The Shoot Out at Green Lake
Edwards County, Texas ~ History and Genealogy
Fence Cutting and a Ranger Shootout at Green Lake
By Harold D. Jobes
In the mid 1870s, the Civil War reconstruction was at an end in Texas. Edmond J. Davis, the Republican governor was defeated by a Democrat, Richard, Coke, in December 1873. In January, 1874 the Democrats staged a military celebration at the Austin Capitol giving Governor Coke and Lieutenant Governor Richard Hubbard a 102-gun salute.
Coming out of reconstruction, the livestock business was the primary area of growth and income for many Texans and in 1870 two thirds of the state's population was involved in agriculture. Cotton was the important farm crop at the time and cattle had increased to large numbers on the free range during the war. The Great Western Trail, which began below San Antonio, passed through the Edwards Plateau of Central Texas, and was now used to move a large number of cattle from that area to the rail heads in Kansas. The sheep industry was slower to recover. Sheep, unlike cattle, required herders and considerable care out on the free range. Although hindered by lack of labor to care for sheep during the war, the sheep industry was growing again. In 1870 the census showed 1,272,000 sheep in Texas. By 1884 Texas led the nation in sheep production with an estimate of eight million head on the free range. Texas would soon lose this position when the free range was fenced.
With the rapid growth of the livestock industry, Texas free grazing range, which consisted of land owned by the state and railroad companies, was soon being sold. On the Edwards Plateau in Central Texas, some of the local stockmen and entrepreneurs, such as Captain Charles Schreiner, were buying large tracts with Schreiner eventually acquiring 600,000 acres of land. Many outsiders from other parts of the nation were also coming in and buying large tracts. William Leslie Black was a Confederate veteran from New Orleans. He would acquire over fifty thousand acres reaching in all directions from Fort McKavett and would pay as little as ten cents an acre for some tracts. W. P. Wentworth came to the Edwards Plateau from Boston following the Civil War and acquired large tracts of land and was soon running 40,000 sheep at the head water of the North and South Llano Rivers. Many small operators were pre-empting or homesteading small tracts of land around bodies of water and running stock on the state's free range. Many of these men would eventually build large herds and acquire more land.
The cattle and sheep business flourished but soon the free range was being over grazed. Frequent confrontations began to develop between cattle and sheep men. Charles Hanna of Brown County built a large set of rock pens to hold his sheep at night. One morning, on going out to release the sheep, he found three hundred with their throats cut. Peter Bertrand from San Saba County had an encounter one night in 1879 with cattlemen coming in and shooting his penned sheep. Bertrand drove the raiders off with his shotgun. The Ramsey brothers, who were running seven thousand sheep in Llano and San Saba counties, had thirteen hundred sheep penned in San Saba County on Fall Creek Prairie. On the night of January 22, 1880 cattlemen came in shooting and cutting sheep's throats and the next morning there were 230 dead sheep, with many more crippled. The unarmed herder could offer no defense. There were six such incidents in San Saba County in a two month period.
As the free range was being over grazed and the big investments in land were made, barbed wire arrived in Texas. Joseph F. Glidden, a farmer in De Kalb, Illinois, had invented barbed wire in 1873 and started manufacturing in 1874. Henry B. Sanborn came to Texas selling wire for Glidden, and before long many tracts of land, both large and small, were fenced using the new barbed wire. This soon created problems. Public roads were closed off without gates; small farms were fenced in by big ranches, and tracts of land with water were purchased and fenced off from livestock grazing on the free range. It was becoming obvious to most that free range used for grazing by stockman was coming to an end. At first, hostility toward fencing was directed at the big land holders, but as time passed small land owners and even widows suffered from fence cutting. Clandestine fence cutting organizations , generally operating at night, sprang up across the state with names such as the Owls, Blue Devils, and Javelinas
Edwards and Kimble County on the Edwards Plateau were not spared. They had their own fence cutters but without such colorful names. Texas Ranger Captain L.P. Sieker, in a report to the State's Adjutant General W. H. King, referred to the "North and South Llano Fence Cutters Association" as a group headed by big cow men. Many large land owners, such as W. P. Wentworth, the Boston, Massachusetts investor who ran 40,000 head of sheep on his land on the North and South Llano Rivers, dared not fence their land for fear of encounters with the fence cutters.
