Grayson County TXGenWeb
Murder of George Sabin by
John L. Woolsey
& other news events surrounding the John L. Woolsey Family
(below on this page, the story gets stranger and stranger)
I cannot find where any of these are buried. Please email if you have more info.


More info below the newspaper articles about the Sabin family and circumstances
Dallas Morning News Feb 17, 1893 Page 3

Killing at Denison
A Family Broken up - George Sabin shot by the Husband

Denison, Grayson Co., Tex, Feb. 16 - Last night J.L. Woolsey shot and mortally wounded a young man by the name of George Sabin. Sabin was conveyed to the home of his sister  Mrs. J.W. Kinney, where he died this morning.

Woolsey was detained by men who were near the scene of the tragedy and escorted to the city jail. he did not know until this morning how badly Sabin was wounded.
While Woolsey was giving detail of the shooting to the News reporter news came in of Sabins death and Woolsey exhibited no concern whatever at the information, remarking; "I intended hurting his heart wide open. He tore mine open and I was after his".

Mr. Woolsey gave the following account of the causes leading up to the shooting;
 " My wife and I were married something near nine years ago in Dallas. She was a Miss Mary J. Allsup. We lived in Dallas, then at Sherman, and have been living in Denison over a year. I have a son in Dallas now, working in a harness factory. Last year we took George Sabin to board with us. It was not long until he begain to come in between me and my wife. I drove him off and where he went to I do not know. A few weeks ago he came back to Denison and was stopping near our home, and he has succeeded in aleinating the affections of my wife. We have two children, one 2 and the other 4 years of age, and she has deserted us. I got a neighbor lady to take care of the children and I was getting ready to leave with them. Last night I met Sabin on Day street. I told him how he had acted and how he had destroyed my home and family. Ugly language was used and he made a play for his pistol, when I shot him."

Woolsey is the father of the lad whose dead body was found by the side of the railway track near Forth Worth last fall, full particulars of which appeared in The News at that time. (see that article at the bottom of this web page)

Mrs. Woolsey was found by the reported at the residence of Mr. Jenkins, 415 West Hall Street, and in answer to inquiries concerning the matter said: "Woolsey and I were married in 1884 in Sherman. We did not get along very well together and I left him. He was arrested at the instance of a former wife on the charge of bigamy. About a year and a half after that , and after he had gotten out of the trouble , we were married again. We lived here and there, having no permanent home until last year found us in Denison. Mr. Sabin came to our house to board and I never thought of him more than a friend. Last Sunday at our house, on East Texas street, Woolsey slapped me in the face because I would not occupy the same room with him. I left the house Sunday night and went to the house of a friend. Sagin came and I asked him to protect me from Woolsey. I went to the home of another friend Monday and in the afternoon Woolsey came, we had some trouble and he knocked me down."
Woolsey will be given a preliminary trial Saturday.



Another article in the Dallas Morning News Feb. 17, 1893

Known at Sherman
John Woolsey's Former Residence
John Woolsey, who shot and killed George Saberne at Denison last night, lived in Sherman for several years and while there married a Miss Allusp, who lived a few miles from the city. Woolsey at the time of his marriage supposed that he was a widower, but  it afterward was learned that his first wife was not dead. He procured a divorce and was married again to his second wife, the last time in Dallas. While here Woolsey was a gardner in South Sherman.



Dallas Morning News Fe b 19,1893 page 6
J.L. Woolsey on Trial
One Witness examined,
J.L. Woolsey, who shot and killed George Sabin in this city on the night of the 15th instant, was given the privilege this morning, under escort of an officer, of visiting and providing for his two little children. His preliminary trial began this evening in Justice Mixon's court. Only one witness was examined and court adjourned at 9 o'clock Monday morning. The witness occurred.
In substance, he said:
"I came to Denison last spring from Fannin County. I live on West Hull Street. Met George Sabin, deceased, last summer. We were good friends. He in company with Mrs. Woolsey came to my house between 4 and 5 o'clock on the evening of the killing. He engaged board for her, but not himself. I knew that the woman was not his wife. Deceased came back about 6 o'clock and in a few minutes we started to town, Main Street. At the Munson street crossing we met Mr. Woolsey, the defendant,
Deceased said: "I hear you are going to shoot me",
Defendant said: "No, I do not know that I am, I believe you owe me some money."
Deceased said: "Yes I beieve I do."
We went on across the avenue west, when both the deceased and the defendant stopped and turned. As I did so I saw defendant fire at deceased. Then they came together. I caught hold of the defendant's pistol and tried to take it away from him, but was unable to do so until another man, Mr. W.S. Parish, arrived. We separated the men, carried the deceased up to his sisters' Mrs. J.W. Kenny, where he died about midnight. We brought defendant over to town and turned him over to an officer.


Dallas Morning News Feb 21, 1893 page 2
Refused Bail
Result of the Preliminary Examination of Woolsey at Denison
Denison, Grayson Co., Tex Feb. 20--Mrs. J.L. Woolsey, wife of the man who shot and killed George Sabin in South Denison one night last week, in company of her two little children, left last evening on the southbound Central passenger train for Dallas. The lady and her children will live with Mr. and Mrs. H.B. Standifer, Mrs. Standifer being a sister to Mrs. Woolsey.

