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R.D. Morgan

Great story and research effort concerning the nearly forgotten George Hassell case.

Susan

Great story, thank you.

In the interest of giving names to the victims, I did a little more research. George J. Hassell brought his new wife and former sister-in-law, Susie, and her children from Blair, Ok to Farwell, TX after the death of George's brother, Thomas V. Hassell.

In 1920, Susie and Thomas are listed in the Hobart, Kiowa, Oklahoma Census records. Susie is listed as Lucy, but the record clearly shows her name as Susy. The children named are Nora (not one of those killed by George), Alten (the eldest step-son/nephew shot by George), Virgil, Maddie, Russell, and David.

Sheriff Jerry Hicks has submitted the cemetery records for Susie and her children - http://www.cemeteries-of-tx.com/Wtx/Parmer/Olivet.html - They are buried in Olivet Cemetery, Farwell, Parmer Co., TX, in a common grave.

The names of Susie's children who were murdered by George are: Alton (age 21), Virgil (age 15), Maudie (age 13), Russell (age 11), David (age 7), Johnnie (barely age 6), Nannie Martha (age 4), and baby Samuel (age 22 months).

MICKEY hASSELL

Would be interested in any more information on George Hasell or relatives
There is a number of relatives in canada and the USA Which came from England
in the very late 18oo,s and early 1900,s There was two sides to this familly
that came from England. There was a slaying in England with a butcher kife
before one was evicted from England with money to buy land in the USA namely
Wyoming area. Thousnds of acres wer conviscated by the government after 1940
Some of this land was redistributed to other areas.

Mitchel Roth

I'm working on book on this case. I am a criminology professor and historian and ahd a relative of Hassell as student number of years ago. He gave me some family papers.

Lois Damron

My father served on the jury that convicted George Hassell. Thank goodness I didn't learn of the whole thing until I was in my 50's. As gory as it was, I would have had nightmares. My father told me some of the details that came out in the trial.

Stacy

Clovis, New Mexico is about 10 miles West of Farwell, Texas. George Hassell's whole confession was printed in the Clovis News Journal on December 30th 1926. He gives a very detailed account of the murders. He said he used a ball pean hammer, an axe, and a rifle. He strangled the younger children. He used the hammer on his wife and Maudie before he strangled them. He used the axe and shotgun on Virgil and Russell before he strangled them. He says he chased Russell around the house to kill him after he killed all the others. Afterwards, he dragged their bodies outside and dumped them in an "unused" storm cellar. When Alton got a home a few days later, he and George had supper together. George shot Alton at around 4 AM while he slept. The confession is truly disturbing.

Leslie Cargile

I'm from Farwell, TX. When I was in 8th grade, my science class took a trip out to the old cemetery, about 5 miles outside of town. The Hassell graves were the first ones looked at, and it seemed so small. That was the first thought that came to my head.
I still get chills whenever I read about or hear the story of what happened 82 years ago in a town with only a blinking yellow light.

carole gill

God! what a case. I wish we could know what psychiatrists thought at the time or now--Having said that, I am in total agreement that this man had to be executed, he was sane enough to carry out the murders and to bury them. There is, as I understand it, a certain percentage of the population that are psychopathic. Some of these people go on to murder but others don't and live law abiding lives. But then occasionally, there are these "super psychopaths" such as this man--who make us question our definition of evil and at the same time--perhaps look over our shoulders and wonder what's going on in the heads of that percentage of people who are so different from the rest of us.

K. C. Robertson

I was told this story long ago by my Mother. My Grandfather Colby Stovall was a distant cousin of George Hassell. He was a very pious religious man and lived not far from Huntsville. He visited Hassell and studied the Bible with him while he was awaiting execution so that he was ready to "meet his maker". I always thought this was an interesting commentary on peoples personal religion.

Nnamdi Azikiwe

Thank you for this article.

Sometimes it seems as though the types of crime which we see committed now are a new phenomenon. Then I read stories like that of "The Man who Deserved To Fry."

I hope that some day, soon, children and other innocents no longer suffer such experiences.

Katrena Leininger

I am from Farwell, Texas. I went to the grave sight several times as a kid. Are you very sure it was Hassell? I remember Haskell.

It was a story we hear and told over and over. In high school, we would go out to an old abandoned house that everyone said was the "Haskell's" old place. Also, in the story I'm familiar with...he did not bury them, but put them all in the basement. Then he had a "moving" sale and told all the people the family went to California ahead of him. It was said that someone was looking at a trunk to buy and put the lid down and saw blood splatter on the wall. That's when the authorities were called and they found the whole family in the basement.

Brian Evans

Thank you for your article. If anymore info turns up it would be appreciated. My Grandmother, Wanda M. Evans (Watson) was related to this man but would not talk about him (understandable). I did visit the grave site in Farwell a couple of years ago and took pictures for my Dad. If I come up with more I will send it to you.

Erica C.

My family is related to the mother and children that were murdered. Recently we came upon a account in the family records of this story. We wanted to clarify some information, and even give more information.

George Hassell murdered Susan Ferguson who had been married to his brother, Tom Hassell. The story states that Tom died from injuries by being kicked by a mule. After Tom died, George and Susan married three months later, after George came to help with the farm. George had the older boys dig a cellar. When the murder occured, the cellar was unfinished and the bodies were put inside the hole and covered it was covered with dirt. During a sale of some of the property, events led to the discovery of the bodies and George's arrest.

Erica C.

One more thing.
A complete account of the murders was pulished by the Amarillo Daily News on October 2nd-5th of 1978.

Brandi

His 6th wife was Susan (Susie) Ferguson Hassell. You can find her listed on the roll of the Olivet Cemetery along with her children. They do have a mistake and have her listed as killed by her step father. But if you will notice there are 9 Hassells listed as having been killed by the step father. We know the nine were 1 wife and 8 kids. Also the birthdate of Susie suggests she was the mother and not a child.
http://www.cemeteries-of-tx.com/Wtx/Parmer/cemetery/Olivet.html I am a distant relative in the Ferguson family line.

Brandi

Erica, seems we could be related. The first I heard of this story was at a family reunion while searching through family history documents. My grandfather was James Lee Ferguson. Son of Pinkney Ferguson.

Brandi

Katrena, it is Hassell and can be seen on the headstones as well as in the State of Texas Execution Records.

Robin Clews

Hi

My name is Robin Clews and I would be interested to learn what prompted historian Laura James to use my family name for this blog.

The word association with our name may be fairly obvious but the Clews associated which made British legal history in the mid 1800's may not be. The case was known as the murder in the Red Barn.
Please let me know if you are interested in further information, I currently live in Queensland Australia.

Tom Brady, Cheshire, CT

My mother was born in Jacksboro, TX (Jack County) in 1924, and moved to Portales, NM, and then Clovis when she was about 10 years old. She eventually married my father (WWII) and moved to Long Island where my father was from. She and her sister used to sing a song about the Farwell massacre. A few of the lines went like this:
"He buried them in the cellar,
with Maudie on the right side...". I can get the entire song if anyone's interested. I have to contact some relatives. TB from CT

Brandi

Tom-
I would be interested to know the song.

Misty Price

I found out that Susan Hassell, George Hassell last wife had one more adult child that wasn't killed! She was at the trial with her grandparents and 4 uncles. Her name was Mrs. Nora Guidry.

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