Jack Hull colorful Clovis pioneer

By Don McAlvy: CNJ columnist

“In going thru’ an old scrapbook compiled by my wife and containing my newspaper columns of many years ago,” said Jack Hull, “I find the following touching on those eventful days in Clovis history that made my newspaper career something never to be forgotten. Some of the events recounted in the old columns will be remembered by other old timers.

“I’ve witnessed several murders in my life . . . and I dodged being a witness in any of them by keeping my trap shut, and making myself scarce at the time. It seems to me I’ve covered almost every conceivable type of story except a leap to death and I came near seeing one of those out of a seventh-floor window of Hotel Clovis. I stood with a camera ready for that, but it didn’t happen because some alert hotel employees spoiled the man’s effort to push his way thru’ a screen over the window.

“Then there was the gun-fight between a Santa Fe special officer and a young hobo on top of a freight car in the yards here in which both men died; the black-mail case, and the numerous road blocks back in dry days when ‘alky’ and narcotic running from the border was in full swing.

“Then there was the young Sweetwater burglar who was shot and killed in an attempt on a store in Melrose; the unerring aim of the aged hardware dealer at Grady who elected to shoot it out with two would-be holdups, one of whom he dropped dead on the front porch of his store; the gun-fight between Gus Von Elm, Clovis fire chief, and John “Childers, saloonkeeper, in which Childers lost and Von Elm was wounded; another tragic triple slaying as the result of bad blood between families; the mystery death of Mr. Austin, aged Melrose resident declared a suicide but around which there was some difference of opinion . . . There were others I have doubtless forgotten but all of which came within the range of my days on the news trail . . . the hey-day of newspaper work here.

“And in all those eventful happenings only one bullet had my mark on it. That was the day of the capture of the two Whitesboro (Texas) bank robbers southwest of here after a day-long chase through the sandhills. That bullet, fired by one of the men, crossed in front of my windshield as I drove along a rural road close to where the two bandits were captured.

“Dennis Brooks, local cattle buyer, was a deputy and one of the officers in on that capture. I got a picture in the cornfield where the men gave up. I still have those pictures among the hundreds I took in those days.”

John R. (Jack) Hull, died of a heart attack Oct. 12, 1962.

Jack Hull was born March 16, 1888, in Fort Worth, Texas. It was in 1907 at age 19 that Jack and his family, father Captain and Mrs. E. E. Hull, and two sisters, came to Clovis from Kingfisher, Okla. Captain Hull and his son Jack opened the town’s first bank, the Clovis National. When the Hulls purchased the weekly newspaper, Clovis Journal, Jack began editing and writing.

During his years on the weekly newspaper, he served as state representative and state senator from Curry County.

He was known throughout the Southwest for his daily column, “Ramblin’ Around.” In 1942 he had to leave the editor’s desk, due to asthma.