The preliminary trial of Mr. Woolsey was resumed at 9 o'clock this morning in Justice Mixon's court. Mr. Irwin J. Smith appeared for the state and Messrs, A.B. Person and C. P. Althy for the defence. The room was crowded.
The first  witness placed on the stand was W. E. Lindsey. His testimony is substance is as follows; I reside with my family on the corner of Munson street and Fannin avenue in south Denison. I was sitting in my room on the evening of the killing fondling with my baby boy that was on my lap. I saw two men clinch. I started out onto the sidewalk, when my wife and my mother gathered hold of me and for a minute or two I could not free myself. I ran out as quickly as I could. I was acquainted with Woolsey and had met Sabin two or three times. Sabin called out, "Pull him off, he has shot me." When I separated the two men the defendant, Woolsey, said "Search him for a pistol", that was all he said at that time. Mr. W.S. Farris and another man who was a stranger to me were present when I ran out. I did not see them when I first saw the men clinch.
Mr. Lindsey is a blacksmith by trade. The case was closed at noon and Woolsey was bound over to the district court without bail.



Dallas Morning News Feb 21, 1893
-John Woolsey, charge with the murder of George Sabin at Denison, was remanded to jail in Sherman without bail.

Dallas Morning News March 23, 1893
Sherman, Tex.,
J.L. Woolsey , charged with killing Charles Saberns at Denison was to-day, tried on a writ inquiring into the question of his sanity and adjudged insane.

( so , why the article that appeared later below?????)

Dallas Morning News  Apr. 2, 1893 page 10
"Sherman Siftings" "In the courts"
- John Woolsey, charged with the murder of George Saberne (Sabin) at Denison, appeared in court-to-day and made application for attachment of witnesses he says are important in his case.


Earlier problems in the John L. Woolsey Family
  Dallas Morning News
  Aug. 26, 1892 page 3 (near Ft. Worth)

Remains identified: J. W. Woolsey of Denison came here tonight and positively identified the mutilated remains of the young boy who was found on the Missouri, Kansas and Texas railroad last Tuesday morning as his son. The father reconized the clothing that (was) worn by his son and will take the body home for burial.



Dallas Morning News
May 1,1889 page 5
A Case of Kidnaping
The victim , a little girl, persuaded away from her father,
Supposed to be in Dallas
Her mother who is seperated from her father , believed to have had it done.

Sherman , Tex, April 29- J.L. Woolsey, a farmer who lives in the southern suburbs of the city wand whose little daughter mysterioulsy dissappeared last evening, said today in a conversation with a NEWS reporter:
"My name is J.L. Woolsey and I live on the Hutchcraft place, just below the Houston and Texas Central section- house. I was married the first time Feb 27, 1869, at Raleigh, Phelps County, Mo. to Miss Mattie Giddens. We lived together until 1884, having in the meantime moved to Dallas, Tex. At that time we seperated, dissagreements having arisn and in 1886 I received a divorce from my wife granting me possession of the children. Frederick Andrew, aged 12, Charlie aged 11 and Maudie Louise aged 6. The youngest boy and the little girl were with me when my wife left me in 1884 but the oldest boy was with her for nearly a year.
"On the 13 of May, 1885, my wife returned to Dallas and came to me asked that the little girl be allowed to stay with her a few days. This was on Saturday afternoon, and on Sunday I went to the address given by my wife and found that both she and the little girl were missing. I got a letter out of the post office addressed to my wife from the man with whom she is alledged to have run away the first time, and in this he told her to get the little girl and met him at McKinney. When I got to McKinney I learned that the man had heard that the officers were on the trail and had warned my wife to leave, and she had done so. I went from McKinney to Dallas, and from there I went to Fort Worth.
"June 1, 1885, I reached Gainesville, it was not until Novemeber that I found her, at which time she was with a sister of the man in question, near Gainesville. About that time she was arrested for living in adultry, as alleged, with a man in Dallas and carried back to that place. She left the girl at Gainesville. I went to the house and got her. I returned to Dallas, before I got back to Dallas my wife had been liberated and gotten with both my boys and had persuaded them to go to Missouri. As soon as I got back I sent for them and they came home. To go back a little, i will here state that on Aug. 1, after my wife had run away from me, I received a letter from a man dated at Fort Worth, which stated that my wife was dead, and as far as the boy was concerned I had better keep my distance.
Aug. 20 I was married a second time to Miss Mary Jane Alsup in the courthouse in the city of Sherman. I believed that my wife was dead. I am still living with my second wife. When I learned that my first wife was not dead, I at once set about to get a divorce, and March 1887 was remarried to my second wife in East Dallas. I worked about Dallas for some time. I left Dallas in August 1889 for Duck Creek and picked cotton, and my wife and three children went with me. We also had a small babe, my second wife's child. In November 1888, I located on the Kirk farm, between Sherman and Whitemound, seven miles out of town. I stayed there until about last Christmas, when I moved to Sherman. Some time since I heard that the man with whom my wife ran away was dead, and once afterward I saw my first wife and she showed me a certificate of her marriage to another man in McKinney, but I also heard afterward that they too were parted.
Yesterday morning my little girl went out ot secure some flowers and has not returned home and I have it from good authority that she was taken off on a southbound train on the Central list evening. My first wife is of medium height, has blue eyes, the left eye is smaller than the other and she has large freckles on her face. Her hair is very dark, nearly black, and she will weight probably 140 pounds. She was in her 15th year when were were married and is now about 34 years old. My little girl, Mandie, has blue eyes and light hair. She weighs probably sixty pounds and is about the average height. She has a scar on the under lip, about midway, and another on her back near the shoulder blade which is the size of a quarter of a dollar. At the time she left to gather flowers she had on a striped calico dress and a red shawl. She wore dark stockings and buttoned shoes.
Since the above was written complaint was filed before Justice Campbell, charging R.P. Hill, a night watchman at the Alliance mill, with kidnaping the girl, Maudie Woolsey, Constable Spence this morning called at Hill's home and calling him out, requested him to go to Lyon Station with him to find the litttle girl. Hill gave himself awayby telling the constable that there was no use to look for her in Lyon. Furthur close questioning developed the fact that Hill had received letters from the girl's mother in Dallas, in which had been insclosed $2 to buy a ticket for the little girl from Sherman to Dallas. He claims
that he did not give the little girl the money but that he sent the money by a third party and that the little girl was more thatn glad to get a chance to go.
He did not deny having been at the depot when the train went south, and says the little girl went to Dallas. He was immediately arrested by Officer Spence, and after being warned made substantially the same statement recited above. On his person were found two letters dated at Dallas and from the girls mother, in which she asks him to get her little girl, and promises to pay him for the trouble just as soon as she can get the money. Hill claims to have been a member of a secret detective association until a short time since and has not renewed them. He was taken at once to the Houston Street prison and locked up.
The first intination that the officers had that Hill knew anything of the case was the statement  of one of the Woolsey's boys that a man answering Hill's description had tried to get him to get his little sister out of the house for a walk, but which he had refused to do.
It is also alleged that Hill told some friends after Woolsey had first told of his daughter's abasence that he would not find her where he was looking.
Hill has lived in Sherman for quite a while and is about 21 years of age.


