Friday, May 30, 2008

Hanging of Union Men

The illustration above is from the Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, 20 Feb 1864. Several smaller illustrations comprised a doublepage centerfold, about 22X16 in size and entitled "Rebel Barbarities in Texas." This illustration was in the center of the page and called, "Hanging of 30 Union Men," which depicted the Great Hanging at Gainesville, Texas.

I was able to purchase a copy of the orginial 1864 Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper through an antique dealer and placed a very high quality scan on To look at the full doublepage centerfold of the above 1864 newspaper illustration, go to  (   Personal and family use granted to all.  If you wish to use this photo or the one placed on to post online, on blogs or commercial sites such as, please use a text link back to this site or use the following wording placed nearby the information used:  Information and/or image courtesy of 

Weeping Wives

Diamond refers to the Weeping Wives of the accused and also refers to the screaming women and children.

Barret stated the following, "while those (wives) who got news that the husband was to be hung, were following or before, weeping, while wailing and lamentations burst from their lips. In some houses, sadness and deep sorrow reigned supreme. None but those who experienced that dreadful night can fully realize the deep sorrow of loving and disconsolate hearts."

Below is the list of the victims and known spouses. Since starting our research into the men who were hanged, we have been able to find some of the wives that were not known when McCaslin published his book in 1994. An example would be the wives of Henry Chiles, Curd Goss, David Leffel, Thomas Floyd, Eli Thomas and William Boyles. Many of these were found in online databases such as, and As more and more people start researching their family histories and posting information online, hopefully we can find more.
We still need to find spouses for a lot of the men. Please let us know of any additions or corrections! Thanks.

(***UPDATE***  Thanks to many of you for helping with additions and corrections, there is now an updated list available in a later post on this blog.  We still need names for many of the wives!)

Name of Victim, Name of Spouse(s)
1. C. F. Anderson, ??
2. George W. Anderson, ??
3. Richard J. Anderson, Lucinda ?
4. William B. Anderson, ??
5. Thomas O. Baker, Mary ?
6. Bennet C. Barnes, Sarah A. ?
7. Barnibus Burch, (1) May ?, (2)Mary McConnel
8. Samuel Carmichael, Anna ?
9. Ephraim Chiles, Margaret Kendrick
10. Henry Chiles, Dicy Kennedy
11. Nathaniel M. Clark, Mahuldah Hicklin
12. Henry Cockrum, Elizabeth Lackey Petell Jones
13. John Mansil Crisp, (1) Harriet Pittman, (2) Alixy Hawkins
14. Arphaxton R. Dawson, (1) Mary Horn, (2) Jane C. ?
15. Rama Dye, (1) Sarah Jane Bradley, (2) Mary Ann Dawson
16. Hudson John Esman, (1) Rachel Meadows, (2) Mary Sullivant, (3) Elizabeth Crisp
17. Henry S. Field, (1) Jane Potter, (2) Mary Ann Bail
18. Thomas B. Floyd, Cloe Carter
19. James T. Foster, ??
20. Curd Goss, Mary Alexander
21. Edward D. Hampton, single
22. M. D. Harper, Eliza ?
23. William W. Johnson, ??
24. C. A. Jones, ??
25. David Miller Leffel, Susan Evaline West
26. Leander W. P. Jacob Lock, Deannah ?
27. Abraham McNeese, Rebecca ?
28. Richard N. Martin, Cynthia Ann Neely
29. John M. Miller, ??
30. John A. Morris, ??
31. John W. Morris, ??
32. M. W. Morris, ??
33. William W. Morris, Nancy ?
34. James A. Powers, Priscilla Barnett
35. William R. Rhodes, Amanda ?
36. Alexander D. Scott, Mary Woolsey
37. Eli M. Scott, Maria ?
38 Gilbert Smith, ??
39. William B. Taylor, Martha ?
40. Eli Sigler Thomas, Susan ?
41. James A. Ward, Nancy Muirheid
42. William Wilson Wornell, Elizabeth ?
43. William Boyles, Elizabeth T. West (not arrested but later shot and possibly died from wounds)
44. Hiram Kilborn, Delila ?
William A. McCool, Lydia Field
John M. Cottrell, ??
A. N. Johnson, ??

Please go to the ***UPDATED LIST***

Thursday, May 29, 2008

C. A. Jones "Hump Back"

Not much is known about C.A. Jones. Diamond refers to him as "Hump Back."
Diamond's account of the trials, show that "C.A. Jones, Hump Back" was tried in a group trial along with: James Powers, Eli M. Scott, Thomas Baker, Geo. W. Anderson, Abraham McNeese, Henry Cochran, C. F. Anderson, Wm Wernell, B. F. Barnes, Wm Rodes and N. M. Clark. All were found guilty of disloyalty & treason and were hanged on Sunday, October 12 and Monday, October 13.
(Diamond, pg 76; McCaslin, pg 82, 200)
(It is rather irritating that those who kept the records or transcribed the records of the trial did not take the time to write out the whole given names of the condemned men.)

This past week, two deeds in the Cooke County Deed Book 5 were found that may belong to C. A. Jones.
If these land deeds do belong to the C. A. Jones who was hanged in the Hanging, then we know his name to be Charles A. Jones.

Cooke County, Texas Deed Book 5, pg 391-392
18 July 1861
Charles A. Jones purchases from Thomas & Sarah Crane a Gainesville City Lot: Block 3 Lot 6.

Cooke County, Texas Deed Book 5, pg 497
7 Apr 1862
Charles A. Jones (also referred to in same document as Charley A. Jones & C. A. Jones) purchases from George L. Scott two Gainesville City Lots: Block 3 Lots #5 & #7

After this second purchase in 1862, Charles A. Jones owned lots five, six and seven in block three of Gainesville City. Further research will need to be done to see what happened to these lots and the Charles A. Jones who purchased them. The 1860 & 1870 census for Cooke County, Texas was searched and a "C. A. Jones, Charles Jones or Charley Jones" does not show up in either census. So whoever bought the Gainesville lots in 1861/1862 was not in Gainesville prior to the purchase in 1860 nor did he stick around to show up in the 1870 census. McCaslin suggests that there was a C. Jones (unmarried, 18 yrs old, b. Louisiana) in the 1860 Clay County, Texas census that was serving with a ranger company.

