Rodriquez died on Friday, Nov. 13th, 1863.
She is believed to be the only woman ever legally hanged by the
state of Texas. Though guilty by circumstantial evidence only, her
death seemed to place a curse on the town of San
Patricio, Texas, as it signaled the beginning of the end of
the small settlement.
History states a horse trader stopped by Chipita's home on the Aransas
River between Refugio
Patricio to spend the night. His saddle bags held $600 in gold
taken in payment for a horse herd sold to the Confederate Army earlier
and he was returning home.
He left the next morning early but was later found hacked to death,
floating in a canvas bag just down-river from Chipita's home. The
investigation linked Chipita and her employee Juan Silvera to the
death with robbery as the motive.
The pair were indicted for murder and both pled not guilty. Strangely,
neither uttered another word during the trial, supposedly protecting
each other through silence.
The details have not survived but somehow Juan received a five-year
sentence for his part, but Chipita was found guilty of first degree
murder and sentenced to be hanged.
She was hanged at sunrise from a mesquite tree on Friday the 13th,
convicted on purely circumstantial evidence and buried in an unmarked
Later, the gold was found intact in the trader's saddlebags sitting
on the riverbank. Some years later a dying rancher finally confessed
to the murder in a dispute over a horse trade deal gone bad. San
Patricio began declining immediately after Chipita's death eventually
losing its designation as a county seat and post office, later becoming
a ghost town.
the truth were known, probably every battle fought had a few unsung
heros. One "doggone" story involves unsung heros at the famous Battle
of Adobe Walls in the Panhandle.
Buffalo hunters nearly always kept dogs for warning of Indians nearby.
During the Battle
of Adobe Walls the Shadler brothers were caught sleeping in
their wagon outside the buildings and were killed immediately. Their
dog, a large Newfoundland, put up such a fight defending his masters
the Indians honored its bravery by removing a patch of fur from
his side like a scalp.
There were several dogs living at the site at the time of the battle.
Most took off for the timber during the heat of battle.
Billy Dixon, one of the hunters present owned a dog named Fanny
who disappeared during the fight. The men fled to Dodge City immediately
after the battle and Dixon figured he would never see Fanny again.
Seven months later, when Dixon returned to Adobe
Walls working as a U.S. Army scout, he found Fanny alive and
well living in the burned ruins. She promptly gathered up four puppies
whose father had to have been the big Shadler dog who had died in
Such stories remind us that in spite of wars and rumors of wars,
amid hard-times and strife and death and destruction the unsung
heros keep right on going.
© Delbert Trew
"It's All Trew" May 29, 2008 Column