Saturday, December 24, 2011

A Bloody Christmas Eve

Little Murders
(From The Galveston Daily News, Galveston Texas, December 26, 1885.)


Another Chapter of Crime form the State Capital That Makes the Blood Run Cold.

Austin, December 25—Of all the murders that have been committed within the annals of Austin those of last night (Christmas eve) stand out in bold relief. Just one year ago this month the first of the series of murders was committed and since that time the assassins have


with fatal results, and, although the mayor, police force and citizens at large have used every effort to put a stop to those bloody deeds, the perpetrators are still at large. Heretofore the fiends have been satisfied with murdering and raping colored servant girls but last night, as though to start afresh, after twelve months of bloody work they murder and rape white women without apparent fear of detection. The fiends with evidently consummated plans went systematically to work at an hour when scarcely half of the population had retired. When people were passing to and fro, celebrating Christmas eve, they struck down one woman and


another, and inflicted a probably fatal wound on a man. At about 11:30 last night, M. H. Hancock, a carpenter residing at 203 East Water Street, was awakened by groans. He was stopping, as was his custom, in a room occupied by him only. He arose, and went into the next room in which his wife slept and found the room in disorder and his wife absent and blood on the bed and floor. Following a bloody trail which led him out of the front door around the side of the house into the back yard and there, lying in


more dead than alive, he found his wife, a woman about 40 years of age. He at once cried for help, which aroused the neighborhood. The body was taken into the house and the police and doctors summoned. Upon examination of Mrs .Hancock it was found that she had been struck twice with an ax. Both blows had been dealt on the left side of the head, one directly across the ear, cutting it in two, the other between the ear and eye which fractured the skull. The doctors think it impossible for her to recover.

At the same time the above bloody assault was committed Mrs. Phillips, the wife of James Phillips, an architect living at 308 West Hickory street, was awakened by the cries of her son, a man about 28 years of age, who with his wife and 18-months-old child, occupied a room on the opposite side of the house from hers. Upon reaching the room, which she had only left about an hour before, she found the babe sitting up in a bed covered with blood, but unhurt. Her son lay in bed weltering in blood, with


under the ear, extending from the back of the head to the throat, and beside him in the bed lay a bloody ax. His wife (Eula Phillips) was missing. The old lady at once gave alarm, and those who came to her relief instituted search for the missing woman. Again a bloody trail was followed; this one led out on the gallery through the yard across another gallery, which connected the tow house, then into another yard to some out-buildings, which were partially surrounded by a rail fence, and there on the cold, hard ground


lay the missing woman—dead. She had been struck in the forehead, directly above the nose, with the butt end of an ax, across the breast lay tow heavy fence rails and unmistakable signs of rape were evident. The mayor and entire police force were aroused and every effort possible to  lead to the detection of the murderers was made. In both instances the fiends used axes that belonged to the premises on which the deeds were committed.


In pursuance to a call of the mayor about 500 citizens assembled in the representative chamber this morning to take action in regard to the murders. Speeches were made and a committee of four from each ward was appointed to co-operate with the city officials to assist in ferreting out the criminals. There has been so far one arrest made, the person being Oliver Townson, a negro who has been arrested several times before on suspicion of having been connected with the various murders that have occurred but against whom no direct evidence has been obtained.

The Galveston Daily News, Galveston Texas, December 26, 1885.


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