Was C. A. Jones married? Did he have children? Who were his parents? Where was he from?
Any help into the identity of C.A. Jones would be appreciated!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Newspaper Article concerning Joel Francis DeLamirande

Joel Francis DeLemeron was tried for treason against the Confederate Government a month after the Hangings. His "crime of treason" involved helping a few of the wives of men involved with the peace party.

Here is some of Diamond's account of the DeLemeron Case, pages 406 - 414
De Lemeron's Case, Fall Term, November 1862
State of Texas against Joel Francis DeLemeron, a citizen of Cooke County, Texas
Charged with treasonable and Traitorous acts against the Confederate Government
A Confederate spy, Dr. George Bradly, went to the home of Joel F. DeLemeron for the purpose of finding the whereabouts of Ware & Boyles.
Joel DeLemeron said that he was French.
DeLemeron told Bradly (confederate spy) that he had "gone to Mrs. Ware's contrary to orders from Southern men and had repaired her wagon" and that he "had loaned Mrs. Boyles his horse under the cloak of being hired from the old widow lady living with him, and that he intended to assist them."
(Ware and Boyles belonged to the Peace Party, and had ran away, and Joel De Lamirande was assisting their families to get to Missouri. He had been told by the Southern men, that he could NOT give aid to the women.)
In the trial, Bradley also said that DeLemeron gave "instructions in the arts of war" and proposed that they "make our way to the Northern army, then stationed on the North Fork of the Canadian River."
DeLamirande was found guilty of treason and sent to life in the Penitentiary.

The following newspaper article was published in the Milwaukee Daily Sentinel on 14 Sep 1863. The article is referring to an article published in the St. Louis Union on the 5th of the month. Below the copy of the newspaper is a transcription. Be sure to note just how Joel DeLemeron got out of jail! We like his wife a lot -- she had spunk! The newspaper article does not mention Mrs. DeLemeron's given name. Joel Francis DeLamirande and wife have not been found in other records yet.
Note: This article spells the surname DeLamirande.

Click on the newspaper article to enlarge it. Transcription below.

Milwaukee Daily Sentinel, 14 Sep 1863
Terrible Sufferings of Women and Children
The Union Sentiment in Texas. 
The St. Louis Union of the 5th instant publishes the following:
"The drill room at police headquarters, last evening, presented a scene in which the deplorable results and miseries entailed by the rebellion were exhibited in a vivid light. Several families, including three male members and the rest women and children numbering twenty, were ranged on the benches. They were fugitives from Arkansas and Texas, having been driven from their homes in consequence of having avowed Union sentiments....
Among the party was a woman named DeLamirande, who came all the way on foot to Springfield from Granville (Gainesville), Cooke County, Texas bringing with her a little girl about two years of age. She had experienced trouble enough to have borne down a dozen less resolute women. The history given by this woman was thrilling. She relates that in Cook County, last fall, seven Union men were hung and two were shot. Her husband, whose name was Joel Francis de Lamirande, was tried for treason against the Confederate Government, and sentenced to the penitentiary for life. His wife moved an appeal, and while he was still in jail she contrived a scheme to effect his release. She procured a saw and auger and contrived to get them into her husband’s cell. He soon bored out, and giving her directions to make her way towards the North, while he would go to Mexico and get out on the seaboard, where he would join the first Northern troops he met with and fight until the end of the war – then he would join her.
Her husband was born in St. Louis, and when four years old was taken to New York. At the age of seventeen he joined the army and went to Mexico. He afterwards settled in Mexico, where he married the woman who gave this information, about eight years ago. Mrs. De Lamirande was born and raised in Morgan county, Illinois and went to Texas quite young. They acquired a competence, and had one thousand dollars in gold laid up when the war broke out.
After her husband’s escape she was threatened with hanging and escaped in the night taking a horse, which she sold for money enough to pay her expenses on the way to Missouri and has ten dollars left. She traveled part of the way with a man named York who stopped at the Ribedeaux. In reply to our question whether York was a good Union man, she replied, ‘Why, mister, he was a Union man from the word jump."
On her route she passed through the Indian nation. She says that she has seen so much trouble that sometimes she can’t retain her right mind. In answer to a question, she said there was a ‘right smart Union feeling in Texas, but they dar’nt own it.’ In Collin county there were over three hundred Union people ‘laying out’ for our troops to come."

BlogNote: With a name like DeLemeron, it not surprising that there are many different spellings: DeLamirande, DeLemeron, DeLimerind, DelaMirand.  We have decided to go with the spelling in Diamond's Account of the Hangings and the McCaslin Book, which is DeLemeron.

David Miller Leffel's Relationship to Other Hanging Victims

David Miller Leffel descendants are related or connected to five men who were victims of the hangings. Some of these relationships were formed after the Hangings took place. Thanks to a Leffel descendant for making us aware of these relationships.

1. DAVID MILLER LEFFEL (hanged). His wife, Susan Evaline West Leffel, wrote a very touching letter to the governor of Texas, telling about the effects of the hanging & its aftermath on her family.

2. RICHARD MARTIN (hanged) was a brother to Malinda Jane Martin. Malinda married James Perry Leffel, the son of DAVID MILLER LEFFEL. So David Leffel and Richard Martin were related through marriage -- Richard's sister and David's son. After Malinda died, James Perry Leffel married her mother (yes, the mother of Richard Martin), they later divorced. Then, James Perry Leffel married Richard's widowed sister-in-law, Laura Ann NEELY Martin.

3. WILLIAM BOYLES (shot) was a brother-in-law to DAVID MILLER LEFFEL. William's wife, Elizabeth West Boyles, was a sister to David's wife, Susan Evaline West Leffel. William is believed to have been shot in the back when he tried to run and later died from his wounds while hiding out in the timbers.

4. BARNIBUS BURCH (hanged) was the father of, Elizabeth Ann Burch NEELY, who was the step-mother of the above Laura Ann Neely Martin Leffel -- widowed sister-in-law to Richard Martin and third wife to James Perry Leffel.