By the fall of 1883, damages from fence cutting in Texas were estimated at twenty million dollars. Fence cutting had reached such proportions that Governor John Ireland, whose own ranch fence had been cut, called a special session of the Texas Legislature on January 8, 1884 to deal with the statewide problem. After receiving many local petitions, talking to many of their constituents and receiving loads of letters both for and against proposed fence cutting legislation, the Texas Legislature passed a law making fence cutting a felony punishable by one to five years in the penitentiary. They made fencing of the State's school land or land owned by someone else, a misdemeanor, and they required removal of such fences within six months. Fences built across public roads were required to have gates maintained in good repair.
In 1883 one of Texas' great droughts, the worst that ranchers would see until the 1950's began and didn't end until 1887. This drought would be one of the main causes of the fence cutting problems. When the drought began, land in Edwards County and surrounding counties of the Edwards Plateau were already overgrazed. Cattle drifted over large spans of free open range in search for grass, mesquite beans and for water holes which occasionally had a little water from a local shower. Before long, cattle began to die of hunger and thirst with some cattlemen losing half their herds.
William Joseph Greer and his older brother Green Berry Greer were farmers at Rockwell, Missouri. In 1878, Green Berry relocated to Mason, Texas and William Joseph soon joined him. In 1882 both brothers left Mason and went to Edwards County with Joseph bringing horses, a wagon and three hundred eight five head of sheep. Like most of the other ranchers, he ran his stock on the free range and his first sheep camp was situated where Rocksprings, Texas is now located. The two brothers soon settled at Green Lake, a small body of water located twenty or so miles northeast of the present town of Rocksprings.
After homesteading Green Lake in 1882, the Greer brothers fenced in the lake and were there for only a short time when they began having trouble with cattlemen who ran stock on the free range. There was animosity towards the Greer's for bringing sheep to the area and outright anger for fencing in one of the watering holes at the head of the Llano as the drought was starting. On one occasion, while the Greer's were shearing sheep under a cedar arbor, they were fired on from a bluff. However the bluff was so far away the shots had no effect.
On October 4, 1883 the Greer brothers' new fence at Green Lake was cut. One of the fence cutters turned state's evidence and the authorities discovered the guilty parties. To keep the brothers from prosecuting, the fence cutters sent men to settle for the fence they had destroyed and they paid the Greers $125. One of the Greer brothers then signed an agreement to not prosecute the case in court. The evidence was taken by a justice of the peace down on the South Llano but was later stolen and destroyed.
When the Texas Legislature met in January 1884 and made fence cutting a felony, they also gave the governor an appropriation and authority to use the Texas Rangers to investigate and suppress fence cutting. Such authority had previously been left with the local law enforcement. In July 1884, the Greer's fence was cut again. This time Edwards County Sheriff, Ira L. Wheat, contacted L.C. Sieker, Ranger Captain, Company "D" of the Frontier Battalion. Sieker dispatched Corporal Philip C. Baird and three Rangers stationed at Camp Leona, south of Uvalde, to deal with the problem.
The Rangers made a rapid ride from the Nueces River country to the upper South Llano, avoiding roads, riding the brush and traveling at night to avoid being seen. They arrived at Green Lake at 12:00 P.M. the night of July 28. Their horses were hidden in a cedar break two miles from the Greer home by a Greer employee and the Rangers made camp and hid in the remains of an old cabin overlooking Green Lake. Corporal Baird learned the fence cutters had established a cow camp two hundred and fifty yards from the lower east end of the lake on the Greers' land without their consent. In fact the brothers had protested.
Baird instructed the Greers to rebuild their fence and they began the next morning. At 9:00 a.m., July 29th John Landigan, a Greer employee, was working on the fence when four men; Mark Hemphill, John Brunson, Henry Burton and a man known as Mason approached. They were driving about 150 head of cattle and asked to water them on Green Lake. Landigan refuse, telling them that the Greers had told him to close the fence and let no one in.
One of the four men, Mark Hemphill, drew his pistol and warned Landigan he would kill him if he didn't get out of the way and let the stock in. Landigan believed him and without further protest left his fence building job. Baird, the Ranger corporal, said that he and his men were concealed about one hundred yards from where this occurred and it was quite an effort to hold his boys down. Baird later wrote, "They were raring to go and anxious to open the ball…in my judgment, the time was not ripe for such action…but the plum was ripening fast and when the opportune time came to be plucked, business would pick up and get much warmer than it was on this already hot day". Hemphill and the men then drove the cattle in and watered them.
