ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – It’s fair to say that Pine Street in downtown Abilene has a story to tell, one from the wild west in 1884.
Frank Collins, an Alderman and his Brother Walter, a Taylor County Deputy Sheriff, were involved in a shootout with Zeno Hemphill 139 years ago where a parking lot now sits at the corner of North 1st Street and Pine Street.
Hemphill had leased property from the Collins brothers on which he had a saloon. When new laws arose, the brothers realized they needed to shut the saloon down, but all three men were killed when they met face to face.
This story has evolved over the years, one that is kept alive with re-enactments. Actors Rudy Seals, who plays Frank Collins and Micheal McCormack, who plays Zeno Hemphill, enjoy adding to the story from historical finds and sharing that piece of Texas history with others.
“We need to keep the facts the facts. This really happened in Abilene and I think it’s good that we do it,” McCormack said.
They teach and pass down this story, one of historical significance as it was the first time an officer fell down in the line of duty in the county.
“Not necessarily a good guy versus bad guy. Just a, ‘hey we’re in a bad situation’,” said Seals. “Oh goodness, at first we thought it was all about alcohol and then we found out it was about gambling.”
Although, there’s only so much they can do when it comes to re-enacting. When that fateful day came, they were basically within two to three feet of each other.
“It was a pretty brutal fight originally. We try to back off a bit to save our facial hair,” explained McCormack.
For Seals, this story needs to be told to keep history alive and perhaps the memory of a loved one.
“I inherited the passion for this from my father. He was in the show the past two years and he passed away in December,” Seals expressed. “As long as they allow me to come out here have fun, shoot around, meet people – I’ll keep coming back.”
The Pine Street Shootout re-enactments at Frontier Texas start at high noon on the following days:
- May 20 and 27
- June 3, 17 and 24
- July 1