THE COMPLETE WORKS OF BRANN THE ICONOCLAST
CONTENTS A CHAPTER WRITTEN IN THE LIFE BLOOD OF W. C. BRANN AND THOS. E. DAVIS OTHER STATEMENTS BRANN'S DEATH DAVIS FOLLOWS BRANN W. H. WARD THE OBSEQUIES THE LATEST TRAGEDY BRANN AND BAYLOR TERRIFIC DEADLY CONFLICT THE LATE TRAGEDY THE PASSING OF WILLIAM COWPER BRANN REST—REST IN PEACE A MEMORIAL TO W. C. BRANN DEATH OF W. C. BRANN A PEN PICTURE OF BRANN SEMPER VIVATIM MEMORIAM BRANN'S BRAVE BATTLE BRANN IS NO MORE BRAVE AND BRAINY BRANN BRANN, OF THE ICONOCLAST A MARTYR TO FREE SPEECH EDITORIAL ETCHINGS SIMPLE STATEMENT OF FACTS LET THE PLAIN TRUTH BE TOLD THE LAST LESSON SALMAGUNDI THE DEATH OF BRANN PRIVATE VENGEANCE BRANN, THE FOOL WILLIAM COWPER BRANN SPEAKING OF GALL BLUE AND GRAY HUMBUGS AND HUMBUGGERY BEAUTY AND THE BEAST BRANN'S REPLY TO SLATTERY THE LOCAL OPTION LUNACY OLD GLORY THE LONE STAR SLAVE OR SOVEREIGN RAINBOW CHASERS
Extracts from The Waco "Weekly Tribune," Issue of Saturday, April 2, 1898.
A CHAPTER WRITTEN IN THE LIFE BLOOD OF W. C. BRANN AND THOS. E. DAVIS.
THE STREET DUEL TO THE DEATH IN WACO STREETS. THERE ARE TWO MORE WIDOWS AND EIGHT MORE ORPHANS.
The Full Recital of the Double Tragedy, the Deaths, the Burials and Subsequent Events—Will This End It? In God's Name Let Us Hope It Will.
Died—At 1.55 o'clock A.M., April 2nd, W. C. BRANN. Died—At 2.30 o'clock P.M., T. E. DAVIS.
Friday afternoon, November 19, 1897, marked a street duel and tragedy in which two men were killed, one lost an arm, and an innocent by-stander was injured. Friday afternoon, April 1st, 1898, within an hour of the time of the first tragedy, and within a half block of the locality of the other, W. C. Brann and Tom E. Davis engaged in a street duel in which each of them was mortally wounded, and three others received slight wounds. Four fatalities within five months of each other are bloody records in the history of the city of Waco, all of which can be traced to the same source, all of which were born of the same cause. The publication last year in the ICONOCLAST and the incidents following the publication are well known. They have been published far and wide, the kidnaping of Brann, the assault upon him by the Scarboroughs, the Gerald-Harris affair, and the hurried departure of Brann on one occasion. During all these incidents Tom E. Davis was an outspoken citizen of Waco. He denounced the author of the ICONOCLAST articles and said he should be run out of town and had continued throughout it all to condemn the "Apostle." This caused bad blood between them, and although Davis had remained in the city all the time, and Brann had been on the street constantly, there had been no outbreak or conflict. Each knew the feeling of the other in the matter. Such are incidents preceding the shooting and leading up to it.
. . .
To trace the movements of the two men during Friday afternoon appears easy at first, but as the investigator proceeds in his search for information he meets conflicting statements. Tom Davis left his office on South Fourth Street, No. 111, about 5 o'clock or a few minutes later. Brann, accompanied by W. H. Ward, his business manager, is alleged to have been standing at the corner of Fourth and Franklin Streets as Davis passed to the postoffice corner, en route to the transfer stables. In his ante mortem statement Davis says that he heard Brann remark, "There is the s——of a b—— who caused my trouble." Davis didn't stop or resent the insult, but passed on. Soon after he called on James I. Moore at his office in the Pacific Hotel building and together they were discussing the city campaign. According to Mr. Moore's statement, he was standing with his back to the south facing the door and was looking toward Austin Avenue. Davis was facing him, his back to the avenue, and in a position which prevented him seeing anyone approaching from Austin Avenue. Brann and his companion approached coming south, and as they passed, Mr. Moore says, Brann halted, looked him squarely in the face and passed on. Davis did not see the editor and his manager, as he chanced to turn just as they came up and as it happened he kept his back to the "Apostle" and his companion. From Mr. Moore's office, Davis passed into the Pacific Hotel bar and thence to his office. Brann and Ward soon after returned to the Pacific; there they met Joe Earp of Laco, from the western part of the county, and the three walked together to Geo. Laneri's saloon. Brann and Ward passed into the saloon, Earp remaining on the outside. They passed out within a short time and passed down Fourth Street to the Cotton Belt ticket office. Thence on to the newsstand of Jake French, and while there the shooting occurred.
. . .
As to the shooting there are conflicting statements. As in every tragedy eye-witnesses differ and citizens of equal reputation for veracity and conservatism tell different stories. They are all honest in what they say, they all believe they saw what they relate, but the conflict in statements is yet there.
Messrs. W. W. Dugger, Joe Earp, M. C. Insley and S. S. Hall agree as to the first shot. They say it was fired by T. E. Davis at W. C. Brann, when Brann's back was turned. Others say Ward participated in the shooting, while numbers say that Ward did not. Here a conflict occurs. At any rate, the first shot was fired by Davis, and it was immediately returned by Brann. Ward got between the two and in the firing he was shot in the right hand. Davis fell at the first shot from Brann's pistol and writhed in agony. He soon recovered presence of mind and raising himself upon his elbow returned the fire, Brann standing off shooting into the prostrate form, while Davis with unsteady aim was returning the fire. Every bullet from the "Apostle's" pistol found lodgment in the form of the duelist engaged with him. All was excitement. It was an hour, 6 P.M., when South Fourth Street was crowded, and the rapid report of the pistols caused a stampede of pedestrians, each of which feared contact with a stray bullet. In it all there was one who displayed his devotion to duty, his bravery and coolness—Police Officer Sam S. Hall. Mr. Hall was standing near the insurance office of George Willig, not forty feet away. He turned at the first report, and seeing the duel in progress, bravely made his way toward the men. Brann was shooting from the north, and it was toward the north the officer started. Davis was facing north. At each fire of the gun Officer Hall would screen himself in a doorway, dart out and rush to the next, gradually nearing them. Officer Dave Durie was across the street, and he started also, but Officer Hall reached them first, but too late. Each man had finished shooting, Davis had fallen back upon the pavement and his pistol rolled from his hand. Brann was standing, pistol in hand, its six chambers empty, looking upon the lengthened form of his antagonist. He had not spoken. Wounded in three places, blood was soiling his linen and his clothes. He was yet upon his feet, and Officer Hall, not knowing how serious were his wounds, started with him to the city hall, being joined almost immediately by Officer Durie.
Davis was wounded in many places. Bullets had plowed their way through flesh and bone, and unable himself to move, blood flowing freely from various wounds, his friends lifted him tenderly and gave him comfort as best they could, surgeons responding quickly to the call.
Ward had been in the midst of the fray, but received but one wound, in the hand. He was between the two men at one time and then sought safety against the wall. When the smoke cleared away he went to the Old Corner drug store to have his hand dressed. Here he was arrested later by Deputy-Sheriff James Lockwood.
During the shooting Eugene Kempner, a musician of Kansas City, was struck in the sole of the right foot by a stray bullet, and a street car motorman, Kennedy by name, was struck in the left leg by a bullet. Neither of these injuries are serious.
While in the news stand, Mr. Davis became conscious of approaching dissolution and desired to make an ante mortem statement. Assistant County Attorney Sluder was present, and County Clerk Joney Jones, and to them he gave the following version of the affair:
"I left my office and started to Manchester's livery stable. At the corner of Franklin and Fourth Streets passed Brann and Ward. Brann remarked, there goes the damn s—— of a b—— that has caused all my trouble. Passed on and went to Manchester's stable on some business, then came back to Waite's saloon and stopped for a drink. I then started for my office, but near Haber's store on Bankers' Alley I met them again. They began to curse and abuse me again.
"Went on to the office; they followed me and I went to the urinal in the rear, then came to the front of the office. At the door Brann said, 'There comes the dirty cur and s—— of a b——; he will take anything.' Brann then pulled his gun and I shot at him; my gun hung in the scabbard. The reason he shot me was because I was loyal to my town and always expressed myself. He murdered me. They both shot me after I fell. They shot in my back, blinded me and I could not see. I make this statement, for I know I am dying. He has been trying to kill me for three months."
* * * OTHER STATEMENTS.
EYE-WITNESSES GIVE SOMEWHAT CONFLICTING ACCOUNTS.
