Banner Photograph of BRAD CEMETERY - Highway 180 West of Palo Pinto. Taken by Judith Richards Shubert 2009.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Tom Allen Lies in Broken False Crypt in Round Rock near Austin


Thomas Allen
1876 - 1915
Austin Police Dept.
Mounted Patrol
Second Officer Killed in Line of Duty


One of the first graves I encountered in the Round Rock Cemetery was that of Officer Thomas Allen, of the Austin Police Department, Mounted Patrol. His gravemarker indicates that he was the 2nd police officer killed in the line of duty. However, if the following narrative is correct, it seems that he might have had a personal score to settle.

Officer Tom Allen is listed on the Austin Police Association website as having been "Austin's only African-American police officer since the death of John Gaines" two years earlier in 1913. Gaines was shot by George Booth, a deputy constable, at 6th Street and Trinity Street on November 19 of that year.

Officer Allen was shot and killed October 24, 1915, at Jennings' Drug Store in the 400 block of East 6th Street. Officer Allen and the editor of a black newspaper in San Antonio had earlier had an argument. Officer Allen, angered by reports that he had mistreated several African-American women he had arrested, confronted the editor by the wagon yard near Red River Street. When the editor walked away, Officer Allen then followed the man to Jennings' drugstore. The editor drew a handgun from a briefcase and shot Officer Allen as he entered the drugstore, having "his own gun drawn and ready." A newspaper story at the time reported that Officer Allen was killed only thirty feet from the site where Officer John Gaines had died two years earlier.

Round Rock Cemetery was established in the early 1850s in what is now known as Old Round Rock. It is the burial place of many area pioneers and outstanding Round Rock citizens. The oldest legible gravemarker is that of 11-year-old Angeline Scott, which has a date of 1851. However, there are many, many unmarked graves that could date from long before that time.

The cemetery is spread out over 4 1/2 acres of land which sits beside the busy Sam Bass Road and is surrounded by homes and businesses. It is in fair condition but there are many markers (particularly crypts) that are cracked or broken. It is well mowed, however, and the Texas Historical Commission marker at the front entrance says that it is cared for by the Round Rock Cemetery Association.

Sources:
Austin Police Association
Round Rock Cemetery, Sam Bass Road,
Round Rock, Williamson County, Texas
Picture taken by Judith Richards Shubert, May 2, 2009 (c)

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