From the Annals of the Outlaws – In 1878, Texas Rangers mortally wounded Texas outlaw Sam Bass in Round Rock. Bass had been on a crime spree for about a year after joining a gang that robbed a Union Pacific train in Nebraska. With his share of the loot, Bass formed his own gang which held up stage coaches and trains around Dallas. A concerted effort to find the outlaw was unsuccessful until the Texas Rangers turned to some rather unethical tactics. The Rangers took into custody for questioning the father of Bass gang member Jim Murphy. Murphy’s father was very ill. The Rangers withheld medical treatment sending a message to Murphy that if he did not meet with them, they would continue to hold his father without treatment. Murphy agreed to the meeting and turned informant to save his father – revealing that Bass planned to rob the Williamson County Bank. Once Bass’ movements were known, the trap was set. Bass and gang were scouting the area before the robbery. After buying tobacco at a store, they were noticed by Deputy Sheriff A. W. Grimes. When Grimes approached the men and demanded they surrender their firearms. A gang member shot and killed Grimes. Bass fled but was shot by Texas Rangers George Herold and Sergeant Richard Ware. He was found in a field outside of town and died two days later.
From the Annals of the Minor Outlaws – In 1878, Sam Bass was shot when his gang was scouting Round Rock for a planned robbery of the Williamson County Bank. He was surprised by Texas Rangers who had been tipped off about the robbery by gang member Jim Murphy. One story has it that the Rangers were holding Murphy’s father – who was ill and being denied treatment. Another claims that Murphy betrayed Bass for the reward money. When Bass came into town, he was approached by Williamson County Deputy Sheriff A.W. Grimes who asked the gang to surrender their guns. Grimes was shot and killed. As Bass attempted to escape he was shot by Texas Ranger George Herold and then by Ranger Sergeant Richard Ware. The next day Bass was found propped up against a tree and brought back to Round Rock. He died two days later on his 27th birthday. In Texas, Bass was a largely unsuccessful criminal never making a big score but caused a great deal of panic and earned notoriety. He had previously worked in a sawmill, as a cowboy, and as a freighter. Legend has it that after squandering money earned on a trail drive, he recruited a gang and began robbing stagecoaches and railroads.
From the Annals of Cross-Dressing – In 1973, Vander Clyde, known to the world as Barbette, died in his home town of Round Rock. Clyde was famous for his high-wire and trapeze act in which he dressed as a woman, performed incredible stunts and then removed his wig and flexed muscles at the end to show that he was actually a man. Clyde was apparently enamored of the circus from his first visit to one in Austin. He immediately began training to walk the tight rope on his mother’s closeline. After graduating from high school at 14, he joined a circus act called the Alfaretta Sisters on the condition that he dress as a girl. After a few years of circus work, Barbette went solo and adopted the stage name Barbette. Although popular in the U.S., Barbette gained his greatest fame in Europe and particularly in Paris where he was championed by Jean Cocteau. He was forced to retire from performong after a bout of pneumonia left him unable to perform, but continued to work training circus acts for many years.