Joe Earp, a young fellow from the western part of the county, who was in town that day, said:
"I met Mr. Brann in front of the Pacific Hotel, and having heard of him and read after him, I was curious to know him. It was our first meeting; in fact, the first time I had ever seen him. We talked together, Mr. Ward with us, to Laneri's saloon. They went inside and I left them. In a few minutes they came out and crossed the street, going to the Cotton Belt ticket office. They moved together towards Austin Avenue, but half turned, conversing one with the other. They reached the newsstand and stopped. I saw a man whom I have been told was Tom E. Davis, come out a door and shoot. Brann's back was turned to the man, and while I did not see the bullet strike him, I supposed he was shooting at Brann. Ward turned as soon as the shot was fired and reached for the pistol. Brann turned instantly, gun in hand, and commenced shooting. Ward got in between the two and then jumped away, against the wall. Davis fell at Brann's first fire and rolled over a time or two, and raising himself on his elbow, returned Brann's fire. They emptied their pistols. When Davis fell Brann stepped back a short distance and then advanced toward Davis, shooting at him, but he never approached nearer than six feet. Ward never fired a shot. I saw the whole affair and never did he fire or produce a pistol. When the shooting was over a man came out of the office and took Davis' pistol from the walk."
J. C. Patterson was seen. He stated:
"I was with R. H. Brown of Calvert. We walked into the street from the Pacific Hotel sidewalk, and were walking north when we heard a shot. Three shots were fired quickly and I saw Davis fall. I remarked, 'They have killed Tom Davis.' I saw two men shooting, or Brann had two pistols. Davis raised on his elbow and returned the fire. I did not see the first shot."
Sherman Vaughan said:
"I was passing along Fourth Street and reached a spot just in front of Geo. Laneri's saloon. I heard a shot, and looking toward the place from whence the sound came, I saw Tom Davis reeling backward toward the wall in front of his place of business. He either fell against the sign in front of his office or the wall, I could not tell which. Mr. Brann was standing some eight or ten feet from him with a pistol in his hand and smoke was between them. Then followed a rapid succession of shots. I could not see Mr. Davis shoot for the smoke, but could see Mr. Brann plainly. Mr. Davis fell to the sidewalk and then almost rose to his feet and fell again. He then rolled along the sidewalk towards the alley and must have turned over half a dozen times. Then another man, whom I do not know, joined in, and he and Brann fired shot after shot at Mr. Davis as he rolled along the sidewalk. The police then came up and took Brann away. I did not see what became of the other man."
Mr. James I. Moore said:
"I had met Tom Davis in front of my office in the Pacific Hotel building, and we discussed the proposed meeting at the city hall. He and I walked out on the sidewalk just in front of my office. I stood at the south side of the door facing north and Mr. Davis stood directly in front of me on the sidewalk by the wall. We were about two feet apart. While talking, W. C. Brann came down the sidewalk from the direction of Austin Street. He advanced within two feet of Mr. Davis and myself and stopped; looked me squarely in the face and then at Mr. Davis. I did not speak to Brann and don't think Davis saw him until after he passed on. Brann passed on in the direction of the postoffice. Almost immediately after Brann left, Davis left me and walked up Fourth Street towards his office, and I saw him cross the street to his office. I then advanced to the edge of the sidewalk and stood there alone about four or five minutes, when I heard a shot in the direction of Davis' office. I looked that way and three shots seemed to be fired almost simultaneously. Davis fell to the sidewalk and writhed as if in terrible agony. Brann seemed to be nearest to Davis, a very large man being close in Brann's rear. This man, I learned afterwards, was W. H. Ward. While Davis was rolling on the sidewalk both of these men were very rapidly firing upon Davis. They seemed to poke their pistols almost against Davis' body as they fired. After the first four or five shots the smoke became too dense to see all that occurred. The first sight seemed to chill my blood and I became too horrified to move."
H. C. Chase, 509 North Ninth Street:
"I was standing at the alley near Geo. Laneri's saloon and heard somebody say, 'Look out!' I glanced across the street and saw Tom Davis on the sidewalk. He had a gun in his hand and fired at once. Brann and Ward were a few feet distant. Brann had turned slightly, but his back was still towards Davis when the latter fired. Ward jumped back and grabbed at Davis' gun as the latter fired the second time. Brann fired as soon as he turned around and at his second shot Davis fell backwards. Ward, it seemed to me, had gotten to one side of Davis and was reaching for Davis' gun. As the latter fell back, Ward backed up to the building. He did not have a gun and did not shoot."
M. C. Insley, shipping clerk for Brann:
"I was standing in the doorway of Sam French's cigar store as Brann and Ward reached it. They had just passed the doorway, going toward Austin Street, when Davis appeared with a gun in his hand. He fired at once. I could not see Brann at this time. Davis fired the first shot and immediately I heard another shot, I suppose from Brann, and almost simultaneously a second shot from Davis. As the latter fired the first shot Ward jumped and grabbed the muzzle of Davis' gun. He let go as the shot was fired. He did not have a gun. I backed away from the door. The shooting was thick and fast. Davis fell back at the door of French's as Brann fired the last shot and his gun dropped from his grasp. John Williams, who appeared quickly, grabbed it, and screening himself with the door-facing of the cigar store, tried twice to shoot it and then somebody grabbed him."
W. W. Dugger, employed in the feed store of J. P. Nichols, on North Second Street, said:
"I was talking with Policeman Sam Hall at the alley next to the Cotton Belt ticket office when the first shot was fired. We were close to the scene. I glanced instantly in that direction and saw Tom Davis with a smoking pistol in his hand. At the same time I saw Brann turn around and face Davis, from whom he appeared to be distant about fifteen feet, I should judge. He fired and fired again almost at the same time. In the meantime, the man with Brann, whom I learned afterward was Ward, had rushed up and caught Davis and it seemed as if he struggled with him a moment. When Brann fired a second shot, Davis fell. Ward had turned him loose at this time. Davis rolled over and over on the sidewalk and fired, I think, two shots while he was down. While he was rolling over, Brann kept shooting at him as fast as he could work the trigger. Mr. Ward did not fire a shot. I saw the whole affair and know that he did not and he did not exhibit a weapon of any kind. He slipped back close to the building when he let go of Davis, and when the shooting was over walked up the street. I saw a man come out of Williams' place and make an effort to get Davis' pistol. I can't say whether or not he got it. I don't know where he went. Policeman had reached the scene and arrested Brann."
Policeman Sam Hall said:
"I was standing in front of George Willig's office at the alley and Fourth Street on the same side of the street and say forty or forty-five feet away from the place where the shooting took place. I was talking to Mr. Dugger and was standing out on the sidewalk. Some four or five minutes before the shooting occurred I looked across the street and saw Brann and Ward standing in front of the haberdasher store of L. Krauss, and at that time Davis passed them and went on a couple of doors and stepped inside of the storeroom at that point. I then looked away, not having any idea at all of any trouble, but just happened to see them. The next thing I noticed was the men were close together in front of French's newsstand with Davis between me and Brann and Ward. The first of the trouble I saw Davis had his pistol in his hand and instantly fired. Brann whirled and commenced firing at Davis. I immediately started to them, but had to work my way in and out of one door to the other and work my way along the wall of the building, as Brann was shooting directly toward me all the time. I hallooed several times at them to stop shooting, and just before I reached them Davis fell on the sidewalk and Brann was still shooting. Davis attempted to rise and Ward caught Davis by the shoulders and pulled him back down on the sidewalk. Davis turned with his face towards Brann and kept trying to fire, but his pistol snapped. I jumped over Davis and caught Brann and took the pistol out of his hands. Brann's pistol is a Colts .41, latest improved, and was loaded all around and all chambers were freshly fired. When I caught Brann, Ward was standing up by the wall holding his hand that was shot. I saw Ward fire no shots and I saw no pistol in his hand. I then started with Brann to the city hall, and as I crossed the street towards the Citizens National Bank, Police Officer Durie came up and assisted me in taking Brann on to the city hall."
* * * BRANN'S DEATH.
IT CAME AS PEACEFULLY AS SLEEP TO A BABE.
After being taken to the city hall, Mr. Brann was removed to his home, where Drs. Foscue, Hale, Graves and C. E. Smith attended him. Soon after arriving there he appeared to have reacted from the shock and there was every indication of an improvement. At 11 o'clock there was a change, hemorrhage of the lungs occurring frequently. In addition to the immediate family circle a number of devoted friends (and no man ever had more devoted friends than Brann) were at the home, anxious to render the offices of friendship. At midnight the physicians said there was no chance and the family gathered about the bedside. During the long minutes which followed, a loving wife and two children sat by that bedside and watched the unconscious man. His life hung by a thread and while surgeon's science was being used to strengthen the strand that held the life, Death's knife was on it. They watched by his side, and as they watched they saw him seek sweet repose. The anguish of the wife and those children was terrible, but they awaited the visitation to that happy home, kind friends being near to speak sweet words of comfort. At 1.55 A.M. he died. His features showed no pain, and when life left his body, the face appeared as that of one in a sweet, peaceful sleep.
The remains of W. C. Brann were prepared early Saturday morning and lay in state all day at the residence on North Fifth Street. Hundreds of ladies visited the home and viewed the face of the Apostle. It was natural as life itself. He lay upon a catafalque in the parlors at home and the visitors passed around the lifeless form, looked upon the face and passed out.
