GALVESTON DAILY NEWS, SATURDAY, MARCH 31, 1894: "THREE WERE HANGED -- Manning Davis, Edward Gonzales and James Upkins at Paris, Tex. -- Gonzales to the Last Persisted in Declaring His Innocence -- All Died Quickly. The Details.
Paris, Tex., March 30. --The curtain has fallen. Manning Davis, Edward Gonzales and Jamus Upkins have entered intc the mysteries of the unknown, to be judged by the tribune which never errs. At 11:l5 o'clock today, all that was mortal of the three men, convicted by their peers under the forms of the human law, of crimes rarely equaled and never excelled in atrocity so far us the records of criminal history of Texas disclose, dropped through the trap.
The space around the jail yard, within which the scaffold was erected was overrun early in the morning, the crowd increasing as the hour of 11 o'clock approached.
Soon after 10 o'clock Rev. G. M. Fortune, pastor of the First Baptist church and Elder G. H. Faris, pastor of the First Christian church, and Dr. B. J. Baldwin, the spiritual advisers of the doomed men, went to the death cell and talked with them long and earnestly.
Gonzales was warned that his case was hopeless and that death would soon come, and if he was guilty of the crime he should admit it. He said he was innocent.
Shortly before 11 o'clock United States Marshal J. S. Williams, with a posse of deputies, entered the jail and proceeded to read the death warrants. The warrant was first read to Gonzales, next to Davis, and then to Upkins. Each at the conclusion of the reading expressed in most feeling terms their gratitude to the marshal and his aids for the consideration they had received at their hands.
Before being taken out Gonzales uttered a loud and pathetic prayer and eloquently protested his innocence, declaring that, forgiving the man whose deed has brought him to the scaffold, he took the crime on his body and not on his soul.
The reading of the warrants occupied about fifteen minutes. Before taking the condemned men to the place of execution, Marshal Williams offered each a toddy of whisky, which was eagerly accepted by Gonzales and Davis and politely declined by Upkins.
The march to the scaffold then began, with Deputies George H. Oglesby und J. C. Henderson supporting Davis, W. E. Browne and ?. M. Vaden supporting Upkins, and R. ?. McAfee and M. J. Fryar supporting Gonzales. Marshal Williams, followed by the condemned and their supporters, then mounted the scaffold, followed in turn by the Revs. Drs. Fortune, Farls and Baldwin.
The condemned were then placed on the trap and Mr. Faris led in a most feeling prayer. Dr. Fortune followed in a prayer which was responded to at intervals by Gonzales and Upkins, all joining in the Lord's Prayer. A picked choir, led hy Mr. Reginald, who led at the Sam Jones meetings last October, then sang most feelingly "With My Soul."
Mr. Fortune then made a statement on behalf of the condemned, thanking the officers and jail authorities for the kindness they had received at their hands and on behalf of Gonzales denying his guilt, but accepting his fate with full confidence in the Lord.
Elder Faris then made a talk. He said that Marshal Williams and all the officers had acted in the most humane manner.
The choir then sang "Jesus, Lover of My Soul," which was joined in by all the doomed men. Another, "They Never Say Good-By in Heaven," followed, and after a last handshake the choir and friends of the men descended from the scaffold.
Upkins then advanced to the edge of the scaffold with his attendants and addressed the large crowd gathered inside and outside the yard nnd crowding the doors, windows and roofs of the courthouse. His speech was simply an appeal to the people to profit by his example and rely upon religion. He said to the negroes who were gathered through the bars in sight of him: 'Be of good cheer. All is well with me.' All were bidden a final farewell, with the statement that in a few moments he would be in the presence of the great throne that shone brighter than 10,000 suns.
Gonzales then made a short speech, again vigorously declaring his innocence. He said in conclusion: "I die with no malice in my heart for anyone. I forgive all who have done me wrong. God bless all.'
Davis, who was nearly in a state of collaps, declined to speak. The condemned were then placed in position on the trap, Upkins between Gonzales and Davis, their arms and legs pinioned, the black caps adjusted, and at 5 minutes before 12 the trap was sprung and the bodies shot downward like a flash, the necks of each being broken by the fall. Death in each case was instantaneous, though the muscular action which followed the fall was more pronounced in the bodies of Davis and Upkins than in the body of Gonzales, the latter showing no movement at all, though he was the last to be lowered by the orders of attending physicians.