5. David Leffel's son, CHARLES EDGAR LEFFEL, married Caldona Jane Box. Caldona's aunt, Elizabeth Matthews Box, was a first cousin to JOHN M. CRISP (hanged).

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Eliza Harper -- Wash Woman

Eliza Harper - Widow and Wash Woman

Imagine what life was like for all the widows of the men who were hanged. They were left on the Texas frontier during the Civil War without the protection and support of a husband. Many did not have family nearby to help them. Many also had small infants to care for, such as Dicy Chiles and Eliza Harper.

Census records show that Eliza Harper left Texas with her family and moved back to Illinois by 1870. Her oldest son, Thomas, was born in Illinois, so we know that she had lived in Illinois previously about 1848. Maybe she had family still in the area -- but we don't know for sure. In 1870, Eliza was living in Peoria, Illinois with her children. She is supporting her family as a "wash woman" -- washing clothes for other people.  In the days before electricity, laundry was a hard, back-breaking job!  First, bending over a washboard scrubbing the clothes.  Then, wringing the clothes out by hand, rinsing, again wringing by hand, and then, hanging the clothes out to dry.  Finally, once dry the clothes needed to be ironed with a heavy iron that was heated on the wood stove.

Photo of "girls washing" from Vintage Everyday Blog
An eight-year-old daughter, Nancy, is listed in the 1870 census. That means Eliza had a baby daughter born sometime around 1862, about the time when her husband was killed in the Great Hangings at Gainesville.

1870 Census, Peoria, Illinois
Peoria, Illinois 1870 Census
Name: Eliza Harper
Estimated birth year: abt 1829 Age in 1870: 41 Birthplace: Ohio
Home in 1870: Peoria Ward 4, Peoria, Illinois
Occupation: Wash woman
Household Members:
Harper, Eliza, 41, f, w, wash woman, Ohio, cannot read or write
-----, Thomas, 21, m, w, laborer, born Illinios
-----, Elizabeth, 19, f, w, at home, born Illinois
-----, William, 18, m, w, laborer, born Illinois
-----, Sarah, 15, f, w, at home, born Texas
-----, John, 13, m, w, at school, born Texas
-----, Nancy, 8, f, w, at school, born Texas

Source Citation: Year: 1870; Census Place: Peoria Ward 4, Peoria, Illinois; Roll: M593_267; Page: 379.

There is a marriage listed in the online Illinois marriage index for M. D. Harper and wife, Eliza.  Here is the marriage index info:
Illinois marriage index: 
HARPER, M -- DOUGHERTY, ELIZA; 06/22/1845; Tazewell County;  00A/0123 00001150

Any additional help on the Harper family would be appreciated -- Thanks!

Additional posts on the Harper Family:
M. D. Harper Update
Harper - 1850 Census
M. D. Harper

Harper - 1850 Census "find" in Arkansas

Since only initials were given for Harper's first name, it has been hard to find him in the 1850 Census. From the 1860 Census, we know that Harper was a 31 yr old carpenter born in Virginia and his wife, Eliza, born in Indiana about 1829. (The 1860 Census transcription can be found in an earlier post for M.D. Harper.)

The 1860 Census shows Harper's children born in the following places:
Thomas Harper age 12 born about 1848 in Illinois
Elizabeth Harper age 10 born about 1850 in Arkansas
Wm L Harper age 7 born about 1853 in Missouri
Sarah J Harper age 5 born about 1855 in Texas
John C Harper age 3 born about 1857 in Texas
Perlina Harper age 6 months born about 1860 in Texas

We know from the above census that Harper had a daughter, Elizabeth, born sometime in 1850 in Arkansas. The following census entry may be M. D. Harper. The places of birth matches Harper & wife, Eliza, but the ages are off. However, the information for son Thomas matches perfectly.

1850 Census, Franklin County, AR, pg 274, bottom of page
1850 Census, Franklin County, AR, continued top of page 275
1850 Census, Arkansas, Franklin County, Prairie twp, pg 274-275
Harper, Manadier, 23, m, farmer, Virginia
-----, Eliza, 23, f, Indiana, cannot read or write
-----, Thomas, 2, m, Illinois
Harper, Elizabeth, 71, f, Virginia, cannot read or write
-----, Shadrick, 41, m, Virginia, idiotic

**note: Next door to Isaac Harper (38, farmer, Virginia) and wife, Abigill Harper (35, NY) and family.
Source: US Federal Census; Year: 1850; Census Place: Prairie, Franklin, Arkansas; Roll: M432_26; Page: 138

If this is our M. D. Harper, then his name would be Manadier D. Harper. It seems that his mother, Elizabeth, is living with him. His daughter born during the year 1850 was named Elizabeth -- perhaps after his mother??

Any additional input or information on this family would be appreciated!!

Additional posts on the Harper Family:
M. D. Harper Update
M. D. Harper

Eliza Harper - Wash Woman

M. D. Harper

Several (way too many) of the victims of the Hangings are known only by their initials, such as M. D. Harper.  In 1860, M. D. Harper was a 31 year old carpenter from Virginia with $245 in personal property.  His wife was Eliza and they had 6 children, ranging in age from 12 years old down to 6 months old.

M. D. Harper can be found in the 1860 census for Cooke County:
1860 Census, Cooke County, TX
Name: M D Harper

Age in 1860: 33 Birth Year: abt 1827 Birthplace: Virginia
Home in 1860: Cooke, Texas Post Office: Gainesville
Occupation: Carpenter
Household Members:
Name Age
M D Harper, 33, Carpenter, $245 personal estate, Virginia
Eliza Harper, 31, Indiana
Thomas Harper, 12, Illinois
Elizabeth Harper, 10, Arkansas
Wm L Harper, 7, Missouri
Sarah J Harper, 5, Texas
John C Harper, 3, Texas
Perlina Harper, 6/12, Texas
Source Citation: Year: 1860; Census Place: , Cooke, Texas; Roll: M653_1291; Page: 237;

Diamonds's account of the trial for M. D. Harper:
page 61-62
Trial of M. D. Harper -- Conspiracy and Insurrection
Witnesses called by the court: Henry Chiles and W.W. Johnson

M. D. Harper stated in his trial,
"I was a Union man and desired the restoration of the old government, and I am now grieved to know that my efforts to resist the march of secession have led to results ruinous to the peace and happiness of the community in which I live.
I did not think a desire or an honest effort to reestablish the Union could be termed criminal..."