Surviving Mr. Brann are his wife and two children, Grace, aged 11 years, and Willie, a son, aged 6 years. Brann himself was 44 years old.
Mr. Brann came to Texas about twelve years ago and has been engaged in the newspaper business ever since. He was connected in an editorial capacity with the Galveston News, Houston Post, San Antonio Express and Waco Daily News. In 1890, during the Hogg-Clark campaign, he established the ICONOCLAST in Austin, Texas, and made a fight for Hogg, making his first appearance in the character which has made him famous. The paper suspended publication and Mr. Brann accepted a position on the San Antonio Express, which he held until the latter part of 1894. He came to Waco in 1895 and began editorial writing on the Waco Daily News. He decided to reestablish the ICONOCLAST and it has been a great success, reaching a phenomenal circulation, having readers all over this country. The tragedy of Friday can be traced to the attack which was made on Baylor University in the ICONOCLAST. It was in Brann's peculiar style, and attracted considerable attention throughout the country. Mr. Brann is a native of Southern Illinois.
* * * DAVIS FOLLOWS BRANN.
THE DEATH STRUGGLE AND KINDRED INCIDENTS.
While breaking hearts watched by Mr. Brann's bedside there was a loving wife, a dutiful son and kind friends sitting by the bedside of Tom E. Davis. For the first six hours Dr. J. C. J. King, Dr. Curtis and Dr. Olive endeavored to bring their patient about. He was perfectly conscious, but was yet suffering from the shock. At midnight he was no better and a change for the worse was soon noted. The patient would awake from the effect of opiates, talk with those about him and then relapse again into slumber. He knew his son and wife, friends who called and friends who spoke to him, but there was rapid pulse and a labored breathing that indicated the approach of death. Throughout the small hours of the new-born day the wife sat by that couch, and with her sat kind friends. Everything known to science was done to save the life that fleeting breath told was fast ebbing away. There was not a continued loss of blood, but with a perforated frame, the creature of nature could not exist, and it was evident he was fast nearing the end. The dawn of early morning found the faithful watchers yet at the bedside, and the rising sun peeped into the room and shed a glow about the sick room, appearing to light the way for the soul which was soon to wing its flight to realms beyond. The circle about the couch enlarged, children of the wounded man gathering about their weeping mother, his sister and other relatives coming to watch and wait. During the early hours of the morning and until the forenoon was advanced, friends paced the lobby of the Pacific hoping every moment for a report that the patient was better. Each minute passed as an hour, and the hours seemed as long drawn out days. Each report from the sick room was "no change."
At noon it became evident that but a short time remained. A. C. Riddle sat upon one side of the couch and Richard Selman at the other, the first rubbing the injured portion of the wounded right arm, while the other moistened the parched lips with constant applications of cold water. By Mr. Riddle sat the weeping wife, soon to be a widow, and about the apartment were gathered the children. The last hour of the citizen was one which will never be forgotten by those who watched his last moments. Labored was the breathing and every breath was a gasp and a groan. His children stood by the couch and saw the pain-racked form, and his wife held his hand and prayed to the God of all people to spare him to her for a longer time. Prayers were of no avail and tears did not soothe the pain. He was in agony, and accompanied with that agony was a desire to say something. He relapsed into slumber at times and would at intervals awake. His eyes would roll about the gathered friends and relatives, and an unintelligible sound would escape. There seemed to be no control of the tongue except at times he could utter the words, "Wife" and "Molly." The silence in the sick room was disturbed by the gasp of the dying man and the weeping of his family.
The hour of 2 o'clock came and the breath was shorter and harder. Little Nellie, 2 years of age, was brought to the bedside, and looking at her father in childish innocence smiled, and cried, "Mama, is that my papa?" Did papa hear those words? It is to be hoped he did. They rung out loud within the quiet room, the walls caught them and echoed the music of the child's voice, and probably that music joined the music of the great beyond, where the soul was soon to be. If the ear of the dying man, who gave every indication of consciousness, caught the words of his baby, his death was made happy, even with the pain that racked his wounded form. He saw the anguish of the wife and children, it was to comfort them with a last word that he sought to speak the last word that he could not utter. At 2.20 it was seen that death was upon him, and the rapid gasp for breath plunged the entire family into violent weeping. Mrs. Davis had controlled herself as best she could. The long hours were spent in a labored effort to hold back the anguish of her bleeding heart, but when she saw her husband in the last moments of death she could control herself no longer. Death came at 2.30 o'clock.
The dissolution of Tom E. Davis was known upon the streets within a few minutes and the regret of the people was freely expressed.
Tom E. Davis was 42 years of age. He was born in Waco and was the son of Judge James F. Davis, a pioneer settler of Waco. Tribune readers who have lived here twenty years or more will remember Judge Davis. From 1876 to 1878 he was one of the two justices of the peace in Waco. He has followed the life of a railroad man for many years, but finally gave it up to locate in his native city. He has been engaged in the real estate business recently. He was well thought of in this city, had many friends, was a man of genial, jovial nature, and was a good citizen. His death is mourned by a large number. Surviving him is his wife and six children, James F., Flossie, Mattie, Lillian, Margery and Nellie, the eldest being sixteen and the youngest two years old. In addition to those mentioned, who were at the death- bed, was his sister, Mrs. Margaret Allen.
Saturday afternoon Drs. J. C. J. King, Frank Ross, A. M. Curtis and N. A. Olive made an examination of the wounds of T. E. Davis. Justice W. H. Davis had, viewed the body and the examination was made at the request of Sheriff John W. Baker. They could trace four bullets as having struck Mr. Davis. While there were a number of wounds, the surgeons found that the same bullet made more than one or two holes. Two were found to have struck in the left shoulder about the same place. One of these came out at the back and the other passed around the chest wall and lodged near the spine near the waist. One went externally in the chest and came out of the arm-pit, and another made a flesh wound in the arm.
W. H. WARD.
HIS WOUNDS—ARRESTED AND HELD.
W. H. Ward, business manager for Brann's lecture tour, and an intimate friend of the Apostle, was arrested Friday night, as stated above. Baker & Ross, and Charles R. Sparks were retained as his attorneys and he was arraigned before Justice W. H. Davis at once, on a charge of assault with intent to murder. Mr. Sparks appeared in court and waived all formalities and the question of the amount of the bond was discussed. Mr. Sparks suggested $4,000 and this was agreed upon and fixed by the justice. Mr. Waller S. Baker was out of the city at the time, and after presenting a certified check for the amount of the bond, Mr. Sparks decided to await Mr. Baker's return before acting in the matter. When Mr. Baker arrived at 10.30 o'clock there was some talk on the streets of a mob, and it was decided that Ward would be safer in jail awaiting developments. When Mr. Davis died Deputy Constable Cliff Torrence went before Justice Davis and made complaint charging murder.
Mr. Ward had come down town Friday to meet his brother whom he was expecting to arrive from Tyler. He joined Mr. Brann on the street, and while they were together the tragedy occurred.
Mr. Ward was at Mr. Brann's burial Sunday afternoon accompanied by Mr. Baker. His wounded hand was bandaged and in a sling. At the jail he had been called on by many friends and telegrams from various: points, proffering aid and sympathy, came to him. Ward was greatly moved by the death of Brann. He did not talk much of the tragedy, but to a Tribune reporter, who went to the jail Sunday to see him, Ward said:
"I do not at this time care to discuss the details. I wish, however, to deny the statement that I participated in the shooting or had a pistol. I did not expect a difficulty and the first shot startled me as a thunder-clap in a clear sky. I turned to Davis with pistol drawn and grasped the muzzle of the weapon and was shot in the hand. I regret the death of my friend, but cannot discuss the details of the tragedy."
Messrs. Waller S. Baker and Charles R. Sparks state that after the shooting they went to Mr. Brann's residence and in the presence of outside witnesses found Ward's pistol. It was loaded all round and showed no indication of having been discharged.
Mr. Ward had been associated with Brann for some time. They were co-workers on the Waco News and when the Apostle began lecturing Ward became his manager. They had been firm friends and when Ward was in the city he made his home with Mr. Brann, and the two were always together. Ward is well liked by those who know him and he has a number of friends throughout the country. He is a man of fine physique, is a dignified, courteous gentleman.
While there was for a short time talk of a mob Friday night, Sheriff Baker believed that cool judgment would prevail and that nothing would be attempted. He was prepared, however, to protect his prisoner, had trouble been precipitated, and a number of citizens volunteered their assistance had danger threatened.
BRANN AND DAVIS LAID TO REST SUNDAY.
