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2017-08-24

Outlaw Ike Danley, horse thief on the run

By Raymond V Carter Research Historian ©2017

Ike N. Danley broke out of the Bandera County Jail on March 20, 1882, after being arrested for horse theft. At least two others made their escape with him: H.W. Johnson, who was wanted for murder, and William L. Granger, wanted for rustling cattle. It was believed that jail guard J.A. Brown helped them to escape, being accused of “willfully permitting prisoners to escape.” But on May 6, 1882, Brown was acquitted of the charges.
The jail was constructed in 1881 out of rock quarried by pauper labor. The walls and floor are made of solid rock and the ceiling are at least 20 feet high. The windows have inside swinging glass pane shutters and strong iron bars. In 1889, mesh screens were added to the bars because someone handed a crowbar through the barred windows, allowing Ed Bonnard and J.I. Kidd to make good their escape. In the holding cell were two iron cages. At times, the prisoners were allowed to walk around in the holding cell for exercise.
Danley was accused of stealing a horse from James Siers, and three weeks later, of stealing another horse from Fred Boerner. After hiding out for months, Sheriff Henry “Buck” Hamilton and Deputy Sheriff R.E. Tucker finally tracked Danley down, and recaptured him on Nov. 1, 1882. They lodged him back in the Bandera County jail the next day.
The judge set bail at $1,000 for this case and scheduled the trial for the May term of 1883. But before trial started, Danley made another run from the law, either while out on bail or by making another escape from the jail. In December, he stole a horse from William Danley (most likely a relative) and ran. Eleven days later, Danley assaulted and with “a gun in hand” attempted to kill and murder Tom Sheppard, a dry goods merchant near Medina.
The judge set bail for stealing the horse at $800, but set bail for assault with intent to murder at $250. This shows that the value of a horse was higher than that of a man. Danley was recaptured and indicted on May 1, 1883.
Witnesses that the defendant listed “where testimony is material to his defense” were: Ed Danly (sic), C.W. Danly (sic), Isaiah Crawford, Ellis Chalk, John Stringfellow, who lived in Bell County, Adam Jarvis, who lived in Bexar County, and Tom West, who lived in Wilson County. In the end the witnesses were of no use to Danley, for the evidence was stacked against him. He pleaded guilty of stealing Fred Boerner’s horse.
The 24th District Judge T.M. Paschal instructed the jury in case number 212, after Danley’s plead of guilty, “to return a verdict finding the defendant guilty as charged and to assess his penalty at confinement in the penitentiary not less than five years, nor more than fifteen years.”
After deliberation, Enoch Moffett, the jury foremen, read the verdict, “We the jury find the defendant guilty as charged and assess his punishment at five years confinement in the State Penitentiary.” (Moffett family members have lived in Medina and Bandera since the 1870’s.)
In all, there were three cases filed against the outlaw Ike N. Danley. After sending him to the state penitentiary, the other two cases were forgotten.
It surprises me they didn’t hang him, but they must have thought five years might straighten this young outlaw out.