Like Dr. Child's and others who were convicted and hung, he seemed to place his reliance in the success of the Union Army and to console himself in his crimes with the relflection that no act could be termed criminal per se which was the necessary result of a purpose to aid the Federal Army in re-estabilishing the old Constitution and Union.

Page 63 of Diamond's account:

"Harper was conducted to the place of execution and there in the midst of a multitude of people and a weeping family remained unmoved, and obeying the directions of the executioner in a business-like manner stepped off the carriage..."

Additional posts on the Harper Family:
M. D. Harper > Manadier D Harper
Harper - 1850 Census
Eliza Harper - Wash Woman

Susan Leffel Letter to Edmund Davis, Governor of Texas

Susan Leffel Letter to Edmund Davis, Governor of Texas

Susan Leffel Letter page 1

Susan Leffel Letter page 2

Susan Leffel Letter page 3

Susan West Leffel was the widow of David Miller Leffel, who was one of the victims of the Great Hanging at Gainesville.  Susan gives a very tender and touching account of her life after the hanging.

Texas Governor's Office Records, Archives Division, Texas State Library, Austin
Susan Leffel, widow of David Miller Leffel, gives Pilot Point as her place of residence in a letter to the Governor of Texas written on 11 Jun 1869, informing the Governor of the continued persecution by southern sympathizing vigilantes.

More about Susan's letter can be found here.

Transcription of above letter by Susan Leffel.
Pilot Point Denton Co. Tex, June the 11th 1869
To the Honorable Governor, Chief Executive of the State of Texas
I wish to give you some statements of matters and facts of my condition and how I have bin treated: in the first place the vigilent committy hung my husband (at the time they hanged so many at Gainesville) on the account of his Union proclivities, and left me in a sad and mornful condition but still after I have had all that to endure and my family and many of our sympathizing friend (that the leader of their familys were taken off by those nocternal visitors and destroyed by the hanging:) are ever since the war as the carcas to the Eagel:) every now and then they will arest one or our party without a sine of a rit or any showing of any legal authority whatever: why sir some of their party came to my house & robed me soon after the war of my many jewelry and household plunder: (and nothing done with them & two of the party well known to us:) but thinking we would get protection after awhile; I still remained here and bore it, with many slanders and slams unjustly thrown uppon us by that party.
(Page Two)
Yet it seems that the lawiel [loyal] citizens will never scease to be maltreated and unsafe as they were during the war on the account of there lawielty [loyalty]; why sir it hasent bin two weeks since some of that dislawiel possie came
to my house, some 10 or 12, with foure sixshooters a piece and arested my son, without any legal athority, (with the plea that he had stolen a horse some 5 or 6 years ago)(of which charge is ever redy to prove his inocence) fired some 40 or 50 shots at him as he ran and arested him out in the field: a part of them came to the house: James Anderson of Sherman drew and cocked his sixshooter on a lady that I have a living with me, I was lying sick in the bed, he (Anderson) came to my bed with pistle presented and grabed hold of me jerked me out on the floor; from which abuse I came very neare diing for several dayes; He then turned and struck an other of my sons on the side of the head with pistle, disabling him from working out my crop; who was my only dependance to do anything: and roughly abusing an
other young lad that was at my house; and all with-out any cause at all, no one said or done one thing to them, but they cusing and abusing the Union Class of people generaly,
[Page Three]
It is indeed hart rendring that my husband, as kind as he was, and great sorce of my comfort & living should be hanged and his helpless family, (with many others) are as barbrsly treated as tho we were even aliving with the Indians; simply for them to take vengance uppon us becuase we were and are in favor of our Fathers Country and Government;
I with many others have lost hope of protection from that partys abuse by the beloved Country and Government that we loved so dearly; if she can put down rebellion God knows she has had ample time it seems to me; and what to do or where to go to hide from them I can not tell But I thought it ment and rite that some of our Chief Officers should
know some of the particulars of the outrages of the enimys of our country.
Yours Ever, Susan Leffel
[Page Four]
Pilot Point Denton, June 11th 1869
Susan Leffel relates the murder of her husband and persecution of herself, family & friends by ex rebels or rather extra devils.

David Miller Leffel

A big Thanks to a Leffel descendant for this updated biography on the David Miller Leffel family.

David Miller Leffel is considered a true American Patriot by his descendants. David was one of forty Union sympathizing citizens of North Texas who were charged with disloyalty and treason against the Confederacy by a “Citizens Court” in Gainesville, Cooke County in October 1862 and then hanged in the Great Hanging at Gainesville. At his mockery of a trial by the Citizens Court in Gainesville, David said he swore support of the "old Constitution and Union." He was hanged for disloyalty and treason to the Confederate cause.

David M. Leffel's story begins in Virginia, where he was born on 20 Jan 1816, the third child of Anthony Leffel and Mary Miller Leffel. As a three year old toddler, David moved from Virginia to Clark County, Ohio with his family. He spent his growing up years in Clark County near many of his relatives on both the Leffel and Miller sides of the family.

The Leffel family of Clark County was prominent and prosperous. A cousin of David’s, James Leffel, was inventor of the double turbine water wheel and started the James Leffel Company in Springfield, Clark, Ohio. David’s ancestry goes back to his great-grandfather, Baltzer Leffel, who was an immigrant from Germany in 1750. During the Revolution, Baltzar was a Patriot and declared his allegiance to United States.  He is listed in the DAR Patriot Index for the American Revolution, and so any descendants of David Miller Leffel qualify for membership into the DAR.

David married his sweetheart, Susan Evaline West, on May 3rd, 1837 in Clark County, Ohio. They moved to nearby Champaign County, where David was a carpenter. All eight of their children were born in Ohio. One daughter, Eliza Jane, died as an infant and was buried in Champaign County in 1843.