Beneath two mounds, each banked with flowers, one in Oakwood, the other in First Street Cemetery, were laid the victims of Friday's tragedy Sunday afternoon. Never were two funerals in this city more largely attended, and never was the dead followed to a last resting place by sorrowing friends with the reverence that was shown yesterday. At each home, the Davis residence in the Fifth Ward, and the Brann residence on North Fifth Street, friends began to gather shortly after noon, and they crowded through the two homes, on the lawn of one and about the yard of the other. Each man had his friends, and each had hosts of them, and they desired to show by their attendance at this last service their devotion to those friends who were now gone to the great beyond. Each procession was a long one, the Davis cortege moved from the home on Dallas Street to Elm, thence west on Elm to the suspension bridge. When the hearse, which was preceded by vehicles covering three blocks, containing Knights of the Maccabees, turned into Elm Street, vehicles were yet falling in line at the home, the procession extending more than a dozen blocks in length. All classes and conditions of men were in the line, from the lowest to the highest, citizens of Waco joining in the respect to the citizen whose tragic death was known. He was well liked, and being liked, they sorrowfully joined in this tribute to his memory. There were services at the home, conducted by Rev. Austin Crouch, of East Waco Baptist Church. Dr. Nelms was to participate, but a sudden illness prevented him being present. The service commenced by the singing by the choir of Some Sweet Day. Those composing the choir were Messrs. W. T. Millman, W. E. Brittain, W. R. Covington, J. S. Henderson, Mrs. McDonald and Misses Josie Davis, Nannie Huff and Shirley Faulkner, all of the East Waco Baptist Church.
After the reading of the 23rd Psalm by Rev. Austin Crouch, followed by the singing of Nearer My God to Thee by the choir, Mr. Crouch began a short talk, which went deep into the hearts of his hearers and was a beautiful tribute to the noble characteristics of the deceased.
He began by quoting the poem, The Hour of Death, by Mrs. Hemans, to illustrate the thought that man cannot reckon upon the hour of the coming of death.
He drew attention to the fact that "it was said of Moses that he died when his eye was not dim nor his natural strength abated." He said it had been thus with the deceased, he having been taken from life in the prime of manhood, aged 42. He referred to him as a loving husband and devoted father, and possessing the love of a host of friends, as the vast concourse assembled about his bier testified.
Mr. Crouch then referred with words full of tenderness and pathos to the wife and six children whom the husband and father had left when taken from life, and in this connection quoted from Tennyson's In Memoriam, the lines:
"I hold it true whate'er befalls; I feel it when I sorrow most; 'Tis better to have loved and lost Than never to have loved at all."
Touching upon the characteristics of the deceased, Mr. Crouch eulogized his devotion to his family, his loyalty to his friends and his willingness always to sacrifice anything to them. He said of him that he was a good citizen, who for the last several years had devoted much of time and talents to upholding all the virtues of good citizenship, adding that it was not often that one met a man nowadays who could be called a good citizen.
Mr. Crouch closed a talk that was well chosen and effectively delivered by warning his hearers that they were but mortal and to be prepared for the hour of death. With his final words he commended the loved ones of the deceased to the mercy and care of Almighty God.
The song, The Unclouded Day, closed the services at the house.
When the procession reached the cemetery impressive services, according to the ritual of the order, were conducted by Commander Ben Richards of Artesian Tent, Knights of the Maccabees, a final prayer was offered by Rev. Crouch and the body of Tom Davis was lowered to rest. The floral tributes were beautiful. Friends brought cut flowers and evergreens, and two large designs especially were noticed. One was a large wreath of red and white flowers, twined with crepe, the red, white and black being the colors of the Maccabees. This was sent by Artesian Tent No. 6, of which the deceased was a member. The other was a large anchor, fully four feet in length composed of yellow roses and white carnations. It was a huge piece, beautifully made, and testified the friendship of him who sent it, Mr. Connor. The pallbearers were Judge W. H. Jenkins, J. E. Boynton, T. B. Williams, J. N. Harris, A. C. Riddle, J. K. Rose, J. H. Gouldy, W. H. Deaton, Robt. Wright, S. F. Kirksey, Major A. Symes and James I. Moore.
. . .
The funeral of W. C. Brann did not move promptly on the hour. It had been fixed for 3 P.M., but there was some delay. During the moments just preceding the funeral services Mrs. Brann went upon the lawn herself, accompanied by a friend, and she directed the cutting of certain buds and roses which had been favorites of her departed husband, and when the services were held in the parlor she placed this collection of cut flowers upon the head of the casket. The entire place was crowded with sympathetic friends, and by her side were Mr. Brann's sister and her husband, who came to Waco to attend the funeral, being summoned from their Fort Worth home. A brass quartette, composed of L. N. Griffin, first cornet; J. C. Arratt, second cornet; H. C. Collier, trombone; Fred Podgen, baritone horn, rendered sweet sacred music, one selection being Nearer My God to Thee. Mrs. Tekla Weslow Kempner sung Mr. Brann's favorite selection, The Bridge. The service was conducted by Rev. Frank Page of the Episcopal Church.
The procession was a very long one. It extended all along Fifth Street from the house, and when Austin Avenue was reached a large number dropped out of the line, as was done in the Ross, Coke and Harris funerals, and proceeded to Oakwood by other streets. A brass band preceded the procession, playing martial music. The street was lined with pedestrians and vehicles, some of whom stood for thirty minutes waiting for the cortege. The delay was occasioned, however, at the home. Soon after the services were concluded, Mrs. Brann requested that the casket be opened again, and her request was complied with. For a few minutes she was alone with her dead, and in that few minutes she gazed for the last time upon her companion, her loved one and her husband. When the procession reached the cemetery it was found that a large number had preceded the cortege to the grave, many vehicles and persons on foot being in waiting. A large number went on the cars, three cars leaving the home.
The services at the grave consisted of an address by Mr. J. D. Shaw, friend of the deceased. He said:
"My friends and friends of W. C. Brann: I come this evening at the request of Mr. Brann's family to lay tribute upon his grave. I speak as a friend living for a friend dead. No ordinary man has fallen in the person of W. C. Brann. Nature fashioned him to be a power among his fellow men. By industry, by hard study, by careful observation, by diligent research, by interminable effort, he rose from comparative obscurity to teach and impress the civilized world. In the person of W. C. Brann we have an illustration of what may be expected in a country like ours. He was a natural product of our American democracy. He was a star that rose by dint of his own effort, his own determination, surrounded by circumstances that invited merit from the common people, from the whole people. W. C. Brann was a cosmopolitan character. He could never be confined within the limits of a party or a creed. So great was his grasp, so far-reaching his thought, that he lived in the world and not in a mere party. He was found always with that party or with that sect that represented what he thought to be right and true. A peculiarity of this man was his dual personality. Few people fully understood him in this respect. As a bold genius, as an intellectual giant, as a man armed and equipped with intellectual fire, and as a man with a noble ambition to stand by the right, he was a sworn foe of hypocrisy and fraud. And when he took into his brave hands the pen, he made fraud and hypocrisy quake and tremble. Burning words came from his tongue, scorching and branding every fraud. Men looked upon him then as a hard man, as a heartless man because he told them the truth. But the other side of this man's individuality, I, for one, have had the opportunity to see. He could not only sow intellectually; he was not only able to entertain the civilized world with burning words, with thoughts that were winged and that went like lightning, but he was a man of heart and of honor, and a man of the warmest and most generous love. He could go towards the skies intellectually, but in his heart he lived close to nature. He loved nature. He loved the very trees under whose shade he rested. He loved the little birds that sang in the trees, the grass upon which he walked, the flowers that bedecked the forest. And he loved his fellow man. He had a warm, generous heart and affection that went out to the poor and those who were needy. W. C. Brann was never known to attack a man who was a man. It was the strong and the defiant that he branded, and not the weak and the needy or the deserving. For these he was the friend. I knew this man, not only as the editor of the ICONOCLAST, not only as the utterer of grand and entertaining sentences, but I knew him as a man whose palm was stretched out to the man who was in need. Few men have been more generous with their charity than my neighbor and my friend whom we lay away to-day. No man within my knowledge ever presented the world with a purer, a nobler, a loftier home character than W. C. Brann. Oh! how he loved his wife and his dear little children—not only the children that were living, but the child that was dead. How ardently he strove to support, maintain and bless them. And what a friend they have lost. No man ever approached W. C. Brann for a penny that he did not respond, and from his beautiful home no beggar was ever turned away. I am afraid many people who only knew Mr. Brann as a genius, as a man of eloquence and power with the pen, knew little of him as a man of heart and affection. But, I, as his friend, as a friend of his wife and his fatherless children, I thank the people of Waco to-day that they have testified of their affection for this man. We shall never see his like again here, perhaps. He was a rising star. How soon that star has set! But, my dear friends, he has left a memory. He has made his impression upon the world and we will never forget him. Let me then say, for I must be brief, I am reminded by the stormy elements about us that I must not detain you longer, let me say in conclusion that Brann is not dead. His burning words still live, and his thoughts will yet remain to affect the world, and we will never forget him. And I say to his wife and children, though to-day you feel crushed by this great sorrow, I know by experience that our dead do not pass away from our minds. They grow more beautiful the longer we live. We remember them with greater pleasure, more tenderly, they will always be just like they had been. They never change. The little girl that you laid away in Houston is to-day in your mind just what she was then. And the dear husband that you lay away now will always be just what he is to- day. No changes can come. He is fixed in the memory.
