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Charles William Lipps


Charles Lipps

The first records of Charles are in the census records of 1860 and 1870 where he is a seven year old 1and then as a 17 year old 2suggesting he was born in 1853.

Charles Lips was living in Goliad, Texas probably with his sister, Ayanna Broer in 1874. Aryanna's first child was born in Goliad about 1875. He is mentioned in "The DeWitt County Feud." He among others was identified as "KuKlux." The men involved were charged with the murder of Abram Bryant on August 18, 1874. The murder motivated B. J. Pridgen to bring charges of KuKlux Klanism against them for the murder of his former slave. This legal move finally was quashed and it was all for naught."3

So how did Charles Lips get involved in this?

According to the first family of Taylors, from whom the feud took its name, the real beginning of the feud was the killing of Buck Taylor and Dick Chisholm at Clinton in DeWitt County on Christmas Eve 1868.

In connection with the sale of some horses, Buck charged Sutton with dishonesty and the shooting resulted. The feud tended to resolve itself into a struggle between the Taylor party and Edmund J. Davis's State Police.

Capt. Jack Helm, backed by Jim Cox, Joe Tumlinson, William Sutton, and the might of the Union officials, came into sharp conflict with the strong-minded Southerners of the region. Ostensibly in pursuit of horse and cattle thieves, the State Police terrorized a large portion of Southeast Texas. On August 23, 1869, a posse laid an ambush that resulted in the death of Hays Taylor.

The worst outrage was the assassination of Henry and William Kelly, sons-in-law of Pitkin Taylor, on August 26, 1870. The Kellys were arrested on a trivial charge, taken a few miles from home, and shot down, while Mrs. Henry Kelly watched from hiding.

Helm was dismissed from the force when other examples of his misconduct came to light, but he continued to serve as sheriff of DeWitt County. After Helm's demotion from the State Police, Sutton began to be recognized as the leader of the party. Typical of the methods used in carrying on the feud was the shooting of Pitkin Taylor in the summer of 1872. A party of Sutton sympathizers lured him from his house one night by ringing a cow bell in his corn field. Pitkin, an old man, was shot and severely wounded. He died six months later. At his funeral his son, Jim Taylor, and several of their relatives resolved to revenge his death.

Their first attempt was made on April 1, 1873, when they caught Sutton in a saloon in Cuero, fired through the door, and wounded him. They ambushed him again in June, but he escaped without injury.

In June or July they waylaid and killed Jim Cox and another member of the Sutton group. A little later Jim Taylor and John Wesley Hardin killed Jack Helm in a blacksmith shop in Wilson County.

The day after Helm's death a strong force of Taylors moved on Joe Tumlinson's stronghold near Yorktown. After a brief siege the sheriff and a posse appeared and talked both parties into signing a truce, but the peace lasted only until December.

In the middle of this feud Boliver Pridgen was singled out by the Sutton gang to be killed. Sutton was determined to kill any friends of the Taylors. Boliver Pridgen was the brother of Wiley Pridgen. Wiley Pridgen, was a highly respected citizen and a warm friend of the Taylors. Under the cover of the night, Sutton and his gang lay around Pridgen's house until they saw Wiley leave to go get medicine for his sick wife. They followed him. He was standing in the door of Jim Pridgen's store as they rode. They swiftly dismounted, shot him in the back, and fled. This vile deed transpired on January 1st, 1874.

Boliver Pridgen had served as State Senator in 1872, and later served as United States Counsel to Mexico. Boliver and his brother Wiley had been slave holders. One old slave, Uncle Abraham, had refused to leave his master. He stayed with Pridgen on the farm.

For the protection of all concerned, some friends of Boliver Pridgen, went to spend the night with him. Pridgen decided it wouldn't be safe to remain there, however. Instead, they went to a friend’s house about six miles away. Next morning, on returning they were infomred by the negroes on the place that old Uncle Abraham had been brutally murdered.

The gang had gone to Abraham's cabin. "Where is old B. J. Pridgen?" they had demanded of the faithful negro, assuming that Abraham would know Pridgen's whereabouts as he was his trusted servant. Abraham told them that he didn't know, which, in truth, he didn't.

Later, one of the gang told how they had tortured the elderly darky, trying to force this information out of him. They took him to the river. While he was still alive they slashed him open, cut out his heart and intestines, filled the body with rocks and bound it up. A heavy weight was fastened to his neck and his body thrown into the river

Next morning the Negroes went to the river and saw where he had been butchered and fished the corpse from the water. Pridgen was deeply grieved, and through his affection for his faithful old servant, saw to it that he was given a decent burial. Some of Abraham's children still live on the old Pridgen farm. Pridgen had the murderers arrested by Federal officers. They were taken to Galveston where they appeared before the Federal Court.

