J. William "Bill" Standifer

by R. K. DeArment
From: OLD WEST, Spring 1991; p. 20

J. William "Bill" Standifer, the shorter man on the left in the back row, and
a group of Texas panhandle cattlemen in the 1890s.

          An important employee of the ranchers during the days of the great open, unfenced cattle range was the "protection man," a fellow known for his fearlessness, skill with guns, and willingness to use them.

          The protection man, as one early rangeland chronicler put it, "carried his only authority in his holsters," but he was paid "to patrol the ranges, find as many rustlers as he could, and kill them where he found them."  How he accomplished his mission was rarely questioned in the early days, and the protection man was responsible for many a lonely unmarked rustler's grave on the prairie.

          At roundup time when cowboys from the various ranches hunted down the cattle, wild as deer, and drove them to a central location for sorting and branding, the protection man represented his employer and protected his interest.  Later, when the ranchers formed associations, they shared range-riders' expenses and carried them on their books as "cattle detectives" or "association men."  Small ranchers and settlers, who were frequently harassed as suspected cow thieves by the association men, often referred to them by other, less polite names; they called them "scalpers" or "hired killers."

          DURING roundups those enforcers of range law were authorized by the ranchers to act as sole judge in disputes over cattle ownership. "Not a day passed at one of these roundups," recalled A. P. Black, who worked cattle spreads in the Texas Panhandle in the 1880s, "but what there was some argument about burnt cattle.  An association man was just the same thing as a detective, and was paid by the association to keep a little order.  He wasn't allowed to gamble with any of the cowpunchers and had to keep his head clear and his gun on the danger side.  I've never seen one at a roundup with both gloves on; he always had his gun hand bare."

          Some celebrated gunfighters, including George Scarborough in Texas and New Mexico and Tom Horn in Wyoming, were employed as protection men at various times.  Scarbrough was killed by outlaws in 1900 while working for the Grant County, New Mexico Cattlemen's Association, and Horn was hanged in 1903 for a murder committed in the interest of his employers.

          In the Texas panhandle none of the breed was better known than J. William "Bill" Standifer, a dark-haired, brown-eyed man of small stature but large reputation.  Standifer was born and raised in Lampasas County, Texas.  His mother died when he was still a young boy.  His father remarried, taking as his second wife a girl from the notorious Horrell clan which engaged during the 1870s in a long and bloody feud with the Higgins family.

        As a youth Standifer killed a man at a cattle camp, a not unusual occurrence, but the circumstances of the incident were the stuff of which legends are made, and story was told and retold around cowboy campfires for years.  In the early 1879 the adolescent Standifer had left home to make his way as a cowboy.  He found work on the ranch of Ike Mullins in Tom Green County, but had been employed only a few months when the violent confrontation occurred.

          AMONG THE many cowboys drifting into Tom Green County to take part in the general spring roundup that year was a peeler from Gonzales named John Mahan (or "McMahon" in some accounts.)  He and Standifer got into an argument when Standifer refused to let him drive some strays across a pasture where Standifer was holding a small herd of Mullins cattle.  Unable to bulldoze the youthful and diminutive upstart, Mahan decided to bullwhip him.  While a companion leveled a rifle on Standifer, Mahan uncoiled a blacksnake whip and administered a brutal lashing to the youngster.  

          Standifer, bloody and seething with rage, rode to the Mullins house and asked for his wages, saying he was leaving to kill a man.  Rejoining the roundup, he went from one crew to another in search of the man from Gonzales.  He found him at a camp near Pony Creek.  Mahan was mounted, talking with a group of punchers.  Standifer did not have to say a word as he rode up; the look on his face told Mahan that it was showdown time.  Mahan jerked a six-shooter and fired a wild shot.  Standifer, with what everybody later agreed was a lucky shot, put an answering bullet through Mahan's gun-hand wrist.

          With a shriek of pain, Mahan dropped his weapon and put spurs to his horse.  Standifer galloped in pursuit, snapping off shots.  After 600 yards a bullet down Mahan's horse.  Scrambling to his feet, Mahan started to run, but another slug from Standifer's six-gun slammed into his back and he was dead when he hit the ground.

          Bill Standifer pulled out that night, heading west, and did not stop until he struck Marfa.  He worked cattle in the Big Bend county of West Texas until sudden violence flared in a Fort Davis restaurant.  He tangled with three black troopers from the fort, and when he rode out tow of them lay bleeding on the floor.