After the cattlemen left, the Greers rebuilt the fence and everything was quiet. About 4:00 p.m. that afternoon John Brunson delivered a note written by Hemphill to the Greers. He said that if they didn't build a gap in the fence he would build one for them. The Greers refused and sent word back to Hemphill for him not to make one either, that they wished no trouble with him.
When Mark Hemphill received the Greer's response, he made good on his word. Hemphill and Mason saddled up, rode to the lake and cut the fence at a point where the wire and a skeleton of a rock fence joined. Henry Burton and John Brunson rounded up fifty or so head of horses and drove them through to water. The four Rangers witnessed this activity.
While the fence cutters were under the lake bank out of view, Corporal Baird moved his Rangers into position. He split them up intending to flank Hemphill and his men if they sought to use the old rock fence for cover in a fight. Baird took a position on the north side of the lake across from the rock fence and his men: O.D. Baker, W.W. Baker and W.A. Mitchell, made a run for position on the south side. On discovering the Rangers, the fence cutters quickly dismounted and too cover behind the rock fence as Bair had expected. The Rangers walked towards the fence and when they were within one hundred fifty yard the fence cutters placed their rifles in shooting position and shouted "come and take us in you damned sons-of-bitches." The Rangers continued to advance calling to the fence cutters to surrender. On the fourth call to surrender Hemphill replied "go to hell you son-of-a-bitch" and his reply was instantly followed by shots, the first shot being fired by Hemphill.
The shootout followed and Baird said, "We answered them shot for shot when we could get a shot at their heads over the rock fence. As expected, the rock wall served them as a complete fortification and with port holes to train their guns on me."
Green Berry Greer witnessed this gun battle from nearby and gave the following account in a letter he wrote to Governor Ireland on July 30th:
[Baird’s] "other Rangers attempted to flank the cutters and in the process W.W. Baker was shot with a painful wound in the left side soon after the fight began and was rendered very weak from loss of blood. O.D. Baker and W.A. Mitchell crossed the stone wall and came on the enemies flank. The fence cutters squatted behind some Mesquite bushes and pounded a galling fire on the two rangers who in advancing were unprotected. For a moment it seemed the Rangers were going to get the worst of the deal. O.D. Baker unfortunately, by mistake, place cartridges of a different caliber in his Winchester Rifle. He sprang behind a Live Oak Tree that stood nearby and soon extracted the cartridges from the magazine. Mitchell got behind one of the stone fences and the boys began to make it warm for the cutters. Mason stepped from behind his bush and raised his gun to shoot Mitchell. Baker's gun cracked and Mason staggered with a bullet in his breast. quick as lightning Mitchell planted another one in his bosom. Mason move back behind the bush and in doing so exposed himself to Baird's fire. Soon the smoke boiled from that gentleman's gun and down went Mason with a bullet in the brain. The other fence cutters immediately mounted their horses, set spurs and quickly disappeared from the scene."
Tom Dragoo said in an interview in 1947 that Henry Burton, who was about seventeen years old, was one of the four fence cutters and was holding the horses when the other two cutters mounted and fled the scene.
Baird ran around the west side of the lake and found Ranger W.W. Baker with a serious wound in his left side. The Greers, who were nearby and witnessed the shooting, carried him to the ranch house for care.
Baird then began walking toward Mason's dead body and spotted one of the cutters, who he identified as John Brunson, returning to the dead man to get his firearms and ammunition. Baird said several shots were fired striking the ground near Brunson's feet and raising a fog of dust. "At this juncture the man who was six feet three to four inches tall went straight up in the air and was making a desperate effort to run long before he got back to earth" and ran to his horse. The Rangers proceeded to the dead body and recovered Mason's Winchester Rifle, pistol, and a belt of cartridges which were added to the Ranger's much depleted supply of ammunition. Green Greer, in his letter to the Governor reporting on the incident, said that he thought about 150 shots were exchanged. Tom Dragoo, who was a kid a the time, said that he picked up .22 caliber shells that were shot during the fight. Evidently either the Burton boy or John Brunson was using a .22 rim fire firearm in the fight.
In the evening after the shootout, J.D. Gaines and Jack Turner arrived at the Greer's ranch reporting that they had seen the fence cutters six miles up the draw at Gaines' ranch. The fleeing men had stopped long enough to get a drink of water and told Gaines they were headed for the North Llano to recruit their forces and intended to return and clean up on the Rangers. As night approached, Jack Turner went on guard duty and the Rangers made a fortification out of large cedar posts, anticipating the return of the fence cutters and their friends from the North Llano country. Green Berry Greer and his wife, Julia were taking care of the Ranger who had been shot in the side. They gathered up all the buckets and tin oil cans they could find, wrapped them with wet salt sacks, wet rags and such, then filled them with water and hung them in the open air to cool the water. A bucket with a nail hole was hung over Baker and dripped water on his wound throughout the night to keep down inflammation.
