Body of Youth Found in Creek With 3
Wounds; Negro Jailed and Second Arrest Expected
Navarro County Grand Jury Returns [illegible word] Indictment
Brought to Dallas
Disguised as Woman, Accused Man Tries to Escape.
Special to The News.
CORSICANA, Texas, May 27.—Another arrest is expected by Navarro County
officers in connection with the killing of Pruitt Dukeminier, whose body was
found late Wednesday in the muddy waters of Richland creek. The body showed
three bullet wounds.
Fred Tilford, a negro, is being held in the Dallas County jail in connection
with Duekminier’s [sic] death, having been taken there on Wednesday night
soon after his arrest and before the body of Dukeminier was found. A special
session of the Navarro County grand jury was called by Judge Hawkins
Scarborough and it returned an indictment charging murder.
The finding of the body ended a search that had continued since early
Wednesday. The slain youth and the negro left the Dukeminier home at Rice
Tuesday in a motor truck, young Dukeminier carrying money to pay a farmer
near Richland to whom the negro was indebted. They were to return to Rice
and the negro was to enter the employ of Dukeminier’s father, who has been
overseer of the Fortson plantation at Rice for twenty-five years.
Dukeminier’s body was found by Oscar Farquhar, a member of one of the
searching parties, when he dived into the water near the Corsicana-Richland
highway crossing on Richland creek.
District Attorney Ballard W. George said the accused will be given an
Brief funeral services were held for the dead youth Thursday morning in
Corsicana and the body was taken to his parents’ home in Rice, where
services were continued at the Baptist church in Rice Thursday afternoon.
Dukeminier is survived by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. J. C. Dukeminier; one
brother, Randolph, and three aunts, all of Rice.
Tilford was arrested in Corsicana Wednesday evening after an extensive
search, during which he had tried to elude the officers by disguising
himself as a woman.
Fred Tilford, the negro held in connection with the killing of Pruitt
Dukeminier, made a statement concerning the shooting in the Dallas County
jail Thursday afternoon.
Deputy Sheriffs John Rowland and S. F. Pickens obtained the statement from
Tilford after a short talk. After a later conference between Sheriff Stewart
of Navarro County and Sheriff Schulyer Marshall Jr., Deputies Rowland and
Pickens left for Corsicana.
[Dallas Morning News, Friday, May 28, 1926, part 1, p. 1]
Tilford Will Be Tried
Monday at Corsicana
Special to The News.
CORSICANA, Texas, June 5.—Texas Rangers will be present here Monday for the
trial of Fred L. Tilford, negro, charged with murder in connection with the
death of James Pruitt Dukeminier, 20 years old, of Rice, whose
bullet-riddled body was dragged from the muddy waters of Richland Creek late
Wednesday night, May 26, after a search by Rice, Richland and Corsicana
citizens for many hours.
The regular petit jury of thirty-six citizens has been augmented with the
summoning of seventy-five special veniremen for this case and it is thought
in official circles that the attorneys in the case will be able to pick a
jury of twelve men out of this number.
[Dallas Morning News, Sunday, June 6, 1926, part 1, p. 11]
in Tilford Case
Special to The News.
CORSICANA, Texas, June 7.—The jury in the case of Fred L. Tilford, negro,
charged by indictment with the murder of Pruitt Dukenimier [sic], 20 years
old, Rice youth, was completed at 3 o’clock Monday afternoon by the
selection of A. C. Kent, Mildred; W. E. Boyett, Purdon; W. E. Coleman,
Navarro; A. W. McClung, Kerens. The eight other jurors had been selected in
the morning session of court. The eight selected up to the noon hour are G.
O. O’Daniel, Roane; P. H. Loggins, Corsicana; Herbert Fitch, Winkler; C. R.
Slater, Emmett; H. T. Collins, Emhouse; J. W. Howell, Oak Valley; E. B.
Reed, Blooming Grove, and A. J. Beal, Corbet.
When court recessed at 6:15 p. m. sixteen State witnesses had been examined.
The prisoner was returned to Dallas when court recessed, accompanied by
Dallas County officers and State Rangers.
Court will convene at 9 o’clock Tuesday morning.
[Dallas Morning News, Tuesday, June 8, 1926, part 1, p. 4]
Tilford Gets Death
Penalty at Corsicana
Special to The News.
CORSICANA, Texas, June 8.—Verdict of guilty with death in the electric chair
was the punishment assessed against Fred L. Tilford, negro, 24 years old,
convicted of the murder of Pruitt Dukeminier, 20, Rice youth, in the
District Court Tuesday.
The jury was out ten minutes. The jury was given the case at 5:30 p. m. and
at 5:40 the verdict was handed to Judge Hawkins Scarborough by P. H. Loggins,
foreman. The Judge polled the jury and the verdict was unanimous. Tilford
was sentenced to die in the electric chair at Huntsville State penitentiary,
Officers hurried him from the courtroom the back way and escorted him under
heavy guard to the interurban tracks and boarded the 5:50 northbound car for
Dallas. The negro will be held in the Dallas County jail until he is
committed to the penitentiary.
[Dallas Morning News, Wednesday, June 9, 1926, part 1, p. 1]
Negro Doomed to Die
Taken to Huntsville
Fred Tilford, negro, scheduled to due July 9 for the murder of James Pruitt
Dukeminier near Corsicana May 25. was taken Wednesday from the Dallas County
jail, where he had been held since his arrest, to Huntsville by Sheriff John
W. Stewart and Deputy Rufus Pevehouse of Navarro County.
[Dallas Morning News, Thursday, June 17, 1926, part 2, p. 13]
Fred Tilford, age 24, was electrocuted on July 9, 1926.
[http://www.tdcj.state.tx.us/stat/prefurman/electrocutions.htm, viewed July
Execute Negro for
Killing, Netting $55
By The Associated Press.
HOUSTON, Texas, July 9.—Fred Tillford [sic], negro of Rice, walked calmly to
the electric chair in the State penitentiary at Huntsville at 12:10 a. m.
Friday and paid with his life for the slaying on May 8 [sic] of Pruitt
Dukemanier [sic], also of Rice. Thursday morning in the death cell Tillford
talked with Dr. J. T. Carter, who has known the negro all his life, and
signed a confession in which he unfolded the story of the murder, committed
The confession was repeated in the death chair and acknowledged by the
[Dallas Morning News, Saturday, July 10, 1926, part 2, p. 16]
FUNERAL SERVICES PRUITT DUKEMINIER AT RICE THURSDAY
VICTIM OF ROBBERY AND MURDER LAID TO REST AT BOYHOOD HOME
Funeral services for Pruitt Dukeminier, 20 years old, whose body was found
in Richland Creek Wednesday nigh, where it had been thrown after being shot
and thought murdered by the negro Fred Tilford the day before, were held at
the Baptist church at Rice at 4 o’clock Thursday afternoon. Services were
conducted by Rev. Day, Baptist minister, and Rev. A. E. Carraway, Methodist
minister. Burial was in the Rice
cemetery. Eight boy friends of the deceased were active pallbearers.
The Rice Municipal Band, of which the deceased was a member furnished
special funeral music.
Deceased is survived by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. J. C. Dukeminier; one
brother, Randolph Dukeminier; his grandmother, Mrs. Dukeminier; and three
aunts, Mrs. L. M. Barrington, Mrs. Will Patterson and Mrs. J. A. Gallimore,
all of Rice.