Standifer did not have to say a word as he rode up; the look on his face told Mahan that it was showdown time.  Mahan, jerked a six-shooter and fired a wild shot.  Standifer put an answering bullet through Mahan's gun-hand wrist.  With a shriek of pain, Mahan dropped his weapon and put spurs to his horse/

          The Texas Rangers hunted Standifer down and took him to Coleman County for trial in the Mahan killing.  After hearing testimony that Mahan had fired first, a jury acquitted the young man on the grounds of Justifiable homicide.  Neither of the soldiers died as a result of the Fort Davis shooting, and no charges were brought against him for that fracas.

          By the early eighties when Bill Standifer struck the lower Panhandle country, his reputation as a very tough hombre was established.  He knew cattle, could not be bluffed, was a skilled hand with a six-gun, and was not afraid to use it.  Men like that were in demand as protection men ad roundup bosses, and Bill Standifer did not lack for work.  He bossed the C. C. Slaughter roundup in Scurry County, which veteran cowpuncher Hiram C. Craig called the largest roundup he "ever saw or heard speak of."  When the riders had driven them all together, Craig said, there were an "estimated 10,000 head of cattle in one herd, covering a prairie one-half mile each way."

          LITTLE BILL Standifer, who never weighed over 140 pounds, could be a dominating presence among the leather-tough cowboys.  That was demonstrated in another roundup story still being talked about at cow camps in the Panhandle half a century later.  In the spring of 1883 some 150 cowhands had begun a big roundup on the Concho, worked north to Colorado City, and then had moved further north toward Snyder, a tiny community of several houses and one saloon in Scurry County.

          The saloon owner, anticipating the crowd of saddle-sore and parched cow-punchers, freighted in large stocks of liquid refreshment, barrels of beer and whiskey, and waited gleefully for the invasion with every expectation of reaping a financial harvest.

          A former Texas Ranger named Bill Meader, working the roundup for the JD outfit, was early on the scene and described what happened.  Felix Franklin and his outfit won the race to the Snyder saloon, followed closely by the Frank Cooksey and Bill Standifer wagons.  By the time a large "remuda" of horses was assembled at the saloon's hitch-rail, Franklin was already fortified with rotgut.  He came out of the saloon in the time-honored fashion of inebriated cowpoke celebrants, whooping and roaring oaths.  Jerking his six-gun, he began firing under the horses' hooves, frightening the animals.  Several reared, broke loose, and ran off.

          Bill Standifer, who had just arrived and stepped off his horse, approached Franklin and told him to cease his hell-raising, reminding him that there were respectable women living in the houses nearby.

          WITH a snarled curse, Franklin turned angrily and staggered toward Standifer, bun in hand.  A hundred cowboys watching the confrontation tensed.

          Standifer stood calmly as the drunken cowboy approached.

         "Felix," he said, "don't you have a mother and sisters?"

          "Yes," Franklin admitted.

          "Then," said Standifer, "you don't respect them if you don't respect the women in that house over there."

          Franklin stared a long moment at Standifer.  Then he turned without a word and went to his wagon to sleep off his binge.

          The scene had a remarkable effect on the assembled cowboys.  "I went into the saloon with the rest of the JD boys," recalled Bill Meader, "but not a word was spoken.  We lined up to the bar and had a round of drinks, and then we all walked out again to go to our own wagons.  And there was no drinking in the bar that night.  I don't think there was anything quite like it, before or since.  There was something in what Billy Standifer said that went right through the whole crowd....something that made them think of home...or when they were kids...and I'll tell you it was pretty lonesome out there on the Plains that night."

          A lot of hangovers were undoubtedly prevented by Standifer's little lecture, and the incident added to his rangeland legend, but it is unlikely the Snyder saloon keeper was one of his admirers after missing out on the roundup bonanza.

          During that period Standifer reportedly killed a rustler near Estacado in northwest Crosby County.  His reputation as a protection man had now become so formidable that cattle thieves often would disappear from a range as soon as they heard he had been hired to patrol it.  "More often than not," said one old-timer, "Standifer....worked himself out of a job without ever 'bustin' a cartridge."

          WITH DEMAND for his services at a low ebb in 1888, Standifer ran for sheriff of Crosby County and was elected.  "There were great sheriffs in those days," wrote J. F. Cunningham, who was elected district attorney of the Thirty-Ninth Judicial District that year and worked with lawmen in over thirty counties.  "Bill Standifer of Crosby County and George Scarborough of Anson were among the best--as game as any men I ever know.  One occasion Standifer went three hundred miles, clear into New Mexico, after a thief, and brought him back."

