Murder of Mary and Heine Brown
In a letter written by Tod Fitzgerald of East Bernard to Sister Annie C. Hess of Palatine Bridge, N.Y.
May 24, 1888
This page transcribed by Janet Barrett Hobizal May 2007,|
From a photo copy found at the Wharton County Historical Museum
The envelope which this letter was sent in has the return label of
“If not called for in 10 days return to
Tod FitzgeraldPRECINCT NO. 4
Wharton County, Texas”
I have copied this letter exactly as it is written
I am going to write you some sad news something more horrible than you have any idea of Mary and her son Mayo as we used to call him were horribly murdered on Wednesday Dec 7th. Tim Gallihar murdered them at 8 o’clock at night he brought another man with him to help him we have not found out for certain who the other man was yet but we think we will before next ?hour? they had handkerchiefs over their faces their was a family of negroes living on the place whith whom she was acquainted one of them called her to the door and as soon as she opened it Tim Galliher grabbed her and the other man grabbed Hoimi they had a hard fight in the house. They never could have taken them out but he told the negroes if they did not take hold and help them he would kill the last gd.d one of them they had six shooters in their hands the negros were afraid of them so they took hold to help Galliher and the other murderer get them out of their house Mrs. B bit old Tim Galliher on the arm she had a splendid set of false teeth they beat her over the head with their pistols till she lost her teeth. The other man beat Hime over the head till one of his eyes was nearly out they then tied their hands behind their back. Tied Heime on a horse and beat and kicked her with their spurs till they got them about two miles from home when they untied their hands Heime started to run they shot him in the legs twice in the head when found ?Susise? his hans clasped together lying on his face poor Heime it makes my heart-ache to think of him. They shot Mary twice one under her right- eye one in the back of the head and then cut her throat in dragging her she lost her over skirt the rest of her clothes were nearly all torn off her she held a piece of her white apron in her hand covered with blood. They held the pistol so close when they shot her that her face was all powder burned. They were murdered Wednesday night and we could not find them till Friday just about four o’clock in the afternoon. The whole country was up in arms such a time was never known in this country I guess there was at least – one hundred men armed to the teeth who went to hunt Mary and Hime. They said they would hang the men who did the deed if they could find them they sent to Wharton for the Sheriff he went to Eagle Lake and arrested Tim Galliher they took him to jail where he stayed he stole a great many cattle after the war at the time cattle were at their highest price he sold them and made a lot of money I guess he stole about 500 head from Mary one time and another he then took his money and bought land when it was very cheap land went up to an enormous price this made him very rich. He was said to be worth 1,75,000 he thinks he is rich and can do as he pleases murder rob or do ant thing else Now I suppose you will want to know what he murdered Hime and Mary for if you remember we went to his house to an infare when you were in Tex Mary’s place joins Tim Gallihers Mary was gone about three or four years teaching school land went up so that she knew she could make more off her land while she was gone Tim Gallihar put up wire fence on a good deal of it he tried to claim it but had never bought it of anyone she moved back on her own place the the 1 of Dec and on the 7 she was killed. The neighbors say that her place was worth twenty thousand dollars. He thought that he would kill her and Hime and it would not he found outwe all know who it was As soon as Mary and Hime were buried I went to Columbus and hired a lawyer to prosecute old Gallihar after buying coffins and having them decently buried I was out about three hundred dollars which I will get back when the estate is settled up. Now Annie if you want to hire a lawyer or do anything in this matter we need not do anything unless we want to do so. For my own part of it takes every bit of her estate I will try to have Tim Galliher I will give it to the lawyers to hang him the reason of this is he has so much money I am afraid he will try to leave no stone unturned to hang him he is out of jail on a 25,000 dollar bond now court will ____ next April again this is the largest bond even given in the county. I did not think they would allow this scoundrel bond but money will do anything. The neighbors have called on the governor for help. Old Galliher wanted to prove amiability by saying that he stayed that night 8 miles from there he left there ____ _____ to murder and went back and staid at a place 8 miles distant. I have had so much sorrow and trouble two coffins in my house at once that I could not write before I was 2 weeks in Wharton at the preliminary trial the papers were full of the murder wanteto send you one but had to much to do of late. Jennie wants to know if Willie can play on his feet yet – I promised to ___ her _____ but did not do so far I have had a great deal of trouble give my regrets to them if you see them.