Wednesday, May 21, 2008

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

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