The following column, which first appeared in a 2014 edition of the Uvalde Leader-News, is an excerpt from the epilogue to G.R. Williamson’s published account of the late Willis Newton’s role in the Newton Gang. The book, “The Last Texas Outlaw,” is available for sale at major bookstores and online.
A few weeks before Willis Newton died, he was admitted to the hospital in Uvalde for tests on a multitude of physical problems. After he had been there several days, I went by his room and visited the old outlaw. I knocked on his door and he managed a weak, “Come on in.”
When I entered his room, I saw a very emaciated version of what I had seen in March of that year. Rail-thin and covered with a crimson rash on his legs, Willis cocked his head sideways and demanded, “Who are you?”
I politely reminded him that we had talked at his home earlier and that he had given me advice on robbing banks and trains. He nodded his head and stared up at the ceiling, “Yeah, I remember now.”
I told him I was sorry to see him ailing and in pain. He responded by saying, “Yeah, I’m headed to the bar ditch. The doctor says everything’s gone crazy inside of me. I know I’m a goner and wish I could kill myself but I can’t, ‘cause I still got my mind. Only crazy people kill themselves but I ain’t crazy.”
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