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City of Garland

From the Dallas Times Herald, January 2, 1985



Author:  Frank Burgos and Beverly Potter

When Garland historians recount 1984, the Dec. 13 tornado is sure to be at the top of their list.

But other, less dramatic events also will be remembered for their effect on the city, its government and its residents.

Over the last 12 months, the city got a new mayor and lost a city manager.  It was sued by members of its fire and police departments and by the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

A school nearly burned down, a major bond election was held, desegregation became an issue, and Garland obtained what no other city in Texas has – a municipal wave action pool.


At City Hall, the mantle of leadership was passed – several times.

Mayor Ruth Nicholson received only 30 percent of the vote in last spring’s municipal election and was forced into a runoff with Charles Matthews, the top vote getter.  Matthews emerged victorious and was sworn in last May.

The city bureaucracy also experienced a turnover in leadership.  In September, Fred Greene, city manager for more than five years, resigned without explanation.  The council named Assistant City Manager Dean Ransow as the acting top administrator and is still seeking a permanent replacement.

And after 20 years of service as city secretary, Aleta Watson announced her retirement last month.  She plans to leave City Hall Jan. 31.

The city’s building inspection division was tarnished in June when an inspector was fired after admitting he accepted bribes from a home construction company official.

Garland voters passed eight of 10 propositions in the largest bond election in the city’s history Oct. 13.  More than $88 million was raised for street and drainage improvements, public safety,  parks and recreation facilities, and other items.

Also in October, the City Council approved a utility rate increase for water, sewer and electric consumers.  But the council also cut taxes 0.7 percent for fiscal year 1984-85 after approving a $196 million budget in August.

Besides squabbles with the police department over promotions and the fire department over pay, city officials had legal problems on another front.

The EPA in February sued Garland officials for allegedly failing to meet deadlines to clean up Duck Creek and Rowlett Creek waste-water treatment plants.  Garland, in turn, sued the EPA for $25 million, claiming the agency was negligent in approving plans for Duck Creek and had no right to sue Garland over the missed deadlines.  Early in September, though, the council agreed to spend $11 million to modernize Duck Creek.

A water facility of a different kind opened in May.  That month, city officials cut the ribbon on the state’s only wave action pool owned and operated by a city.  The pool at Audubon Park had been the object of intense criticism from residents and city Council members.


The courts were kept busy this year with suits and counter suits between the city and its police and fire departments.

Late in 1983, Garland firefighters launched a campaign for higher pay, convincing a state district court to order a referendum on the issue.

Voters went to the polls Jan. 21 and narrowly approved the raise.  Meanwhile Greene reprimanded Fire Chief Bob Burkhart for dismissing a fire inspector who publicly opposed the pay increase.  The inspector was reinstated.

Also in 1984 the previously all-white and all-male fire department hired a woman and two blacks as a result of an affirmative action plan adopted by the city.  The three new firefighters started in early October.

Personnel controversies also boiled over in the police department.  Samuel Allen, a 10-year member, sued the city for a promotion from officer to personnel officer, a lieutenant’s position.  Allen won the promotion but was dismissed after allegedly interfering in an investigation.

City officials then hired Allen as a fire inspector.  But members of the Firefighters Association balked, charging in a suit that Allen was not qualified for the job.

The case has yet to be settled, but Allen is working as an inspector for the fire department.

The city was able to settle another police personnel dispute.  Former Assistant Police Chief Bob Wade received an undisclosed amount of money from the city to drop his suit challenging his 1982 suspension for supposedly leaking secret police documents to a citizens group.

Meanwhile, the city equipped its police cruisers with computers to cut down on a communications backlog and planned a reorganization of the department’s patrol and criminal investigation divisions that will begin this month.


The effect of last summer’s state education bill and school desegregation dominated local education in 1984.

Garland Supt. Eli Douglas emerged as a leader of a statewide group of school officials who vowed to change portions of the school law during the 1985 session of the Legislature.  Among other things, the group objected to what they called disruptive discipline procedures and lower class sizes.

Last spring, a federal judge, who 14 years ago approved the district’s desegregation plan, said the racial balance in Garland schools was “not what it ought to be” and predicted the plan would not withstand a court challenge.

As a result, the U.S. Justice Department challenged the plan and asked Garland for voluntary changes.  School officials reacted by extending the school day with special programs at four minority schools, hoping to attract more white students, and by planning to bus black students to white schools.  Black parents, however, rejected both ideas.  Freedom-of-Choice will continue for the new school year, school officials said.

