a late August afternoon, at the Englewood Cemetery in Slaton
of 1932, Woody Tudor was laid to rest. |
Family and friends gathered in
the small cemetery and remembered a young man, 30-years-old, who adored his mom,
his wife, his children but, most of all, his father – R.L. Tudor.
watched as his son was buried beneath a copper colored stone with the name, Woody,
etched on it. Surrounding the grave were the few remaining wild flowers of the
prairie during the dust bowl; they bloomed across fields and grew unruly everyday
like the untamed anger that raged within R.L.’s psyche after the accidental death
of his son.
but not forgotten.” |
The tombstone of Woody Tudor
Photo by James Villanueva
|On most days, over
commonplace chatter and sundry pleasantries, Woody Tudor visited with his father.
On August 25, 1932, Woody, his wife, and their children were driving to
R.L.’s house before the entire family were to spend an afternoon at the Johnson
Ranch, as they had done many times before.
“R.L. and his son were great
old pals,” J.W. Nesbitt, a close friend of both R.L. and Dr.
Adams said during the trial. He said he saw Woody Tudor the day of his death
and declared the boy appeared to be in good health in a 1932 issue of the Lubbock
Thirty minutes after Woody was supposed to be at
R.L.’s house, R.L. learned that Woody and his family had been involved in a car
accident and were at Dr. Loveless’ office.
R.L. arrived at the doctor’s
office to find Dr. Loveless, “whittling on a stick,” as is stated in the issue
of the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. Woody sat in a chair with a broken arm.
“Dad, I’m shore glad I didn’t hurt the baby,” Woody said.
have you been waiting here for so long?” R.L. asked his son.
on Dr. Adams,”
R.L. testified that he went to Dr.
Adams’ office and said, “My God, Dr.
Adams, get over there and help my boy.”
“You’re talking to the wrong
man,” Dr. Adams
said, according to R.L. “If you want that boy’s arm treated, bring him over here.
You all know I am the Santa Fe doctor and you ought to come here for treatment.”
When Woody was taken to Dr.
Adams’ office, it was stated by R.L. that Woody told the doctor he could not
take ether. “Dr. Miller over at Clovis told me my heart would never stand it and
never to take it,” Woody said.
“Yes, you can stand it,” Dr.
Adams told Woody.
“Doctor, if that boy can’t stand ether. Don’t give
it to him,” R.L. said.
“I can stand it without the ether,” Woody said.
“We’ll have to give it, let’s get going and get it over with,” Dr.
Adams said to Dr. Loveless who assisted Adams in treating Woody.
they began to give the ether, Woody said, “I love my daddy. I love my daddy.”
“And that’s the last words he [Woody] said,” R.L. testified in court.
R.L. testified that Dr.
Adams and Dr. Loveless gave Woody two cans and part of a third of the anesthetic
before he lost consciousness. “I went around to his face and said, ‘My God son,
come out of it, come out of it,” R.L. said with an occasional tear falling down
It would be later, on October 13th, when R.L. would confront
at his office.
“I wanted to try to get him to help take care of those
babies [Woody’s two young children],” R.L. testified. “I felt he was responsible
for his death through negligence,” he said.
R.L. said he walked into the
office, spoke to him and said he wanted to know, “What he was going to do with
“I’m not going to do anything,” Dr.
Adams sternly said to R.L. “Get out and stay out,” he said.
kept shooting,” R.L. said. “After he told me to get out, I just kept shooting
and he fell on his knees and I went out the door and gave myself up.”
the community arrived to bury Dr.
Adams, in mid-October of 1932, almost the entire town showed up to pay their
respects and mourn the pioneer doctor who was buried beneath a granite tombstone
with the name, Adams, etched into the classic white stone that stood illuminated
against the sun.
by James Villanueva|
| As the citizens of
Slaton gathered to inter their hometown hero, their pioneer doctor, across from
the somber crowd, only a few steps away, sat the lonely grave of Woody Tudor bearing
a tombstone etched in gothic calligraphy with the words… |
… “Gone, but
In a four day trial, the jury found R.L. guilty of murder.
The judge only sentenced him to two years because of the circumstances surrounding
R.L. Tudor is buried next to his son in Englewood Cemetery.
The Murder of Dr. Sam Houston Adams; Slaton, Texas, 1930s
shoe horses, don't they?" November
1, 2010 Guest
Published in The Slatonite, Slaton's newspaper