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Outlaw meets his match


On this day in 1884, noted outlaw and cattleman Joseph Graves Olney came to an ignominious end after a colorful and controversial life. Olney, born in 1849 in Burleson County, first became embroiled in a cattle dispute and shot a man in Llano County in 1874. The following year he killed a man named Moses Baird, thereby becoming part of the Central Texas Hill Country’s notorious Mason County War. After mortally wounding a deputy in a gunfight, Olney escaped to New Mexico and established a ranch under the alias of Joe Hill. Fleeing a warrant for his arrest, he was in Arizona by 1879. A rash of cattle rustling and stage robberies in the early 1880s attracted the attention of Wyatt Earp himself, who tried to pin the crimes on Olney, but there was no evidence to indicate his guilt. Olney finally died when his horse fell on him while he was working on his ranch.

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