[WATERHOUSE, Richard E.]: SLAUGHTER, R.F.
[Autograph Document, Signed, Regarding Testimony in the Murder Case of Richard E. Waterhouse of San Augustine, Texas].
[San Augustine, TX: c. 1863]. pp. Folio sheets. Three horizontal folds, some soiling and staining.
Murder in Texas during the Civil War.
A detailed, closely-written report concerning the testimony of three suspects in the murder of Richard E. Waterhouse in San Augustine, Texas in 1863. Waterhouse was a Seminole War and Mexican-American War veteran who ascended to the rank of colonel in Tennessee before moving his family to East Texas in 1849, where he opened a general store and speculated in real estate. In 1859, Waterhouse was elected to the Texas State Legislature as the representative from San Augustine County. He was one of the wealthy citizens of the town, a fact that seemed to be widely known, and ultimately fatal for the colonel. On the night of Dec. 31, 1863, his store was robbed and Waterhouse was murdered after sustaining a sharp blow to the head from a "hand axe or hatchet." This document is a detailed summation of the events surrounding the robbery and murder of Colonel Waterhouse, naming the suspects, Malvin Houston, H.M. Kinsey, and William M. Everett, and consisting of testimony given by the men, as well as Everett's wife, who was implicated in the crime alongside her husband. It was written by an R.F. Slaughter, presumably an official with the Committee of Safety for San Augustine County, before whom the suspects appeared and gave statements which appear in summary form here. The suspects' testimony includes motives for the killing, namely that Waterhouse was thought to have as much as $100,000 in cash in his store. Kinsey is reported to have said that Waterhouse earned the money "by extortion, & swindling the community." Ultimately, the thieves got away with about $15,000, which they divided amongst themselves before being apprehended. Of course, the responsibility for the murder of Waterhouse is unclear from the testimony, as Everett blames Houston, then Houston blames Everett, a classic example of honor among thieves. As far as the public record is concerned, the murder of Waterhouse remains unsolved, though in the closing line of this document, it is written that the Committee of Safety "discharged Kinsey by a very close vote!" The question remains whether Houston or Everett was responsible for the murder of Colonel Waterhouse, or if it was in fact Kinsey, as both Houston and Everett initially testified. A fascinating legal document from an ultimately unsolved East Texas murder case.
George Louis Crocket, Two Centuries in East Texas (Dallas: Southwest Press, 1932).