Before night approached, Joseph Greer saddled up and started a long ride to Junction Cit, some 35 miles away, to find a doctor to attend the wounded Ranger and to get more ammunition. The next morning at sunrise, Joseph returned with Doctor James W. Burt who practiced medicine in Kimble, Edwards and adjoining counties. Mrs. Julia Greer had stayed up all night in the dark taking care of the wounded man. After probing, and then dressing thee wound, Dr. Burt commended the Greers and Rangers for their good care of the wounded Baker.
Corporal Baird had a telegram sent from Mason, Texas to Ranger Captain Sieker in Uvalde. The telegraph stated, "Send men to Green Lake Edwards County…had fight with fence cutters…Baker wounded…bring wagon to move him…my wagons at Wrights…please bring it…one cutter killed." On receiving the telegram, Sieker mailed it with a brief note to Adjutant General King in Austin saying, "Received the enclosed dispatch from Corporal Baird which speaks for itself…haven't received report but will send as soon as received. I have sent wagon and ten days supplies."
Joseph Greer had found the doctor while in Junction, but had been unable to find a coroner to perform an inquest on the dead fence cutter. An official from Edwards County had also been summoned but didn't show. The July day following the shootout was extremely hot and the body of the outlaw was in bad condition lying where he was shot, covered and waiting on a coroner.
Word of the shootout spread fast and ranchers came to the Greer Ranch to render aid. Lemuel Henderson, M.M. Bradford, E.A. Dragoo, J.D. Gaines, Jack Turner, Frank and Fred Haggerman, Frank Harris and others were at the ranch on July 30th.
Two kids, Tom Dragoo and Lee Smadler, had ridden over to Green Lake from a neighboring ranch to check out the excitement. Tom Dragoo in his 1947 interview said, "This fellow Mason was laying [sic] on the ground, covered with a saddle blanket. The Rangers on the hill called to us not to touch him.. I said 'We just want to look at him.' I raised up the blanket and if I live to be a hundred years, I'll never forget what I saw. It was July and the flies were bad. He had about ten day's growth of red beard and I wish I had never looked."
No official had arrived by 2:30 p.m. to perform an inquest so the ranchers buried the dead man next to the grave of William Tillery. Ironically, Tillery had been killed in an affray with William (Bill) Turner at Green Lake thirteen months before. Tillery had shot Turner but didn't kill him and that was a bad mistake. One of the ranchers, Jack Turner, who had stood guard the evening before also helped with the burial. His son, Bill Turner, was the man who had killed Tillery.
The Rangers turned the dead fence cutter's possessions over to the Edwards County Sheriff Ira L. Wheat. His possessions consisted of a few dollars worth of money, a watch, a pocket knife, his spurs and the rifle, scabbard and pistol. Following published newspaper accounts and publicity about the incident, two men claiming to be brother-in-laws of Mason's showed up, identified his possessions and took them back to Coryell County.
It was later determined that the outlaw killed by the Rangers was John Bailey who had been using the alias of John Mason. He was a relative of the two brothers, Dee and James Bailey, who killed deputy U.S. Marshal Mastin Reynolds Greene in Comanche County in May of 1877. The brothers were captured and jailed in Comanche and then taken from jail and lynched.
Years after the shoot out, Ranger T.C. Baird said that Bailey had in earlier years been sent to the penitentiary from Lampasas for murder but had escaped. Bailey had once lived on Cow Creek in Coryell County and William Tillery, the man killed by Bill Turner, was from the same neighborhood. Although little is known about Tillery, John Bailey was a colleague of the Dublin's who had lived on the South Llano River. Jim Dublin and his sons, Dick, Dell and Role came to the South Llano from Coryell County in 1874. By the time of the shootout at Green Lake the Dublin Gang had been broken up. Role and Dell were sent to prison and Dick Dublin was killed by Ranger James Gillett.
After the gun battle and death of the fence cutter at Green Lake, the Rangers continued to scout the area. In a letter to the Adjutant General dated August 21st, Captain Sieker reported that several scouts found the area to be quiet. He expressed a reluctance to post a squad there saying he had few men in camp and several had scalded their horses' backs. With the hot weather their horses were unfit for duty.
