In 1886 a murder occurred in the little town of Timpson, Texas; a murder that immersed much of East Texas in the effort to bring the killer to justice. A sheriff from nearby Nacogdoches and the family of a Justice of the Peace in the little community of Rainsville were among those who, for more than forty years, were engulfed in the pursuit of the murderer. Along the way both the murderer and a scion of the family learned a new meaning of the word justice and just what was meant by the fifth commandment.
Tom Reed set out to discover his roots in the small East Texas town of Timpson. He found that that search also entailed not only history and genealogy, but also the old Texas tradition of telling tall tails. History and fiction, truth and yarn, lore and creativity are woven together in "Timpson" with the intention of discovering just how one can truly obey the commandment to "Honor your father and mother,"and to a greater extent, what is meant by the word "Honor."
They didn’t retrace their steps through Tortilla Flat they took a more direct route back to Apache Junction. They didn’t talk much until the canyon and the Apaches were far behind them. Finally Otto, who was leading the donkey, touched his heels to his horse and brought himself along side his partner. “You know we can never go back to the Dutchman’s mine?” he said. “Not if we want to live,” Jim said. “I wish I’d have thought to hide a few nuggets in my pocket though, that whole trip turned out to be useless.” “Maybe,” Jim said. “But I really meant what I told them.” There was a pensive tone to his voice, “Do you remember what we learned in Sunday school about the Ten Commandments? I don’t think I understood what the Bible meant when it said I should honor my father and mother. It means more than just being polite to them and minding them. It’s more than Christmas gifts and birthday presents; it even means more than to love your parents.” Jim turned in his saddle and looked back toward Weavers Needle, toward the Superstitions, to where the Indians had gone. “You saw them back there,” he said; “they weren’t riding fancy horses and their rifles were pretty old and beat up and their clothes were plain too. But all that gold didn’t tempt them. Their fathers had told them that the Thunder God had put the gold there to be used by the whole tribe when hard times came on them, and those boys were going to protect it from thieving bastards like us until that time came.” “We weren’t intentionally stealing it,” Otto said, “We didn’t know it belonged to them.” “That may be the only reason we are alive right now.” Jim didn’t say anything more he put his heels to his horse’s sides and trotted a few yards ahead. Otto was his buddy, one of the few people on this earth he could share his thoughts with, but right now he didn’t want to share his thoughts; he wanted to be alone.