The Galveston Daily News attempted to explain why these twenty-two men had been indicted as “Kuklux,” stating that the movement which resulted in the arrest and appearance of the men “had its birth in the enmity long existing between the Sutton and Taylor-Pridgen parties.” The Daily News thereupon provided a brief history of the feud, identifying 1868 as the starting year when allegedly Charles Taylor “stole a number of cattle” from the widow Thomas. William Sutton’s desire to avenge this act brought about the feud. The most important aspect of this lengthy history of the feud is the printing of the January 3, 1874 treaty of peace with all eighty six signers identified. The men who were identified as “Kuklux” were also listed, with their home address: Joseph Sitterle, Victoria; Addison Kilgore, Clinton; John J. Meador, Cuero; W. C. Wallace, Clinton; Joseph DeMoss, Cuero; Buck and John Powers, Mission Valley; Peter Tumlinson, Yorktown; Zan and W. W. Peavy, Clinton; Andrew Jordan, Cuero; William Cox, Clinton; Andrew Newman, Karnes County; W. D. Meador, Cuero; William Pettit, Clinton; Gus Tumlinson, Harrisburg; Addison Patterson, Karnes County; Charles Lips, Goliad; James Mason, Clinton; Jeff. White, Cuero; J. W. Ferguson, Clinton; John Tumlinson, Atascosa.But the evidence was insufficient to convict them. They were freed to carry on their crimes. Enraged by the murder of Wiley Pridgen, the Taylors attacked the Sutton faction, besieged them in Cuero for a day and night, and were besieged in turn when Tumlinson appeared with a larger band of Suttons.

By this time the county was in terrible confusion. Persons who wished to live in the area had to take sides. There was constant pursuing and lying in wait, and deaths were frequent.

Sutton moved to Victoria in an adjoining county and finally determined to leave the country. Some say he was going away for good; others believe he was merely following a herd of cattle to a northern market.

He had boarded a steamer at Indianola on March 11, 1874, when Jim and Bill Taylor rode up to the dock and killed him and his friend Gabriel Slaughter.

The Suttons got even by lynching three Taylors. Kute Tuggle, Jim White, and Scrap Taylor were among a group of cowboys who had engaged to take a herd up the trail for John Wesley Hardin. At Hamilton they were arrested, charged with cattle theft, and brought back to Clinton. On the night of June 20, 1874, they were taken out of the courthouse and hanged, though they were probably innocent of any wrongdoing.

Capt. Leander H. McNelly and the Texas Rangers were called in. They tried unsuccessfully for several months to break up the feud.


Charles cannot be found in the 1880 census'. It may be that Charles and his brother, John, are in Mexico.
There has been a family story of Charles and his brother, John, killing a man. It appears that Charles and John were probably living in Rio Grande, Starr County around 1881-1882. They owed a store which may have been a saloon.

Galveston Daily News
Oct 6, 1882 Rio Grande City Special Telegraph to the news Rio Grand City, October 5--Yesterday afternoon about 3oclock this town was thrown into a state of great excitement over the killing of Mr. J.C. Everett, county surveyor. The fact of the case as near as can be learned are as follows: A young man by the name of Brewerton, a nephew of Mr. Everett went into the store of a man named Lipps and became involved in a dispute with him over some disparaging remarks about the home of his Lipps friends. Brewerton made an attempt to strike Lipps, where upon Lipps reached for his six shooter and beat him terribly upon the head. Mr. Everett was told of it, and went to get his nephew away. Upon reaching the store he made inquiries as to who beat him. Lipps ackownledged that he did it. Everett said he would settle with him for that. Mr. Everett stooped to raise his nephew when he noticed Lipps drawing his six-shooter. Everett grappled with him. Everett was shot nine times, any shot of which was mortal. During the shooting an old Mexican who was passing the store was shot by a stray bullet and has since died. The jury is still investigating the case. Lips and a young brother are in jail. Mr. Everett leaves a wife and three children."
Also the following information was found in the Sunday morning, January 13, 1884 Corpus Christi Caller newspaper.

Distict Court

The case of the state vs. Charles Lipps came up for trial Monday, and after considerable difficulity, a jury was obtained The State was represented in the prosecution by McCampbell and Givens, Welch and Givens, Nicholson and Shealwater, and D. McANeill Turner. Missrs. James B. Wells, Robt Kleberg and Pat O'Docharty were for the defense. A decision was arrived at Thursday evening; the case having been given to the jury Tuesday evening, and a verdict of murder in the second degree submitted with a penalty of eight years imprisonment in the pententiary.

