THOMAS, HENRY ANDREW "HECK" (FAMOUS) - Comanche County, Oklahoma | HENRY ANDREW "HECK" (FAMOUS) THOMAS - Oklahoma Gravestone Photos

Henry Andrew "Heck" (Famous) THOMAS

Highland Cemetery
Comanche County,
Oklahoma

Jan 3, 1850 - 15 Aug 1912
Born in Oxford, Georgia and died in Lawton, Oklahoma


"Heck" was the youngest of 12 children born to Lovick Pierce and Martha Ann Fullwood Bedell Thomas. When he was only 12 years old he joined his father and his uncle and went off to the Civil War. They were officers in the 35th Georgia Infantry and Heck was a courier for them inn the battlefields of Virginia. On the last day of the Second Battle of Bull Run, General Philip Kearney was killed in Chantilly. The general's horse and equipment was placed in the trust of young Heck and General Robert E Lee, himself, ordered him to take them through the lines to Kearney's widow. Heck told the story in a letter he wrote, "One evening while the fight was going on or, rather, just before dark, a soldier came to the rear where Uncle Ed's baggage and the darkies and I were, leading a black horse with saddle and bridle. He brought also a sword. Just after this, Stonewall Jackson crossed over into Maryland, capturing Frederick city; that was after taking Harpers Ferry and about 14,000 federal prisoners. These prisoners were held by Uncle Ed's brigade, while the army was fighting the Battle of Sharpsburg. We could see the smoke and here their cannon from Harper's ferry. While we were at Harpers Ferry, General Lee sent an order to Uncle Ed for the horse and equipments. I carried them forward, and it was one of the proudest minutes of my life when I found myself under the observation of General Robert E. Lee. Then General Lee sent the horse and everything through the lines, under a flag of truce, to General Kearney's widow. I had ridden the horse and cared for him up to that time, and I hated to part with him". Heck contracted typhoid fever in 1863 and was sent home to the family in Georgia. By the age of 18 he was an Atlanta Georgia police officer and in 1871 he married Isabel Gray. The family moved to Texas in 1875 and he secured a job as a railroad guard and became a railroad detective. While with the railroad, he and other detectives tracked down the notorious Sam Bass Gang. He left the railroad in 1885 and went to work for the Fort Worth for a year. The famed "Hanging Judge", Isaac Parker appointed him a deputy US Marshall out of Fort Smith, Arkansas. From 1886 to 1900, his jurisdiction was the Indian Territory, now known as Oklahoma. Famed for his bravery, integrity, and fairness, he quickly became a legend. Teamed up with Bill Tilghman and Chris Madsen, they were soon known as the "Three Guardsmen" and they were largely responsible for bringing law and order to the territory. They were responsible for the arrest or killing of more than 300 outlaws during their service. Heck had no equal when it came to hunting fugitives and his most notable accomplishment was the killing of Bill Doolin in August of 1896. By 1888, his wife, Isabel, was disgusted with the rough frontier life and moved the five children back to Georgia. After the divorce he married Mattie Mowbray and had three more children, one dying in infancy. In 1902, he became chief of police for Lawton, Oklahoma and lost the job in 1909 because of failing health and three years later died of heart failure.

tomtoddbooks.com

Contributed on 6/23/10 by tomtodd
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Record #: 21648

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Submitted: 6/23/10 • Approved: 1/24/14 • Last Updated: 1/24/14 • R21648-G0

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