There was a little engine
and one or two coaches as needed on a narrow-gauge railroad, known as the Dummy
Line. It ran from town out by the ballpark and on out the Sixty-Foot Road, or
75-A or Woodlawn Boulevard, and around the Cotton Mill district, back to
[Source: Denison TX Sunday Gazetteer, May 22, 1892]
During the early part of the night Tuesday, Denison, in a spectral or bird-eye-view sense, presented a beautiful picture. The skies were cloudless, the streets neither dusty nor muddy; peace and happiness seemed vouchsafed to all, and in a social sense the town was really merry. The North Methodist congregation, with a large number of spectators, were participating in a literary competition under the auspices of the Knights Templars; the Lodge of Elks, fifty-one strong, together with some eighteen or twenty visiting members, were at the Denison club rooms busily engaged in the reception of members and the organization of the order.
This picture, however, was too pretty to last long. In the very midst of pleasure, innocent and instructive though it be, the dark and dismal shadow of death and destruction perched about the portals and lintels of the city and within the walls where peace, joy, and prosperity alone are supposed to live, the chilling blast of hell's arch-demons enters, and strong men quake and tremble with fear. Pleasure is turned to sorrow, and the feeling of security and confidence goes down before insecurity and fear. The night will go down to history as one without a parallel in this day and generation. In the still and quiet hours of the late evening and early morning, four ladies, two of whom were numbered among the city's most respectable people, were targets for the assassin's deadly weapon—the six-shooter or Winchester.
The first tragedy was at the residence of Mr. and Mrs. J. H. Haynes, in south Denison, near the exposition grounds. Mrs. Haynes is a daughter of Dr. Garner, both of whom moved to this city a short time since from Stringtown, I.T. The buildings are not more than fifty or sixty yards apart, and in that neighborhood are quite a number of families, among whom is W. W. Bostwick. Tuesday evening Mesdames Garner, Haynes, and Bostwick came in on the motor car to attend the literary exercise at the North Methodist church, and Mr. Haynes came along to attend the organizing exercises of the Elks at the Denison club rooms in the State National Bank building. The ladies returned home on the 10:30 motor. Mrs. Garner and her daughter, Mrs. Haynes, left the exposition station unaccompanied. On arriving at their residences, Mrs. Haynes remarked to her mother: "You need not go in with me. I see the doctor is already here, as a light is burning. We put them all out when we left." Saying this, the ladies bade each other good night, and that was the last seen of Mrs. Haynes until two hours later, when her dead body was found something near a quarter of a mile southeast of the house.
Mrs. Garner had barely entered her house when she heard her daughter scream. She ran out and over as quickly as possible, and following her was Dr. Garner with his gun. Two lamps were burning, one up and the other down-stairs, and every room in the house was badly disarranged. Mrs. Haynes was called, but all was quiet. Every room and the yard was searched, but no trace of her could be found. Two or three minutes later three pistol shots were fired in rapid succession. Mr. Garner ran out, but could not tell from which direction the sound came. Fearing the worst, an alarm was given. Houston Bostwick mounted the same motor on which the ladies had come out from the city, and in a few minutes he ran up to the Elks' hall and informed his father and Mr. Haynes of the circumstances. The work of the lodge was brought to an abrupt close. Every member volunteered his services, and soon the motor train was speeding back to the Exposition Hall.
On reaching home, Mr. Haynes found everything in utter confusion, and the wildest excitement prevailed. Couriers were dispatched back to the city with instructions to get Sheriff McAfee with his bloodhounds as quickly as possible. The central railway kindly tendered them use of the yard engine, and a wild ride to and from Sherman followed. In the meantime, the search for Mrs. Haynes continued. The night was dark, the timber dense, but dozens of lamps and lanterns glittered in every direction. An endeavor was made to hold back the search until the arrival of the dogs, in order that the burglar might the better be traced. It was impossible, however, to restrain intimate friends, and the search continued.
Full two hours after the shooting, Mr. W. W. Bostwick, with lantern in hand, came upon the body of the lady, cold in death. The place was from 300 to 400 yards southeast of the Haynes residence, and near a dry branch. It was a horrible sight. She lay on her back, and a ball from a .44-caliber revolver had entered her forehead, tearing away the brain pan and burying itself in the ground. One foot beneath her head was found the deadly bullet. Another ball had passed through her breast. Her watch, finger-ring, and ear-rings were gone. In slipping the rings from her fingers the villain was in such haste that her fingers were badly disfigured. Tender hands lifted up the body and carried it back to the house.