Susan's parents were Michael West and Susannah McKee. After Susan's mother died in Ohio, her father, Michael West, and her brothers moved to Texas around 1848. They obtained land grants as colonists of the Peters Colony. Michael West died in 1858 leaving his land in Grayson, Texas to his heirs, which included daughter, Susan Leffel.

Sometime in 1858 soon after the death of her father, Susan and David packed up their young family and moved from Ohio to Grayson County, Texas to claim Susan's inheritance of land left to her from her father. Their decision to move from a free state to a slaveholding state would set in motion events that would lead to the violent death of David.
It is hard to know exactly where David and Susan lived when they reached Grayson County, Texas.  It appears that they did not live on the land that Susan inherited from her father.  In February of 1860, Susan buys 80 acres from her brother John and then that same day sells her inherited land to her brother John. In July of 1860 she sells the land she bought from her brother, John, to N.H. Holt (a future nephew-in-law). David and Susan cannot be found in the 1860 census and it is not known which county in Texas they were living in after she sold her land in Grayson County. David is listed as a poll tax only in the 1861 Grayson County Tax list.  David was a carpenter by trade not a farmer.  Perhaps they rented a place in town.  Susan's sister, Elizabeth West Boyles, lived in neighboring Cooke County, Texas. Perhaps, David and Susan moved to Cooke County to be close to her sister sometime in the later part of 1861 or early part of 1862.
Why didn't they show up in the 1860 census? And, where were they living in 1860 - in Grayson county or Cooke county? Did the census taker miss them, or what?

In 1861, Texas withdrew from the Union and allied itself with the Southern States. All state officers had to take an oath of allegiance to the Confederacy. When Governor Sam Houston refused, he was removed from office. There was much unrest and political tension, especially in North Texas. As the Civil War continued, it ripped apart families and communities as well as the nation. Cooke County, Texas was one such community.

In October 1862, forty-two Union sympathizing citizens of North Texas were charged with disloyalty and treason against the Confederacy by a 'Citizens Court' in Gainesville, Cooke County and hanged. David Miller Leffel was one of the men captured and brought before the 'Citizens Court' or 'mob' as his family called it. David was then hanged in the Great Hanging at Gainesville.

Leading up to this tragedy, David's brother-in-law, William Boyles, encouraged him to attend a meeting of the 'Peace Party' at the home of Rama Dye. At the meeting, the rescue of prisoners held by the Citizens Court was discussed. Fifteen men who attended the meeting Dye's home that night were later executed, David being one of them. The Citizens Court consisted of a majority of slaveholders. Seven of the 12 jurors during Gainesville lynchings were slaveholders and they insisted on a simple majority rule in the decisions for execution. So the slaveholders alone could condemn a person to death! In 1860 Cooke County population was 4,000, of which 66 were slaveowners which owned 300-400 slaves. These men exerted power and influence far out of proportion to their numbers. Diamond account refers to David Miller Leffel with only initials for a given name -- D. M. Leffel. Clark refers to David as "Oald man Leffel." At his trial by the vigilante Citizen's Court, David says, "I was sworn by Wm Boyles, who gave me the signs, grip and password. I was sworn to support the old Constitution and Union." David Leffel was connected with the Ramey Dye meeting for the rescue of the prisoners. He was found guilty of disloyalty and hung. David's hanging took place on Sunday, October 19, 1862. It is not known what happened to his body after the hanging.

William Jefferson Leffel, oldest son of David and Susan, returned to Ohio at the outbreak of the Civil War and continued to live in Ohio throughout his life. But, back in Texas, several family members of David's family were listed on the Grayson County, Texas Confederate Indigent Families list. The Texas State legislature made this list after they passed a resolution in December 1863 and pledged support and maintenance of families, widows, and dependents of soldiers currently serving in Confederate forces, or of soldiers killed or disabled in service. A. M. Leffel and Sarah and William S. Counts are on the list. This means that David's son, Anthony M. Leffel and son-in-law, William S. Counts (husband of Sarah), were fighting for the Confederate forces.  Anthony is not found in any of the Confederate regiment lists, but there is a W. S. Counts who served in Company A, 14th Regiment, Texas Cavalry (Johnson's Mounted Volunteers).  The 14th Cavalry Regiment was organized during the winter of 1861-1862 and mustered into Confederate service in March 1862.  Son-in-law, William S. Counts, cannot be found in records after the War so he may have died during the war or shortly afterwards from illness or wounds.

David Miller Leffel was a kind and gentle man who loved his family. His death left his wife and children without his support and protection. The only information David's family back in Ohio knew concerning his death was that David had been killed in Texas by a 'Confederate mob' on account of his Union sentiments. David's brother, Joel Leffel, was serving in the Union Army and died in the Army Hospital in Louisville, Kentucky in 1863.  So that means that David's father, Anthony Leffel, lost two sons during the Civil War.

Susan lost her dearest friend and companion, when her husband was killed in the Hanging. She referred to David as being 'kind' and a 'great source of my comfort'.  In 1869, Susan is living in Pilot Point when she writes a letter to the Governor of Texas telling of the continued harassment by southern rebels. Susan's whereabouts are not known after that time.
Did Susan die shortly after writing the letter to the Governor? Was she killed by the men harassing her?

Susan's sister, Elizabeth West Boyles, also lost her husband during this period. Some say William Boyles was shot while escaping, then died later of the wounds while he was hiding out in the timbers. Another sister’s husband, John Haning, was away fighting in the Confederate Army.
It appears that when David was hanged, he had several family members, who lived in Texas, serving for the Confederate Army:  his son-in-law, William S. Counts;  his brother-in-law, John Haning; and possibly his son, Anthony Leffel.

David's story did not end with his death in the Great Hangings.  David left behind 7 children and would eventually have 45 grandchildren, whose numerous descendants live from coast to coast.  David Miller Leffel lives on in the lives and memories of his descendants.

Where are David and Susan buried? That question has yet to be answered and haunts all who are descendants. A Miller family history book, The Genealogy of the Descendants of Frederick and Mary Elizabetyh Peery Miller, published in 1913, states that both David and Susan were buried in Texas, BUT the actual burial sites for David and Susan are unknown.