In 1984, as in other years, the schools were plagued by vandals.  Perhaps the greatest damage occurred in February at Hillside Elementary School where a three-alarm fire set by an arsonist destroyed the library and several classrooms.  The school was restored in late October.  The arsonist was never found, police said.

In the classrooms, 1984 was the year of the computer.  Garland spent $6 million for computers in elementary and secondary schools.

City agencies weren’t the only source of news in 1984.

A meningitis scare arose when a 15-year-old boy died in February from the disease.  Hundreds of people received preventative treatments.

Former Garland Justice of the Peace Theran M. Ward was fined and placed on probation after he was convicted of driving while intoxicated in March.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People opened a chapter in Garland in April.

Two Garland sisters were arrested and convicted for trying to hire a man to kill their husbands.  The women approached a man in a bar with the idea.  The man promptly notified police.

Rev. W.J. Davis was sued by members of his congregation to leave the church.  He and other congregation members started a new church in October.

A Garland woman was convicted in November for bilking nearly 700 people in a silver reclamation scheme.

And Christine Donelson, a 14-year-old baby sitter, saved the life of an 8-month-old boy with some quick life-saving techniques in November.

From Garland Daily News, June 17, 1973




Author:  Marsha Zapp

Father of Garland – A portrait of A.H. Garland, for whom the City of Garland was named, was presented to Mayor Don Raines this week by Bill Hadskey, right, president of the Local History and Genealogical Society.  Garland, an Attorney General under President Grover Cleveland, has another city, Garland City, Ark., named for his family.

When Garland’s Landmark Museum opens its doors in September, museum goers will view a painting of Augustus Hill Garland, the city’s name sake, thanks to the efforts of a Garland artist.

The painting was presented to Mayor Don Raines this week by Bill Hadskey, president of the Local History and Genealogical Society, on behalf of the painter, Ben Thompson of 613 Carpenter.

Thompson, a machinist by vocation and a painter by avocation, creates western landscapes and portraits.  His works have been shown at the Witte Museum in San Antonio and been critiqued by the curator of the Amon Carter Museum of Western Art in Fort Worth.

The subject of Thompson’s gift to the city was painted from the negative of a photograph of Garland.  The original, believed to be the only picture ever published in this area of the United States, was discovered in Dallas by Mrs. G.L. Davis.

Garland evolved as a name for the post office to serve the budding communities of Embree and Duck Creek, which were having a feud during the 1880’s over who would get the U.S. post office in this area.

Duck Creek first received the post office when Santa Fe put a rail line through.  The post office was transferred to Embree, located near Walnut and Fifth, when Missouri-Kansas-Texas came through.  The situation finally resulted in a U.S. judge asking a U.S. Congressman to travel to what is now Garland and settle the dispute.

The solution agreed upon was to locate the post office midway between Duck Creek, near present Central Park, and Embree and to name it for the Attorney General of the United States, Mr. Garland.

Mr. Garland has a colorful biography as the story of the naming of Garland.  Born in Tennessee in 1832, his family migrated to the Arkansas frontier a year later, settling near the present-day Garland City on the Red River.

The city namesake attended school in Kentucky, where he studied law and then returned home to Arkansas to teach school.

Ambitious of becoming a U.S. Attorney General, Garland favored the Constitutional Union ticket in the 1860 presidential election and was selected a presidential elector for John Bell and Edward Everett.  He was also admitted to practice before the Supreme Court in December of that year.

A year later saw Garland leading the conservatives in opposing radical action at the Secession Convention.  Opposing secession, the lawyer reluctantly yielded and voted for secession, becoming a zealous supporter of the Confederate cause.  He later aided in arguments incident to the forming of the provision Constitution of the Confederacy.

The native Tennessean served in the Confederate Army, served in the Confederate Congress, and at the close of the war, returned to his law practice in Little Rock, Ark.

However, he met obstacles in practicing law following the war, since the U.S. Congress had passed a law prohibiting those who had aided the South from practicing in the U.S. courts without taking the “Iron-Clad” loyalty oath.  In 1865 Garland pled his case before the Supreme Court, believing that Congress had no constitutional right to pass such a law.  He won his argument.

Garland eventually won election to the U.S. Senate in 1867, but was not permitted to take his seat owing to the post-war Republican set-up.  He was again elected to the U.S. Senate in 1877 and was re-elected with little opposition.  He resigned when he was appointed Attorney General under President Grover Cleveland during Cleveland’s first term, 1885-1889.