"Now, my friends, in behalf of Mrs. Brann and her children, let me thank you for this presence, for this demonstration of your appreciation of this man who has so suddenly, so unexpectedly, fallen in our midst. Let us cherish his memory, remember his virtue, and imitate his daring courage in defiance of that which he thought was evil and wrong. He was not without his faults. None of us are. He was always ready and willing to admit that. No man was more willing to answer for his work than W. C. Brann. Therefore I ask for him that judgment to-day we shall all crave of one another when we shall have passed away. We will now lay his body in the grave, we will cover it with mother earth, and upon it place these flowers as a testimonial of our love and affection for him."
At the grave, the bouquet which Mrs. Brann had laid on the casket before leaving home was returned to her, and just before the casket was lowered into the grave, she stepped forward and lovingly placed the floral piece upon the casket and it was closed in the grave. There was a large number of floral offerings. Flowers were there in profusion. But as at the other funeral, two pieces were especially noticeable. One was a huge broken wheel, full three feet in diameter, all in white, composed of lilies of the valley, hyacinths and roses. It was the gift of the employees of the ICONOCLAST, and William Marion Reedy of St. Louis. The Knight Printing Company sent a large anchor about three feet long, which was composed of pink carnations and white roses. The following were the pallbearers: J. W. Shaw, G. B. Gerald, D. R. Wallace, L. Eyth, Waller S. Baker, Dr. J. W. Hale, H. B. Mistrot, John D. Mayfield and James M. Drake.
* * * THE LATEST TRAGEDY.
(Editorial appearing in the Waco Weekly Tribune, issue April 9, 1898, and written by Hon. A. R. McCollum, editor, and State Senator of the Texas Legislature.)
What use to write, or read or talk of the tragic deaths of Brann and Davis unless those who survive are to draw from the tragedy lessons which, rightly applied, will bring peace and good to society and especially to this community? If not this, then far better silence. In the news columns of the paper we have told the story of the battle to the death, fought on the public streets, of the death scenes and burial. And all over this land, where newspapers are printed, the story has been told and millions have read. There will be no adequate estimate of the effect the reading will have upon the minds of the millions. It is certain that the most patent result will be to discredit this community in the esteem of the people whose good opinion our people would like to have, and to react in ways that will affect the material welfare of this city and very likely of the county, too. Beyond all question the deplorable events of last year, opening with October, have operated to the detriment of Waco, and beyond all question the latest chapter of blood and violence will intensify the distrust, unless it is evidenced that this is to be the end, and that hereafter peace and order are to prevail, and the sacredness of human life be more assured. This is why we say it is little use to write or discuss the passing of Brann and Davis, beyond rendering the tributes of love and affection, unless our people are to learn from the deaths the lessons of forbearance and tolerance and subordination of passion and prejudice to the nobler and better ends and aims of life. Asperity and bitterness must be buried in the graves with the dead.
Brann and Davis have gone to a judgment higher than that of men, and both, we venture to hope and believe, have found how true it is that God is Mercy, as well as justice. For our part, we would rather let them rest in peace and not essay an analysis of their attributes and actions. We will say this of Brann, that though he could write with a pen of vitriol, in his private life he could be and was as gentle as a woman, and his aspirations were those of generosity and kindness, of faithfulness to friends. His home life—with wife and children—was a poem that never ended till he died. His genius was superhuman. As Mr. Shaw truly said in his remarks at the grave, it is not likely that we shall ever see his like again in this community. Davis was cast in a different mold mentally, a man of quite another type. He was sturdy and practical and took the world precisely as he found it. It was indeed a strange fate that brought these two men face to face in deadly conflict and made of Davis the instrument to put an end to Brann's earthly career. Both men loved and were beloved. Widows and orphans mourn them. Let the dead rest in peace, for good can be said of each.
It is the manifest duty of this community to forbear from discussion of what might have been, or who sowed the wind that brought the whirlwind. At the best, years of patience, unselfish, earnest work will be needed to restore our city to the place it might hold in the esteem of men. The fool will say: "It makes no difference what others think." It is a fool's consolation and a fool's argument, for the cold truth is that not alone the prestige and good repute of our fair city have been marred, but material progress and prosperity have been affected. Population, capital, skill, brawn, industry, morality hold aloof—not wholly, of course, yet to a degree that is material and unfortunate. It is possible to remedy this, but not until we prove to the world that toleration and peace are to rule here, and that human life is not to be held as the cheapest thing society has to lose.
The following account of the mobbing of Brann in the fall preceding his death (see Brann's article "Ropes, Revolvers and Religion" in Vol. X.) is taken from the Waco Tribune for October 9, 1897 It is reproduced here to enable the reader to better interpret the circumstances of Brann's death.
BRANN AND BAYLOR.
As to the Brann-Baylor episode, the old adage, "two wrongs will not make a right," is certainly applicable to it. Brann's article on Baylor University was wholly indefensible— essentially ill-timed and could not possibly have wrought any good, either to Baylor or the cause of morality in general. It merited the protest and indignation it evoked, and we question if Brann, when he wrote it, really appreciated its full import, for, had he reflected, he would have known that he placed his friends at a disadvantage, in that men who hold the views respecting virtuous womanhood that most Southern men (and himself included) do could not defend the article. And Brann is a man who we have always found to be true to his friend; not one to place a friend in an embarrassing or unpleasant position. He illustrated how a wonderfully brilliant man may astonish the world and himself, too, by perpetrating a grave blunder or mistake. We cannot understand how he came to print the article.
And as for the course of the Baylor students who laid forcible hands on Brann and by mob power compelled him to sign humiliating admissions and apologies, their course was about as grave a blunder as was Brann's. It is not palliation to argue how indignant they were and how natural their indignation. Perhaps those in authority at Baylor who are said to have known beforehand the purpose of the student mob and quietly winked at—if they did not openly commend it—are more to blame than the boys who did the work, for the older heads were naturally expected to display the wisdom of mature years. It is the truth that the authorities who condoned and the students who perpetrated the lawlessness are equally beyond the pale of defense.
It was thus that two wrongs and not one right were done. All the parties to the wrong will have to take the consequence. Brann has impaired the prestige of the ICONOCLAST, students and university authorities have brought unnecessary reproach on Baylor, given it undesirable notoriety. Baylor is part and parcel of Waco. All of us, regardless of creed, helped to rear it. Its good name and welfare are matters of concern to all.
Brann, if he knew of disgraceful facts or episodes connected with Baylor, should have given names, dates and specific details. And some student, professor, patron or friend of Baylor—someone with a daughter, sister or female relative there—thus vested with the God-given right of resenting slurs on the virtue of girl students, should have been found willing to deal with Brann personally, and somewhere else than on the university grounds with Brann helpless and bulldozed. Any man thus acting with defense of his womankind as his plea may, if his pretensions are valid, always risk public opinion and jury verdicts in this county.
We hope this matter will end where it is. Nobody wants to see Brann driven away from Waco, nor do we believe such a thing can be done. Men will be found in ample numbers to maintain his right to dwell here. He is a brilliant man, who can be distinctly useful as a writer. On his part he owes something to the community which is willing to maintain his every right—to the friends who are still his friends even if he makes a mistake, and that is to remember that Baylor University is part and parcel of Waco, and that the reputable element of society here does not share his views concerning the disrepute alleged to attach to Baylor. Most of us wish Brann well; most of us wish Baylor well.
It has been said that this is a matter of "religious" differences and prejudices. It is not so, save where individuals want and see fit to make it so. It has been said "personal liberty" and bigotry are involved in this matter. We fail to comprehend how or wherein. God knows there is not a spot on the globe where there is more diversity of opinion, more freedom of expression and action as to religion than in this town. Once more, we hope the matter is ended and for good.
. . .
Since the above was put in type the assault made by Judge Scarborough, R. H. Hamilton and George Scarborough on Mr. Brann has occurred. Judge Scarborough has a daughter, George Scarborough a sister, who has recently been a student and is now a member of the faculty at Baylor. It will thus be understood how Brann's article could aggrieve the father and brother. If either one had taken a shotgun and killed Brann on sight, public opinion would have held such a course far more commendable than the policy adopted. If either one had challenged him, given him a show for his life, and in the duel killed him, public sentiment would have condoned such a step and no jury in this county would award any penalty for the slaying. But the overpowering attack by three men was itself a mob attack—three may constitute a mob as well as ten or twenty. Of course there will be some to defend the trio of assaulters, but the consensus of public opinion will be against it and by the greater part of our people it will be regarded as essentially unfair. It has not served, so far as we can see, any good purpose, but to the contrary has intensified the bitter feeling existing here. Brann's friends never indorsed his article on Baylor, but this assault justified their indignation. As for Judge Scarborough, we must regret his act and express surprise that he got his consent to such a course. As for Hamilton, his participation is altogether indefensible.
* * * The following is the account of the shooting of Brann from the Waco "Times-Herald." See the editorial for the attitude of this paper. The ante-mortem statement of Davis, and the statements of Moore, Hall and Sherman Vaughan are identical in both papers and are therefore not repeated. The "Times-Herald" gave no statements from Earp, Petterson, Chase, Insley nor Dugger. Note other statements not given in the "Tribune."