The questions below still need to be answered:
Was David buried in the mass burials along with the other victims of the hanging??
Or was he buried by his family in an unknown grave??
When and where did Susan die?
Was she able to be buried next to her beloved David?
Or, is she, too, buried in some unknown grave?

 David Miller Family Info
David Miller Leffel was born on 20 Jan 1816 in , Botetourt, Virginia. Son of Anthony Leffel and Mary Miller Leffel. He died on 19 Oct 1862 in Gainesville, Cooke, Texas as a victim of the Great Hanging at Gainesville, Texas. It is NOT known what happened to his body after the hanging.
David married Susan Evaline West daughter of Michael West and Susannah McKee on 3 May 1837 in Springfield, Clark, Ohio. Susan was born on 3 Jun 1817 in Mason County, Kentucky.
Susan died sometime after 1869 in Texas. It is NOT known when or where she died or was buried.
David and Susan were the parents of 8 children and 45 grandchildren:
1. William Jefferson Leffel was born on 31 Jul 1838 in Donnelsville, Clark, Ohio. He died on 25 Oct 1911 in Columbus, Franklin, Ohio. He was buried in Oct 1911 in Columbus, Franklin, Ohio. William married Mary Buckles daughter of David B. Buckles and Elizabeth Covalt on 31 Oct 1861 in Miami, Ohio. Mary was born on 22 Feb 1836 in Miami County, Ohio. She died on 25 Oct 1911 in Columbus, Franklin, Ohio. She was buried in Union Cemetery, Columbus, Franklin, Oklahoma.  They were the parents of 10 children.
2. Sarah Ann Leffel was born about 1840 in Addison, Champaign, Ohio. She died before 1882.
Sarah married (1) William S. Counts on 4 Jun 1860 in , Grayson, Texas. William was born about 1837 in Missouri. He died about 1863 in Texas. Sarah may have married (2) John C. Morgan on 14 Jun 1868 in Grayson County, Texas.  She was the mother of 3 children.
3. Eliza Jane Leffel was born on 24 Jan 1843 in , Champaign, Ohio. She died on 16 Dec 1843 in , Champaign, Ohio. She was buried in Hill Cemetery, Champaign, Ohio.
4. Anthony Musgrove Leffel was born in Jan 1846 in Addison, Champaign, Ohio. He died on 17 Mar 1909 in Hood, Texas. He was buried in Granbury, Hood, Texas.  Anthony married Mendora Lee Batchelor (called Minnie or Nudora) daughter of Hilliard Austin Batchelor and Ripsy Ann Earhart on 13 Feb 1884 in Tarrant County, Texas. The marriage ended in divorce. Mendora was born in Mar 1870 in Texas. She died on 27 Jul 1955. She was buried in Fort Scott, Kansas City, Jackson, Missouri.  They were the parents of 8 children.
5. James Perry Leffel was born on 21 Sep 1848 in Addison, Champaign, Ohio. He died on 28 Sep 1940 in Chickasha, Grady, Oklahoma. He was buried on 29 Sep 1940 in Rose Hill Cemetery, Chickasha, Grady, Oklahoma.
James married (1) Malinda Jane Martin daughter of Charles Neely Martin and Euphamia Isabell Martin on 5 May 1869 in , Dallas, Texas. Malinda was born in 1843 in Illinois. She died in Apr 1870 in Lancaster, Dallas, Texas.
James married (2) Euphamia Isabell Martin daughter of William Harvey Martin and Susan Abigail Whitaker on 3 Jan 1871 in , Ellis, Texas. The marriage ended in divorce. Euphamia was born on 30 Jul 1820 in Matoon, Coles, Illinois. She died on 10 May 1916 in Glen Rose, Somervell, Texas.  James married (3) Laura Ann Neely daughter of James Martin Neely Jr. and Sarah Elizabeth Burleson about 1887 in Texas. Laura was born on 3 Jul 1859 in , Denton, Texas. She died on 7 Oct 1931 in Chickasha, Grady, Oklahoma. She was buried on 8 Oct 1931 in Rose Hill Cemetery, Grady, Oklahoma.  James Perry Leffel was the father of 6 children.
6. Charles Edgar Leffel was born on 16 Apr 1851 in Addison, Champaign, Ohio. He died on 4 Jun 1919 in Chickasha, Grady, Oklahoma. He was buried in Jun 1919 in Rose Hill Cemetery, Grady, Oklahoma.
Charles married (1) Sarah Ann Burkham on 5 May 1869 in , Cooke, Texas. Sarah was born about 1852 in Texas. She died in Jun 1870 in Ellis County, Texas. 
Charles married (2) Caldona Jane Box daughter of Grief Johnson Box and Roenna Johnson on 18 Nov 1875 in , Dallas, Texas. Caldona was born on 18 Mar 1858 in , Bradley, Arkansas. She died on 12 Feb 1926 in Chickasha, Grady, Oklahoma. She was buried on 13 Feb 1926 in Rose Hill Cemetery, Grady, Oklahoma.

Charles was the father of 10 children.
7. John Wesley Leffel was born on 4 Aug 1855 in Addison, Champaign, Ohio. He died on 21 Feb 1925 in , Jack, Texas. He was buried on 22 Feb 1925 in Cottonwood Cemetery, Hood, Texas.

John married (1) Sarah Eleanor McCoy daughter of James McCoy and Sarah Cloud on 13 Jun 1873 in , Cooke, Texas. The marriage ended in divorce. Sarah was born in May 1855 in Tarrant County, Texas. She died on 21 May 1942 in Clarksville, Red River, Texas.
John married (2) Mary Elizabeth Box daughter of Grief Johnson Box and Roenna Johnson on 29 Oct 1884 in , Hood, Texas. This marriage for John ended in divorce also. Mary was born on 7 Sep 1844 in , Tippah, Mississippi. She died on 28 Feb 1922 in Jack County, Texas. She was buried in Cottonwood Cemetery, Jack, Texas.

John was the father of 2 daughters and reared two stepsons as if they were his own.
8. George Leffel was born in Aug 1857 in Ohio. He died on 31 Jul 1919 in , Jack, Texas.

