He set upon a black stallion and wore a white Stetson hat upon his head.
A set of pearl handled guns were strapped below his waist and he wore a Texas badge upon his chest. His eyes were piercing; almost able to penetrate to the very essence of your soul.
The man was called “El Lobo Solo” to some, and to others Lone Wolf Gonzaulles.
Oil had been discovered in Kilgore and he had been commissioned to clean up the place from those who walked on the wild side of life. He set about his job with a vengeance, dressing as a common worker at first to earmark those he knew to be gamblers, murderers and con artists.
He was ruthless to those he believed were up to no good and known to have been suspicious of those who had no calluses upon their hands. Lone Wolf Gonzaulles became judge, juror and jailer. Prisoners were chained to trees at first as there was no jail and he quickly gained a reputation of letting them loose if they would leave town within four hours. Many left within ten minutes.
He rallied at getting to lead them through town on a trotline and after one large raid it was reported 300 people made up that procession through the muddy streets of Kilgore to a makeshift jail eventually made inside of a church.
Gonozaulles became a hero to the townspeople and despised by those he arrested. Innocents were judged guilty just by being in the wrong place at the right time. Ross Moore was one of those who got caught into the snares of being in the wrong place. He had packed up his family and moved them to Kilgore at the first sign of oil believing a job was waiting for him. Patsy Moore Haynes said, “My Dad had no use for the man. He was one of the innocents chained to a tree overnight. The next morning he gathered his family up and left Kilgore and never looked back.”
Ross was a quiet man and you had to know him to realize he never drank or gambled and didn’t smoke cigarettes until the age of forty and he did that to keep himself awake at night while working according to his family. He was married to his first wife, Anna Belle Watts and together they had four children and Ross was determined to make a decent living for them.
His twin brother, Roy, and his family was already in Kilgore at the first sign of oil, and convinced Ross jobs could be found in the East Texas oilfield and felt sure he could go to work with him at the Lone Star Gas Company. Upon arrival, he got his family settled and went to catch up with his brother, but the company had already filled the available positions.
It was Roy, who pointed down the muddy streets of Kilgore and said, “Go stand on that corner with the other workers and the oilfield companies that need help will come and pick you up. So, Ross did just that – shuffled in with a group of men on the corner hoping to have a job before the day was out. But that was the day Lone Wolf rode by; pointed a finger at them and told his officers, “Chain them up – loitering!”
Needless to say, Ross spent the night chained to a tree.
The next morning, as soon as he was released, he went straight to gather his family. Roy’s company hand a fleet of trucks and one was used to load up their stuff.
Women were not allowed to drive cars back then, so pillows were piled high in their car and their son, Jack, who was twelve years old drove the car while Ross drove the truck all the way back to Duncan, Oklahoma. It took them twelve hours to return.
His wife Anna Belle died in 1941 at the age of 41, leaving him with two of the children still living in the home.
He met Viola Kuykendall Milburn, who was a young widow with one child, Bobby George Milburn. She refused to marry him until he quit his job as a transport driver for Nichols Trucking Company as she didn’t want him away from home at night.
Although he didn’t want to quit, he finally succumbed to her wishes and she sent him to apply at Halliburton the next day. When asked if he had a job, Ross replied, “not today.” He was hired on the spot as a truck mechanic. The couple married and later had two other children, Patsy and Jimmy Moore.
Patsy said, “When I was born, I had a defective heart. They were scared to death I would die and the doctor bills were piling up. When I was about two, Halliburton people came to Dad and offered him a different position promising to pay him a lot more money to take on delivering 15 trailer houses to Casper, Wyoming, where they were trying to set up a new location and supply homes to the families.
“They felt he was the only employee they had that could get the job done. It took him all winter to do so and my mother said it was the longest winter of her life having to be alone with a sick child. And how ironic it was that the very thing she didn’t want him to do was the very thing he had to do to pay the doctor bills and support his family.”
Ross was presented safety awards from Halliburton. He retired in 1963, having worked over 25 years for Halliburton. Ross died in 1977 after pneumonia developed after a fall with a broken hip.
