Sunday, September 4, 2011


GONZALES, TEXAS - In the 60's I remember taking a trip to Gonzales with my father. He parked our pickup truck across the street from a beautiful building. I can remember asking my father what building was that and he replied it was the Gonzales county courthouse. He then casually mentioned the clock was cursed. He told me to get out of the truck and walk around the building. The four faces of the clock never show the correct time. Sure enough he was correct, all the clock faces showed a different time. For years I wondered what had happened to that clock. Was it just neglect that caused the clock to fail? Here for you is what I found when I researched the tale of "THE CURSED CLOCK TOWER" of Gonzales, Texas.
The Clock as seen from the street

The historic community of Gonzales was named for Rafael Gonzales, governor of Coahuila and Texas. The town was constructed along the banks of the Guadalupe River in 1827. Byrd Lockhart in August 1832 surveyed the town on sixteen leagues of land given for town development. As the westernmost point of Anglo-American settlement and the closest town to San Antonio de BĂ©xar, it was the center of much of the Texas revolutionary activity. Gonzales has been called "the Lexington" of the Texas revolution. For the first shots of the war took place in this community.

Gonzales County, named for the capital of Green DeWitt's colony, was established in 1836 and organized in 1837 as one of the original counties in the Republic of Texas. Gonzales was named the county seat and every county needs a courthouse. J. Riely Gordon began to build the "Romanesque Revival" style courthouse in 1894. In 1896 for the crowning touch of his work he installed on top of the courthouse tower a clock. The clock has four faces and are on the four sides of the courthouse so the citizens of Gonzales can always see what time of day or night it is. The reputation of the clock was known for it accuracy.

While awaiting his execution in the County jail, convicted killer Albert Howard cursed the clock. Howard would look outside the cell window and concentrate on the number of hours he had left to live. He swore to those who would listen (and to the many captive listeners) that his innocence would be proven by the clock. He claimed that the hands of the four clock faces would never show the same synchronized time again. On March 18, 1921 Albert Howard was hung for his crime. To many, justice was served, however soon the citizenry witnesses the clock's time become unsynchronized. Being a part of the "Bible belt", the town's people refused to believe in such a thing as a curse. County management soon drew up funds for work on the clock. The hired clock workers couldn't find anything wrong with the clock, even after they replaced the interior works at taxpayer’s expense. To this day the clock has never again kept the correct time. So, has Howard proven his innocence? Is his ghost haunted the clock tower making sure the clock never shows the correct time? You decide.  

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