News of the terrible death intensified the excitement. The searching parties were all called in, and nothing more was attempted until the arrival of the sheriff with his deputies and the trained dogs. The special from Sherman came in at 3:20 in the morning, and ten minutes later search for the murderer was instituted. Here we must draw the veil over the horrible scene, for tragedies in other parts of the city are being enacted. Defenseless women are being shot down through screened windows and doors, and a reign of terror is seizing the usually quiet and tranquil city.
The Second Shooting
At Madame Lester's bagnio [brothel] on Chestnut Street, a gay crowd had assembled in the three parlors or reception rooms. One man was thumping away on a piano, the Madame was coaxing a frequenter to purchase a bottle of beer, girls and men were lounging about the room in a rather promiscuous manner, and in a wicker chair near the front center of the third room sat Maude Kramer. To her rear and seated on a sofa were George Garner and Alice Adams, and standing in front of these was another woman. All at once and without a note of warning, a flash and a report startled every one, and then followed a few seconds of hushed stillness. Not a breath was drawn, not a voice was heard, and no one moved. Then came another clash. Maude Kramer threw up her hands and called out in a rather low but audible voice, "I am shot." The wildest confusion followed. Women screamed and men darted out and behind every conceivable object. Some one made a break for the rear door, and men and women literally trampled upon one another in the stampede. The first ball had passed entirely through the right side of Maude Kramer, then found its way through the arm of the chair, through the clothing of the woman standing in front of Alice Adams and George Garner, and buried itself into the opposite wall near the door leading out to the beer chest. The second shot entered the lady's body near the center on the right side and passed entirely through the stomach. Its force had been spent, however, and the ball fell down into the chair, and when the lady was removed it rolled out on the floor. She was taken to an upper room where medical attention was soon procured. The house soon filled with an excited crowd of morbidly curious men. During the excitement, news was received of the tragedy at the Exposition Building in south Denison.
Soon after the shooting at Madame Lester's, a man with rather heavy mustache, dark clothes, square shoulders, and a rather striking appearance called at the front door and asked permission to see the wounded lady. His request was denied, and the man acted very strangely. He drew out a large pistol from his hip pocket and said: "The wages of sin is death," and turning to a man nearby said, "You will make a good target."
He spoke at some length on the wickedness of the world and appeared to be a kind of a ministerial crank. On leaving the building he came off toward Main Street, and nothing more was seen of him. He was a stranger to everybody, and by a good many he is thought to be implicated in the assassination.
The Third Shooting
A short time after the shooting at Madame Lester's, someone ran across the block to the Rivers bagnio and informed the girls there of the tragedy, and all, of course, wanted to go down to see. In the front east room was a girl, Rosa Stuart, and her company. The lamp was burning brightly, and Rosa gathered an outer garment and was in the act of putting it on over her head when a flash, a loud report, and the girl sank to the floor with a stream of blood gushing out from the right lower breast and another on the opposite side behind.
The window shade had not been pulled completely down, leaving a crack about two inches between the top of the window sill and the bottom of the curtain. On the outside of the window was a wire screen, and through this the deadly ball passed.
By this time, the business portion of the city was becoming thoroughly frightened. So intense was the excitement concerning the mysterious disappearance of Mrs. Haynes and the assassination of Maude Kramer that the third shooting failed to add much to the general frenzy. The crowd that gathered at the Rivers place was small in comparison with that in the woods, at the Exposition Hall, as well as that at Madame Lester's.
The doctor was just finishing dressing the wounds of the Kramer girl when he was summoned to go in haste to the Rivers house, as his services were urgently needed. Every attention possible was bestowed upon the doubly unfortunate women, and at that time it was thought that death would be sure and soon. Every officer and deputy in the city was summoned. The Stanley Rangers and the Denison Rifles were awakened and summoned to guard the city. Mounted police began patrolling. Officers Preston and Deering stationed themselves at a point in the rear of the Star lumber yard. A suspicious character was seen, and he was called upon to surrender. Instead of so doing, he turned to his heels and fled. Chase was given, four shots were fired, but the fleeing man turned the corner at the north approach to the viaduct and disappeared in the darkness. Who he was or his mission will probably never be known.
About 3:20 o'clock a courier came
down to Main Street from North Denison and announced the killing of
MISS FLORENTINE HAWLEY.