After the laps of twenty minutes the bodies were lowered into the coffins.
Davis mounted the scaffold in little less than a state of utter collapse, dependent altogether upon the support of his attendants. His physical control did not return to him except of momentary intervals up to the time he went through the trap.
Gonzales met death with the stoicism of the typical Mexican.
The negro Upkins passed to his doom with the utmost self control and unconcern except as to his manifest interest in his spiritual condition, in which he declared and professed happiness. His gameness and courage challenged the admiration of every beholder and was the subject of general remark.
The men sang and prayed and exhorted with each other until past midnight. At 12:20 Gonzales and Upkins were sleeping soundly. Davis sat wrapped in thought, occasionally pacing up and down his cell until 3 o'clock a. m. He lay down and went to sleep.
They arose at daylight, and when their breakfast was taken to them Davis and Gonzales ate as heartily as usual. Upkins only drank some coffee. They all appeared in good spirits and seemed refreshed by their night's sleep and morning meal.
Jim Upkins' mother, who was telegraphed to last night, arrived at the jail at 10:30 and was taken to his cell at once. There was a quiver in his voice as he spoke to her, but she seemed unmoved. He said: 'Don't weep for me, mother.'
'I won't, Jim,' was the calm reply.
They talked for awhile. As she went to leave he broke down and cried as he shook her hand. She displayed no emotion whatever.
Davis' wife was at the jail this morning almost frantic with grief. His body was turned over to her.
Upkins' body was buried in the negro cemetery here, and that of Gonzales in the potter's field.
While it was intended, and every effort was made, to have the execution as private as possible, hundreds viewed it besides those who had tickets. They climbed to the top of the courthouse wall and looked on from a distance.
Only two legal executions took place in Lamar county prior to these of to-day.
The telegram of Judge Bryant to Attorney Olney met with general approval. People, as a rule, are of the opinion that justice was meted out.
Mannon Davis was born in Lawrence county, Tenn., November 15, 1863. In 1881 he moved to Johnson county, Tex., where he lived for severn years. while residing in that county he was married to Miss Celia Tatum, by whom he has four children, three girls and one boy. In 1887 he went to Sevier county, Ark., and remained there until 1890, when he moved to Eagle county, Choctaw nation, and lived there until he killed John Roden. Davis' father and mother and wife and children live near Milton, in the southern portion of this county. Davis followed farming, and says he was never involved in trouble of any kind before. Davis after his incarceration professed religion and became a member of the Christian church. He was baptized by Elder Faris in the jail yard in January last in the presence of about thiry officers and citizens.
The crime for which Mannon Davis yielded up his life was for the murder of John Roden in Eagle county, Choctaw nation, December 26, 1891. Davis and Roden had been living in the same house. About dark Davis went to the place. Roden was on the gallery salting meat. When Davis went up he accosted Roden saing he understood he was carrying a pistol for him. This Roden denied. Davis entered the house and began quarreling with Roden, and then set upon him with a knife and stabbed him in the eye. Roden fell over on a bed when Davis stabbed him in the breast, causing instant death. While her husband was being slain Mrs. Roden fell upon her knees and implored Davis not to murder her husband. She was in a delicate condition, and the excitement caused her to be confined before morning.
After the stabbing Davis escaped, and his whereabouts were not learned of by the officers of the federal court for nearly a month. Davis was arrested seven miles south of Ultima Thule, in Sevier county, Ark., by Deputy Sheriff Dollarhide and posse after an exciting and desperate battle on the morning of December 27, during which Davis' leg was shattered with a Winchester ball. Dollarhide was searching for Henry T. Alford who escaped from the Arkansas penitentiary. On the night preceding the battle Sheriff Dollarhide and five men surrounded the house. Mannon Davis had also reached there sometime during the night, although it was twenty miles from Eagleton, I. T., the scene of the killing of Roden.
