Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Gainesville Hanging Marker

The marker for the "Great Hanging at Gainesville, 1862" is located in the Georgia Bass Park on the east bank of Pecan Creek, between Main Street and California Street.  The marker was erected in 1964.  According to a local, at one time the Gainesville Hanging marker was located west of I-35, near Elm Creek and later moved to it's present location.

Close-up of the marker - marker text at bottom of this post.

Marker Text:Facing the threat of invasion from the north and fearing a Unionist uprising in their midst, the people of North Texas lived in constant dread during the Civil War. Word of a "Peace Party" of Union sympathizers, sworn to destroy their government, kill their leaders, and bring in Federal troops caused great alarm in Cooke and neighboring counties. Spies joined the "Peace Party" discovered its members and details of their plans. Under the leadership of Colonels James Bourland, Daniel Montague and others, citizens loyal to the Confederacy determined to destroy the order; and on the morning of October 1, 1862, there were widespread arrests "by authority of the people of Cook County." Fear of rescue by "Peace Party" members brought troops and militia to Gainesville, where the prisoners were assembled, and hastened action by the citizens committee. At a meeting of Cooke County citizens, with Colonel W.C. Young presiding, it was unanimously resolved to establish a Citizens Court and to have the Chairman choose a committee to select a jury. 68 men were brought speedily before the court. 39 of them were found guilty of conspiracy and insurrection, sentenced and immediately hanged. Three other prisoners who were members of military units were allowed trial by Court Martial at their request and were subsequently hanged by its order. Two others broke from their guard and were shot and killed. The Texas Legislature appropriated $4,500 for rations, forage used by State troops here during the unrest. (1964)

Not sure why the names of all the men who died in the hanging were not placed on the marker. It would seem that they deserve being remembered by name!

Found an article on the Gainesville Hanging marker by author James Loewen.
In his book, Lies Across America: What Our Historic Sites Get Wrong, James Loewen gives an interesting take on the Gainesville Hanging historical marker.   Loewen considers the modest marker an "extended excuse" for what happened in October 1862.   He explains how years earlier in 1911, Gainesville put up a Confederate monument on the courthouse lawn that was "a counterfactual statement to cover over the awful crime that the Confederates carried out on these very grounds in October 1862."


Anonymous said...

I did not realize that Montague County was named for Daniel Montague until I read of Montague in regard to the Gainesville Massacre. Daniel Montague is a notorious person who should not have been memorialized with a Texas county being named after him. Daniel Montague infiltrated the so-called group of ‘northern sympathizers’, gained their trust, and then betrayed them. Daniel Montague also betrayed his own brothers-in-arms to join the Confederacy where he fought against the very men he served with during the Mexican War of 1848. History should not memorialize this man by naming a county after him as if he were some gentile nobleman.

Anonymous said...

If Texas were to only name its counties after noblemen, most counties in Texas would be without a name. Most Texas counties are named after men with characters very similar to Montague. Most early Texans who have been memorialized with counties named in their honor were men who owned slaves or had nothing against killing "savage" Indians.

Miles R. Clark said...

The monument in Georgia Bass Park has a long quote from George Washington Diamond's account of the lynching of over 40 men in 1862. Diamond was a rebel of the first order and his account seeks to justify this atrocity. This monument on the site of the "hanging tree" is an insult to those men who were murdered by this mob. I notice there are small US flags by the monument. What irony! Please! Do the right thing and remove this monument and get rid of the falsehood it seeks to perpetuate. I am a g-g-grandson of Nathaniel Miles Clark, one of the victims of this mob.
Miles R. Clark