          Standifer actually made several trips into New Mexico after fugitives while sheriff of Crosby County.  One of those expeditions, made shortly after he took office, proved a harrowing experience for both the new sheriff and Deputy Charlie Quillen, who accompanied him.  They had gone after thieves who had looted the post office at Dockums, in neighboring Dickens County.  In Lincoln County, New Mexico, they lost the trail of the post office thieves, but picked up the track of Brude Brookins and a partner who were moving west with thirty head of stolen Texas horses.  Near the notorious outlaw hangout of Seven Rivers, the officers caught up with Brookins and his pal.  Ignoring state lines and territorial jurisdiction, Standifer shackled the two and started on the long ride home with his prisoners and the stolen horses.

          On the evening of the first day of the return trip, he stopped at headquarters of the VVN ranch and asked ranch manager George Neal, who lived there with his wife and children, if they could spend the night.

          After supper, while Standifer and Neal were outside tending the horses, the prisoners talked Quillen into removing the handcuffs so that they might stretch a bit.  But moments after the irons were off, Brookins sprang at Quillen and knocked him to the floor with a blow to the face.

Grabbing Quillen's rifle as the deputy struggled to his feet, the desperado fired, hitting the officer in the chest.  The bullet passed through Quillen and nicked the settler's wife standing terror-stricken behind him.  Despite his grievous wound, Deputy Quillen closed with his adversary and managed to wrestle him to the floor.

          Grabbing Quillen's rifle as the deputy struggled to his feet, the desperado fired, hitting the officer in the chest.  The bullet passed through Quillen and nicked the settler's wife standing terror-stricken behind him.  Despite his grievous wound, Deputy Quillen closed with his adversary and managed to wrestle him to the floor.

          The other man meanwhile had secured the sheriff's double-barreled shotgun.  Standifer, hearing the shot and the screams of the woman inside the dugout, burst through the doorway and was confronted with the gaping barrels of his own weapon.  In that awful split second Standifer tensed as he instinctively braced himself to receive the full blast of a shotgun charge at short range.  He watched the man's finger tighten on the trigger and saw the hammer fall.  

          There was a click.  The gun, loaded with shells Standifer had prepared himself, had misfired.

          Before the prisoner could cock the other trigger and fire the second barrel, Standifer was on him.  He grabbed the shotgun, jerked it away, and beat the man into submission.  Turning to Brookins and Quillen, still struggling on the floor, he quieted the deputy's opponent with a sharp blow from the shotgun.

          "THERE ARE men living today who knew Standifer well," wrote range historian C. L. Douglas fifty years later, "and who often heard him tell of the incident, and they will tell you that Bill never ceased to marvel at that miracle in the dugout...that even if the fault saved his life, his inefficiency in loading the shell hurt his pride."

          After shackling the prisoners, Standifer and Neal attended to Quillen's wound, a wicked looking hole barely above the heart.  They tried to slow the bleeding, but Quillen was weakening and need professional help.  Standifer saddled three horses, had his handcuffed prisoners mount up, and secured their feet below the stirrups.  Leaving the stolen horses temporarily on the VVN range, he set off, saying he would send back the first doctor he could find.

          Almost as miraculous as Standifer's misfiring shotgun, Charlie Quillen survived.  "He often wore the coat with the bullet hole in the left breast, " Colonel R. P. Smyth told Douglas, "and when I was surveying that country during the '80s I've looked across the table at that coat many a time...and I always wondered at Charlie being alive."

J. Frank Norfleet was a young line-rider when Sheriff Standifer stopped at his camp with a prisoner.

          Returning with a prisoner from another New Mexico excursion, Sheriff Standifer stopped at a line-rider's lonely camp in Hockley County.  "It was on a stretch which later became part of the old Spade Ranch," recalled the line-rider in his old age.  "Billy wanted me to guard the prisoner while he got some sleep.  I remembered how the fellow cussed Standifer and called him a coward, and how Billy left his bed, came over to the prisoner, looked down at him, and said: 'So I'm a coward, am I?  I supposed you're a brave man, because when I walked up to your dugout where you were hiding with four buckets of water and half a dozen guns, you came out when I told you to...and you came out with your hands up.'  Bill Standifer was a brave fearless as they come."

          That testimony should carry special weight, as the line-rider was J. Frank Norfleet, a singularly courageous and determined man in his own right, who later spent several years and a great deal of money hunting sown and hounding to conviction a gang of con artists who had bilked him.

