of the bodies were such as to clearly convince
one that the bodies were thrown there after death.
But one thing found to indicate foul play was
a half dozen hickory withes which were evidently used to tie the
victims. Other than
that there was nothing to give a
clew to their identity or how they met their death.
Ft. Worth Gazette
Wednesday, 17 June 1891
THE DENISON MYSTERY
The Bodies Positively Identified as Those of Barbrick and Derrick – Inquest Proceedings
Special to the Gazette
Denison, Grayson Co., Tex, June 16 – The inquest over the remains of the two bodies found four miles southeast of the
city Sunday evening was begun before Justice Hughes this morning. The clothing was positively identified as being that worn by Louis Barbrick and young Derrick when they left home some five weeks ago. The evidence relative to the finding of the bones was substantially the same as chronicled in THE GAZETTE this morning . Nothing which would throw any light on the cause of the sudden and mysterious deaths was learned, and the motive of anyone in putting them out of the way cannot be conjectured. Barbrick was seventeen years of age and Derrick was fourteen. Both had been wild, wayward boys, and had gone on extended trips to various parts of the state before, so their parents thought nothing of their extended absence. The inquest was postponed after hearing what testimony was at hand, for the purpose of obtaining further light, if possible, on the question of the cause of their deaths.
THE MURDER MYSTERY
Decomposed Remains Found in a Secluded Spot Near the City
Bodies Identified as those of Louis Barbrick & Albert Dedrick – Who Committed the Crime and What was the Object?
Late Sunday evening, a farmer by the name of Jacks, residing two miles southeast of Denison near the railway track, started out to hunt a bee tree. When about a half mile from his home and while crossing a deep gulch or water-way in a dismal and unfrequented spot, he came upon a human skeleton. A hasty investigation of the locality revealed the remains of another person. Early Monday morning Jacks came to Denison and informed the officers of his ghastly find and in a short time Justice Hughes, in company with C. H. Scholl, were en route to the locality mentioned. About 300 yards to the right and south of the railway track, and about one mile south from the steam brick yard, the gentlemen came upon the object of their search. The topography of the country in that particular vicinity is peculiar. The surface is very sandy and deep gulches or ravines break off precipitously, and as the timber is heavy, it presents a very uninviting appearance. At the bottom of one of these water-ways, and half covered up with sand and leaves, were the remains of a human in a state of advanced decomposition, and a short distance down the stream were those of another. The skeleton first mentioned was evidently that of a man, the latter that of a boy. A box was secured and everything found, in the least connected with the bodies, was placed in it and late in the evening brought to the city. On the following morning the clothes were disinfected, and the entire outfit was given a searching examination. Dr. Booth pronounced one to be the remains of a man 20 years of age, the other that of a boy of 11. Not more than one-half the bones were found but the clothing was in a fairly good state of preservation, showing that the bodies had been exposed to the weather not more than six weeks or two months at the outside. Mr. and Mrs. Barbrick and three daughters and Mrs. Derick, all of whom reside on East Morgan street, near the fourth ward school building, called, and after making an extended examination of the clothing, fully identified them as that worn by Louis Barbrick and Albert Derick at the time of their leaving home some five or six weeks ago. A short account of the singular disappearance of the boys was given in the GAZETTEER at the time, but it generally supposed that they had only run away for a short time only and would soon return. They had done so on a former occasion and no more attention was given the matter at that time. The parents of the missing boys stated that on the morning of May 11, about nine o’clock, the lads were at the Perry steam brick yard. They engaged in conversation with a man named Joe Scott, who was at work in the yard. After loitering around a while, the boys started east on the Mineola railway track and Scott saw them as they turned the curve, which bends around down at the branch. No further trace can be found, as it was the last time they were seen alive. This curve on the railway is about a half mile south from where the bodies were found. The statement of the ladies cleared away the mystery so far as the identity of the remains were concerned, but the solving of that problem only added to the mystery of their death.
Were the boys murdered? If so, who did it and what motive could have prompted the awful crime? In a dismal and out-of-the-way place, just such a locality as would attract the attention of a demon to hide his crime, the remains were found. Could it have been for money? No, for they had only a few cents in their pockets at the time of their leaving home.
Theories by the dozen were advanced. Excitement ran high. Relatives to the missing boys gave vent to their sorrow in lamentations that could be heard for blocks around. Some suggested that the lads had been struck by lightning; some thought they had partaken of poisonous berries. But the most that could be said of any theory was, that it was only a theory.
One rumor, that gained extensive circulation and believed by many, was that the older boy had engaged in a game of cards with a negro and refusing to give up his money was killed, and that, in order to hide his crime, the little boy was also killed.
Mr. Barbrick advances the idea that the boys were acquainted with facts which would get some one in trouble, and that the death of them was the only mode of protection to the guilty parties.
One of the Misses Barbrick states that Louis, her brother, had some enemies in Denison and that he had told her that a threat had been made that he would be killed and very soon. Whether this threat has any bearing on the case is now not known.
Tuesday, Mr. Barbrick, in company with Jim Burch, visited the place where the remains were found and made a further and a more searching investigation of the locality. Several bones that escaped notice on Monday were picked up and buried. Down the stream about fifty yards a hat of Louis Barbrick, also a handkerchief with traces of blood, were found. On the bank of the ravine was a short, thick stick and near this were several hickory withs, which evidently had been used to tie and gag the smaller boy. The handkerchief was not the property of either of the boys. A reporter of the GAZETTEER called at the home of Mr. Barbrick in Southeast Denison Thursday evening, and in response to inquiries the gentleman said:
“I feel perfectly confident, in fact, I know the remains were those of my son and Albert Dedrick. I also know they were murdered and sooner or later it will come out. I have a clue, and the guilty parties must suffer.”
On being questioned as to what the clue was, and who it was who could be guilty of such a diabolical crime, Mr. Barbrick said:
“I think it better to keep the matter out of the newspapers for a while. What I do, I will have to do quietly. Were I to state all I know it would do no good just at present, but a world of harm. I expect to prosecute the matter to the bitter end and I will keep the GAZETTEER fully posted. The bodies were about half way between the wagon and the rail road, and in my opinion they were brought up the stream from the railway. As to my clue I prefer remaining mum for the present.”
Crime & Punishment
Elaine Nall Bay
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