‘Gone but not forgotten:’ the lawman, A.W. Grimes, and the outlaw, Sam Bass, who became local namesakes

Sam Bass (back row, far left) formed a band of outlaws who robbed trains, stagecoaches and banks in the late 1800's.
Sam Bass (back row, far left) formed a band of outlaws who robbed trains, stagecoaches and banks in the late 1800's.

Sam Bass (back row, far left) formed a band of outlaws who robbed trains, stagecoaches and banks in the late 1800's.

Image description
A.W. Grimes served as a sheriff's deputy in Round Rock until his death in July 1878.
Image description
Image description
For 137 years, a tombstone on the outskirts of Round Rock Cemetery with the words ‘Gone but not forgotten’ lay cracked and worn atop the grave of a man named A.W. Grimes. Locally, the name now rings familiar with A.W. Grimes Boulevard in Round Rock and the Deputy A.W. Grimes Law Enforcement Training Center in Hutto.

But this was not always the case. Grimes’ body lies in what was once called the Old Sam Bass Cemetery, located off Sam Bass Road, mere feet from the body of the infamous outlaw Samuel Bass.

The men—Bass an outlaw and Grimes a lawman—27 and 28, respectively, at the time of their deaths, died two days apart in July 1878 after engaging in a shootout in downtown Round Rock, less than 2 miles from where their bodies now lie.

The fateful day began when Williamson County Sheriff’s Deputy Grimes and Travis County Sheriff’s Deputy Maurice B. Moore noticed three individuals enter Kopperal’s Store on Main Street. According to documents provided by the Williamson Museum, the deputies suspected the men were armed. Carrying a pistol was illegal at the time in Round Rock.

Grimes approached the men and asked them to surrender their weapons. The Sam Bass gang opened fire. Moore was injured in the exchange. Grimes was hit five times and died before he could pull his gun, according to materials from the Williamson Museum.


Despite the inscription on Grimes’ tombstone, Bass captured minds and imaginations for years—in songs, movies and lore—moreso than the fallen Williamson County sheriff’s deputy.

But recent efforts—the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office replacing Grimes’ tombstone in 2015 and naming the training center after Grimes in 2018—aim to ensure his name and memory live on.
By Taylor Jackson Buchanan
Taylor Buchanan joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2018 after completing a master of journalism degree from the University of Texas. She worked as the senior reporter for Community Impact's Southwest Austin edition and is now the editor for the company's flagship Round Rock/Pflugerville/Hutto edition.


MOST RECENT

Here are the coronavirus data updates to know today in Williamson County. (Community Impact staff)
Williamson County adds 47 new cases of the coronavirus Oct. 23

Here are the coronavirus data updates to know today in Williamson County.

East West Manufacturing will retain 30 jobs and create an additional 30 new jobs for a total of 60 full-time jobs in Round Rock over five years, according to an economic incentive agreement signed Oct. 22. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Round Rock to add 60 jobs and more Central Texas news

Read the latest business and community news from the Central Texas area.

Beginning Oct. 26, 14 Pflugerville ISD locations will be available for curbside meal pickup services. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Pflugerville ISD announces curbside meal pickup site changes

Beginning Oct. 26, 14 Pflugerville ISD locations will be available for curbside meal pickup services.

Round Rock ISD traditionally plans for four early release days at the end of each semester for its high school students. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
8 Round Rock ISD early release days converted into full instructional days

Round Rock ISD traditionally plans for four early release days at the end of each semester for its high school students.

Yonders Point, a plaza and a terraced seating area with outdoor swings and lounge chairs, will be constructed on a field southwest of the intersection of Harrell Parkway and Aten Loop. (Rendering courtesy city of Round Rock)
Plaza, terraced overlook among improvements planned for Old Settlers Park in Round Rock

Yonders Point will be constructed on a field near the intersection of Harrell Parkway and Aten Loop within Old Settlers Park.

A screen shot of Elon Musk speaking into a microphone
Tesla CEO Elon Musk confirms 2021 opening for Travis County gigafactory

Musk said construction is moving apace at the new electric auto factory east of Austin.

East West Manufacturing will retain 30 jobs and create an additional 30 new jobs for a total of 60 full-time jobs in Round Rock over five years, according to an economic incentive agreement signed Oct. 22. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
60 jobs, $5 million facility: East West Manufacturing coming to Round Rock

The 43,000-square-foot building is expected to be complete by August 2021.

Here are the latest coronavirus data updates for Williamson County. (Community Impact staff)
Williamson County add 26 confirmed cases of coronavirus Oct. 22

Here are the latest coronavirus data updates for Williamson County.

The bakery is known for its Texas Sized Donut weighing 2 pounds and can trace its history back to 1926 when Reinhold R. Moehring opened the shop in downtown Round Rock. (Community Impact file photo courtesy Round Rock Donuts)
Round Rock Donuts coming to Cedar Park and more Central Texas news

Read the latest business and community news from the Austin area.

Oct. 23 is the last day Texas voters can apply for a vote-by-mail ballot. (Courtesy Pexels)
Tackling Texas' vote-by-mail system: Applying, delivering, tracking your ballot

Oct. 23 is the last day Texas voters can apply for a vote-by-mail ballot.

Southern rock artist, Read Southall Band will join country group Pecos & The Rooftops at the Brushy Creek Amphitheater Oct. 24. (Courtesy city of Hutto)
Rock concerts to trunk or treats: 6 events in Round Rock, Pflugerville, Hutto Oct. 24-Nov. 1

Interested in learning more about Latin American ghosts, snagging some extra Halloween candy or rocking out to a southern rock concert? Check out six events in Round Rock, Pflugerville and Hutto Oct. 24-Nov. 1.