The attorney general died in Washington, D.C., in 1899 while practicing law before the Supreme Court.


Author: Lowell Lindsey

S. E. (Samuel E.) Nicholson      W. R. Nicholson


For older residents of Garland, May 9, 1927 is a date few can forget. On that date at 3:10 A. M. a tornado dropped from the sky and tore its way through the northwest corner of the city, demolishing over two blocks of homes before swerving back to the southeast where it struck again in the smaller Community of Nevada, Texas. In all, fourteen lives were lost in Garland including Mrs. Missouri Nicholson and her son and former mayor, S. E. Nicholson.

It was this tragedy in loss of lives and property that was to bring about the establishment of the Nicholson Memorial Library here in Garland.

The original Building, only recently demolished, was purchased by W. R. Nicholson of Longview, Texas, as a memorial to his mother and brother. Donated to the City in February, 1933, it was to serve as the City’s library until April, 1966. The library was originally established as a volunteer project by various groups and individuals and was opened for public use on December 23, 1933, with a collection of some 2,344 books. Mrs. J. H. White was named Librarian, a volunteer post which she held for about 2 ½ years. She was succeeded by Miss Edith Tally and later by Miss Mary Catherine Tucker.

In 1942 Mrs. Olin Talley transferred within the City from another position to become the first paid librarian. She was to serve in this position until March, 1965. Under her leadership the library was to grow and develop during the post war years.

World War II and the economic boom following brought tremendous changes to Garland. With increased demands being placed on all City services, permission was sought and obtained for the library to join the Dallas County Library program. Within this program, the County furnished permanent and revolving book collections as well as consultant services.

This participation with the County was to continue into the early 1960’s; however, the library was designated as a department within the City government’s structure in the 1956-57 budget. With this designation and resultant funding the library’s growth began to accelerate.

By the early 1960’s it was becoming obvious that the building could no longer provide adequate space for developing services and provisions were made for moving the library to new quarters.

In March, 1965 Lowell Lindsey was hired as Library Director as Mrs. Talley was nearing municipal retirement. Under his direction the old City Hall building at 504 State Street was remodeled as interim home for the library until new quarters provided under a bond program could be built. The new quarters were dedicated during National Library Week in April 1966. During the next four years the library was to begin an unprecedented growth period which included expansion of the book collection, the introduction of specialized business services, microform services and others needed to serve a growing city.

In September, 1970, the 20,000 square feet new facility was opened for service and in February, 1971, bonds were approved to open branch library facilities and further enlarge the main library.

This program along with growing use of the library’s services will ensure the City’s library program will continue to expand in the future.

From Garland Local History & Genealogical Society, Volume 5-Number 2, July 1977


Nov. 1, 1914


Terms and Conditions Under Which

Service is Furnished by

This Exchange

The Telephone Sets furnished to subscribers shall be carefully used in accordance with the rules of the management.

This service furnished is for the subscriber's immediate family and bona fide employees, and a charge of twenty-five cents for each call to others.

We do not guarantee the uninterrupted working of our lines or instruments and are in no way responsible for failure to work due to electrical disturbances, malicious mischief or discontinuances of service when reconstructing lines, or any other improvement, unless said service is discontinued for more than thirty-six working hours.

For non-payment of bills for local or long-distance the management holds authority to discontinue service after having given written notice.

If you do not desire to have long distance service charged to your phone, serve notice to the manager in writing. Otherwise, all calls originating at your telephone will be charged to you.

No rebates will be given for inferior service unless said service lasts for more than thirty-six working hours after written notice is given management.

When a telephone is installed it is located as desired by the subscriber and when moved thereafter is done at the expense of the subscriber. This expense is actual time of work and material used in wiring.

When reporting trouble do not simply tell the operator, but call No. 0 and someone will always be on hand to adjust your complaint.

Yours Truly,

Garland Telephone Exchange


It is our aim and desire to give the best service possible, and we admit that the best is none too good for you, but for us to give you service we must have your co-operation and assistance. By this we mean that we expect to extend every courtesy possible and you in turn to extend it to us.

One way of doing this is to use your directory, obtain the number of the party you desire connection with and give it to the operator. For No. 112 you should call one-one-two, not saying one hundred twelve. By doing the above you will make it so the operator can give you faster and more accurate service than if you call in the ordinary way, saying, "Give me the gin." or "Give me the McCallum's residence.", etc.

