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True Stories of Amazing People and Places in Texas

Delbert Henry Linaweaver aka John Edward Thomas

On February 5, 1962, Linaweaver was arrested in Floydada, Texas where he was living until two local men recognized him from a 10 Most Wanted Flyer at the post office. He was wanted for burglary and armed escape from a jail in Salina, Kansas. After breaking out of the jail and brutally beating two deputies, Linaweaver assumed the alias John Edward Thomas. He found work with a crew of migrant farm laborers following the harvest south from Canada, through Nevada and eventually settled near Floydada, in the South Plains community.

Linaweaver married a waitress he met at one of the cafe's in Floydada. At the time of his arrest he was working for local farmer John Key West according to local resident Keith Stansell.

He made many friends during the time he spent in the small west Texas community. Several testified at his sentencing hearing and asked that the man they knew as John Edward Thomas be paroled to their custody so that he could continue to the quiet life he had begun there with his new wife.

John K. West, Linaweaver's employer of 13 months testified that he would rehire him if he were paroled. "He was one of my top hands," He ate dinner with my family every night until he married. He had a good personality, and I like him."

West told reporters with the Amarillo Daily News, "Lineaweaver and his wife had moved to Silverton shortly before his arrest and bought the Y Cafe. " He was going to drive from Silverton to the farm everyday. His wife was going to operate the cafe in Silverton."

Local grocer Raymond Upton and Early Price, a South Plains Texas farmer described Linaweaver as " a nice quiet boy who would be welcomed back into the community."

Linaweaver told District Judge L. A. McNalley he was "a changed man. I never had friends like this. It changed me entirely."

The judge denied the request for immediate parole and sentenced Lineaweaver to fifteen years in federal prison.

After his release, Linaweaver returned to West Texas and according to all accounts, the man who was once one of the FBI's most wanted led a quiet, productive life near the area he had come to love.

Sources:

Hutchinson News, April 7, 1962

Amarillo Daily News, Feb 6, 1962

Resources:

West Texas History & Memories (Facebook)

Early Life in Texas County by County

Books about Texas People and Places

True Stories of Amazing People and Places in Texas (Facebook)

Texas History in the 19th Century (Amazon)

Vintage Texas Photos (eBay)

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