TERRIFIC, DEADLY CONFLICT
A Fearful Street Fight, in Which W. C. Brann and Tom E. Davis Were Riddled With Pistol Shots and William H. Ward Shot through the Hand.
BRANN, EDITOR OF ICONOCLAST, DEAD.
The Life of Tom E. Davis, the Well-known Real Estate Man of Waco, Hangs by a Slender Thread, With Almost Every Chance Against Him.
BRANN-BAYLOR AFFAIR THE CAUSE.
A Motorman and Musician Wounded by Flying Missiles— Ward in Jail on a Charge of Assault to Murder— The City Thrown Into a Whirlwind of Excitement Over the Fearful Affair and Happy Homes Made Sad.
At this writing, 9 o'clock, W. C. Brann, editor of Brann's ICONOCLAST, and Tom E. Davis, a prominent real estate man of this city, lie dangerously wounded with a likelihood of their dying at any moment. William H. Ward, an employee of W. C. Brann, is shot through the right hand. Sigh Kennedy, a motorman on the street car line, is shot in the right knee, and Kepler, a traveling musician, is shot in the right foot. The three men last named are only slightly wounded.
W. C. Brann is shot through the left groin, in the right foot and through the middle of the back about the lower part of the shoulder blade, ranged upward and outward, coming out at the front side near the point where the arm joins the body.
Tom E. Davis is shot twice in the right arm, the balls going through the arm, leaving four holes, one in the upper left arm near the shoulder on the outer part of the arm. This ball ranged to the back and came out just a little ways in the left shoulder. Another shot took effect in the right breast, near the nipple, ranged outward and backward, coming out of the back near the side. Another shot took effect in the back, near the right side, about the waistband, ranged outward and downward and lodged just over the spine, just under the skin. Another shot took effect just under the right arm, ranged backward, coming out about six inches in the back. This made a total of six shots that took effect in Davis' body.
From best information obtained, the cause of the trouble dates back to the old Brann-Baylor affair. It was during this trouble that Mr. Davis was an outspoken advocate for Baylor and had made the same statement that scores of other people in Waco are accredited with having made that "Brann is a scoundrel and ought to be run out of town." Mr. Davis was fearless and outspoken, and Mr. Brann learned of the stand he took.
Yesterday it seems that Mr. Brann, in company with Mr. W. H. Ward, an employee of his, made it convenient to come in contact with Mr. Davis, and one of them, supposed to be Mr. Brann, cursed Mr. Davis as he passed them. Mr. Davis had been out on the street where he had just been passed by the men a couple of times and returned to his office on Fourth Street, between Franklin and Austin Streets. He had been in his office only a minute or so when Messrs. Brann and Ward passed, with Brann on the inside. As the two men passed Mr. Davis says that one of them remarked in a loud voice, "There is the damned cowardly son of a ——. He will take anything," to which Mr. Davis replied, "Are you scoundrels talking about me?"
The shooting followed immediately. When the shooting ended Davis was taken into French's newsstand and several physicians were called in, opiates were administered, and it looked as if Davis would die at any moment. He talked some to his friends, frequently saying, "They have got me; I am bound to go."
County Clerk Joney Jones was present, and all being fearful that Davis might die at any moment, Mr. Jones took his ante mortem statement, which is given below.
Mr. Brann was taken to the city hall by Officers Sam Hall and Durie, where he was laid upon a couch and other physicians attended him until 7:20 o'clock, when he was taken home, being accompanied by physicians and friends.
Ward, Kennedy and Kepler all repaired to the drug stores and had their wounds dressed.
Something near an hour after the shooting Mrs. Davis and her children came from their home in East Waco to the side of the wounded husband and father. At dark Davis was removed to the Pacific hotel, where Dr. J. C. J. King attended him in his official capacity. Mrs. Davis was with her husband and numerous friends were present to administer every want.
Mr. Ward employed an attorney. Justice W. H. Davis was called up by telephone and about 9 o'clock he opened court in his courtroom. Mr. Ward, through his attorney, waived all formalities, preliminaries and examination and was granted bond in the sum of $4,000, which he failed to give and went to jail.
From the moment the first shot was fired citizens rushed to the scene from every part of the city, and in a moment after the firing had ceased there were fully one thousand persons on Fourth Street surging around French's newsstand, while there were two-thirds that number at the city hall where Mr. Brann was being attended to, and up until after midnight the streets were filled with hundreds and hundreds of citizens grouped here and there in all of the hotels and on the street corners discussing the one absorbing question—"The shooting."
At midnight both Mr. Davis and Mr. Brann were alive, with the former resting much easier.
E. P. NORWOOD.
Mr. E. P. Norwood said:
"Just prior to the shooting I had walked up Fourth Street, passing Messrs. Brann and Ward standing in front of Krauss' store, near Bankers' Alley, when I met Hermann Strauss, who insisted that I go back across the alley to Laneri's saloon. As we went back I saw Brann and Ward still standing where they were and at that moment Tom Davis had just come up the sidewalk in front of Laneri's and, leaving Bankers' Alley without crossing it, he went immediately to his office.
"In a moment I saw Brann and Ward go directly to Davis' office. I thought nothing unusual of this, not knowing that any difficulty was liable to occur and went in to Laneri's to take a drink. In a moment or so I heard two or three shots fired, and I immediately ran to the door. When I got where I could see the men I saw Davis on the ground and Brann and Ward standing up firing at him. I am positive that Ward fired one shot, if not two shots; he ceased and Brann continued firing until an officer rushed right into the shooting and caught Brann."
Mr. John Sleeper was an eye-witness and made the following statement:
"I was standing in the Fourth Street entrance to my store and was looking south on Fourth Street, and saw Mr. Brann and Mr. Ward coming up the sidewalk from the alley in front of the Cotton Belt ticket office, and then turned and looked north towards Austin Street. And while looking in that direction I heard three pistol shots almost simultaneously, and turned and looked in the direction from which the pistol shots came, and saw Mr. Tom Davis reeling and falling to the sidewalk and Mr. Brann firing upon him. Mr. Davis fell to the ground almost in a heap and rolled over as many as four times. Mr. Ward handed Mr. Brann a pistol and Brann stepped forward towards Davis and began firing on him as he was rolling upon the sidewalk. Brann and Ward then turned and walked away on Fourth Street towards Austin Street to a point directly opposite my door, where I was standing, when two police officers came across Fourth Street from the direction of the Citizens National Bank, and as they came up to Brann he remarked: 'Gentlemen, I am shot,' but Ward said nothing. I noticed blood flowing from Ward's right hand as if he was wounded in it. I did not see Mr. Davis or Mr. Ward either shoot at any time."
Mr. Ab Vaughan, a well-known man about town, says that while crossing Fourth Street from the Cotton Belt ticket office towards the Pacific Hotel, he passed Brann and Ward in the street, on the east side of the street railway track, and that he overheard one of them say to the other, "I wouldn't do it," though which one spoke he was unable to say. He paid no attention to the remark at the time, and stepped into the Pacific Saloon. The next instant he heard the reports of a pistol, followed in rapid succession by a number of other shots.
W. O. BROWN.
Mr. W. O. Brown made the following statement:
"A few minutes before 6 o'clock I was at the Pacific Hotel bar, in company with W. C. Brann. We conversed together for fifteen or twenty minutes, during the course of which Baylor University was discussed as well as the trouble attendant upon his Philippics against it. Before parting, Mr. Brann remarked in rather a sneering way: 'I expect to get killed, but when I am, Baylor will have become a thing of the past,' or words to that effect. We separated, and I walked down Fourth Street to Austin, where I met my wife and a lady friend in our phaeton, and after a moment's conversation with her, entered a buggy with Mr. C. M. Clisbee, and started to the opera house. Just as we turned the corner I heard a pistol shot, perhaps two, and turning my head saw Tom Davis fall to the sidewalk. I jumped from the buggy and ran towards my wife's phaeton, fearing her horse would take fright, but finding my fears groundless hastened to the scene of the shooting, and there found Tom Davis lying on the sidewalk, and assisted in carrying him into French's newsstand. I heard several shots fired after I saw Davis fall, but who fired them I am unable to say."
JUDGE J. W. DAVIS.
Judge John W. Davis said:
"I was standing on Fourth Street just below the Pacific Hotel entrance, talking to a number of gentlemen, among them John W. Marshall. I heard a pistol shot up Fourth Street and turned and saw in front of W. F. Williams & Co.'s office what appeared to be several men in a scuffle. The larger man was falling toward the street. Shots were fired into him as he was falling and continued after he was lying on the sidewalk and was rolling over. The shots were fired in such rapid succession that it seemed impossible for them to have come from one pistol. I did not recognize the participants at first, but thought that the man falling was Tom Davis. After eight or ten shots had been fired I recognized W. C. Brann with a policeman. I could not tell what was the relative position of the party. They all seemed to be in a clump."