It was years after he had the run in with Lone Wolf before he would talk about the incident and that was only with a select few. It was in 1981 that his daughter Patsy came to Kilgore. She was married to Bob Ledgerwood and had a daughter, Jalisa.
Bob also worked at Halliburton and was transferred in through the company.
“I really didn’t know who Lone Wolf was until after we moved here,” she said. “I was kind of like Dad in a way because I didn’t think I would have a problem finding a job, as I had been in banking part time and full time for fifteen years. I soon found out the banks were using college students for tellers and could get them much cheaper than what I thought I was worth.”
She said she couldn’t afford to work for what was offered and pay a babysitter, too.
“I was beginning to really not like Kilgore until the parents of Missy Campbell started coming to the house to visit while the kids played,” she explained. “We all loved music and played instruments and so did her father, John. One night, he told me to go to the City of Kilgore and look up a friend of his, Janelle Brown, and apply for a job. I was asked when I could start and told them right now.
“They told me to show up at 8 a.m. the next morning and I was there. At that time, the city handled the ambulances and I was hired on as their ambulance clerk in charge of sending out the bills for their services. After a while an opening for the assistant to the City Secretary Debbie Robertson became available and I stepped into that role. One day, the financial director asked me if I would like to train as court clerk as Eileen Spurlock was in her 60’s and would be retiring soon.”
She explained that Eileen had no use for computers and had no intention of learning.
“The first judge that I trained under was Judge Mart Lapin,” she said. “Eileen and I would go in the court and sit side by side. She would enter into a large bound docket how each case was handled and I would write it on a yellow notepad to be entered into the computer. Then we compare notes for accuracy.
She worked for Mart for about a year and then he moved to Maine.
“In 1987, Glenn Phillips came in as judge and we worked together and converted to the computer system totally even though I still had to print reams of the dockets and bound them in big old books and lug them into the courtroom,” she said. “As court clerk sitting in the court room and in that environment, you learn the law and Glenn started taking short recesses and asking me how I would handle the case. I would answer and he figured out I did have a head on my shoulder.
“He went to the city council and recommended me to be an assistant judge to help relieve him of the midnight hours he was spending at the courtroom. A couple councilmen let him know that I was not a lawyer and there were no women judges, but, Glenn convinced them I didn’t have to be a lawyer to know the law and he really needed the help. The council approved and I became the Municipal Court Associate Judge.”
During that time, Patsy married Tommy Haynes in 1991 and her daughter Jalisa went to work for Glenn Phillips as legal help called a runner. Judge Patsy Haynes served Kilgore in that capacity until she retired in 2009 at the age of 65.
The retirement party was held on a Friday and by the following Monday, she was back to work. Due to health issues, her final retirement took place in 2019.
In her office she had kept the 1930’s dockets and one of the first city stamps that she prevented from being destroyed when the city cleaned out their storage room.
That docket and the city stamp were given to Officer Angela Burch to be showcased at the Kilgore Police Department.
She has many stories to tell about being a “woman judge” in a man’s world. Her daughter, Jalisa Ledgerwood Thompson, is now the offfice manager for Oilfield Fabrication Company and one of the finest genealogists you can find that fills her spare time.
As far as Ross Moore and his wife Viola Kuykendall Moore, you may note the initial K. that I always use with the signing of my name.
It was a promise made to my father, Frank Kuykendall, many years ago when I sat on his lap to write stories that the “K” would always be there to represent the family name.
Patsy is my first cousin and I have fond memories of playing in the yard of Uncle Ross and Aunt Viola. He was a gentle man; hard worker and one who raised his kids in church. And Aunt Viola will always be remembered for having pies cooling in the kitchen window, the creamiest mashed potatoes I have ever eaten and ice-cold lemonade. Back in the day, that couldn’t be beat.
If only Lone Wolf Gonzaulles had known that, he may have made a trip to Oklahoma.
May His love and laughter fill Your hearts and your homes throughout the week. We may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (903) 984-2593.