Sunday, June 22, 2008

Henry Cockrum

This is what we have on Henry Cockrum. Any additional information would be appreciated, especially children, parents and wife's maiden name.

Henry Cockrum 1,2,3,4,5,6 was born about 1831 in , , Missouri. He died on 13 Oct 1862 in Gainesville, Cooke, Texas as a victim of "The Great Hanging at Gainesville, Texas, 1862".

Research notes for Henry Cockrum
Possible 1850 census entry for Henry Cockrum?? According to the probate record in the Cooke County records, Henry's wife was Elizabeth. In the marriage records for Cooke Co. in 1866, Amandy Cockrum married Wm. Elliott. Could Amandy (Amanda) who married in 1866 be the "A. Cochran" in the census record below??
In the 1850 Fannin County, Texas census, household #1
Henry (Harry) Cockran, age 19, farmer, born Missouri
Elizabeth Cockran, age 26, born Kentucky
A. Cockran, age 2/12 months, female, born Texas
Jno. W. Petell, age 6, born Illinois
M. Petell age 10, female, born Illinois
A. Jones, age 2, female, born Texas

Henry married Elizabeth (?) . Elizabeth was born in , , Kentucky.

What was Elizabeth's maiden name? Who are the Petell children in the home? Was Elizabeth married before Henry Cockrum to a Petell?

1. Gainesville Great Hanging Sources."One of forty-two Union sympathizing citizens of North Texas who were charged with treason against the Confederacy by a Citizens Court in Gainesville, Cooke County in October 1862 and then executed in the Great Hanging at Gainesville.References:1. Richard B. McCaslin, "Tainted Breeze, The Great Hanging at Gainesville, Texas, 1862" (Baton Rouge, Louisiana: Louisiana State University Press, 1994).2. George W. Diamond, "Account of the Great Hanging at Gainesville, 1862" SOUTHWESTERN HISTORICAL QUARTERLY, Vol. 66, no. 3, January, 1963, p. 331-414, edited by Sam Acheson and Julie Ann Hudson O'Connell.3. James L. Clark, "Civil War Recollections of James Lemuel Clark, Including Previously Unpublished Material On The Great Hanging at Gainesville, Texas In October, 1862" (College Station, Texas: Texas A&M University Press, 1984).".

2. George Washington Diamond's Account of the Great Hanging at Gainesville, 1862, ManuscripteEdited by Sam Acheson and Julie, The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, pg .397, Vol. LXVI, January, 1963, No. 3.George W. Diamond was a brother of secessionists, John R. Diamond and James J. Diamond, who was a principal in the Great Hanging. After the hangings and the adjournment of the court, Diamond was given the records for the purpose of "preserving them and so disposing of them that the history of its (Citizen's Court) transactions might be perpetuated and justice done to those who participated in its deliberations. Diamond's compilation of "memoranda" was to be offered to the public as a just vindicaton of the conduct of those whose judgements were under national criticism. The members of the court examined Diamond's account and gave their unanimous and unqualified approval.
"pg 397The State vs. C. A. Jones("HumpBack"), James Powers ("Carpenter"), Eli M. Scott, Thomas Baker ("Old Man"), Geo W Anderson, Abraham McNeese, Henry Cochran ("30"), C.F. Anderson, Wm Wernell, B.F. Barnes ("35 or 40"), Wm Rodes, and N. M. Clark ("25").Disloyalty & Treason.The testimony against the above mentioned conspirators corresponds with the testimony herein before produced on the trial of Childs, Fields, Harper, Lock, and others. They all acknowledged their connection with the organization, and made full confession of their guilt at the gallows.===pg 398 Witness in trial against Ramey DayBen F. Barnes sworn.(Witness)I was at the meeting at Richie's Mill. Dr. Foster said the object of the meeting was to resue Harper; and he wanted us to take our guns and go -- myself and Ramey Dye. The reason we did not go to rescue Harper was because a messenger (Essman) told us that there were a great many soldiers in Gainesville and we were then afraid."

3. Connor, Seymour V. , Peters Colony of Texas, A History and Biographical Sketches of the Early Settlers, Texas State Historical Association; Austin; 1959."page 222
"Henry Cockrum was issued a certificate by the county court of Cooke County for 640 acres. Since his claim was later disallowed, it is doubtful that he was a bona fide colonist."
(**note: There is also a Edward Cockrum listed as receiving a certificate for 320 acres in Cooke County and in 1857 having his claim also disallowed.)."