          In 1890 Standifer and a Spur ranch cowboy named Hosea tracked down a horse thief who had been preying on the Spur hears.  "I notice that the Board approved the $50 reward to Hosea," Spur ranch manager wrote to his home office.  "I would further like to reward Standifer, the sheriff at Estacado, who volunteered to go with Hosea and without whom the thief in all probability would not have been taken.  They had a very close shave getting the thief, and if they had been caught by the mob of outlaws they would have been hanged if they let themselves be taken alive, which they were not going to do; and the prisoner was the first they were going to kill."

          Standifer was reelected in 1890 and again in 1892, serving a total of six years as the top lawman in Crosby County.  Tough as he was, the years spent chasing outlaws took their toll on the little gunman, and became increasingly addicted to alcohol.  The voters of Crosby County rejected his bid for reelection in 1894, and returned to the cattle ranges as a protection man.

          Spur manager Horsbrugh held Standifer his high regard and quickly put him on the payroll.  The Spur range was so large, extending over more that 400,000 acres and covering large sections of Dickens, Kent, Crosby, and Garza counties, that Horsbrugh hired additional men to assist "the famous Standifer," as he referred to his top gunman in reports to the absentee owners.  Later a detective from Denver was brought in to spy on settlers who had filed on Spur pasture and were suspect of harboring rustlers.

          "I am operating in the books an account to be called 'Protection A-c' to which we will put the expenses thus cased by the employment of these extra men," Horsbrugh reported.  "The detectives will have to be treated differently.  Nobody knows about him.  Will pay him through his Denver firm."

          Although it is clear from such reports that the policy of the ranch owners, as implemented by the managers, was to protect their interest by legal means whenever possible, it is also evident that Spur protection men were expected to use whatever means necessary to protect those interests.

          In August 1896 Horsbrugh dispatched Standifer and an associate named Britt to check out a settler on the Spur range was pulling out, headed east.  Horsbrugh wanted to be sure he didn't take any Spur stock with him.  "They will follow to Indian Territory is necessary," reported Horsbrugh, "and if there is anything crooked with either taken this man, or kill him, both Britt and Standifer being very determined men and of course well armed."

Fred Horsbrugh, as manager of the Spur Ranch, hired Bill Standifer and Pink Higgins as protection men.


          Clairemont in Kent County was a favorite hangout for rustlers, and Standifer gave it special attention.  A very rough town during those years, Clairemont was said to average a killing a week.  That was an exaggeration, perhaps, but much violence did take place there.  A feud over ownership of a single cow resulted in the deaths of nine men; a district judge was gunned down in a Clairemont hotel; and Jeff Hardin, brother of the infamous John Wesley Hardin, was shot and killed there.

          STANDIFER contributed to the town's violent reputation when in June 1898 he killed a man named Kiggings in a Clairemont saloon.  Horsbrugh reported the killing to his superiors as "a piece of good unlooked for event [which] has rather put a more favorable complexion on cow matters of late in this pasture."  Characterizing Kiggings as "one of the worst cow-thieves that ever came to these parts." he said that "His sudden taking off has, I think, rather disconcerted some of our neighbors."  Kiggings, he said, "was a reckless, improvident sort of individual who delighted in stealing, and who stole for the love of it, and for a very small reward would 'maverick' an unbranded calf for another man, and kill the cow to prevent the calf following if necessary."

          Standifer was released on $5,000 bail in the Kiggings shooting case and subsequently stood trial in Fisher County and was cleared.  He took work for a time on the Matador spread, which neighbored the Spur.  In June 1899, Horsbrugh reported that he had added a highly recommended protection man named Tynam to the payroll, "The other man whom I have," he said, " is the famous Standifer, who has lately been acquitted in the case in which he killed the worst thief we had down at Clairemont last year.  He is at work for the ranche [sic] south of us who have been having a lot of trouble from thieves, and as he has made a lot of those gentry move out of there, he has some time at his disposal....The ranchers who really have him hired are agreeable to his assisting up here...His is very well known, and is worth a lot of ordinary men; and already has caused a flutter among the thieves."

          Tynam and Standifer's efforts triggered a general exodus of suspected cow thieves from the Spur range, and Horsbrugh was soon able to let his Denver detective go.  Standifer stayed on for a time, but in 1900 he moved up into Harley County and got himself elected sheriff there.  After a two-year term he returned to work for the Spurs.

