mean as and maybe smarter than Bonnie
and Clyde was another outlaw, Thomas Jefferson "Red" Golemon,
the terror of Liberty and Hardin counties in 1939-40.
The cunning criminal also was known as the Red Fox of the Big Thicket,
because, in that murky, mysterious forest, the long arm of the law
could stretch just so far. Beyond their reach was Golemon, the great
escapee. He was good at out-foxing his hunters.
Born in Kountz,
Golemon once made an honest living, working in various oil fields.
Boozing and brawling were his worst habits until a drunken fight
led to a murder in 1939. He and two co-workers were charged with
killing an oil rigger in Corpus
Goleman was released on bond but failed to show up for trial.
Instead, he showed up in Hull
in Liberty County,
where he and a man named Francis Smith robbed the Hull State Bank.
The masked robbers locked two terrified employees in the vault,
fled with $12,000 and then parted company.
Lawmen from Liberty and Hardin counties - aware that Golemon had
friends and family ties in the area - went driving all over Southeast
Texas warning people that it was a crime to harbor criminals.
Sure enough, he was hiding at the home of Houston
relatives. One of his blood kin - perhaps heeding to the warning
about harboring criminals -- called the cops.
After the Houston police delivered Goleman to officers in the Liberty
County sheriff's department, he posted bail. Again he failed to
appear for trial, choosing instead to disappear into the Big
In December 1939 Golemon was identified as the man who robbed and
shot a Beaumont
taxi driver before stealing his cab.
In March 1940 he took a hostage but freed him - with strings attached.
He let him go, providing that the man would help him rob a bank
OK. Sure. Anything he could do to help.
In advance of the robbery, Golemon planned to meet the man at a
spot just west of Dayton.
However, it didn't go as planned. The would-be accomplice called
the cops and went with them to the designated meeting place to wait
for Golemon. They waited for quite a while.
Of course, he was a no-show. A fox knows when a trap is being set.
On April 11, 1940, Golemon finally was discovered hiding in a shed
near his parents' home in Hardin County.
His story had a kind of Bonnie
and Clyde ending, as he died in a barrage of gunfire. When he
opened fire on the lawmen, they responded with a rain of bullets.
His body was recovered inside the shed, riddled with bullet holes.
He was 31 years old.
Curiosity seekers came from far and near, hoping to view the corpse.
A carnival atmosphere took hold as "customers" paid 10 cents each
to look at the shed where he was shot. They called it "the death
An estimated 4,000 people attended his funeral with vehicles lining
Golemon is buried at the Old Hardin Cemetery.
© Wanda Orton
Baytown Sun Columnist
15, 2015 columns
Bandit's bad baby brother
"Darious grew up with one goal - to follow in the footsteps
of the black sheep of the family or, shall we say, the Red Fox."
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