The story of the morgue, its strange legends and tales, date all the way back to 1915, when a man named James Sharp built his house in the then remote city of Red Oak. James Sharp was a prominent Texas oil pioneer and banker who was partnered with Howard Hughes Sr. in the famed Sharp-Hughes Tool Company. The manor was actually the second house on the property, the first one, made of wood, was hit by lightning in 1915, and killed at least two men inside. After the first house burned, James decided to build a new house on the same spot. It was actually an exact replica of his then current residence in Oak Cliff, a stately red brick manor house, virtually fireproof, and even after all these years, both the house in Red Oak and Oak Cliff are still standing. Before the completion of the second house in Red Oak, James was found dead in his home in Oak Cliff, shot just behind his left ear. Speculation says he was shot by his jealous mistress, though suicide seemed to be a far more likely option.
Official cause of death.....the loss of two to three ounces of brain matter, according to his death certificate. The property in Red Oak was then passed down to James' son, Matt, who not only completed the house but between 1918 and 1928, built three barns, a pump house, generator house and coach house. All of these would help accommodate the raising and breeding of race horses, which he did very successfully for several years. Matt lived on the property with his wife during that time until tragedy once again struck, just after the Great Depression in 1929. Matt's wife was found in the house, poisoned in the dining room while he was found hanging in one of the three barns. It's assumed that he did the poisoning and then hung himself, but with no witness, its really anyone's guess as to what might have happened. Some have speculated that it was a suicide pact, or she forced him at gun point to commit suicide and poisoned herself later. Other stories abound as well, that Matt was a womanizer, a heavy drinker and abusive, though there is no actual evidence of these claims. The most far fetched, but entertaining of these claims told by local residents is that Matt Sharp had a mistress in addition to his wife, and when the two discovered each other, they joined forces in a jealous rage, killed Matt, cut up his body and hid it in the attic. Far fetched maybe, but indeed well within the realm of possibility.