The case of the State vs. John Lipps, the elder of the two brothers was taken up on Wednesday and the entire day as well on Thursday; consumed in taking evidence and by the addresses of the counsel.

These two cases were viewed with considerable interest by our citizens owing to the feelings centered therein to the employment of able counsel to prosecute.

It seems that at the time of the killing of J.C. Eivet, county surveyor of Starr county, politics were running high and the Lipps boys were identified with the political faction headed by Judge Tugwell, their uncle.

Much hard feelings existed, and at any moment a row was imminent. The beating of young Brewerton, a nephew of Eivet by one of the Lipps boys, in their saloon, precipitated the difficulty which resulted in the killing of the former.

The prosecution and defense were both represented by able council. Our district attorney made a favorable impression on all who heard his speech to the jury. In the case of Chas. Lipps, James B. Wells closed for the defense and Stanley Welch for the prosecution.

Quite an audience assembled in the court room to hear their speeches as they were both known to be fluent talkers.

The following defaulting jurors were fined: L. de Platique, two cases, $100; Chas. Emmett, two cases, $100; Ed Windisch, $50; John Woessner, $50; M. C. Spann, $50; John Prinner, $50.

A laughable incident ocurred in the court room at the time the attorneys were examining jurors for the Lipps trial. The question was proponned to a colored man "whether his mind was made up!" "Yes," was his answer. "Stand aside," said the attorney. "Hold a moment," spoke the judge. "What have you made up your mind to do?" "Not to prosecute the man," said the juror, He was informed that he was a good juror, as he did not have to prosecute. Subsequently he was asked if he had made up his mind as in the defendants guilt or innocense. Answering to the affirmative he was permitted to depart, happy in being excused.5




A few days later on January 20, 1884, the Corpus Christi Caller had an article stating that John Lipps, murder, 8 years and Chas. Lipps, murder, 2 years were awaiting the arrival of the contractor to be conveyed to the penitentiary at Huntsville.

The prison registration book gives Charles Lipps age as 31, height 6 1/4, weight 165, dark complexion, grey eyes and brown hair. One identifying mark was a bullet scar on left thigh. He was married and used tobacco. His occupation was shoe maker. His conviction was for manslaughter beginning Jan 16, 1884 in Nuceces County. His sentence was to last until January 16, 1886 but he was discharged November 16, 1885.6


The next documentation of Charlie is in the 1909 obituary of W. E. Lipps, which states that Charlie Lipps died in Eagle Pass, Texas.7 Family legend, which supports the above article, says that Charlie and his brother owned a saloon in Texas. Another man, who owned a less successful saloon, came in arguing and pulled a gun on John. Charlie shot him and both brothers spent a few years in the penitentiary. Another legend is that John took the blame for killing the man since Charles was married and he wasn't. This is only speculation.

As a side note, a newspaper article shows how young Otto Brewerton finally died.

Dallas Daily June 13, 1885


According to Jerry Andrews who is a grandson of Otis Lipps says he remembers sitting by his grandfather Otis Lipps and have him tell him he went with his brother, Charles, on the the Chisholm Trail in Navarro. The town was so wild and untame that he decided to leave. Charles stayed and eventually died in a street fight.

It has now been found that Charles did die in a street dual in Lumberton, New Mexico. This may not have been on the Chisholm Trail. It is hard to know why he was in Lamberton, New Mexico which is close to the Colorado border. A newspaper article was found about his death there.

New Mexican



  1. US Federal Census; 1860 Dewitt, Texas; Roll: M653_1292; Page: 462; Image:400
  2. US Federal Census; 1870 Precinct 2, Dewitt, Texas; Roll: M593_1582; Page: 232; Image: 463
  3. Aricle in possession of Janice Hartman regarding the Feud and Range Wars-Sutton-Taylor Feud;
  4. Corpus Christi Caller, Sunday, January 13, 1884; Texas State Library and Archives, Newspaper Reference Section; 1201 Brazos St. Austin, Texas 78701.
  5. Corpus Christi Caller, Sunday, January 20, 1884; Texas State Library and Archives, Newspaper Reference Section; 1201 Brazos St. Austin, Texas 78701.
  6. Conduct Register Ledger; prison number 1976; Penitentiary Records 1849-1954 Ledgers, Vol. 1998/038-151 "B" Series: #1-#2507 1882-1884, KR2-5-02 Images-515; Texas State Library and Archives, Reference Section; 1201 Brazos St. Austin, Texas 78701.
  7. Gonzales Dailey Inquirer, Obituaries: Lipps, William Ernest (Gonzales Dailey Inquirer), 26 Oct 1909, Gonzales City Library, Gonzales, Texas.

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