowed an automobile and bidding good-bye to the mob, left the city, going toward Dallas. Captain Hamer said that when Governor Moody ordered the rangers not to shoot, they were as helpless as anybody else in stopping the stream of humanity that surrounded the courthouse and demanded the life of the negro.

Most of Records Burn.

At 4 o’clock Friday afternoon the burnable part of the courthouse was in ashes. Some records had been hastily put in vaults but many of them in the offices of the Tax Assessor, Tax Collector, County Clerk, County Judge and county superintendent’s office were destroyed.

A conservative estimate of the financial loss to the county is $50,000 and it was said Friday afternoon that some of the records would be hard to replace.

With the courtroom about half full, only people connected with the case being admitted, Hughes was placed on trial Friday morning.

Thirty-sex venire men were questioned, the jury of twelve being complete at 11:45 o’clock. The jurors chosen were L.A. Hensley and O.C. Dakey of Van Alstyne, G.A. McMahan and F.J. Scoggins of Howe, D. Fennell of Denison, Fred Sanderson of Gordonville, Hunt Smith of Hagerman, L.K. Nash of Tom Bean, T.P. Roach, Ernest Orr, J.L. Loy and S.C. Boggs of Sherman.

Early in the morning the crowds started gathering about the courthouse and the building itself was packed and jammed from the entrance to the courtroom corridor down the stairways to the doors of the building. A large part of the crowd was composed of farmers.

At noon the Sheriff and rangers had to draw their guns to keep the crowd from forcing the door of the corridor and into the courtroom.

Both State and defense announced ready when the case was called at 9:30 o’clock by Judge Carter. A detachment of rangers, commanded by Capt. Frank Hamer, guarded Hughes, who had been brought to the courthouse early Friday. Sergeants J.B. Wheatley and Rangers J.V. Aldrich and J.E. McCoy were with Captain Hamer. Sheriff Arthur Vaughn and a full force of deputies was on duty in the courtroom and corridors of the building.

Hughes manifested but casual interest in the proceedings and was apparently calm. He sat with his elbows on knees and occasionally held his head in his hands. He was not handcuffed.

A crowd extending halfway down the steps from the first floor packed the entrance to the courtroom corridor. A number of women were in the group. None was admitted to the courtroom except those connected with the case. After a time the hall and stairways were cleared by the officers and rangers, the noise disturbing the proceedings.