Thomas Carmichael, a farmer who lived near Springtown, traveled to Fort Griffin to sell produce, and he bought buffalo hides to sell in Fort Worth. While at Fort Griffin, he recognized Eli Bly, a farm hand who had helped him in Tennessee. Witnesses said they saw Carmichael and Bly, but no one saw Carmichael after the two left Bryson.
Two Young County citizens, who traveled at night to avoid Indians, came across the farmer’s wagon loaded with hides and one horse. They found Carmichael lying lifeless in a nearby shallow creek. The lawman discovered that a stranger had departed on the stage bound for Weatherford, so he and Deputy Charley Hensley headed out to catch the stage. The sheriff arrested Bly, confiscated his pistol and saddle bags, and tied his hands with rope.
Because Jack County had no jail, Bly was taken upstairs to the courthouse where his father, who lived in Jacksboro, identified him. Particularly damning proof was discovered, and the accumulated evidence was overwhelmingly against him.