by Barb Chandler


We make the following extracts concerning the death of Mr. Rufus Chandler of Freeport, in this state. The account of his brutal murder must be read with poignant feelings of grief by his numerous relatives. The letter is dated “Rusk Texas, September 27, 1849. It is from a friend of the deceased to Captain Joel Chandler, one of the relatives.

Mr. Chandler came to this place about two years ago, or something near that time I think. He came with Hogg, and by his solicitation, from Monterey, shortly after the battle at that place. Hogg was a professed lawyer–he had a license to practice, but no legal attainments. He ascertained the superior legal abilities of Mr. Chandler, and concluded to turn them to his own advantage and profit. He was a man of some property-had been a member of the convention which formed our State Constitution, and also a member of the first Legislature, and he induced Mr. Chandler to believe he was a man of considerable influence, and proposed a partnership with him in the practice of law. Mr. Chandler being penniless and in delicate health, and in a land of strangers accepted his proposition and entered into partnership with him. Hogg was determined to be the big man at the bar, and keep Chandler in the background; so, when they would get a case he would get Mr. Chandler to fix it up for him, point out the law to him, and instruct him how to manage it; and he would appear at the bar while Mr. Chandler must chop wood, build fires, and make fences. Mr. Chandler remonstrated with him as to such a course-and remonstrances doing no good, he dissolved partnership with him. Hogg became exasperated with this and ordered him not only to leave the place, but to leave the Judicial district. Mr. Chandler told him he would consult his own feelings about that. He went into the country a short distance, and taught for a while at a school. Soon, however he got a case in court, upon the management of which the people found he was a man of no common abilities. His practice grew by degrees and he came back to town. In February of 1845 I came here with a printing press; and being a member of the bar entered into partnership with Mr. Chandler in the practice of law. A short time after I came, Hogg met with Mr. Chandler at the bar on the opposite side of the case; if he could not be thus employed, he would volunteer his services. On every occasion Hogg would take it upon himself to get into a personal quarrel with Mr. Chandler and grossly insult him. being so far undone by Mr. Chandler’s skill and ability, he would rave and foam. These occurrences happened frequently, until on last Christmas day, Mr. Chandler and myself attending a case in Probate Court, and Hogg had volunteered on the opposite side. He, as usual took occasion to insult Mr. Chandler, who in defense gave a harsh retort; upon which Hogg drew a pistol, put it within a few inches of his side and snapped it. He threw the pistol at him but missed him. He drew a second pistol and fired at him, burning Mr. Chandler’s face, but the ball missed him and wounded an old man who was in the Court House. Persons interfered at the affair ended at this time. Mr. Chandler acted on the defense all the time, but with cool and deliberate bravery. Steps were now taken to stop the matter before it should go any further. It was proposed that both parties should drop it without it going any further. To this Mr. Chandler agreed, but Hogg would by no means consent. He was envious of Mr. Chandler’s success in the practice of the law-for his business increasing, and he was fast gaining distinction. Finding that Hogg was determined to assassinate him Mr. Chandler met him on the street and shot at him wounding him in the arm and spine, and would no doubt have killed him if Hogg had not run. Hogg then removed about a mile into the country and kept closely confined for about six months, pretending all the while to be near dying. In the meanwhile, the Grand Jury of this County found a found a true bill against him for shooting at Mr. Chandler in the Court house, but refused to find a bill against Mr. Chandler for shooting Hogg afterwards. A day or two previous to Sunday the 10th of June, it was reported that Hogg was about to die. On Saturday night, Hogg came into town to his office with some hired ruffians armed with double barrel shotguns and pistols. Hogg, in the company of two of these ruffians, secreted himself behind a house which Mr. Chandler had to pass in going from his office to his boarding house. When he approached, within about 15 steps of where Hogg and his men were secreted, Hogg shot him down. A gentlemen ran up to prevent Hogg from shooting again, but those with Hogg presented their guns and kept him back. Hogg then fired the other barrel of his gun as Mr. Chandler lay on the ground-and then advanced and fired two pistols at him. He and his men then ran off and stayed in the woods for a while. The hired assassins left the country, and Hogg came in, underwent investigation before the Justice of the Peace and was admitted to bail. On the next term of Court, which will be in about six months, he will undergo a mock trial and be acquitted. Such is the course of law here. Mr. Chandler died about a half hour after he was shot. He spoke but little. He said he was not afraid to die, and requested that relatives might be written to. I could say many things of this truly worthy man, but my sheet is full. He was my friend-I loved him, and revere his memory. “C” Source: Saturday, October 27, 1849, Maine Cultivator and Hallowell Gazette (Hallowell, ME)

Mural of Courthouse in Rusk

Mural of Courthouse in Rusk

Horrid Affair–We are pained to announce that Mr. Rufus CHANDLER was killed on Sunday morning, the 10th, in the street of Rusk, by Gen. Joseph L. HOGG. The Rusk Pioneer furnishes the following account of this lamentable tragedy: “Some five or six months ago, a difficulty occurred here between these two men which came near resulting fatally. From that time until the time of the killing, Gen. HOGG was not known to make his appearance in town. On Sunday morning, just after sunrise, Mr. CHANDLER was passing from his office to the tavern in doing which he had to pass at a right angle with a long row of buildings on the street; just as he passed the back end of these buildings, from a distance of about 30 steps, Gen. HOGG fired upon him with a double barreled shot gun, which felled him to the ground; three other shots were then fired at him as he lay–literally tearing him to pieces. Gen. HOGG, with two or three other men, armed with double barrelled shot guns, and who were with him at the time of the firing, immediately left town. He has since sent word into town that he was willing to give himself up and submit to the law, provided his person could be secure from a mob. He need rest under no such apprehensions, for we do not believe that any portion of this community desires any more from Gen. HOGG than a submission to the laws of the country; indeed, we feel assured in saying that those whom he may esteem as his bitterest enemies would be among the foremost in opposing any thing like mobocracy. “In the death of Mr. CHANDLER, the community has lost a highly esteemed and useful man; and his friends have sustained a loss which cannot be repaired. In point of talent he stood high; in honesty, integrity and morality, he was scarcely excelled. Some two years ago he came to this place, from the army, in Mexico, clothless and penniless, a long way from his native State, (Maine) and in a land of strangers. By a course of untiring perseverance, industry and devotion to his profession as a lawyer, he was fast gaining distinction and reputation at the bar; but he has suddenly been cut off in the morning of life, and now lies beneath the cold sod, with none but stranger friends to mourn over his grave. Source: July 12,1849 Texas Telegraph http://www.genealogybuff.com/tx/tx-harris-obits6.htm

Feedback-IconWe welcome your suggestions for future articles. Please send them to Barb Chandler at barb95831@gmail.com


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