J. W. WILLIAMS.
John W. Williams says:
"Just a few moments before the shooting Tom Davis came into our office, that of Williams & Co., and said hello to Tom Sparks, who was talking to me. He then turned and went out. In a moment I heard a click as though a pistol was being cocked and at that time recognized the voice of Davis saying something like "don't talk to me." At the same time I saw the tail of Davis' coat go back as if he was trying to draw his pistol. Rapid shooting followed as if from several pistols. When I reached the door I saw Ward either shoot or push Davis down, his hand being almost or quite against Davis and Davis between me and him. At the same time as the push or shot from Ward I saw Brann fire. And the firing was continued by Brann, Davis at this time struggling on the ground or sidewalk and called out to me that he was murdered. I got his pistol. Brann continued to fire and snapped his pistol several times after Davis was down. The shots were fired very rapidly and as I was looking at and watching Brann so intently I cannot say whether Ward was shooting or not as I was not looking at him."
W. S. GILLESPIE.
Mr. W. S. Gillespie said:
"I was sitting in my office a few minutes prior to the shooting and noticed Mr. Brann and Mr. Ward, his business manager, standing across the street on the corner of Bankers' Alley in very earnest conversation, looking across the street as if watching some one or something, and finally came across to the corner in front of my office and after they passed going north towards Austin Street I heard the rapid firing of guns and ran out and found T. E. Davis lying on the sidewalk, and I went up to him and asked him if he was very badly hurt, and he remarked, 'They have assassinated me; they have murdered me,' and friends came up to my assistance and he was conveyed to French's cigar store.
B. H. KIRK.
Mr. B. H. Kirk said:
"At the time of the shooting I was on the sidewalk in front of Mr. Mackey's office. I noticed W. C. Brann and W. H. Ward together crossing Fourth Street from the direction of Krauss' store and walking towards Tom Davis' office. A moment or two after I heard two shots fired very near together, and, looking, saw Tom Davis on the sidewalk in front of his office in the act of falling; as he lay on the sidewalk two more shots were fired into him. After these last two shots Davis rolled over and fired at Brann and I thought hit him in the breast. After that several more shots were fired into Davis. Brann and Ward were about three feet from Davis during the firing, standing near the outside of the sidewalk and perhaps a little nearer to Austin Street. I cannot say I saw W. H. Ward fire, but my impression is that all three were shooting."
B. H. KINGSBURY.
B. H. Kingsbury said:
"I was standing close to the telephone post between Pacific Hotel bar and Mose's newsstand when I heard one or two shots fired almost together. I exclaimed: 'Tom Davis is killed,' for I saw him on the sidewalk in front of his office struggling and rolling. As Davis lay on the sidewalk, dead, as I thought, there were two men shooting at him. These men I learn were W. C. Brann and his body-guard, W. H. Ward. While so shooting at Davis, Brann was in front of Ward and both were firing. I do not know if Davis fired before he was down.
Later.—At 1 A.M. a Times-Herald reporter visited the home of Mr. Brann and found him dying. At 10.30 o'clock he had a hemorrhage of the lungs, which filled one of them up and the lung was still bleeding at 1 A.M., and his vitality was fast ebbing away. Dr. M. L. Graves said that the sufferer could not possibly live longer than two hours and was liable to die at any moment.
At 1 A.M. Mr. Tom Davis had not rallied from the effects of his wounds and but little hope was entertained for his recovery. Mr. Davis has wonderful vitality and his great strength may yet pull him through, though there is but the faintest hope that it will. Dr. King is still at his bedside doing all that is possible for him to do.
Later.—At 1.55 o'clock this morning W. C. Brann, the noted editor of Brann's ICONOCLAST, breathed his last. Just before the end came his family and intimate friends were gathered about him. His lungs were filled from the internal hemorrhage and he passed peacefully away.
3 A.M.—At this hour Mr. Tom E. Davis is rapidly sinking and it is thought that the end is near at hand. It may be possible for the wounded man to live as long as two hours; but all hope has fled and the end is watched for which may come at any minute. His physicians say he is dying.
* * * (Editorial)
THE LATE TRAGEDY.
The details of the awful tragedy of Friday evening are yet fresh in the minds of the people of Waco, and it is bootless to recount them. Two of the principals thereto have passed to the beyond and a third is in the hands of the outraged law. And with him let the law deal. In life Captain Davis was our friend. His assailant was our enemy. In death they take on the proportions of common humanity. Upon the bier of one we will lay the myrtle of never-dying remembrance. Over the coffin of the other let the mantle of forgetfulness rest. The Times-Herald makes no war upon the dead.
It is not with the dead we deal to-day, but the living— the citizenship, the municipality, the people of Waco who must suffer, who must endure, and who must survive the blow that has fallen upon us. Not because two brave men are dead, but because of the stain of blood guiltiness that has again besmirched our fair escutcheon. This tragedy has harmed Waco almost beyond the power of men to help; because it has again been blazoned to the world that here human life is cheapened; that men's passions rule rather than the written law and that our Christian civilization is but the thinnest veneer atop of the savage.
Yet out of this may yet come a blessing to Waco. If it shall teach men to rule their passions and their speech; if it shall show us the way to lean upon the arm of the law rather than upon the might of our own strength; if it shall make us more tolerant of the opinions of our neighbor; if it shall incline us to encourage the public weal, rather than private animosities, the shadow of tragedy may yet pass and the sunlight of humanity prevail.
The Times has no heart for moralizing. It will add no pang to the grief of those who mourn. It asks of the people of Waco that upon the two new mounds made in Oakland to-day the seeds of forgetfulness may spring into verdure, covering feud and hiding passion, and that the dead past will bury its dead, leaving to the present hope, and to the future fruition.
Here follow the contents of the May, 1898, ICONOCLAST published by Brann's friends after his death.
THE PASSING OF WILLIAM COWPER BRANN.
BY G. P. GERALD.
Poetic legend says that on a moonlight night, two thousand years ago, along the shores of the gulf of Patras, a mighty voice was heard, crying "Great Pan is dead!" And from the mountains and the valleys, the woods and grottoes, where stood the altars of those who worshiped at the shrine of Pan, was reechoed back the cry, "Great Pan is dead!" On the second of April, when the winged lightning bore over a continent, and to foreign lands beyond the sea, the news that W. C. Brann of the ICONOCLAST was dead, in every land where his writings are known, from men and women who worship at the shrine of genius, went up the wailing cry, "Brann of the ICONOCLAST is dead." Oh, death! thou grim and imperious master of us all, how dreadful to the living are your silent darts, that are ever striking with impartial hand the old man in his dotage, the strong man in his prime, the brave man in his courage and the craven in his fear.
W. C. Brann was 43 years of age, and had just arrived at that period when he was beginning to realize the hopes and aspirations of years, when he was stricken down amid the rejoicings of many and the sorrows of many thousands more. He was born in Coles County, Illinois, and at the age of two and a half years, by the death of his mother, was placed with a sister some two years older than himself, in the care of Mr. Hawkins and his wife, who lived on a farm in that county. He remained with them ten years, and then, longing to be something more than a farm hand, he packed his small belongings in a little box and at night, when all was still, he took the box under his arm and went out into the lonely darkness of the moonless night, without money, friends or education, to commence the struggle which ended in his untimely death at Waco.
Mr. Brann always spoke in the most kindly terms of Mr. and Mrs. Hawkins, and when he purchased his home in this city, he offered to share it with them, but having grown old and being comfortably situated they did not desire to change.
The first place he secured was that of a bell boy in a hotel, and from that passed on to other situations, realizing all the time, what every proud spirited boy would do under the circumstances, the bitterness that friendlessness, ignorance and poverty bring to the struggle of life. Among other things he learned the trade of painter and grainer, also that of printer, all the time storing his mind with what scraps of education that his life of poverty and toil permitted. After he gathered sufficient education he became a newspaper writer, and in 1877, at Rochelle, Ill., was married to Miss Carrie Martin, who, with two children, Grace and William Carlyle, "Little Billy," as we call him, survive him. After the death of Mrs. Brann's mother, he took to his home one of her sisters, now Mrs. Marple of Fort Worth, and although often driven to the most desperate straits to make a living, he proved to her to be both a brother and a father. He continued his newspaper career in Illinois and Missouri, until some thirteen years ago, when he came to Texas, and gradually became known by his connection with various papers of the State. For a short time he had an interest in a paper called the ICONOCLAST, published in Austin, but he soon found himself back at his old trade, that of driving his pen for others. At last, worn out by long years of unremitting and generally poorly requited toil, wearied with waiting for opportunity to write as he wished but could not do as an employee of others, he determined to again strike out for himself, as he had done in his early boyhood, and in 1894 came to this city and established the ICONOCLAST, which was a success from its first issue, and continued to grow in circulation as he grew in reputation as a writer, until the copy that witnessed his death reached an issue of nearly 90,000.
