Forgotten Landmark-Rock Saloon, McDade, TX

Rock Saloon--Waco Street and Old Highway 20, McDade, TX (taken from Google Maps Streetview 7/2/11)


The McDade, Texas, area was a stronghold for a group of
outlaws known as the notch cutters, and county law enforcement was far away and
ineffective. By 1875, local citizens took the law into their own hands and hung
two suspected outlaws, provoking retaliation with the murder of two vigilantes,
which led to the hanging of a third outlaw. Early in 1876, two men were caught
with a skinned cow, and the skin showed the Olive brand. Both men were shot on
the spot. Five months later, fifteen men, believed to have been led by the son
of one of the men shot, attacked the Olive ranch headquarters, killing two men
of the ranch and burning the ranch house. On June 26th, 1877,
vigilantes stopped a dance, took four men out and lynched them. For five years
after, there was little crime or trouble. However, in November of 1883, two men
were murdered in Fedor, and in a separate incident another man was beaten,
robbed, and left for dead. Shortly afterwards, the deputy sheriff investigating
these crimes was shot to death in McDade. A vigilante committee hung four of
the suspected perpetrators. But the violence continued with the McDade
Christmas hangings on Christmas Eve of 1883, when three more suspected outlaws
were executed. This event led to a gunfight in front of the Rock Saloon on
Christmas Day that left three more men dead. This ended the vigilante
“justice,” but violence and gunfights continued until 1912.[i]

McDade, TX; Paula Mitchell Marks, Handbook of Texas Online, Texas State
Historical Association;

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