Always call by number and you will find your service fifty percent better, and enable us to change operators to allow vacations and in case of sickness.

There is yet another way of helping, therefore, from now on we will not permit any one holding a social conversation to be connected for more than five minutes, when another party is calling for the line.

Garland Telephone Exchange

By:  S. Michael Boyd, Grandson of Lige Harris

Revised:  July 22, 1997


Tuesday, September 2, 1924 was like any other night in the tiny hamlet of Garland.  Not much going on.

 Some of the Harris kids had been to a meeting at the Baptist Church.  Some had stayed home and a couple had jobs and were at work.  Sarah worked the night shift at the telephone company and her sisters would often spend the night with her.  Pretty much everyone would quit using the phone in the evening, so the evening operator would merely put up a cot and wait to see if she was needed in the middle of the night.

 As Ruth was being walked home from the Baptist Church by her friend Cecil Nelson, she ran into her dad, who the Harris kids called “Papa” near Weir’s Drug store.  Ruth said goodnight to Cecil and “Papa” walked her the rest of the way home.  Home for the night was the “Garland Exchange” where sister Sarah was working.

 It was a pleasure to walk the streets with “Papa” because Elijah James Harris was the “icon” of downtown Garland.  Everyone knew him – everyone loved him. Lige was about to being his third term as Dallas County Constable in Precinct No. 3 in Garland and had just defeated Deputy Sheriff Hilliard Brite and Asa McCallum, in the July elections.  Lige began his first term in January of 1921.  Winning the primary back then was winning the election since there was not a Republican in sight!  The Garland News reported in July of 1923 that Lige had defeated Mr. McCallum and Deputy Sheriff Brite by more than a 2 to 1 margin.

 Many thought Hilliard was jealous of Lige because he was loved by all and had handled him so readily in two elections.

 Since Lige had such a large family to support, he felt it necessary to take on a night job, so, he had become the Nightwatchman for the downtown merchants.  The downtown merchants had an informal association and would take up a collection to pay him and paid him an extra “fee” for making arrests.

 The “fee” was not a very good thing for Lige.  He was too kind for his own good and had a reputation with both Blacks and Whites as a kind man who would help them stay out of trouble.  Many of the violators would be merely “escorted” home by Lige, thereby forgoing any fee he might obtain for an arrest.  Young men were often found gambling or drinking and a stern warning endeared them to Lige.

 The Garland News reports numerous arrests by Lige, ranging from theft of chickens to car theft.  Several incidents were reported where escaped convicts, who had broken out of the “Convict Camp” in Grand Prairie, were caught and returned.

 Besides, the city jail, which he and his family still call the “Calaboose”, was small, concrete and very hot.  Two cells facing each other were not the place to put even criminals if you cared for humanity at all!  In the April 5, 1921 edition of the Garland News, the “Calaboose” was referred to as “Garland’s Bastille”, an interesting term to use since the article was about 3 kids being “busted out” in the middle of the night!”

 Sometimes the kindness had some ill effects as my mother Nora often told me how scared she was the night Lige brought home a criminal and handcuffed him to the bed so as not to expose him to the “heated” conditions of the Calaboose!

 That September night after dropping off Ruth to spend the night with Sarah at the phone company, Lige proceeded on his rounds by stopping next door at the “ice house” and visiting with the folks there, before continuing making his rounds.

 Lige had missed work on that Monday night because of a stomach ailment and was not around to notice that the light was out back of Dyer’s Drug Store, which made the alley very dark on that side of town.

 Since calls were few late at night, Sarah and Ruth had moved the cots in the telephone company close to the phone and turned on the “night bell” in order to go to bed.  By 1:00, they were sound asleep.

 Shortly after 1:00 a.m., Sarah was awaked by a noise.  Thinking it was the switchboard going off she sat up, looked, listened and then laid back down to go back to sleep, only to be awaked by a “subscriber” who called to ask about the shooting in downtown.  He had just returned from downtown Dallas and had heard what he thought were shots.  Sarah had chills run up her spine as she realized it was the sound of gun shots that had awakened her the first time, not the switchboard.

 Almost immediately the phone rang again.  This time it was #175, the identifying number of the Garland News.  No one ever worked this late, so she was surprised to hear her dad’s voice say “Sarah, call Doc Ogle, I’ve been shot.”  Immediately he changed the story to “someone’s been shot”.  He didn’t want to alarm her!

 Sarah, by now terrorized by what was happening, quickly dialed Doctor J. H. Ogle’s number.  He was a close friend of the family and had delivered six of the Harris kids.