The world, for several generations, has been discussing whether Shakespeare wrote the plays that bear his name, thousands believing that it was impossible for a man who had no more education than Shakespeare had in his youth, to have exhibited the varied knowledge and learning that characterize his works, therefore these attribute them to Sir Francis Bacon, one of the most brilliant and best educated men of his time. All the evidence goes to show that at the age of 18, when Shakespeare married, that he had acquired with a "little Latin and less Greek," the ordinary education accorded to the sons of the well-to-do middle-class Englishmen of his time, of which his father was one. At 18 Mr. Brann had barely secured the rudiments of an English education, and had he lived to the age of Shakespeare, there is no telling to what heights, intellectually, he would have risen. From a slight knowledge of his hopes and aspirations, I can say, that while he dearly loved the ICONOCLAST, as a vehicle by which he could convey to the world his thoughts, he had aspirations that went far beyond it, and proposed that during the next ten nor twelve years, after his mind had been fully stored for the work, to leave as a legacy to the world, in a continuous work, his conception of the wrongs done to humanity, the evils that spring from them and the remedies to be applied. And all who have read him closely and noticed how, month by month, he grew greater and brighter, will surely join in saying, that the loss of such a work from such a man, at the meridian of his intellectual life, is only second, if not equal, to the loss of the unwritten volumes of Buckle's "History of Civilization."
Alas! that such a man, with such a great future before him should have died standing on the very threshold of his work.
In the private relations of life Mr. Brann was as extraordinary as in his public career; he presented that combination that is so rare that even novelists do not attempt to paint it, the combination of the lover and the husband, and as a father, a friend, a lover of humanity, with a broad mantle of charity for all, he had few equals.
While he wrote in prose, he was a poet, and of him can be truly said:
"The thoughts that stir the poet's heart Are not the thoughts that others feel, From the world's creed they are all apart, And oftener work his woe than weal.
They are born of high imaginings, Kindled to life by passion's fire, As o'er earth's dross his fancy flings The golden dreams that wrap his lyre."
As a writer, Mr. Brann had his faults, but they were the heritage of this God-given son of genius, and with them he climbed the heights and died among the greatest, both of the living and the dead. And had he lived ten years longer, in all probability, the intellectual world would have held him as the grandest writer that this earth has ever known since the days when old Homer painted the matchless beauty of the bride of Menelaus, and told of the godlike courage of the Greek and Trojan as they fought for her, from the Scamander to the sea. While the ignorant, the bigoted and intolerant are rejoicing in his death and garnishing his grave with the slime of their slander, they may be assured that his name and writings will live until the English language dies, and when W. C. Brann is dead and forgotten, so will be Sterne, Smollet, Fielding, Swift, Pope, Steele, Addison, Goldsmith, Shakespeare, Ben and Sam Johnson, Byron, Shelley, Keats, Carlyle, George Eliot and all that mighty host that have made the English language what it is. The language that the little tribe of the Angles brought from the forest of Germany to Britain swallowed the Britain, and survived the Norman conquest, and then absorbed both the conqueror and his language. And in the dead centuries of over a thousand years, in every generation has produced some mighty intellect to speed it on in building up the bulwarks of human rights and human liberty, until they have grown so high that despots turn from it with loathing, and slaves cannot speak it. The language of the Magna Charta and the Declaration of American Independence, the two instruments that have spread the bread of liberty before a hungry world. And as a writer of this language, with all its mighty past and greater future. W. C. Brann had few equals and no superiors.
I have been asked, both before and since his death, what were his religious opinions, and while every man's religious opinions are his own, and no one has the right to question them, I will say he was a Deist something after the manner of Thomas Paine, and for the benefit of some of our professors and preachers, who do not know the difference between an Atheist and a Deist, I will say that a Deist is one who believes in one God, and rejects all forms of so-called revealed religion. Mr. Brann loved nature and when he looked upon it, he saw nature's God, that with eternal fingers has written his message on earth and sky, so that savage and civilized, Christian and Infidel alike could read, that has by immutable and unvarying laws, regulated the bloom of the flowers, the course of the winds, and the fall of the leaf, as well as the revolutions of the countless millions of worlds that are ever speeding through the unmeasurable realms of space. He believed that this mighty power, that men call God, could perpetuate man in the hereafter as easily as he had placed him here, and while he, like many others, knew that all his hopes and faith did not furnish one atom of real proof as to what lies beyond the gates of death, still he hoped for the brighter and better life, and when that beautiful smile overspread his face when he died, those who beheld it felt that he had realized his hopes, and in the shadowy realm that bounds the Stygian river had met his little girl Inez, whose untimely death at the age of barely 12 years, had worked such havoc in his heart. Mr. Brann loved nature, not only when the gorgeous god of day threw over earth and sky the flashing strands of his golden hair, but in the night time when all else was wrapped in the arms of sleep, the twin sister of death; and the belated passer-by of his home often saw the gleam of his cigar as he sat or walked upon the lawn, in the small hours of the night: and at such time I know there came through his soul the thoughts, if not the words, of that death-devoted Greek, who to the question from the woman that he loved, "O, Ion, shall we meet again," answered, "I have asked that dreadful question of the hills that look eternal. Of the clear streams that flow on forever. Of the bright stars amid whose fields of azure my raised spirit has walked in glory. All, all are dumb."
But when I gaze upon thy face, I feel that there is something in the love that mantles through its beauty that cannot wholly perish, we shall meet again, Clemanthe. But it was not the name of Clemanthe that passed his lips, it was ever "Inez, darling Inez, we shall meet again."
I here reproduce in his own words an extract appropriate to this subject. It is from the ICONOCLAST of March, 1896, and an article headed "Beecher on the Bible":
"I know nothing of the future; I spend no time speculating upon it—I am overwhelmed by the Past and at death grips with the Present. At the grave God draws the line between the two eternities. Never has living man lifted the somber veil of Death and looked beyond.
"There is a Deity. I have felt his presence. I have heard his voice, I have been cradled in his imperial robe. All that is, or was, or can ever be, is but "the visible garment of God." I seek to know nothing of his plans and purposes. I ask no written covenant with God, for he is my Father. I will trust him without requiring priests or prophets to indorse his note. As I write, my little son awake, alarmed by some unusual noise, and come groping through the darkness to my door. He sees the light shining through the transom, returns to his trundle- bed and lies down to peaceful dreams. He knows that beyond that gleam his father keeps watch and ward, and he asks no more. Through a thousand celestial transoms streams the light of God. Why should I fear the sleep of Death, the unknown terrors of that starless night, the waves of the river Styx? Why should I seek assurance from the lips of men that the wisdom, love and power of my heavenly Father will not fail?"
Like the lowly Judean carpenter who gave his life in a protest against the wrongs which wealth and power had done to his fellow man, he was hated by the Pharisees and hypocrites, but he never cast a stone at the poor and unfortunate, but was ever ready to support the weak battling in the cause of right against the cohorts of the wrong.
He was not only a poet, but was a prophet and a priest; not the prophet and priest of orthodoxy, that has handed down to us through the ages, written in the blood of slaughtered millions, that dark story of forked-tailed demons and flaming hells, that has given us a God that loves us better than an earthly father can, yet permits us in the sight of his great white throne to writhe and suffer through the endless ages of eternity in the flames of hell. But he was a priest and prophet of a greater and grander faith, that in the evolution of the unborn centuries yet to come, will strip from the Godhead all of the horrid concepts, born of the puny hate of man for his fellow man.
Mr. Brann was a man of the highest moral courage, no one doubted this, but some doubted whether he had that kind of physical courage that is necessary to contend with mobs and assassins, but when the hour came —when, without the slightest warning or anticipation or danger, the death wound tore through his back, with a coolness that few even of the bravest of men would have possessed under the circumstances, with a courage that could have led the Irish exiles, in that desperate and deathless charge on the bloody heights of Fontenoy, he turned and fired every bullet of his pistol into the body of his assassin.
I will briefly sketch here some of the main facts that led to his death, not only justice to the dead, but to his living friends who only knew him as a writer and have been compelled to read in the newspapers the loathsome and lying slanders sent out against him from this city.
The origin is to be found in the visit to this city of ex-Priest Slattery, who, for gross immorality, had been kicked out of the fold of the Catholic church. He was accompanied by a woman fully as bad as he, and these two saints set up to lecture, and the substance of their lecture was briefly this, that convents and female schools under the charge of the sisters, were but bawdy houses to satisfy the lust of the Catholic priesthood. Mr. Brann, who heard, in the opera house in this city, these vile slanders flung amid thunders of applause, mostly from a gang of blackguards from and around Baylor University, outraged by the wrong done the pure and stainless women whose vows bar them from the slightest hope of reward on earth, yet devote their lives in and out of the convent walls to soothing the sorrows and relieving the sufferings of humanity, attempted to reply in their defense, and for this he was hooted and nearly mobbed by this precious lot of curs and had to be escorted from the opera house by the police. After the Antonio Tiexeria scandal came out, and he saw the poor girl reduced to ruin, standing barely on the verge of womanhood, desolate and friendless in a foreign land, with his whole sympathetic nature aroused in her behalf, he certainly struck some hard blows at Baylor. In his repeated thrusts he made one at the professors which is believed by many to have cut far deeper than anything ever said about the Brazilian girl, and that was his proposition to open a night school for their benefit. In last October ICONOCLAST, in a paragraph, he expressed the hope that Baylor would not continue to manufacture ministers and Magdalens. For this he was twice mobbed, and it is claimed eventually murdered.