Wednesday, May 21, 2008

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.


Just Peachy in TX said...

What an amazing woman and to think she is family. Can't thank you enough for this valuable information. The address for this site is currently circulating madly about the country as we pass it around so others in the family can see it.

Anonymous said...

Poor lady! Can't imagine what it was like to go through what she had to go through at the hands of the Confederates or "extra devils" as she calls them. What happened to her and her family?

Anonymous said...

Susan did a great job explaining the trials she and the other widows of the Great Hanging had to go through. She seems quite educated for a frontier wife. And her language skills for a woman of that time period in Texas is impressive. She is almost poetic when she states: "Left me in a sad and mornful condition"