Special to the News
Sherman, Texas, April 6-- Startled by a fearful stench somewhere about his place of business at the intersection of Lamar and Walnut streets this afternoon. Dr. D.A. Simmons began an investigation and located it in a rear room on the east side of the main hallway, second floor.
A police alarm turned in at once called Chief of Police Blain and Patrolman Charles May.
Dr. Simmons could not recall who had rented the room of him, and the door, which was found locked, was at once forced open by the officers.
A fearful sight met their gaze. Prone upon his back in the northeast corner of the room lay the dead and rapidly decomposing body of a man. The sock had been removed from one foot and a pair of pants, drawers, and undershirt still worn.
There was clothing and other personal effects scattered about the room, which was in a fearfully confused condition.
Several bills and quite a lof of silver money was found strewn about-- about one hundred dollars was found by the officers.
The undertaker and Coroner were at once summoned.
Letters found on the body and about the room are addressed to both "Duncan" and "Slavens," but the latest paper of all is a reciept given by Dr. D.A. Simmons to J.P.R. Slavens, March 3, for two months' room rent.
Dr. Simmons of this transaction: "In the body's condition it is impossible for me to say that the dead man is the one to whom I gave the receipt, but I remember that the party to who I gave the receipt said that he was employed on the St. Louis and San Francisco Railway and wanted a room by himself. I don't remember to have seen him since that time. I did not have a very extended conversation with his at the time."
The body was viwed by Justice Towers, acting Coroner, and was then taken to the morgue.
Dallas (Texas) Morning News, April 7, 1904.
Note: The Galveston (Texas) Daily News, April 7, 1904, had the exact same story, with the following addition:
late this evening it was learned at the post office that J.P. Slavens had a lock box at the post office and that a letter was in it that had reached Sherman March 19. It proved to be from a patent medicine house and contained sample pills.
Tonight H.H. McKinstry, who roomed next door to where the body was found, said that he noticed the stench last night.