George married (1) Mary Runnels on 11 Oct 1877 in Hood, Cooke, Texas.  George married (2) Florida W. Tucker on 16 Jun 1898 in Graham, Young, Texas. Florida was born in May 1870 in Texas.  George was the father of 6 children.

Ephraim Chiles - 2nd Victim of the Great Hanging

Ephraim Chiles was a brother to Doctor Henry Chiles. In September of 1862, according to Diamond’s account, Ephraim was "superinduced by an overflow of bad Confederate whiskey" when he "forgot for the time being the oath of secrecy" and told J. B. McCurley about the organization of Union men called the Peace Party. Ephraim told McCurley that his brother, the Doctor (Henry Chiles), was one of the head men of the Peace Party and would initiate him into the organization. McCurley (acting as a spy for the Confederacy) then went out to the home of Doctor Henry Chiles and became a member of the Union Peace Party so he could relate back to others about the intentions of the Peace Party.
Diamond’s account of the Trial of Ephraim Chiles:
"Ephraim Childs, brother of Dr. Henry Childs, the first member of the order to uncautiously and unwittingly expose its existence and designs, was the second brought before the Court for trial. He was regarded as among the zealous and active members of the "Organization" and was often appealed to for counsel and assistance when the interests of the organization were in any way involved. His over-zealous conduct and premature revelations of the designs of the "Institution" opened the way to detection and final ruin of himself, his brother & his friends."
Ephraim Chiles was found guilty and was the second victim of the hangings.
Ephraim is described as being a young farmer several years the junior to his brother, Doctor Henry Chiles, and a man "more affable and companionable" than his brother.
Family of Ephraim Chiles
Ephraim Chiles 1,2,3,4,5 was born on 23 Feb 1836 in Virginia. He died on 4 Oct 1862 in Gainesville, Cooke, Texas as the second victim of the Great Hanging at Gainesville.
Ephraim married Margaret Kendrick 6,7,8,9,10 on 5 Nov 1852 in Virginia. Margaret (called Peggy) was born on 8 Nov 1835 in Mendota, Washington, Virginia. After Ephraim was killed in the Hangings, Margaret, left Texas immediately with her small sons for DesMoines. In 1880, she purchased a 60 acre farm in Harris Bend in St. Clair County, Missouri to be near her two brothers, Bob and Preston Kendrick. She never remarried. Margaret died on 13 Dec 1917 in St. Claire, Missouri. She was buried11 in Westfield Cemetery, Lowry City, Missouri.
They had the following children:
1. William T. Chiles was born on 18 Jun 1854 in Virginia. He died before 1860.
2. Henry Francis Chiles 12 was born on 17 Feb 1856 in Virginia. He died13 on 21 Mar 1901 in , St Claire, Missouri. He was buried14 in Westfield Cemetery, St Claire, Missouri.
Henry married Rachel Olive DeFord 15 on 6 Jul 1879 in Des Moines, Polk, Iowa. Rachel was born on 2 Mar 1858 in Des Moines, Polk, Iowa. She died on 28 Sep 1921. She was buried in Westfield Cemetery, St Claire, Missouri.
3. Almos Chiles was born on 18 Feb 1858 in Tennessee. He died on 19 Apr 1903.
4. James Chiles was born on 22 Jan 1861 in Texas. He died on 6 Jan 1897. He was buried16 in Westfield Cemetery, St Claire, Missouri. James married18 Ollie Vire Harris17 on 6 Mar 1884 in , St Clair, Missouri. Ollie was born on 1 Nov 1866 in , St Claire, Missouri. She died on 9 Apr 1951 in , Clinton, Missouri. She was buried in Lowry City Cemetery, St Claire, Missouri.
1. 1860 U.S. Census, Texas, Wise County.
2. George Washington Diamond's Account of the Great Hanging at Gainesville, 1862, ManuscripteEdited by Sam Acheson and Julie.
3. Gainesville Great Hanging Sources.
4. Book; WALTER CHILES OF JAMESTOWN compiled by Joanne Chiles Eakin; [Independence?] Missouri : J. C. Eakin, 1983; 929.273 C437e - FHL FAM HIST Book; page 420; "Ephriam Chiles born 1833 in Virginia, married Margaret Kendrick in Virginia in 1852. She was born 8 Nov 1835 the daughter of Preston Kendrick (whose father was Thomas Kendrick) and Sarah Crawford...Ephriam left Virginia in about 1860 for Texas. He was killed by bushwackers in 1862. Margaret, who joined him in Texas left immediately with her small sons for DesMoines. In 1880, she purchased a 60 acre farm in Harris Bend in St. Clair Co., MO to be near her two brothers, Bob and Preston Kendrick. She died 15 Dec 1917 and is buried in the Westfield Cemetery near Lowry City, Mo."
5. Tax Records.
6. 1880 U.S. Census.
7. Book; WALTER CHILES OF JAMESTOWN compiled by Joanne Chiles Eakin; [Independence?] Missouri : J. C. Eakin, 1983; 929.273 C437e - FHL FAM HIST Book; pg 420
8. 1900 U.S. Census; Missouri, St. Clair County, Jackson, pg 4B
9. 1910 U.S. Census, Jackson, St Clair, Missouri.
10. 1850 U.S. Census, Virginia, Washington County.
11. Cemetery Records,
12. 1900 U.S. Census; Missouri, St. Clair County, Jackson; pg 4B
13. Obituary.
14. Cemetery Records,
15. Cemetery Records,
16. Cemetery Records,
17. Cemetery Records,
18. International Genealogical index .

Friday, May 9, 2008

Doctor Henry Chiles - 1st to be Hanged in the Great Hanging

Doctor Henry Chiles
 First to be hanged in the Great Hanging at Gainesville, Texas,
October 1862

Doctor Henry Chiles was born about 1819 in Virginia.
He died on 4 Oct 1862 in Gainesville, Cooke, Texas.

