In May of 1921 an event took place that changed the lives of many Caddo residents forever. The next few posts will be devoted to that event and some of its consequences. If you have any direct knowledge of the case and would like to add any information please contact me.
T. J. Craghead Killed
M.E. Golden Gives Up
Sunday night (May 16) about 10 o’clock Thos. J. Craghead was shot to death with a .25 automatic at the steps of the Methodist church. A few minutes later M.E. Golden surrendered to Constable Alexander admitting the shooting but at that time giving no cause.
Four bullets from the gun passed through the body, 3 straight through the breast, the fourth passing from one side to the other either of which would have produced death, as all were near or through the heart.
It was a distinct shock to the community as soon as it was learned, as Mr. Craghead was one of the best citizens Caddo ever had. He was engaged in the garage business with his brother Elmer, was a man who attended strictly to his own business, was accommodating, affable, and inoffensive; his reputation from the earliest youth being that of an honorable, upright citizen, true to his family, his church and his lodge, and diligent in business being a member of the Methodist church, a Mason, a Knight of Pythias and a Maccabee.
At the time his wife and two children were visiting a sister, Mrs. J. I. Walker in Dallas, and they arrived at 8 o’clock Tuesday morning by auto.
The funeral was held at the Methodist church Tuesday afternoon at 3:30, conducted by Rev. Naylor, assisted by Rev. Rylant. It was attended by a large crowd of saddened friends; this and the many beautiful floral offerings attesting to the esteem in which he was held by those who knew and loved him.
He is survived by his wife, two children, father, and four brothers, all of whom save L.N. Craghead, live in Caddo.
Much wonderment was expressed that anyone should seek to harm Tom Craghead, and his death is deeply mourned by the whole community.
Assistant County Attorney Williams, Sheriff Taylor and Reporter Kem came Tuesday and investigated the case.
Golden was taken at once to Durant and placed in jail by Constable Alexander. So far he has refused to talk about the case and this will perhaps be brought out in the examining trial, until which time it will not be known whether he will be admitted to bail or not.
It would not be fair for the Herald to publish any testimony before that time. There were no eye-witnesses except Mr. and Mrs. Golden, the latter being the daughter of D. B. Williams, and was married last fall to Mr. Golden.
Up to the time of printing this no evidence had developed showing any cause or provocation, the defense preferring to remain silent. There was no evidence of any weapon upon Craghead, or that he made any attempt to defend himself, there was no sign of a struggle, the 5 shots were fired very rapidly, according to witnesses; after which Golden and his wife walked on toward town, she being somewhat hysterical, and Golden gave himself up to the constable, surrendering the gun. Many soon gathered, and loving hands ministered to the deceased and the family. There so far, has developed no evidence that deceased was given a chance for his life or that any words were spoken.
Craghead lived in the house immediately west of the church, had left the garage a few minutes before going home for the night. He was dressed in his working clothes. Dr. Allen was the first doctor there and nearly all signs of life had departed by the time he arrived. One bullet was found in the clothing; two others were found near where the body fell.
Mr. Golden is a young man who came to Caddo about 18 months ago to work on the oil well. After his marriage he was employed in the Healdton field a while; coming back to Caddo; and lately working with Williams & Harle Furniture Co. at Durant. He came up the evening of the shooting. During his residence here he bore a good reputation, this being the only trouble he has had since coming here.
The following from the Durant Democrat throws a little light on the position of the slayer: “The defendant refuses to make a statement, only saying that he was justified in so doing. County Attorney Phillips and Deputy Williams and Sheriff Taylor are making investigations, but they state that they are not prepared to give out any information to the press today. It is reported that the deceased had written a note to Mrs. Golden, which she gave to her husband, and that the killing occurred over this letter. This could not be verified from either the county attorney or the attorneys for the defendant.”