 As soon as he was alerted, the same “subscriber” called again to ask about the shooting.  Was he trying to establish an alibi, as Ruth was later to ask?  Immediately there was a knock at the door, and it was the wife of the “subscriber” who had called earlier.  She was a former night operator and had come to relieve the Harris sisters on duty.  How did she know they needed to be relieved?  They let her in and took off running to the northwest side of the square where their dad had been shot.

 The question on how this lady knew it was Lige who was shot has never been answered, but how did she know if her husband did not?  -- unless one of them was involved in some way!

 Sarah and Ruth raced the two short blocks to Dyer’s Drug.  There they found their dad, lying on the curb near Doc Ogle’s office at the rear of the Drug store.  After being shot, he crawled across the street to the Garland News office, pulled himself up by the door knob, knocked out the door glass with his gun to gain entry, and entered the News office to call the “Garland Exchange” or telephone office as we would call it today.  After being shot, he crawled back across the street to be near Doc Ogle’s office so he would be easily found.  He was back to within a few feet of where he was shot!

 Lige must have been in great pain.  He was shot in the lower abdomen, just above the belt, but still had enough presence of mind to tell Sarah she needed to get back to work, because she was needed more at her job than with him.  Sarah assured her dad, her job was being taken care of.  The 17 year old Sarah and 15 year old Ruth huddled in fear!

 Soon a friend Cliff Smith, Doc Ogle and a number of others were at the scene.  Lige was talking freely as Doc attempted to learn the extent of the injuries.  When Doc asked him how he was doing he replied “I don’t know Doc, but if I could get up from here I would get the yellow devil”.

 This quote left many to wonder in later yeas if Lige was referring to the “yellow devil”
 as merely a coward or if he was referring to someone with “yellow” skin.  However, the Dallas News reported that Lige talked freely on the way to the St. Paul sanitarium and that he had told his brother Joe P. Harris:  “The arc light at the rear of the drug store had gone out, and I was unable to see well.  I saw only one of the Negroes well.  He was tall, slim, yellow Negro, and he is the one who fired at me.  I am not sure where the other Negro was, probably squatted down in the dark nearby.”

 The young daughters listened intently to their dying dad as he told the events of the evening to Doc and others.  Lige said there were three men altogether and Cliff confirmed that as he had seen 3 men in the dark running to their car.  As he was making his rounds, he heard a noise in the alley.  He saw nothing, turned away and suddenly a shot rang out.  Other shots were fired and Lige was hit and fell to the ground.

 Falling to the ground, he pulled his gun and fired 5 shots himself.  Apparently one of them was hit as he cursed and said something about his hand.  As they left, Lige heard one of them comment:  “I think I got him”.  Some believed they were there only to “get Lige” although a more reasonable story is that they were there to rob Dyer’s Drug.  The news reported on Thursday, September 4, 1924 that the investigation of Special Investigators Allen Seale and W. W. Gully, of the district attorney’s office had found “sacks containing burglars’ tools” at the rear of the building.

 Lige remained conscious and kept telling everyone what needed to be done even down to the details of calling Mr. Holford at the Garland News office to apologize about the broken door glass!

 Before the ambulance arrived, Lee, Lige’s oldest son arrived on the scene.  Lee was fearful and angry.  His anger was obvious and Lige calmed him by telling him to “let the law take its course”.  Others began calling the rest of the family.

 One of the family members called another of Lige’s brothers, Moses G. Harris, or “Mose” as he was called.  Mose lived about three miles northeast of town (at Naaman School Road and Mud Lane) and later reported hearing a car drive by at an excessive rate of speed only moments earlier.  Lena and Nora were spending the night at Mose’s house as they had been there to help pick cotton the day before.

 Ruth and Sarah realized that their Mom needed to be notified.  Lige and Nola Josephine “Josie” Harris had always been a close family and Josie had borne him 12 children.  Lige was concerned a phone call would “scare” Josie, so Ruth decided to run home to get her.  They just lived two blocks south of Downtown Garland.  As she ran home, Earl and Susie Armstrong saw the scared young lady and went with her to get “Mama”.  They too had heard the shots!

 When Ruth yelled out “Mama, Mama”, she knew immediately something was wrong.  She dressed quickly, put her mom, Betty Nicks, “in charge” of the other children and quickly left to be with Lige.

