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

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

Denison had its first taste of violence on a clear night in May 1892. While stories have been passed down through the years about how wild and woolly Denison was, nothing compared to the events of that night in 1892 when four women were killed in four separate murders.

The first victim was Mrs. Hattie G. Haynes, the beautiful young wife of Dr. W.F. Haynes. In some reports the good doctor was named Henry F. Haynes, and in others J.H. Haynes. However, it is believed that the true name of one of Denison’s young practicing physician was W.F. Haynes, as he signed in a card of thanks in the Denison Gazetteer a few days after his wife was killed.

Hattie Haynes, the 28-year-old daughter of Dr. and Mrs. J.D. Garner, had lived in Denison only a few months when she was murdered in her own home and dragged to the brush nearby and robbed.

Mrs. Haynes, her mother, who moved to Denison from Stringtown in Indian Territory and lived next door to her daughter and son-in-law in South Denison near the exposition grounds, and a niece attended a temperance entertainment downtown.

The entertainment was in the form of a literary exercise at the North Methodist Church on the corner of Fannin Avenue and Woodard Street, across the avenue from St. Luke’s Episcopal Church. The program was being presented with a social to follow on the lawn. Dr. Haynes came with the ladies on the motor car on the dummy line and went to the organizing exercises of the Denison Elks at their club room in the State National Bank building.

When the church social ended, the ladies returned home on the motor car, a steam train that operated in Denison down Woodard Street, across the old wooden viaduct through the Cotton Mill district and on to the Exposition Building in their neighborhood. Their homes were located where Woodlawn Avenue and Bullock Street now intersect. When they neared their homes, Mrs. Haynes told 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." At that, they said goodnight. That was the last that Mrs. Haynes saw or heard from her daughter until her dead body was found southeast of there.

Mrs. Garner had barely entered her house when she heard her daughter scream. She ran out outside with her husband right behind with his gun. Two lamps were burning, one up and the other downstairs, and every room in the house was in shambles. Two or three minutes later three pistol shots were fired. Dr. Garner ran out, but couldn’t tell from which direction the sound came.

Houston Bostwick rode the same motor car with the ladies headed home. In a few minutes he ran up to the Elks’ Hall and told his father and Dr. Haynes what had happened. The lodge shut down and all the members volunteered their service. The Central Railway offered them the use of the yard engine and a wild ride to and from Sherman followed, to dispatch Sheriff McAfee and his bloodhounds as quickly as possible. Soon the motor train was speeding back to the Exposition Hall with members of the Elks’ Lodge. In the meantime the search for Mrs. Haynes continued.

The night was dark and the woods dense, but dozens of lamps and lanterns glittered in every direction. An attempt was made to hold back the search until Sheriff McAfee and the dogs arrived, but it was impossible to restrain friends and the search continued.

Two hours after the shooting, W.W. Bostwick, with lantern in hand, came upon the body of Hattie Haynes about 100 yards from her house, with one bullet in her head and another in her breast. She was shot at her house, dragged to the brush and another bullet was fired into her brain, killing her instantly. Her finger rings and earrings were gone. In removing the rings from her fingers, the killer was in such a hurry that her fingers were badly broken and disfigured. It was a horrible sight — Mrs. Haynes lying on her back near a dry branch with a ball from a 44-caliber revolver bullet having passed through her brain, burying itself in the ground.

News of the terrible death intensified the excitement. Searching parties were all called in and nothing more happened until the sheriff, his deputies and trained dogs arrived.

It was surmised that the perpetrator was caught in the act of robbery, and, fearing she would be able to identify him, he killed Mrs. Haynes when she ran toward the Garner’s house by cutting across the field. The murder occurred about 10:30 p.m.

A funeral for Mrs. Haynes took place at the Presbyterian Church where her husband had been an elder and superintendent of the Sunday school. The service was attended by an estimated 1,500 people.

A card of thanks was placed in the Gazetteer reading:

"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 acknowledgement 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 otherwise due to the press of the city for its considerate and sympathetic treatment of an occurrence so distressing." It was signed W.F. Haynes and Mr. and Mrs. J.D. Garner.

The second and third shooting will be discussed in following articles of the series.

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


Denison’s night of terror, Part 1