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PostA Wild-West Tale of New Mexico: "Perchmouth" Stanton (Richard Hancock, USA, 04/01/12 9:03 am)
I was raised on a ranch near Corona, New Mexico. We had no telephone and were served by a poorly maintained gravel road which passed several hundred yards from our house. Normally one or two cars passed our house per day, but on a day in July, 1933, when I was seven years old, a large convoy of 8 or 10 cars passed our house. Two days later, we learned that this was a posse which had arrested the famous criminal, "Perchmouth" Stanton. I have always been curious about the true story of "Perchmouth." I have Googled the name several times seeking information about this man, but have found nothing. Yesterday, I decided to try again and Googled "Perchmouth" Stanton, and, lo and behold, I came up with a twelve-page story of this man written on April 15, 2011 by Damon C. Sasser: "The Saga of the Outlaws Glen Hunsucker and Ed 'Perchmouth' Stanton," published in REH: Two-Gun Raconteur. "Perchmouth" headed a gang of criminals that had murdered four officers of the law and injured several others.
On January 22, 1933, they murdered Swisher County Sheriff John C. Mosley in Tulia, Texas, which is located about 50 miles south of Amarillo. On January 27, 1933, they murdered Deputy Sheriff Joseph Brown Jr. when he tried to arrest them at Rhome, Texas, just a few miles northwest of Ft. Worth. Law officers were looking for these criminals but they were still at large.
Briscoe Sheriff Jake Honea noted that "Perchmouth's" brother, Will Stanton, from Silverton, Texas, just east of Tulia, had taken up a homestead in northeastern Lincoln County, New Mexico, near a place called Ramon. Honea asked Lincoln County Sheriff Alexander "Eck" McCamant to check on this. On July 16, McCamant, Deputy Hubert T. Reynolds, Jack Davidson and a deputy named Jones followed "Perchmouth's" car tracks to a meadow. As they approached this meadow, Davidson saw a man hiding in the grass and called a warning, but Jones was killed instantly by a volley of shots. Hunsucker charged the lawmen firing a rifle rapidly and fell dead, riddled with bullets. "Perchmouth" had disappeared during the shooting.
Reynolds took the bodies of Jones and Hunsucker to Carrizozo while McCamant and Davidson spent the night at the meadow. The next day, joined by a large posse, they searched for "Perchmouth" and found him under a pile of grass. "Perchmouth" had a small dog that was playing near his hiding place, causing the posse to find him. "Perchmouth" was extradited to Lubbock County Jail.
On September 12, 1933, "Perchmouth's" trial began. He was accused of murdering Sheriff John C. Moseley. In a few days he was found guilty and sentenced to die in the electric chair.
On June 24, 1934, "Perchmouth" and four others escaped from the Lubbock County Jail. He was seen near Artesia, New Mexico, and Sheriff G. R. Fletcher of Colfax County arrested him on August 23. Colfax County, with the county seat of Raton, is located near the Colorado border. He was executed at Huntsville, Texas, on September 28, 1934.
"Eck" McCamant owned the ranch that bordered our ranch on the north and Jack Davidson's ranch was to the east, so my father was well acquainted with these two men. Jack Davidson told my father that McCamant was admirably cool-headed in the firefight with the Stanton gang. Sam Davidson, Jack Davidson's grandson, in a post of March 5, 2012, stated that McCamant, during the fight, was behind a rock cutting himself a plug of chewing tobacco as the bullets sang around him.
JE comments: This is a fascinating story, folks, and not an April Fool's joke! My thanks to Richard Hancock for another unforgettable tale of life in the Wild West. "Perchmouth" and "Eck"--they don't do nicknames like they used to.