Bayou City bloodshed
"We met an automobile with a white man in it. They stopped him and Sergeant (Vida) Henry told the white man to get out of the car, but he did not get out, and all the soldiers that was up in front shot the man. I judged that about 50 shots were fired at the man."
This was a sworn statement Leroy Pinkett, an Army private, gave to Houston police.
On this day in 1917, a group of soldiers assigned to Camp Logan marched down Washington Avenue, Shepherd Drive, continued along what is now West Dallas, past Montrose and stopped near Valentine Street, where Founders' Cemetery is located today. Along the way, Houston police officers fired on the troops and vice versa. A few Houstonians, curious about the commotion, were shot dead or bayoneted.
Although tensions between the soldiers and police officers had been strained since the soldiers' arrival earlier that summer, it was rumors over the treatment of an off-duty military policeman that sparked the riot. Rather than restate the specifics of what happened that evening, I've listed some other sites that go into more detail about the event below.
But let's not forget the end results.
Five Houston police officers were killed in the melee:
Rufus H. Daniels, mounted police officer
Ross Patton, mounted police officer
Ira D. Raney, mounted police officer
Four soldiers were killed:
Capt. J.W. Mattes
Sgt. Vida Henry
Eight Houstonians were killed:
"Senator" Satton, barber
Earl Finley, age 16
A.R. Carstens, painter
Fred Winkler, age 19
Military tribunals indicted 118 enlisted soldiers for their part in the riot. Of those, 110 were found guilty. Nineteen mutinous soldiers were hanged, 63 received life sentences and one was judged not competent to stand trial. No white civilians were brought to trial, the Handbook of Texas reports.
Information on the riot can be found here, here, here, and here.
Information on the general who prosecuted the rioters is contained here.
Past Bayou City History posts leading up to the riot are here and here.
A list of HPD officers killed in the line of duty can be found here.