When daylight came the inmates of Bob Alford's home, which nestled in the mountains, started out. Henry Alford and Mannon Davis came out at the back door, near which Dollarhide and a posseman were on guard. A fight began. Davis was shot down, and Alford, after running to the house, fell while trying to climb in at the window. When the officers reached them Alford was almost dead and Davis was very willing to surrender. After his arrest Davis charged that Roden had insulted his wife and gave that as his excuse for killing him.
Miller Davis, a brother of Mannon, had a grudge against Dollarhide for wounding and arresting Mannon and planned revenge. A few months later Dollarhide went to a disreputable resort on business. Miller Davis was there and persuaded Dollarhide to take a drink of liquor which he had drugged. The officer was soon stupefied and went out on a back gallery and went to sleep. While he slept Miller Davis murdered him. For this crime he was tried, convicted and hanged at Lockesburg, Sevier county, Ark., November, 1893.
EDUARDO RAY GONZALES
Eduardo Ray Gonzales was born in Victoria, Tamaulipas, Mexico October 13, 1867. He left Mexico about eleven years ago and came to Brownsville, Tex., aud lived there for some time, but on account of continued bad health he removed to San Antonio. He went to the Indian territory two years ago. Gonzales at various times pursued the occupation of a stockman, carpenter and barber. He was raised a Catholic, but after coming to Texas he got to attending Sunday school and hearing Protestants preach and renounced the Catholic faith. In 1892 he joined the Baptist church at Caddo, I. T. and was baptized by Rev. Mr. Hogg. John Daniels, the man whom he murdered belonged to the same church. His father died about fifteen years ago, but his mother is still living. Gonzales was about medium height, rather low forehead and a blemish in his right eye that gave him a peculiar appearance. The killing of Daniels is the only crime Gonzales says he was ever charged with.
Gonzales was executed for the murder of John Daniels near Caddo, I. T., on the night of May 10, 1893. The murder wae a most deliberate and cold-blooded affair. Daniels was teaching a singing school; and while on the floor leading his class he was fired on through the door, which was slightly ajar. A bullet from a 32-caliber Winchester penerated his brain and killed him instantly. Deputy Marshal Andy Fryar was notified and went to work on the case, and in a few hours had Gonzales under arrest. The case was one of circumstantial evidence. Gonzales had been attending Daniels' singing school, but his presence was distasteful to the ladies and Daniels forbade him admittance. This angered the Mexican and he made threats against Daniels. Gonzales was boarding at a house a mile or two away. There was a 32-caliber target gun at the place. Tracks led from there to the school house and back. About 100 yards from the school house the party making the tracks stopped, sat down by the road and pulled off his shoes. There was a peculiar barefoot track from that point up to the door. The big toe of the right foot turned out. Gonzales' right big toe turned out, and the tracks--both shoe and barefoot--corresponded with his. It was found that the target gun at the house had been discharged a short time before. Other minor incidents and details completed the testimony. The grand jury returned a bill of indictment on June 3, 1893. He was tried November 28, 1893. The jury deliberated only a short time when a verdict of guilty was returned.
James Upkins was born at Preston Bend, in Grayson county, Texas, in 1867, but was raised in Denison. He was a bootblack when a boy. When he grew up he worked about the yards of the Missouri, Kansas and Texas railway. He married four years ago and moved to Ardmore, I. T., in 1891. He was employed there carrying brick and mortar. When a boy he used to have a good many fights, but only paid one fine in his life. Upkins was a member of the Baptist church and was baptized by Sin-Killer Griffin three years ago. He was a coal-black negro with a smooth sensual face and was not gifted with intelligence. His wife lives in Honey Grove and his mother in Denison.
The crime for which Upkins was hanged was almost as revolting as that of Henry Smith, who was burned at the stake. On September 6, 1893, during the absence of his wife from home, he sent his 9-year-old stepson from home upon some pretext and during the boy's absence Mary Wood, his 6-year-old stepdaughter was criminally assaulted. The negroes of Ardmore were greatly incensed over the outrage and made a determined effort to lynch him. They would doubtless have succeeded, but for the prompt and vigorous action of the United States commissioner, who made the negroes a speech, warning them of the consequences in case they took Upkins out of the hands of the officers of the law and carried out their purpose."
Special thanks to Jeff Kemp for designing the Lamar County banner.