SHOOT OUT AT PLEASANT VALLEY CHURCH
June, 1897- An unusually large congregation assembled at the Pleasant Valley church, five miles east of Garland, yesterday forenoon to hear the Rev. Dr. Patterson, of Ellis county, preach. The preliminary service of song and prayer was over, and the preacher was about to announce his text, and the men and boys on the outside were throwing away their quids of tobacco and cigarette stubs and getting ready to go inside, when Augustus A. Garrison appeared in front of the church, and walking up to Frank Jones, said: “Now, Damn you, I’ve got you,” and shot him dead.
Tom Jones, brother to Frank, who was close by, pulled a pistol, whereupon Garrison proceeded to shoot at him, the second shot from Garrison’s pistol shattering Jones’ left thigh bone, felling him to the ground. But Jones, raising himself on his elbow, continued to shoot, but it was not until the sixth shot he got Garrison. The bullet entered near Garrison’s heart and ranged upward, killing him instantly.
The congregation stampeded in the wildest fashion. The women screamed and fainted, children were run over and trampled upon, excited men rushed hither and thither and horses and mules broke loose and ran away, tearing up vehicles, and the utmost confusion reigned.
Garrison’s brother got hold of his dead kinsmen’s pistol, and Will Jones, a brother to Frank and Tom, appeared on the scene with a big 45 gun, and there would undoubtedly have been additional bloodshed had not neighbors interposed and kept the men apart.
Tom Jones, in a dying condition, was removed to his home. The surgeons announced that the bone of the left thigh was shattered for a distance of six inches and that the patient was dangerously wounded, and his condition rendered still more critical by the great loss of blood.
of the dead were left as they fell until Justice Swim, of Garland, could come out and view them, then they were removed to their respective homes, and prepared for interment.
Augustus A. Garrison was 25 years old, and the son of Widow Garrison. There are three surviving brothers and several sisters. Frank Jones was 20 years old and Tom, 16. The latter were sons of Jesse Jones, who lived a mile from the church and half a mile from Widow Garrison, both families highly respectable and well-to-do. They have lived neighbors for years. The children grew up together, attending the same school and same Sunday school from the time they were carried to church as sleeping infants until yesterday.
The boys in both families were sober and industrious; they lived in a local option precinct, and whisky had nothing to do with the tragedy. (Pleasant Valley has always been dry.)
Frank Jones had seduced, or was charged with having seduced Garrison’s sister, the young lady giving birth to a child last spring. Augustus Garrison told young Jones at the time that if he did not repair the wrong by marring the girl, he would kill him.
In order to avoid a collision, Jones left the neighborhood and did not return until last Saturday. Sunday morning, he went over to the church, as he had been in the habit of doing all his life. He was probably expecting trouble, as he had a six-shooter on him, but did not get to use it, as Garrison shot him three times and killed him before he could pull it.
The funeral of Garrison took place this forenoon and that of Frank Jones will occur this afternoon, both from the same church and to the same cemetery near the church. The people in the neighborhood turning out on both occasions and extending their sympathies and condolence to both stricken families.
Constable C. P. Bane of Garland, who was in the city, said to a Times Herald reporter:
“Frank Jones, who was shot three times by Gus Garrison, did not make an attempt to pull his pistol, and it would have done him no good if he had, as it would not work. It was a fine pistol, but it had become so rusty that it could not be cocked. It was a 38-caliber Winchester Colt, and had only two loads in it.
“Garrison and Tom Jones did their shooting at very close range, but Tom did very poor shooting. Garrison shot him down and was standing nearly over him and would, undoubtedly, have killed him the next shot, had not Tom got in a vital shot, which made him drop his pistol, which he was pointing, and in the act of shooting, stagger and fall.
“Jones quickly reloaded his pistol after he got Garrison with the last cartridge in it. Garrison’s brother ran up and picked up the pistol Gus had dropped and a third Jones brother put in an appearance with a pistol in his hand, but the people stopped further bloodshed.
“There was one cartridge left in Garrison’s pistol and he had another pistol he had not used. Garrison fired five shots, and Tom Jones six. “Two of Tom Jones’ bullets lodged in the church door, which the congregation had fortunately closed. Most of the people in the church jumped out of the windows. “Miss Garrison, who was the cause of the trouble, is a very young girl, not over fifteen years old.”
Note: “Widow Garrison” was Nancy Hannah Elvirie Poovey Garrison. Pleasant Valley is located about 5 miles east of Garland.
Photo is from painting that belonged to Jack McClain, Pleasant Valley. Article from Dallas Times Herald.