Ranger O.D. Baker was still scouting the area from Green Lake and Sieker transmitted part of a note he received from Baker to General King which said,
"Joe Burton, father of the young fence cutter Henry Burton has returned from Mexico and word is, that he intends to go to Mexico as soon as he can gather his cattle. Burton is at Dodson's now and hasn't shown up at the lake yet. His hands have moved some of the things from the cow camp where the fence cutters were staying. G. B. Greer is going to Mason tomorrow and wants me to go with him…very badly. He is afraid he will be assassinated on the way. I have not decided to go yet. If Burton and Dodson leave it would be useless to station a squad here, but if they stay there will be trouble in the future. I'll try to see Burton and give him a good talking to at the first opportunity."
The Greer brothers had plenty to worry about and sought the continued protection from the Rangers. On August 26, G. B. Greer wrote Captain Sieker saying:
…"water is about dried up and cattle are drifting down…anticipate more trouble soon. I have been advised by several persons to leave the country as Mason and Hemphill's friends hold me responsible for the death of Mason. Captain Roberts advises me to stay and ask for protection. I would leave until matters settle, but I am unable to do so. All I have in the world is here and I can't move. It's sheep shearing time…so if I was to leave it would almost ruin me. Barton's hands came by today and say he intends to stay and I am confident he intends further mischief. I am confident that Hemphill is on the North Llano where his wife lives, Dr. Coleman's ranch…he is there with his friends and they intend to fight. He swears he will never be taken, and should you round him up; think it would be well to have plenty of men. I am very thankful for the interest manifested in my behalf and the kindness shown me and hope you will continue to assist me until the trouble is over."
On the same date, August 26, 1884, Green Greer and his brother Joseph wrote Adjutant General W.H. King in Austin, asking to be commissioned as Texas Rangers. The letter written by the two brothers said… Dear Sir, Owing to the conditions of affairs caused by the killing of Mason the fence cutter, we are held personally responsible for his death by his friends which places us in a dangerous situation and our lives are in danger as they are liable to attack us at any moment. We wish to join the service and be carried on the rolls without pay which will allow us the privilege of being armed. We will stand some chance for our lives, besides we are acquainted with everyone in this country and can be of good service to the company by keeping them informed of what's going on and can assist when called on. My desire is to abide by the law but the nearest peace officer is forty miles distance and when the Rangers are withdrawn, will leave us entirely in their power, they violate the law with impunity in regard to carrying pistols. These are my reasons for making the above request. Respectfully, G.B. Greer W.J. Greer Post Office, Junction City, Kimble County.
On September 6, Ranger Lieutenant Frank Jones, who was stationed in Llano County, received a letter from Adjutant General King sending him to Edwards County to investigate the state of affairs. He had probably also been asked to check on the standing of the Greer brothers and make a recommendation on their request to become Rangers. Jones traveled to Edwards County and pitched camp near Greer's ranch finding that this was the only place on the South Llano where there was still grass.
In correspondence dated September 13th Lieutenant Jones reported back to General King saying, "old man Burton says he has sixty thousand dollars to spend in the prosecution of the Rangers who participated in the fight here but I don't believe he has the audacity to even have them indicted. Mason, the man who was killed, was undoubtedly a fugitive from justice and Hemphill is wanted in Taylor County for theft." Lieutenant Jones had carried his investigation over into Kimble County making inquiry about the Greers in Junction City. He reported in his letter to General King that in checking their character and standing he was informed "they were honest and reliable men." He went on to say, "I think they are prudent and would not act without proper discretion and I therefore recommend that they be sworn in as Rangers and carried on the rolls without pay".
Lieutenant Jones received another letter from General King on September 23rd asking him to scout the Fort McKavett area, probably looking for Hemphill and his friends. He found little relating to the fence cutters but reported back that there was no sheriff at Fort McKavett and "it's a common occurrence for men to 'shoot up' this place." He also reported that "the people in the Green Lake section are very bitter against the Rangers and say that they had no right to come into the country in the night. They say that if Hemphill had known the Rangers were in the country he would not have cut Greer's fence".
In his letter of September 13th to Adjutant General King, Lieutenant Jones said that Joe Burton was boasting that he has sixty-thousand dollars to spend in the prosecution of the Rangers who participated in the Green Lake Fight. Jones didn't believe that Joe Burton would have the audacity to follow through on this statement, but he was wrong. On September 30th, Captain Sieker transmitted his monthly report to the Adjutant General and in his transmittal letter said, "Lieutenant Jones is now in Bullhead. He is attending the Justice Court where Corporal Baird and squad are being tried for intent to murder young Burton".