 Dallas Morning News
May 2, 1889- page 6

Kidnaped Girl Recovered
Sherman, Tex, May 1-
(this article says W.T. Woolsey instead of J.L.as the first)
W.T. Woolsey who alleges that his little daughter was kidnaped and taken to Dallas, arrived this morning in charge of the little girl, whom he found at Dallas in possession of her mother, his ( Woolsey's ) divorced wife. Woolsey showed The News reporter a certificed copy of the decree of divorce granted to him from Martha Woolsey in the district court of Dallas county, and in which he, the plaintiff, is given possession of the little children, amoung whom is specified the little girl in question. He does not deny that the little girl seemed to like to stay with her mother, but he claims the court gave him possession of the child for justifiable reasons and that he intends to reserve that right to himself.

Dallas Morning News
May 1, 1889 page 4

R.P. Hill , who was put in jail yesterday by Constable Spence on the charge of kidnaping Mandie Woolsey, was taken before Justice Campbell today and released from custody, the attorney for the state giving it as his opinion that the testimony was insufficient to warrant his being held any longer.


The census of 1900 shows J. L. Woolsey living with his wife and 5 (FIVE) children and a Allsup relative.  Obviously his insanity plea worked well. He did not stay in jail.  I would say he was rather a scoundrel.

George Sabin was no doubt uneducated--or mostly so.  Most of the family was.

Let me tell you briefly about his family background.

George W. Sabin (Sr.) married in Indiana to Margaret Godwin and they had 5 children.  Geo. W. left to fight in the Civil War.  Margaret took the children to Iowa to her family.  Geo. W. was injured and returned to Indiana.  There he hooked up with Mary Dilworth who was the widow of a
fellow soldier of Geo. W.  She was young!  They had 3 children.  Geo. Jr. was the oldest of those 3.

During that time they moved from Indiana to Missouri.  Either the same year or the following year of the birth of their 3rd child Geo. W. married my Gr.Grandmother--Mary Catherine Chandler.  They married (with court records) in June 1870 at the home of Mary C.'s uncle Lorenzo Dow Chandler.  They moved
to Wright Co., MO and she was 17 and he 41 according to the census.  Geo. Jr. was 5 at this point.  They started having children.  Cora Estelle Sabin was their first.

Family lore says that Mary C. began to have an affair with a doctor.  She was run out of town.  She loaded all the kids into a wagon and went to Denison (and into Indian territory).  Geo. W. was to follow.  He did not.
He remarried again and then died in 1900.  He is buried in Webster, Co.

Cora married John W. Kinney and began to have children.  She was pregnant with child number 2 when Geo. Jr. was shot.

In the same time period Mary C. remarried (divorce?  who knows.  Legal marriage?  who knows) to Alexander Hayes and had another daughter.

What a family.  What history.  It gets better and better!

Info from :

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