Witt Genealogy
The Decendents of Heinrich Witt and Caroline Meister
"Tony Witt"




Kept Watch Over the Body, and one remains With Him at the Undertaker's.

Houston, Tex., Jan 25. -- Three and a half miles beyond the city limits, in a field bordering on the Montgomery road, the dead body of an unknown white lad was discovered late this afternoon. Through and through his body was the track of a full charge from a 12-bore shotgun. Death had ensued fully 12 hours before the lad was found. Nothing on his person gave a clew (sic) to his identity and as yet nothing, not even his name, has been discovered. Standing over the body when it was found were three faithful dogs. Alternately they licked the boy's face and whined to wake him from the long sleep. One of them could not be driven away and curled up on the dead breast of his master. Nothing could induce him to leave the body, and now he is standing guard at the entrance to the room in Westheimer's undertaking establishment, where the boy is lying. He was almost famished but could scarcely be induced to eat or drink a mouthful.
There was nothing about the place of death to lead to a conclusion as to how the accident, if accident it was, occurred. The gun that did the terrible work was gone and could not be found. The constant running about of the dogs had obliterated all traces of footprints. There was simply the body, one foot elivated over a strand of a barbwire fence, stretched out on the back on the ground. The charge of shot had entered in the back, slightly to the right, penetrated up, entirely through the body, and coming out between the collar bones, tending toward the left, had torn the side of the face away. The body presented a ghastly appearance. A sack of tobacco, a clipping from a daily paper contained an account of the release of some Italians charged with murder and a blood soaked note that cannot be fully deciphered was found in his pocket. The note reads: "Walter, is you going to play (or place) ---wllies." No signature is attached to the paper.
The boy is of average size for one of 11 or 12 years of age, with a fair skin, but hair that approaches black in color. He was well dressed, with a light colored felt hat, dark knee trousers and black stockings. The dogs with him were all finely bred pointers, white with tan mottlings.
The discovery was first made about 3:30 o'clock, but the body was not brought to the city until near 6. The supposition is that the lad was accidentalyy shot and killed by someone who, through fear of the consequences, has covered up his trail. The fact that the wound was in the back and that no gun could be found in the neighborhood lends strength to the theory advanced.
Later - The identity of the lad was discovered late this evening. He is Tony Witt. Some time ago he left his home at 1706 Alamo Street and has not been heard from since. The news of the find resulted in the examination that completed one gap in the story.

The following appeared 26 January 1902


Was pulling gun through a wire fence when it exploded.
Three faithful dogs kept vigil until body was discovered-no gun was found. Early yesterday morning young Tony Witt, 13 years of age, who is the youngest of six brothers, left the home of his widowed mother, Mrs. M. Witt, who resides at 1706 Alamo street, with a gun and three hunting dogs, for a day's hunt.

Yesterday afternoon as Mr. Jesse Sherman was going out to look after the building of a fence some distance off Montgomery avenue and near Little White Oak bayou, about three miles from the city, he discovered a young boy lying alongside a wire fence with one of his legs caught through the wire and the body resting upon the ground. He saw that the boy was dead and that he had been shot. Three pointer dogs seemed to be keeping watch over the body. There was no gun to be found, but Mr. Sherman, after a cursory examination, came to town and reported the circumstance to Justice Hill, who turned the case over to Undertaker Westheimer, who sent out his dead wagon to bring the remains to the city. When the wagon reached the scene the body was found as had been described by Mr. Sherman and the three dogs were still keeping watch. At the approach of the wagon, and upon the attempt to move the body, two of the dogs, the younger ones, ran away, but the old dog remained as though faithful to his charge and while he made no attempt to interfere with the removal of the body of his young master, he refused to leave it, and after the corpse was loaded into the dead wagon the faithful dog jumped in after it and rode with the body to the undertaking establishment, where it remained until taken away by members of the family, who came to identify the body.
An examination of the body by Justice Hill and the location of the wound established the theory that young Witt was accidentally shot and instantly killed while attempting to get through or over the wire fence with his gun. The wound of entrance was under the right arm pit, a little to the rear of the center. The load passed through the body, making the exit through the upper left breast, tearing through the left side of the head just in front of the ear and passing out through the rim of the hat. The wound must have produced instant death, and from the course of it, it was evident the unfortunate lad was pulling his gun up by the muzzle when it was discharged.
Some vandal had evidently stolen the gun, as it was not found and the jacket pockets of the youth were turned inside out. This circumstance at first suggested the theory of murder and robbery, but the surrounding conditions and the character of the wound dissipated this theory and established the more plausable one that the gun had been stolen by some one passing after the boy had been killed.
There was nothing found upon the body to identify the deceased, but a loaded shell found in one of his pockets indicated that he had been killed with a 12-gauge gun.
It was several hours after the body had been taken to the undertaking establishment that it was identified by members of the family. The funeral will not take place until 4 o'clock tomorrow afternoon, awaiting the arrival of one of the brothers from Wharton.



Believed to be the one chased by bloodhounds.


Additional Facts That Tend to This Theory-He Quarreled With a Colored Boy and the Latter Threatened Him.

Information reached the Sherriff's office this morning that a Negro suffering from a gunshot wound made his appearance at Davis' quarters, in the suburbs of the Fifth ward, last night and is being cared for there. This afternoon an investigation is under way.
It is surmised that this is the Negro whom Sheriff Anderson and Deputies Parker and Wynne chased with bloodhounds from his home, back of the Hollywood cemetery, last Tuesday. As the Negro ran with all speed through the rain Deputy Sheriff Wynne fired three shots at him with his trusty forty-one. The officer held the gun in both hands and says that he pulled down a clear bead each time. With one of the shots the Negro threw up his left hand and leaped sidewise, as though struck. The heavy rain then falling would have washed away any bloody trail that might have been left behind.
The Negro was Eph Graves, and it is surmised that he is the bullet wounded coon who appeared at the Negro settlement last night, as mentioned. Graves is only out of the penitentiary a few months, where he served a sentence of five years. He was a relative of Pate Burton, alias Pink Hines, who was hung in Houston two years ago by Sheriff Anderson.
He is wanted on suspicion in connection with the killing of Tony Witt, the young white boy who was found dead with his body half through a barb wire fence last Saturday evening. The boy had been hunting by himself, and when found his body had been robbed of valuables, gun taken and also a bunch of birds he had killed.
The information has been secured that the boy had had trouble with a young colored man a few days previous. Also he had met him on a bridge just as he was starting out on the hunt. Words had passed between them and the Negro remarked: "Go ahead you white ----------, I'll follow you and fix you." Deputy James Wynne, who has been working closely on the case, is convinced beyond doubt that young Witt was foully murdered by the Negro with whom he quarreled and who threatened to follow him and "fix" him. Officer Wynne's theory is that the Negro kept his word. He came suddenly on the young huntsman and that the quarrel was renewed; that the Negro snatched the gun from Witt's hand and that Witt started to run, or rather crawl through the barb wire fence, when he was fired on. He further is of the opinion that the shot could hardly have been accidentally received, since it would have taken extraordinary awkwardness and a most unusual position for the gun to have been prematurely discharged to produce the results. He is convinced that the tragedy was murder, and under such convictions he, and in fact the other members of the sheriff's department, will earnestly endevor to clear up the mystery.

From the diary of Bernard J. Witt (29):
"Tony, my brother found dead, shot through his body, no gun found. Sat. Jan 25, 1902 age 13 yrs, 11 mo & 3 days. Buried Mon. Jan 27, 1902." - submitted by Carl Witt