The Burtons were cattlemen going back to the early days of Texas cattle history following the Civil War. Over the years the Burtons had probably become acquainted with Governor John Ireland. After young Henry Burton fled the Green Lake shootout, he went to John Burton's ranch in Kimble County for protection. John Burton wrote a letter giving his side of the story to his cousin, D. Elisha Burton in Kyle, Texas. D. Burton transmitted cousin John's letter to Governor Ireland saying that he probably knew John and asked for an investigation of the Rangers and the Green Lake incident. In closing D. Burton asked the governor to keep his letter and he and Captain Fergus Kyle would be up to see him. Captain Kyle was a noted Confederate Veteran who had served in the Texas House of Representatives as one of the few Democrats during Reconstruction and served as the Senate's sergeant-of-arms from 1881 to 1884. The town of Kyle, Texas where D. Burton lived was named for Fergus Kyle.
Within a few days of the Green Lake shootout, Corporal T.C. Baird arrested John Brunson and turned him over to Edwards County Sheriff Ira Wheat. Brunson appeared before an Edwards County justice of the peace, charged with fence cutting and assault with intent to kill. He was required to give bond of $500 for the fence cutting offense and $1000 dollars for assault with intent to kill.
John Brunson was the son of James Brunson who was listed as a stock raiser in the 188 federal census of Edwards County. Based on census records, son John would have been about 20 or 21 years old at the time of the Green Lake incident. He was described by Corporal Baird as "a bad actor and general rustler over the country and dreaded by all who chanced to know or come in contact with him." At some point in the 1880s, following the shootout, the Brunson family moved from Edwards County to the Tonto Basin in Gila County, Arizona, and appeared on the 180 census. This move may have occurred because free range cattle grazing had ended, or due to the severe drought lasting through 1887, or because of the legal issues resulting from the Green Lake shootout, or, possibly, all of these reasons. John Brunson lived in Arizona for many years. He suffered a stroke late in life and, in failing health, returned to Texas to live with his sister. He is buried near Kerrville, Traces of Texas
Article published in the Wild West History Association Journal Volume II, Number 5, October 2009.
Following the shootout Mark Hemphill disappeared for quite some time,. He was originally from Albany, Texas and the 1880 census showed him with a wife and two daughters in Shackelford County. He may have returned there for a while after the shooting. The Greers thought he was in the Fort McKavett area with his wife but the Rangers didn't find him there. Tom Dragoo said in his 1947 interview that Hemphill hid out in a cave in the Kickapoo section of Edwards county and Jesse Thurman fed him until he came in and surrendered . There is a large cave on the Johnny Whitworth Ranch and Johnny related how it was an outlaw hideout in the late 1880s. Dragoo had visited with Hemphill in 1925 in Batesville and said they discussed the Green Lake fight from every angle. It is likely that Hemphill had never left Edwards County.
Months after his encounter with the Rangers at Green Lake, Mark Hemphill surrendered to a young Ranger, Searce Baylor, who took Hemphill to Uvalde and turned the fence cutter over to his brother, Henry W. Baylor, who was serving his first term as the sheriff of Uvalde County. Hemphill possibly knew the Baylor boys or maybe their father, John R. Baylor, who ranched in Uvalde County and trusted them to give fair treatment.
The two Greer brothers were placed on the Ranger's roll giving them the right to carry hand guns. Their ranch operation propsered and grew and the ranch on Green Lake is still owned in 2009 by William Joseph Greer's descendants. At some point, Green Berry and his family moved back to Missouri, later returned to San Angelo, Texas and then ranched near Carrizozo, New Mexico.
The two Bakers, the Rangers in the Green Lake shootout, were not related. The wounded Ranger, W.W. Baker, recovered from his wound rapidly and was back on duty in twenty days. O.D. Baker later left the Ranger Service, ranched near Orange, Texas raising pure bred cattle, was a newspaperman and served in the Texas Legislature. Corporal Phillip C. Baird left the Ranger Service, lived with his wife Kittie, in Menard and was listed in the 1920 federal census as a stock farmer. By 1927 W.W. Baker had died and W. A. Mitchell as a resident of San Antonio.
Although we know that the three fence cutters who survived the shootout at Green Lake were apprehended, we find no record today of any one of the three men being charged, found guilty, or receiving a sentence for fence cutting and assault with intent to kill.