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A MURDER IN THE BIG BEND: THE LIFE AND DEATH OF JOHN SIMPSON HOWARD 
With the outbreak of the Spanish-American War in 1898, John Simpson "Jack" Howard answered Teddy Roosevelt's call to arms by enlisting in the 1st U. S. Volunteer Cavalry at San Antonio, Texas. As a Rough Rider, Howard served with distinction in Cuba, taking an active part in the major engagements of the war including the famous charge up San Juan Hill. Following the war in 1901, President Theodore Roosevelt personally appointed Jack Howard to the U.S. Customs Service. For the next twelve years, Howard worked as a mounted inspector of customs along the border in the Big Bend. During this time, he earned a reputation described by the Marfa New Era newspaper as being, generous, high minded, gentle and kind but brave as a lion and cool and self possessed in an emergency. Jack Howard's life came to a tragic end in February 1913 when Mexican bandits ambushed and murdered him not far from Porvenir, Texas. The murder of Howard shocked and outraged Big Bend residents leading to a number of bloody reprisals along the border. Jack Howard was the father of Marian Walker and Nell Howard who operated the Candelaria store for many years. Jack is pictured above standing in his Rough Rider uniform at the top of the blog. He is also shown in the third photo from the left standing in front of the Presidio County court house with his right hand on his holster. Just left of Howard is Texas Ranger Joe Sitters.

On Friday, November 10th, the yearly conference of the Center For Big Bend Studies will commence at Sul Ross University in Alpine. I will be presenting my paper about Jack Howard at 2 p.m. Friday in the Espino Center Room A on the second floor of University Center. For more information about the conference see http://www.sulross.edu/~cbbs/
Gj


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