In memoriam, a veteran of the Infowars buried here

William Cowper Brann

William Cowper Brann’s tombstone bears a one-word epitaph, “Truth”

Six Shooter Junction – Behold, the gravestone of William Cowper Brann, a veteran of the Infowars, who lost his life to a cowardly back shooter on the Courthouse Square in 1899, following the demise of his employment as a staff writer at the Waco “Tribune” and an extended series of stories and editorials he published about his contempt for Baptist ministers.

Mr. Brann, as editor and publisher of the Crawford “Iconoclast,” alleged that numerous “Magdalenes” were in attendance at Baylor University, many of them native girls from the jungles of Brazil, whom he said were held as virtual sex slaves while they served as housemaids for prominent Waco families. Following an incident in 1899 in which Baylor students staged a lynching of Brann, then carried out a mock hanging, he was only days later shot in the back by an insurance man as he promenaded the Square with a friend.

Wounded, Brann spun around and got off a shot at his attacker, killing him with a single shot from his 1873 Colt Peacemaker, before peace officers made him walk to a hospital for rudimentary first aid, and then home, where he expired after suffering a prolonged agony from his wound.

His newspaper, which was distributed by rail from a siding at Crawford, had wide circulation in all states and 20 foreign countries.  He is buried in Block 9, Lot 19, at Oakwood Cemetery, where an unknown party marred his gravestone with a pistol shot on the night of its erection following his interment in 1899.

Hence, the vandalism bears an entirely inaccurate epitaph to the demise of Brann, whose gravestone bears only the single word, “Truth.” He lost his life following a .45 caliber pistol shot to his back.

He was a yankee, a native of the state of Illinois, an abolitionist stronghold, and the object of Mark Twain’s epic novel Huckleberry Finn, in which the bard of Hannibal, Missouri, satirized Huck and Jim’s journey downriver to New Orleans where Jim could really be free – when all along, they needed only to steal a canoe and cross the Mississippi to the craggy, hardscrabble region of Southern Illinois known as “Little Egypt,” in the free state of Illinois.

Twain inscribed the frontspiece of the book, termed by Ernest Hemingway the first truly modern American novel and Moby Dick the last of the ancient works of American fiction, with an admonition from the “Sheriff,” that anyone caught trying to make any sense of his highly episodic, picaresque tale would be “shot.”






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