4.Probate Record, Cooke County Probate Book 1, page 380-381, Sep 1863.
"Cooke County Probate Book 1, page 380-381, 5 September 1863
(bottom of page 380 and continuing on top of page 381)
Appraisement Bill of the Community property of Henry Cockrum, Decd
70 head of sheep @ $4 280.0035 head of stock cattle @$9 315.001
Yoke of Oxen $100 & 19 head of horses @ $80 1620.00
1span mules $400 & 1 bay horse $200 600.00
2 head of hogs @ $10 160 acres of land @$2 340.00
160 acres of land & improvements 250.00
2 setts of harnes & one wagon 175.00
Farming tools $25 2 log chains $14 39.00
1 corss but saw $10 1 box of tools $15 35.00
1 note $80 Debt on Doct Martin $350 430.00
1 block $25 Household furniture $150 175.00
2 steers @ $40 80.00
Total $4,329.00
Page 381The State of TexasCounty of Cooke
This is to certify that I have made a true and correct exhibit of all the property belonging
to the estate of Henry Cockrum Decd, that has come to my knowledge.
(signed)Elizabeth Cockrum
Sworn to subscribed before me this 28th day of September AD 1863
Saml Gooding, Clerk."

5. 1850 U.S. Census, Texas, Fannin County, Household #1, pg 142."In the 1850 Fannin County, Texas census, household #1
Henry (Harry) Cockran, age 19, farmer, born MissouriElizabeth Cockran, age 26, born KentuckyA. Cockran, age 2/12 months, female, born TexasJno. W. Petell, age 6, born IllinoisM. Petell age 10, female, born IllinoisA. Jones, age 2, female, born Texas."

6. Land/Deed Records."Cooke County Deed Records
3 July 1858Purchased 160 acres
8 July 1858Purchased 100 acres."

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Orphan Daughters of John Miller

One of the most tragic stories of the Gainesville Hanging is that of Nancy L. Miller and Mary Elizabeth Miller, the orphan daughters of John M. Miller. (A third younger daughter, Luella, had been sent back to Missouri to live with grandparents prior to the start of the Civil War.)

Not only did Nancy and Mary Elizabeth lose their only living parent in the Hanging, but they were mistreated and their father's estate stolen and mishandled by the person who was suppose to provide them care and be the administrator of the estate.

When John M. Miller died in the Hangings, William Mitchell was made administrator of his estate. Just before John Miller died, he requested that Mitchell take or send his daughters to their relatives in Missouri and administer his estate.
Within a few years, Mitchell had sold most of the land and personal estate and had taken the money which was quite substantial. He then made a bill to cover the cost of caring for the girls to match what he had taken from the estate. Mitchell never sent the girls to school, did not keep them in a "lady like" style, and required that they labor to pay for their keep. Plus, he never took them to their relatives in Missouri.

The court finally put the girls under the guardianship of John H. Harrison in 1867.  Finally, Nancy and Mary Elizabeth were taken to live with their maternal grandparents, James and Margaret Sandusky in Carroll County, Missouri.  The grandparents were already caring for the youngest daughter, Luella.  The Miller daughters can be found living with their grandparents in the 1870 census.

Source Citation: Year: 1870; Census Place: Wakenda, Carroll, Missouri; Roll M593_766; Page: 398B; Family History Library Film: 552265

The "rest of the story" can be found on the John M. Miller Biography post.
Below are several pages of the John M. Miller probate with a transcription below the copies of the actual pages. There are additional probate papers concerning the John M. Miller in Probate Box 21 in the Cooke County Court House.
Probate Records, Cooke County, Texas, Vol. 1, January 1, 1867; Page 531 - 532

