Who Shot Tom Dooley? 1910 (Part 1)

In the 1990’s, there was a popular television program, narrated by Robert Stack, called “Unsolved Mysteries.”  What follows is a contemporary newspaper article which describes what is easily the biggest unsolved mystery in Bradley in its slightly more than 100 years of existence.  This newspaper from which this article was clipped is not known.  The murder it describes occurred in Bradley on Tuesday, November 15, 1910.  The article contains several grammatical and spelling errors, which purposely have not been corrected.

While the article is for the most part self-explanatory, a future post will attempt to provide some context for the events it describes.


Mr. Thomas J. Dooley of Walnut Hill, was shot and killed at Bradley by unknown party at 6:30 o’clock last Tuesday night.

Mr. Dooley left Walnut Hill on schedule time with the U. S. mail  in his buggy, and about 6:30 drove into Bradley, and got out of buggy, and was on the eve of hitching to a small pine tree just back of the store of H. C. Stewart & Son; and at this juncture, he was fired upon.  From the circumstances, evident in the case, it seems just as he descended from buggy some one near by called to him.  He turned, facing them, and they opened fire.

They shot twelve times, each shot taking effect, one in jugular vein of the neck, several in the arms, five or six in both right and left breasts, and some in the thigh and leg.  He was dressed in his rain coat, and hat and trousers.

His rain coat was buttoned up about him.  He had no gun.  The horse he drove being unhitched, ran away, and was found at Mr. Dooley’s gate with hitch rein and lines and mail pouch in front of buggy.

From the balls cut out of the body, it seems that the instrument used was a 32 or 38 pistol, or two pistols, which is more apt to be the case, since twelve shots were fired.

The remains were picked up and carried to T. W. Maryman’s room back of store and Masonic Hall, and a Coroner’s Jury called upon the case, which stayed in session nearly all Tuesday night and Wednesday, hearing about thirty witnesses.  Through this research and questioning, but little information was gathered; only a few circumstances.

The situation is this:  Mr. Dooley was killed on a drizzley dark night, perhaps, just at the time there was a faint glimmering in the west, and starlight.  There are no eye-witnesses yet heard of to the tragedy, so circumstances are all people are judging from.  Several parties are under suspicion, but no one yet having given the deed away, since no one knows exactly, and those who do won’t say.

Mr. R. B. Cryer, whom Mr. Dooley had a difficulty with about three weeks ago, is retained by sheriff Barham at Lewisville.

Mr. Dooley was buried in the Conway Family Cemetery Thursday afternoon at 3 o’clock in the presence of all his friends and relatives here, and his sister and brother-in-law Mr. and Mrs. Jim Dillard of Texarkana.  His daughter, Daisy Bell, and his son Bill Dooley of Memphis, and R. E. Dickson, of Lewisville.

Rev. L. D. Crandall officiating at the funeral from Texarkana.

We tender our deepest heart-felt sympathy in these dark hours of pain and sadness, to his sorrow-laden friends and family.

P. S.  Coroner’s Jury suspended action Thursday on account of the funeral and re-assembled again for work Friday.”

– – – – –

Lest the reader jump to any conclusions, Glynn McCalman reports in his book, Bradley Connections, that “no one was ever arrested for the murder.”

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