Pink Higgins survived a bloody Lampasas County feud to become a protection man in the panhandle.

          Tynam had moved on.  His replacement, lately arrived from Lampasas, Standifer's original home, was John Calhoun Pinckney Higgins, known to everyone as "Pink."

          In his fifty-five years Pink Higgins had seen much violence and contributed more than his share.  A major figure in the Higgins-Horrell feud which had plagued Lampasas County a quarter century earlier, he brought to the job an even more fearsome reputation than Standifer's, having reportedly killed fourteen men in his time.  When shown a list of those fourteen, Higgins is quoted as remarking, "I didn't kill all them men--but then again, I got some that wasn't on the bill, so I guess it just about evens up."

          One story told about Higgins may be apocryphal--its setting has been placed both in Lampasas County at the time of the 1870s feud and during his turn-of-the-century employment on the Spur Ranch--but it illustrates his notoriety for brutality.

          It seems Higgins came on a rustler butchering a cow that was not his own.  Dispatching the thief with a single rifle shot, Higgins disemboweled the cow, stuffed the dead man inside, and rode into town to announce that everyone should take a ride out onto the prairie and witness a miracle--a cow giving birth to a man.  Whether true or not, it is significant that people who know Pink Higgins believed that he was fully capable of such a morbid joke.

          Standifer and Higgins worked together on the Spur for a time and were very successful in ridding the range of rustlers.  "Standifer and Higgins...have already done us a great deal of good," Horsbrugh reported, "there being only two or three of the suspected ones left living inside of our fence, and they are very careful what they do."

          But soon it became apparent to the ranch manager that trouble, which he defined only as "an old grudge," was brewing between his two hired gunmen.  "When I found out," Horsbrugh wrote, "I made them both understand that they were no good to me if they were not friendly to each other, as their usefulness depended on their relations, one to the other.  They fully promised to make it all up and let by-gones to be-gones."

          THE ANIMOSITY between the two gunmen has never been explained, although many have offered suggestions as to its cause.  Some have noted Standifer's connection to the Horrell clan through his stepmother; they believe that vestiges of hatred remaining from the ancient family war triggered the gunplay.

          According to another story, Standifer and his wife* were separated amid much acrimony.  Cullin Higgins, Pink's attorney son, represented Mrs. Standifer in the matrimonial dispute.  Standifer is said to have verbally abused Cullin unmercifully on several occasions.  Pink intervened and told Standifer that if it happed again he would e backing his son with a gun.  The hot-headed Standifer then reportedly challenged Higgins to the name the time and place.

          In yet another story Higgins discovered Standifer and a pal named Bill McComas "showing too much interest in cattle other than their own" and warned them he would not condone cow theft by anyone on his range.  Standifer, backed by McComas, is said to have threatened Higgins and brought on the trouble.

          Once, the two met unexpectedly in a Clairemont saloon.  Standifer had been drinking heavily but was not so inebriated that he did not realize he stood little chance in his present state against the cold-sober Higgins.  He dared Higgins to meet him the next day in the town's main street to settle their differences.  Higgins nodded agreement and the next morning rode slowly into town, his Winchester across his saddle.  But Standifer, sobering up in the cold light of dawn, had disappeared.

          The conflict between the two gunmen may have simply come about because the proud Standifer resented Higgins, with his fearsome reputation, moving in on his turf, where had been undisputed top gun for years.

           Whatever the basis of the difficulty, it was too great for the volatile gunfighters to bury, despite their assurances to their boss.  When he saw they could not reconcile their differences, Horsbrugh fired them both in the late summer of 1903.  "It broke out again," he wrote in his report, "and I turned them both off.  Standifer, I turned off in August and Higgins later.  Higgins asked me to let him stay until the end of September as he had some arrangements to make about moving his family and children to a place where they could attend school.  I told him a month did not matter."

          IT MAY HAVE mattered very much to Bill Standifer.  Now he had lost the job that he did best, while his arch-enemy, whom he viewed as a Johnny-come-lately, was still drawing wages as a protection man for the Spur.  Higgins later claimed that during that month of September Standifer several times tried to bushwhack him.  Bill Standifer had been using man-trapping techniques for years.  But Pink Higgins had not survived the bloody war with the Horrells in Lampasas and been a protection man himself with learning a few tricks.

          When a friend of Standifer's showed up and informed Higgins that cow thieves were at work in a certain Spur pasture, the wily old gunman made a circular approach to the section, found a high point of ground, and combed the area with field glasses.  He finally spotted Standifer waiting in hiding.  Higgins went home.