(Transcription of above court document)
Probate Records, Cooke County, Texas, Vol. 1, January 1, 1867; Page 531 - 532
The opinion of the court in the case of Mitchell administrator of the estate of J. M. Miller, died in the fall of the year 1862. John Miller departed this life, leaving some property and two children both girls, one about 8 and one about 10 years old, and requested that Wm. M. Mitchell take his property and children and when times got better to take or send them to their relatives in Missouri, in December 1862 Mitchell procured the appointment himself to the administration of the said Millers estate and petitioned the court for leave to sell the property to pay debts and in February 1863 sold a portion of the property for $280.50 in confederate money, in hand, and on the 8th day of February 1864 sold the balance of the property for $764 dollars in confederate money in hand, during the time he took possession of the children, he returns his sale bills in conformity with law to the court but made no further exhibits with regard to said estate until he was cited to do so by an order of the court made at the August term 1866 when he made what he called an exhibit showing the whole amount of sales to be $1044.50 in confederate money and his account for keeping the children cloth, horse feed, hunting horses, fee & etc to the amount of $442 dollars and 25 cents (specie charged); he introduced no proof to establish any item of his account, except five dollars for hunting horses and the keeping of the children, the proof introduced with regard to the manner of keeping the children was conflicting, but there was proof to satisfy the court, that they were not kept in lady like stile, or in idleness, and that they were never sent to school and that he kept them for nearly four years until the youngest was about 12 and the oldest was about 14 years old, and that if there was any lack of ability on their part to pay for their board and clothing, where his first took them, that before they left, they were well able to make up the deficiency, the court is not willing to sanction a practice of taking orphan children and requiring their labor, without ever sending them to school, and after keeping them until the estate is consumed, turn them off upon the cold charities of the world, and then make a bill to cover the whole amount of the estate as a final close and settlement of the same. The whole course of the administrator since the exhibit of the sale bills has been unsurable and contrary to law, and when at one time there was an application made to him for the youngest girl, he refused to let her go although he was not her guardian, nor has he any more right to the possession of her person than any other person, nor was there any proof of his ever trying to send them to their relatives in Missouri. The proof before the court showed that the property sold at the first sale was worth 66 dollars in specie and that the property sold at the second sale was worth 60 dollars in specie, the two sales make 126 dollars specie there were diverse small items in the first sale bill that Mitchells could not identify and therefore not prove enough not priced it is presumed by the court to pay the five dollars for horse hunting, all other claims forfeits in the absence of proof are presumed by the court to have been paid at the proper time in the confederate money received by the said Mitchell, from the sales of the property of said estate, as that was the currency and custom of the times.
It is therefore considered by the court that the claim presented by the administrator Mitchell for the sum of 442 dollars & 25 cts in specie be disallowed and it is further ordered and adjudged by the court that the said administrator Wm. M. Mitchell pay to John H. Harrison the sum of one hundred & twenty six dollars specie with interest on the same from the 1st day of June 1864 up to the first day of January 1869, making the sum total of one hundred & fifty one dollars & 20 cts together with all cost in this behalf expended.
Ordered by the court that court adjourn until court in ____
J. E. Wheeler, County Judge

Will the real John Miller please come forward!

Two John Millers in Cooke County in 1860.There were two John Millers in the 1860 Census in Cooke County. So, which John Miller was killed in the Great Hanging?

Diamond refers to a "John Miller" who was tried and hanged. Miller was also mentioned in Diamond's account of the DeLemeron (DeLamirande) case. Clark does not have a Miller on his list. McCaslin states that the Miller who was hanged was "John B. Miller". (We believe this to be in error and feel that his middle initial was "M" – John M. Miller.)

There are two John Millers in the 1860 Cooke County Census:
1. John Miller #1: On page 232, household 183, there is a John Miller who is a 39-year old carpenter, born in Kentucky, $960 in real property and $1200 in personal property. He is a single head of household with three young girls who were all born in Missouri: Nancy L., age7; Mary E., age 5; Luella A., age 3. (This family does NOT show up in the 1870 census Cooke County Census.) This John Miller was listed next to William Boyles on the census page and was also on the same page as William Rhodes. William Boyles was instrumental in bringing several other men into the Peace Party -- Martin & Leffel.

Three Victims of the Gainesville Hanging are on this census page. 1860 Cooke County, Texas page 232, household 183

William R. Rhodes
His wife, Amanda
His children:

John Miller with daughters:
Nancy L.
Mary Elizabeth
Luella A.

William Boyles
Wife, Elizabeth, and children on next page.

2. John Miller #2: On page 242, household 335, there is a John B. Miller, single, age 25, born South Carolina and appears to be a son in the household of Elisha & Mary Miller, who were also born in South Carolina.

