Editor’s note: This is the last in a series of four articles about Denison’s "Night of Terror" that took place in May 1892.

Editor’s note: This is the last in a series of four articles about Denison’s "Night of Terror" that took place in May 1892.


This last article in the series will cover the murder of the third victim and the shooting of a fourth who survived on the night of May 18, 1892, in the normally peaceful and quiet 20 year old Denison.


While people were still milling around the 100 block of West Chestnut (named Skiddy Street at the time) where two young women had been shot in brothels there and another had been shot a couple of hours earlier at her home in south Denison, a courier came down to Main Street from North Denison about 3:20 a.m. and announced that another shooting had taken place in the 200 block West Morton Street.


The young organist at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church was shot through the window as she sat in the lap of her widowed mother, trembling after an intruder had taken their jewelry. Mrs. Hawley and her daughters, Florentine "Teen" and her sister, Allie, had come to Denison some eight or 10 months earlier from Shreveport La., and had been living in the brick cottage about four months. Teen Hawley was an accomplished, modest and refined young lady who was highly respected. She and her sister were rapidly becoming members of Denison’s best society.


On Tuesday night the family had retired about the usual time. Mrs. Hawley occupied a small bedroom to the extreme north end on the west side of the home, while the girls slept in an adjoining room to the east. The doorway leading from the mother’s room opened into the kitchen as well as into the girls’ room. Watt Smith and a Mr. Kellog of the Missouri, Kansas & Texas civil engineering corps, rented the front room next to the parlor, but Kellog was down the road at work and Smith was in their room alone.


About 3 a.m., a peculiar noise in the kitchen woke Allie, and she saw the form of a man approaching the bed. In 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 told him, "Take anything you want. If you can’t find it, I will get it for you. I don’t want you to wake my sister. She is very excitable and will go into hysterics."


"I’ll do worse than that," he answered. "I am going to kill her." Allie screamed and jumped out of the bed, evading the intruder.


A noise in another room frightened the villain and he started to run. Both young ladies were terribly frightened and jumped 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.


By this time, Teen and Allie were hysterical, and Teen ran into her mother’s room and sat down in her lap. Mrs. Hawley put her arms around her daughter and tried to console her. 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 was gone, returned to his room. As Mrs. Hawley and her daughters sat there, the revolver rang out again. Through the wire screen of the window came a bullet that struck Teen just below the right shoulder blade, making a ghastly wound through her body. She fell forward and died instantly.


The noise aroused the neighbors, and Alex Regensberger, who lived next door, saw a man in the backyard of the Hawley place as he ran out through the rear gate. Tom Cutler, who also had been awakened by the shooting, saw the man run down the alley east on Morton and north on Austin Avenue to the alley between Morton and Bond.


Men on horseback and on foot began scouring and beating the alleys and streets in every part of town, but without avail. The murderer had either hidden well or had escaped from town. The hunt went on.


Terror seized everyone and no one could conceive of a more horrible situation in any community or city. Four women had been shot as though they were targets for a sportsman’s practice. At that time, two were dead and the other two were only clinging to life by a thread. Maud Kramer soon died, and Rosa Stuart was the only shooting victim to survive.


On Wednesday morning in Denison, men gathered about over town in groups and squads and with heads bowed in sorrow talked about the awful situation.


Back at the home of Dr. Haynes, every motorcar brought friends and sympathizers. As the day wore on, a burial service was being planned. Florentine Hawley was dressed in a burial robe of black, and, as hundreds of people filed in and out of the small, yet beautiful, parlor, there was only one feeling in the minds of all attending: Mystery! Who did it? Why did he do it? Or, was it the work of some madman bent on destruction.


Later in the day it was announced that the burial would take place from St. Patrick’s Catholic Church on Thursday morning.


The murder of Mrs. Haynes indicated that robbery was the motive, but no attempt at robbery was made at the other places. Officers believed that all the murders were the work of one man. A .45-caliber pistol was used in every instance. Wednesday morning two men, Tom Crane and Tom Little, were seen near the Exposition building, heading for Sherman. Constable John Blain took them in but soon became satisfied that they knew nothing about the killings. They were allowed to leave, according to the Sunday Gazetteer story. Several others were subsequently brought in and allowed to leave.


It was said that a gambler named Dick Edwards, who had dated Teen Hawley at one time, had disposed of the Haynes’ jewelry in Dallas. He was supposed to have taken the rings to Dallas and had given them to a madam to sell or pawn for him. Sheriff McAfee believed that Edwards had double-crossed the madam, who was sweet on him, and, instead of getting rid of the jewelry, she went to the police.


McAfee’s term in office ended on Jan. 1, 1893, and a man named A.E. Hughes succeeded him. Sheriff Hughes put out a pick up order on Edwards, and they traced him all over the country, finally running him down in Duluth, Minn. in February. He was brought back to Sherman and charged with the Haynes murder. Evidence was so slim that they couldn’t hang Edwards, but gave him a life sentence. He died of pneumonia in the Sherman jail before he could be sent to prison or his lawyers could arrange an appeal.


Two men were charged with the murders of Maude Kramer and Florentine Hawley, but were not convicted and were released after their trials.


Mrs. Haynes was buried in her father’s cemetery lot in Fairview Cemetery. The Hawley family left Denison soon after the funeral and was never heard from again. Florentine was buried in Calvary Cemetery.


Madam Lester paid to bury Maude Kramer in Oakwood Cemetery, but an old sweetheart from Ironton, Mo. heard about her murder and paid to have her remains disinterred and shipped back home for burial under her real name, Alta McIntosh. Ike Lindsay, a local mortician, handled the disinterment. He waited until it was dark, then dug up the grave by lantern, and during the job, he fell into the grave and broke several ribs.


Tom, a good looking man with a big flowing black mustache, finally went to the penitentiary for burglary about two years after the murders. He never returned to Denison.


The three murders officially remain unsolved although Sheriff McAfee was certain that Tom, who was discussed in the third article in the series, was guilty of being a participant in all three killings.


Donna Hunt is former editor of The Denison Herald. She lives in Denison and can be contacted at d.hunt_903@yahoo.com.