What a glorious history Uvalde County has! Lawmen, outlaws, a Texas governor, a famous educator and military school founder, a construction giant, an evangelist, and three Hollywood stars once walked the streets of Uvalde, and, over in Sabinal, a country singer gained fame in Nashville. And, of course, John Nance Garner, former vice-president under Roosevelt, proudly called Uvalde home.
No one is around to remember lawman Pat Garrett, who lived in Uvalde from 1891 to 1900, but a historical marker on West Main marks the spot where his house once stood. His barn still stands on Fort Clark Road. In the same decade, Wesley Peacock, founder of Peacock Military Institute in San Antonio, was the principal of Uvalde High School from 1891 to 1894.
And who can forget John King Fisher? A rancher, outlaw, and lawman, he abandoned his outlaw life and became a deputy sheriff of Uvalde County in 1881 and later acting sheriff in 1884. His new life came to an end when he and noted gunman Ben Thompson were involved in a shootout in San Antonio. One can pay respects to Fisher who is buried in the Pioneer Park Cemetery at the intersection of North Park and Florence streets.
Many of you who attended West Main most likely sat in the same antiquated desks as Henry Bartell Zachry, a 1918 UHS graduate, and Dolph Briscoe, a 1939 UHS graduate, rancher, and banker, who later became governor. Zachry was an engineer, contractor, philanthropist, rancher, and business leader, and founder of H. B. Zachry Company, one of the country’s largest construction companies.
While Zachry was getting an education, Uvalde natives Willis, Wylie “Doc,” Jess, and Joe Newton were serving time in different prisons for various crimes. This didn’t deter their dreams of later forming their own gang which, between 1919 and 1924, robbed 87 banks and six trains across the US and Canada. In 1924, along with two Chicago gangsters, a Chicago racketeer, and a postal inspector, they committed the largest train robbery in history, netting them more than $3 million.
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