|Just behind the hotel, I came across a really old utility pole surrounded by a white picket fence. I figured that it was a monument to some historic feat of Texan telephony, or maybe a memorial to rural electrification.
This is what the marker stone said:
"At this site, on Tuesday night, Nov. 19, 1929, Marshall Ratliff was hung from a utility pole guy wire until dead before a crowd of about 1500 people. Ratliff was also known as the Santa Claus Robber for his dressing as Santa Claus and leading a gang of four to rob the 1st Nat'l Bank of Cisco on Dec. 23, 1927. He and his gang murdered 2 people during the robbery. Several were wounded and 6 ultimately died as a result of this robbery. Ratliff had been tried for his crimes and was serving time in Huntsville Prison when he was brought back to Eastland County, Oct. 24, 1929. He tried to escape on Nov. 18, 1929 and mortally wounded the jailer, Uncle Tom Jones, during this futile attempt. The next day, an angry mob stormed the jail and drug the nude Ratliff from his second story cell to this present site. The first rope broke with his weight and another was quickly brought to the scene whereupon he was allowed to hang for about 30 minutes until declared dead by the Justice of the Peace. Word of Ratliff's hanging was promptly sent to Jones, the wounded jailer, who then died within hours.