Sherriff Younger

            W. H. Younger was born in Spartinburg County in South Carolina May 20, 1859, but moved as a young boy to Grayson County Texas with his family.

            He attended public school, then earned the title T. G. (Theological Graduate) in 1890 at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.  Following graduation, he visited California and Oregon.  He was prepared to accept a pastorate in Eugene, Oregon, but returned to Texas instead. He settled in Randall county and began his work as a missionary pastor, receiving $9 a month.

            His equipment required two good horses and a buggy.  He was married in 1894 to Miss Lulu Belsher and she was his constant companion in his travels over the wide territory.  After their marriage they moved to Clarendon, then Claude and then Moore County.

            During his travels he distributed thousands of books, bibles and other literature to families.  The financial stress to keep the work going was so severe that several times he had to mortgage his horses and buggy or his home to pay expenses.  Once he sold his residence to pay off the indebtedness on a church building. 

            His family included his wife and five boys, William Henry Jr., Macy Conner, B. D., Randall Oakes and P. F. (Fuqua).

            The Youngers moved from Moore County, then returned in 1917, stayed only a couple of years, then moved to Canyon.   According to Windswept Land, Fuqua remained in Dumas and was part of “tales of those days in the 1920’s that are as clear and funny as if they happened yesterday.”

            One story involved a truck load of apples and a group of young boys. “There was a truck with the back end filled with apples.   The boys standing around sure did want some of those apples.  Edgar Jones and Fuqua faked a fight and got the attention of the truck driver.  The boys put on a pretty good show until the other boys had time to get the apples out of the truck.  The next day, the driver was in the store owned by Earl Thompson and was talking to him about the scrappy fight he had seen between the two boys.  Mr. Thompson listened until he finished and then said if it was the boys he was thinking about, then the truck driver better count his apples!”

            Another story tells about a Halloween prank and a group of boys (probably the same ones). “On one Halloween, a group of boys put a wagon on top of the Phillips and Son store when the building was two stories.  Mr. Phillips never did know for sure who had done it, but years later, Fuqua asked him about the wagon on top of the building and Mr. Phillips wanted to know if he hadn’t been in on it.  That is still a good question because Fuqua wasn’t admitting to anything.”

            Fuqua attended Dumas schools through the tenth grade, then did graduate work at Tulia before going on to Sul Ross College where he played center on the Lobos football team. He was elected Captain of the 1927-28 team.  He coached for one year at Sanderson, then returned to Dumas.  In 1930, he and George Burnett bought the Phillips wholesale and retail business from Lucian Burnett. He was elected sheriff in 1936 and served as sheriff and tax collector until 1948.

During the twelve years he served as sheriff, he saw the county emerge from the Depression into industrialization of World War II

            A story in an April 1947 edition of the Moore County News, “he took office just as carbon black plants were being built and the big Shamrock McKee plant was started.  The influx of construction workers brought the usual number of ‘tough eggs’.  Then, a bitterly contested strike at the American Zinc Co. began in 1938 and many were without jobs.”

            “That was followed by the “hurry-up” construction of the Cactus plant in 1940.  Many of the construction workers had penitentiary records.  Workers were so scarce at that time that contractors were forced to hire anyone who would work. Younger recalled that more than half of his misdemeanor (drunk etc.) cases during that period were of men who were two-time losers.”

The newspaper story relates another event during the sheriff’s time in office, “One major robbery occurred during his twelve years as Sheriff.  The Cut Rate Grocery was robbed in 1946.  The safe was taken out east of town and broken open with checks scattered to the four winds.” His first year in office saw the only murder case brought to trial during his tenure.

Younger could not be called “trigger happy”. He never fired at a man during those twelve years, but once had to shoot the rear tire off a speeder’s automobile.

This tribute to Younger came from the mouth of a young child. “This lad was accompanying his mother into the voting booth.  The alert youngster peered over his mother’s shoulder as she marked her ballot.  Then he halted her in alarm.  ‘What sort of an election is this? We can’t vote for Fuqua’.”

When Fuqua left office, he worked as a farmer and rancher until his death in 1986.

            Compiled from:

            Archives at Window on the Plains Museum

            The Windswept Land

100 Moore Years

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