According to Diamond’s account of the hanging, Henry Chiles was "about forty two or three years of age, stout of build though not corpulent; shoulders slightly stooped, brown hair, and blue eyes, he seemed the embodiment of good health…… He came from Missouri to Texas but a few years anterior to the War between the States and was regarded by his neighbors as a man of upright deportment, and possessing a degree of intelligence above the mediocrity."
Doctor Henry Chiles was the first man to be tried and hanged by the Citizens Court. Chiles denied the court had jurisdiction to try him and pled not guilty to all charges. He was found guilty of conspiracy and insurrection against the confederacy and sentenced to be hanged. Diamond described Henry Chiles execution as follows, "The carriage was then driven from beneath the limb, and in a moment more the body of Henry Childs dangled in the air, while the branches of the obstinate and unyielding elm trembled like an aspen under the weight and shuddering motion of the dying man."
Diamond then states that the family and friends of Henry Chiles, took his body and gave it a decent burial. The actual burial site is unknown.

Henry's brother, Ephraim Chiles, was the second person to be hanged.
Henry and his brother, Ephraim Chiles, are descendants of Walter Chiles Family of Jamestown.

Henry Chiles married Dicy A. Kennedy daughter of William Kennedy and Elizabeth Purcell on 20 Sep 1845 in , Hancock, Indiana. Dicy was born on 2 Nov 1825 in Washington County, Tennessee. She died on 12 May 1905 in Maryville, Nodaway, Missouri and was buried in Conway Cemetery, Taylor, Iowa.

An obituary for Dicy Chiles, with references to her husband and the Gainesville hanging, can be found in another post on this blog.

Dicy (sometimes spelled Dicey) had a newborn baby when her husband, Doctor Henry Chiles, was arrested for his pro-union sentiments in confederate Texas and hanged. Dicy was left widowed with a three week old baby daughter, in addition to six other children to care for as well. According to her obituary, Dicy took her young family to Lamar County, Texas soon after the hangings.  She probably felt safer in Lamar County than in Cooke County.  As soon as the war was over in 1865, Dicy moved her family to Mercer County, Illinois and lived there until sometime in the 1882. Dicy then moved to Taylor County, Iowa with several of her married children. She is buried in the Conway Cemetery in Taylor County, Iowa.

Henry and Dicy had eight children, four daughters and four sons:

1. Elizabeth Jane Chiles was born on 3 Nov 1846 in Des Moines, Polk, Iowa. She died on 25 Oct 1928 in Taylor County, Iowa. She was buried in Conway Cemetery, Taylor, Iowa.
After the death of her father, a lot of the burden to help care for the family, most likely fell upon the shoulders of 15 year old, Elizabeth. Her mother, Dicy had been left a widow with a three week old baby. Sometime before 1870, Elizabeth moved with her mother & siblings to Mercer County, Illinois. In 1870, Elizabeth is found living with the Mathew McGolsey home as a domestic servant. How different Elizabeth's life would have been had her father not been killed in the Hangings!
Elizabeth married Robert Powell on 20 Feb 1873 in Mercer, Illinois. Robert was born on 2 Jun 1836 in , Hampshire, Virginia. He died on 6 Nov 1909 in Taylor, Iowa. He was buried in Conway Cemetery, Taylor, Iowa.
Elizabeth J. Chiles Powell Obituary:
From Newspaper Abstracts, Excerpts and Death/ Obituary Indexes of Taylor County, Iowa (Taylor County, Iowa GenWeb), submitted by: Julia Johnson -,
Times-Republican, Thursday November 1, 1928 [p. 1]
Elizabeth Jane Chiles was born in Des Moines, Iowa, November 3, 1846 and departed this life on October 25th, 1928. If she had lived until November 3rd she would have reached the age of 82 years. She was the daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Henry Chiles, with whom she moved to east Tennessee in the year 1858, and from there to Texas in 1860. Six years later they moved to Illinois where she lived until her marriage to Robert M. Powell, which occurred on February 20, 1873.
To this union four children were born, Bert E. Powell of Conway, Mrs. P. A. Blake of Bedford, Clinton H. Powell of Conway, and Clifton D. Powell of St. Petersburg, Florida. There are four grandchildren, Earl Powell of Corning, Mrs. Bessie Ford of Canada, Frank Powell of Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Lucille Blake of Bedford. There are also eight great grandchildren. Her husband, Robert M. Powell, preceded her in death 19 years ago and sleeps in the Conway cemetery, by whose side Mrs. Powell will be buried.
Mrs. Powell leaves two brothers and two sisters to mourn her going, George W. and James F. Chiles, Mrs. Sarah Longley and Mrs. J. E. Powell, all of San Diego, California. The sisters are here today but it was not possible for the brothers to be in attendance for her funeral.
She was converted and joined with the Methodist Episcopal Church when just a girl and had been a member of the church in Bedford for the past 25 years.
All of her children and her sisters were at her bedside at the time of her death

2. William P. Chiles was born about 1848 in Iowa.  He is listed with the family in the 1850 census but does not show up on the 1860 census, so he may have died as a child.
3. George W. Chiles was born about 1850 in Polk, Iowa. George married Anna Beachler  on 12 Dec 1878 in Mercer County, Illinois.

4. Sarah A. Chiles was born in Jul 1852 in Polk, Iowa. Sarah married James Longly on 27 Feb 1879 in Mercer County, Illinois. James was born in Dec 1851 in Iowa. Sarah was living in San Diego, CA in 1928.

5. Margaret E. Chiles was born about 1853 in Iowa.

6. John W. Chiles was born about 1855 in Tennessee.

7. James F. Chiles was born in May 1860 in , Lamar, Texas. He died in San Diego, California. James married Rosanna Rachel Goldsberry on 15 Feb 1884 in Clarinda, Page, Iowa. Rosanna was born on 4 Mar 1862 in Iowa. She died on 28 Apr 1959 in San Diego, California.

8. Mary Henryetta Chiles was born on 14 Sep 1862 in Gainesville, Cooke, Texas. She died on 26 Dec 1931 in San Diego, San Diego, California.
Mary was named after her father, who died in the Great Hanging at Gainesville when she was only several weeks old. 
Mary married James Edward Powell on 27 Sep 1883 in Bedford, Taylor, Iowa. James was born on 13 Dec 1855 in Moline, Illinois. He died on 24 Feb 1931 in San Diego, California. He was buried in San Diego, California.

**Sources for this family, along with all sources, may be found on