Clayton Constable Herbert Haynes was killed while assisting railroad police who were attempting to detain a gang of tramps on a freight train on a sweltering August night in 1900. Just after midnight the 45-year old officer responded to a call to aid P. W. & B. detectives Ralph Hutchins, J. D. Wright and George Reed as a south bound freight passing through Clayton at 12:20 a.m. was infested with tramps. He and the three other lawmen surrounded a boxcar where there were seven tramps who resisted arrest. As Officer Haynes grappled with one, the large man snatched the policeman’s pistol from his belt, pushed it against his stomach and fired a bullet through his liver.
As the police officer lay dying at his home, lawmen throughout the Delmarva Peninsula were on the hunt for the murderer. The railroad detectives did all they could to apprehend the man, not only because of the danger of allowing him to escape, but because the company had found in Police Officer Haynes “one of the most reliable and plucky officers in the state.” Delaware State Detective McVey headed for Perryville, MD. on the next available train, in case he headed in that direction.
At the next town council meeting, Louis C. Burris was appointed as the Clayton policeman and nightwatchman, succeeding the late Herbert Haynes.