 When Ruth had gotten back to town with her Mom, the decision had been made to carry Lige to St. Paul, so Josie rode in the ambulance with him.  The others followed in their cars and all arrived at the same time.  As they rode the elevator upstairs, Lige still remained calm.

 Lige went immediately to surgery to remove the bullet.  St. Paul in those days had a waiting area outside the operating room, so the family could barely see Doc Ogle working to remove the bullet through the pulled drapes.  Josie took the family down the hall to pray.

 The operation was not successful.  The bullet had lodged near his backbone and could not be removed.  Lige slowly drifted into a coma and died early Thursday the 4th of September.

 Lige was taken home one last time and was later buried in the Knights of Pythias section of Garland Memorial Park.  It is said that the funeral procession strung out all the way from the Cemetery to the Baptist Church.

 The outraged community was ready to take up arms against the assailants – if they only knew who they were!

 The general consensus of law enforcement and the community was that the assailants were black men.  In addition to the Special Investigators from the D.A.’s office, Deputy Sheriffs Brite, Hal Hood and Dave Bradshaw began the search for Harris’ assailants.  Armed posses of citizens began working under the direction of the sheriffs, looking for an abandoned truck if they per chance had left it on foot.

 Almost as if in a frenzy, an arrest was made of a Negro who was placed in the Dallas County jail.  Deputy Brite arrested the Negro Wednesday afternoon of the shooting.  The Negro had been an employee of Dryer’s Drug and would have known where the jewelry and other items in the store were kept.  He proclaimed his innocence and was later released because of a lack of evidence.

 The investigation of Elijah James Harris’ death went on for years.  Several persons, mostly Negro, were arrested generally without cause and generally only because they were black and in some form of trouble.  There was never any real evidence available to hold anyone with cause.  Over a year after Lige’s death a man came to Josie’s door proclaiming his innocence in the shooting.  He had been detained over a year in the County Jail.

 The small community continued to cry.  Not only had they lost an “icon”, but the mother of all those “Harris kids” was going to have to make it on her own.  Several had put up reward money for the arrest and conviction that was never to come.  H. B. Corley, who lived nearby them on a farm, gave them a bale of cotton and other things.  The community continued to respond.

 Mr. N. P. (Newt) Morrison, a close friend of the Harris family, knew that all efforts would be made by the law enforcement community to find the killers so he recommended to the community that they pitch in their reward money and other money to be collected and buy the family a house.  Enough money was raised to buy the Floyd house, at the corner of State and 3rd Street.  The family moved in.  It was a blessing furnished by a caring community who saw the need for this family to have this simple, seven room house.  The community got to work and painted it “farm implement” green.

 The investigation into the death of Lige Harris went on for years, with any new stranger in town always being suspicious.  Many speculated about who did it, but we will never know who did.

 The law enforcement people focused their investigation only on “Negroes”, part out of statements made by others and part out of the comments of Lige while laying there in the alley.  However, the light was out and he probably would not have been able to see who was in the alley.  Had they knocked out the light to make their entry into the building more secluded?

 Local blacks loved Lige because he was kind to them and stood up for them against the Ku Klux Klan, which was very active in this area at that time, so it is illogical to think a local black would have been involved in the shooting of a man they respected.  The Dallas News even did surveys prior to the elections asking the candidates whether they were “for” or “against” the clan.  Lige had always proclaimed his opposition to the Klan saying “someone with his face covered had something to hide”!

 I never heard any of my aunts or uncles say they thought it was a black man who had shot their dad.  If it was three black men, it was probably someone out of the area.  Had Mose Harris on the east side of town heard the get-a-way car that night driving by his farm?  The Dallas News also reported that George Williams, who lived 2 blocks from downtown Garland, heard the assailants (who had apparently parked in front of his house) “crank up their machine and leave”.  He believed they left toward Dallas.

 Was it the Ku Klux Klan who had something to do with this murder.  Some family members theorized the KKK was involved since they did not like Lige because he had stood up for many of the blacks in the community.

 Or, was it a political opponent?  The politics of the day were sometimes dirty, dividing blacks and whites and KKK sympathizers and opponents.  Some family members thought that Hilliard “Hickey” Bright might have been involved.  He had been a “spirited” opponent of Lige’s for the Constable position.  Hickey had also shot two men, George Sanders in the back at the local domino parlor and A. J. Morrison, Sr.  He was no billed on both instances.

 We will never know who killed Lige Harris.  We will never know the cowards who left this widow and all the young ones to grow up without a father.  We only know that when Lige Harris died, Garland cried!