By the dim light in the room, she saw a pistol in one hand and a knife in the other. She screamed and the man commanded her to hush or he would kill her. She begged him not to kill them, saying she would give him all the valuables in the house if he would only spare their lives. He replied: "Be still, for already three women have been killed in town tonight, and you'll make the fourth." A noise in another room frightened the villain, and he started to run; both ladies were terribly frightened and sprang out of bed; he turned and fired back into the room, but the bullet buried itself in the brick wall of the opposite side of the room. The ladies by this time were almost in hysterics, and Miss Florentine Hawley ran into her mother's room and sat down by her. She put her arms around her daughter and tried to pacify her. While in this attitude, the revolver again rang out, and through the wire screen across the window came a bullet, which struck Miss Hawley just below the right shoulder blade and plowed a ghastly wound through her body. She fell forward and died instantly. The noise aroused the neighbors, and Mr. Alex Regensberger, who lives next door, saw a man in the back yard of the Hawley place. The man ran out through the rear gate, and Tom Cutler, who had also been awakened by the shooting, saw the man run down the alley.
The usually quiet and happy home was now transformed to a vortex of mingled pain, sorrow, grief, and excitement beyond human pen or tongue to express. Mr. Watt Smith, who had been awakened by the first shot, went back into the kitchen, and after closing the door and window and assuring the ladies that the man had left the house, he returned to his room, but had scarcely closed the door when the second shot rang out, and as he sprang back into the ladies' room, Miss Teen fell to the floor a corpse. The noise awakened scores of neighbors, and it was only a short time until the house was filled with sympathizing ladies and gentlemen.
During this interval the damnable assassin was improving every moment by getting farther and farther away from his horrible work. Men on horseback and on foot began scouring and beating the alleys and streets in every portion of the city, but without avail. The murderer had either made good his concealment or had made his escape from the city. The hunt went on. The sheriff and his officers and dogs were summoned from south Denison to hunt down a still more horrible fiend. Terror seized upon everyone, and no human imagination can conceive of a more horrible situation in any community or any city. Four women had been shot down as though they were but targets for a sportsman's practice. Two were dead, and the others were only clinging to life with a thread of vitality. The demon had covered his tracks in the darkness of the night and had eluded his pursuers.
Wednesday morning in Denison, May 18, 1892, and the preceding night will go down to the future as the darkest page in the history of the city. And well it may. The record is not only appalling, but the circumstances and surroundings add peculiar horror to the night's butchery and assassinations. Men gathered about over the city in groups and squads, and with heads bowed in sorrow discussed the awful situation. Out at the home of Mr. Haynes, every motor brought friends and sympathizers, and as the trains returned to the city, men and women with blanched faces came in. As the day wore on, preparations for burial were perfected. Miss Teen Hawley was dressed in a burial robe of black, and as hundreds of people filed in and out of the small yet beautiful parlor, but one feeling filled the minds of all—Mystery! Mystery! Shrouded in deeper mystery still! Who did it? Why did he do it? What motive prompted the demon's action? Or, was it the work of some mad man on destruction bent?
Later in the day it was announced that the burial would take place from St. Patrick's Catholic church at 11 o'clock on Thursday morning.
Card of Thanks
To the Editor of the Gazetteer:
We, the husband and parents, for ourselves and other relatives of Mrs. Hattie G. Haynes, murdered by burglars on Tuesday night last, desire to make grateful acknowledgment to the generous people of Denison for their numberless manifestations of sympathy in our awful bereavement.
It would be invidious to mention names where the proffers of sympathy and assistance have been so universal. As the years pass by, the memory of so much considerate kindness will abide as a balm to assuage the bitterness of our grief.
The gentlemen connected with the management of the motor line and the MK&T railway have made special and extraordinary efforts to aid the officers in the investigation of the crime, as well as to bring to our doors relatives and friends from a distance, and will please accept our heartfelt thanks.
Our thanks are likewise due to the press of the city for its considerate and sympathetic treatment of an occurrence so distressing.
W. F. Haynes,
In 1911, Dr. Haynes' house was bought by R. S. Legate and moved into town and placed next door to the new library and was torn down just this year, 1975, to give more room for the library. R. S. Legate was a president of the National Bank of Denison, Texas. We then (1911) lived at 1031 West Bullock Street. As they moved the house into town, they left it at the side of our house for one night, and all the children in the neighborhood thought it was haunted. In 1920, Mrs. Haynes' sister's house, of course belonging to someone else, was destroyed completely by fire. Dr. Haynes' house, such as the foundation, etc., can still be seen as of now [1975; later demolished].
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