Sunday, September 28, 2008

Richard N. Martin Trial -- Truth or Error

Below is George W. Diamond's account of the Citizen's Court trial of Richard N. Martin. We question the accuracy of Diamond's full account of the Richard N. Martin trial and what he testified.

In all our research, we cannot find where Richard N. Martin was the brother-in-law to William Boyles.
*William Boyles married Elizabeth West and his only known sister married a Nelson Gibson.
*Richard Martin's only sister married Charles Whatley in 1858. Then after he died, she married a Leffel in 1869.
*Richard Martin's wife was Cynthia Jane Neely.
(Note: Boyles was the brother-in-law to David M. Leffel, who was also hanged. The common link to between the Martin and Boyles family was the Leffel family, but that link was NOT there until years after Martin died.)

Did Diamond combine two people to come up with this testimony, did he mix-up names or did he embellish the truth a little??
If anyone can shed any light on the Martin-Boyles relationship, please let us know.

(All three families (Martin, Boyles & Neely) came into Texas from Illinois.)

Martin's speech at the end seems very angry and vindictive. Of course, who wouldn't be, knowing they were soon to be hanged. Perhaps Richard Martin thought that by confessing to what the court wanted to hear and laying real or exaggerated blame on others, he would be pardoned at the last minute.

Here is Diamond's account:
The State vs. Richard N. Martin
Disloyalty & Treason
I.L. Ozment sworn: (witness)
R. N. Martin told me that there existed a secret organization in the Country; and if I would go with him, he could take me in an hour where I could learn all about it. I consented to go. He took me to the residence of Wm. Boyles; and after going a short distance from the house Boyles initiated me. He swore me to support the old Constitution and Union. He gave me the signs, grip and password.
Martin was found guilty and after being sentenced confessed his crimes.

Upon the scaffold, in the presence of citizens and soldiers, he delivered the following address:
Gentlemen: When I first joined this secret organization, I did not fully understand its objects and intentions. But afterwards I received a document containing its plans. Although I am to die upon this tree, before I am hung I want to tell all I know concerning this order; and desire it made known to the world.
You commenced the work to break up this secret order in good time. By this time it would have been too late for you. It was our intention to rise up and kill all southern men, women and children and take possession of their property. To the very best of my understanding this was the purpose.
Now, I pray that you will go on with this work, until every member of this order is brought to justice. I can refer you to one whom I desire shall be punished as I am punished; I want him hung to the same limb to which I am hung -- my brother-in-law, Wm. Boyles. He is the author of my ruin. I took his counsel, and being a bad man, he gave me bad advice. (Here, he informed the people, where Boyles might be found.) Hunt him to the end of the world, or finish him, for his crimes. I hope I may be forgiven. Although I have injured the people so much I die with the consolation that in the end I done my duty to them.
Here his time expired and he was launched into eternity.
Boyles was later killed at Collinsville.


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.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

My husband is Charles Francis Martin's great great grandson. His name is Kevin Martin. Here is the family line. Charles Francis Marting married Nancy Ann Cantrell. There last child, Harvey Robert Martin was born in 1908 (a later baby) Harevy Robert Martin married Gertrude Luella Christian. They had two sons John Charles Martin 1944-2007. Robert Wayne Martin (a surprise baby) 1960-still living. My husband is Robert's oldest son. Not much is known about Charles's past because he died in 1910 when my husband's great grandpa was on 2.

Anonymous said...

Wow!!! So interesting! I am Jannie Martin. Johnnie Ray Martins youngest daughter. His dad is Johnie, and Johnie Dad was James B, and James's Dad was Richard N. I found out, while researching my tree, that Richard was hanged. What a horrible tragedy!! I left you a message on ancestry.com.