More on John B. Miller #2
The 1860 census was taken the 6th of July, 1860. Several months later, on the 27th of September 1860, a John B. Miller, marries Mary Eubanks in Gainesville. This is probably the above John Miller #2 who in the census listed his middle initial as "B". We don't believe him to be the John Miller who died in the Hangings. (Mary Miller marries James Hooper in April of 1863. McCaslin feels this Mary Miller is the widow of his John Miller. Was this the Mary Eubanks Miller who was married to John B. Miller?? -- We don't know. John B. Miller also had a younger sister listed in the census by the name of Mary, who this 1863 Mary Miller marriage could be for.) John B. Miller & wife, Mary, cannot be found in the 1870 Census for Cooke County. So either he died or moved. Was this John B. Miller the one who died in the Hangings? Probably NOT. The other John Miller listed in the census is a better candidate because we know he died in the fall of 1862 prior to November 24th.

John Miller #1
According to probate records, John M. Miller died in the fall of 1862, sometime prior to Nov. 24, 1862, when the Cooke County Court appointed an administrator & appraisers for the estate of John M. Miller. (Cooke County, Texas Probate Book 1, page 327) Also on that same day and same page of the probate Book, the probates and wills of the following Gainesville Hanging Victims were entered: Alexander D. Scott, A. R. Dawson, Curd Goss, John M. Crisp, John M. Miller, Rama Dye, and Samuel Carmichael. It's as if the court listed all the Hanging Victims together on the same page.

Cooke County, Texas Probate Book 1, page 327

The Hanging Victims were entered in the following order:

Alexander D. Scott
A. R. Dawson
Curd Goss
John M. Crisp
John M. Miller
Rama Dye
Samuel Carmichael
John M. Miller

The Court records show that this John M. Miller died leaving two heirs: Nancy L. Miller and Mary Elizabeth Miller. The girls ages at the time of the probate were 10 years & 8 years old, respectively. The names and ages fit two older girls in the John Miller #1 census record. The youngest daughter, Luella, is not mentioned in the probate. Sometime previous to this time, Luella was sent back to Missouri to live with her grandparents.  This John M. Miller was not married at the time of his death because no surviving wife is ever mentioned in the probate records and the girls are called orphans by the judge.

In Diamond's account of the DeLemeron (DeLamirande) trial; Bradley (confederate spy) said that he had gone to DeLemeron and telling him he was a brother to the John Miller who was killed in the Hanging. The family (parents, brothers & sisters) of the 25 year old John B. Miller #2 lived in Cooke County and would have been known by county residents. So, it seems that there would have been some risk posing as someone who lived in the county and would have been known or familiar to other residents of the county. But John M. Miller #1 was from Missouri and did not have brothers who lived in the area.

In summary, we feel that the John Miller who was a victim of the Great Hanging, is the John M. Miller (#1) listed in the Cooke County Probate Book and in the 1860 census records as the single head of household with the three young daughters. In 1860, he lived next to William Boyles and William Rhodes, who also became members of the Peace Pary, so this John Miller would have had the opporunity to know about the Peace Party from his neighbors. Finally, we know from his probate that this John Miller died in the fall of 1862. He left two daughters living in Cooke County, Texas, who then became orphans.  A third daughter was with grandparents in Carroll County, Missouri.

UPDATES on John M. Miller:
Orphan Daughters of John Miller
John M. Miller Biography

Bringing in Union Men

The illustration above is from the Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, 20 Feb 1864 and is entitled "Bringing in Union Men."

On the night of 30 September 1862, men surrounded the homes of suspected unionists and at daybreak on October 1st the unionists were arrested.  Susan Leffel, in a letter dated June 1869, stated that the "leader of their families were taken off by those nocturnal visitors and destroyed by the hanging."  The 1941 obituary for the daughter of John Miller, Nannie Miller Brand, states: "The tragedy occured at night, and the terror-stricken little girl [Nancy] took her little sister by the hand and found her way through the forest at night by a blazed trail to the home of a neighbor." 

According to Barrett, "the heaviest rains I ever saw" started and the arrests took place in the pouring rain.

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 Fold3. To look at the full doublepage centerfold of the above 1864 newspaper illustration, go to  and to view the image:   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