          Another time he stared for his pasture to corral his horses and caught a glimpse of Standifer hiding in a rock pile within rifle shot of the pasture.  Again he said he went home without pushing the fight.

          Higgins claimed that on yet another occasion Standifer and McComas tried to cut him off from his house when he walked unarmed out into his pasture.  Running back, he seized his rifle and rushed out into the years, but his enemies had melted away.

          Finally Higgins decided that he must kill Bill Standifer before Standifer killed him.

          These stories, of course, are Pink Higgins' version of the events leading up to the final confrontation.  Bill Standifer left no accounts.  But it is known that for several weeks the two crafty old gunfighters played a deadly game of cat and mouse.

         Finally on the morning of October 4, 1903, Higgins spied Standifer, astride "a big beautiful bay horse" and still some distance away, slowly riding toward his house.  Getting his Winchester, Higgins saddled his favorite horse, "Sandy," and rode forth.  Like medieval knights, the two enemies closed for combat.

"Standifer was shooting, but he was jumping around like a Comanche and his shots were going wild.  He was sideways to me, and so thin I knew I had to shoot might accurate to get him.  I knew he couldn't do any good with his gun till he stopped jumping.  So I dropped on my knee, trying to get a bead on him....."

         As they approached, each turned his mount a little to the left, so that his right side would be toward his adversary as they passed.  Higgins later graphically described what happened.  "He was a little on my right, and I was sure he would not get off his horse on my side, but would try to use his horse for protection.  So I made up my mind to keep my eye on his left foot, and the minute that foot left the stirrup I would get off and go for my gun.  When we were less than a hundred yards apart and getting closer every step our horses took, he slipped her out and off I went.  My rifle sorter hung in the saddle scabbard, and as I got it out Standifer shot, hitting old Sandy.  He jumped against me and made me shoot wild--I always hated to lose the first shot."

          "Standifer was shooting, but he was jumping around like a Comanche and his shots were going wild.  He was sideways to me, and so thin I knew I had to shoot might accurate to get him.  I knew he couldn't do any good with his gun till he stopped jumping.  So I dropped on my knee, trying to get a bead on him, and when he slowed down I let him have it.  I knew I had got him when the dust flew out of his sleeve above the elbow and he started to buckle.  He dropped his gun into the crook of his other arm and tried to trot off.  I called to him, saying if he had had enough I wouldn't shoot again and would come to him, but he fell face forward, his feet flopped up, and he didn't speak."

          "I was afraid to go to him, fearing he was playing possum after being shot, so I got on my horse and started home."

          Sandy fell dead as Higgins reached the yard.  Higgins got another horse, rode to a telephone, and called Sheriff B. F. Roy at Clairemont.  He said he though he had killed Standifer and was coming to town to turn himself in.  By Higgin's account, Sheriff Roy was no admirer of Bill Standifer.  "He said if I wasn't sure I had better go back and finish."

          But Standifer was dead, all right.  Higgins' bullet had gone through his right elbow and into his heart.  When Higgins narrated this account a few years later to C. A. Jones, the new manager of the Spur, he was asked if Standifer was buried on the site.  "Damn him, no!"  Higgins exclaimed.  "Do you think I'd let him stay on my place?"  But Bill Standifer was in fact buried not far from where he fell, in an area which was then part of the Higgins ranch and later came to be called Standifer's Thicket.

          Pink Higgins was never tried for the killing.  He lived on in the area until his death from a heart attack December 18, 1914.

          Two days after the shooting, Fred Horsbrugh included it in his report, saying it was "a premeditated [a mutually arranged for] duel."  Referring to the long-standing enmity between the gunmen, he noted with regret, "I thought I had the whole thing settled quietly."

          In summing up the characters of Standifer and Higgins, Horsbrugh concisely described the protection men in general.  "They were both fearless, determined men, and each had similar trouble before; [but] they were really the means of scaring out some of the worst cow thieves we had."

Carol's note:  J. William Standifer was the son of William Johnson Standifer and Mary Elizabeth Lawhon.  His stepmother, referred to in the above work, was Sarah M. Wolf.  William "Bill" Standifer was born abt 1853 and died October 4, 1903 in Crosby Co., TX.  * There is a record that a J. W. Standefer married Lulu Ann OLMSTEAD 17 Feb 1876 in Burnett Co., TX   Whether this J. W. is J. William "Bill" Standifer has not been proven.

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