Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Galveston Daily News 1880

EXECUTION AT GAINESVILLE
Galveston Daily News
Publication date: 1 May 1880

The Galveston News ran an article on 1 May 1880 about an Execution by Hanging of a man named Noftsinger.  The Noftsinger hanging took place in Gainesville on 30 Apr 1880 and the scaffold was "within view of the celebrated 'hangsman tree' of Cooke County.  A portion of the article then goes on to discuss the earlier hangings that took place on the 'hangsman tree' in Gainesville during October 1862.

This 1880 news article is interesting because it includes a partial list of names for the victims of the Great Hanging and it was supposedly the first time these names had appeared in print.  The article called the Citizens Court the "court of inquisition"  and the weeks in which the Citizens Court was holding it's trials, the "fifteen days of terrorism in 1862."




Transcription of above news article.

Galveston Daily News (newspaper), 1 May 1880

OVER THE STATE. 
Special Telegrams to the Galveston News --- The Execution at Gainesville, April 30
[The first part of the article is about a legal hanging in Gainesville that took place on April 30, 1880. Then the article reflected upon the Great Hangings of 1862.]

"THE SCAFFOLD,
erected in the northeastern suburbs of the town [Gainesville], is within view of the celebrated “hangsmen tree” of Cook County. Upon the low, outstretching limbs of this monarch of the woodland, forty men were gibbeted during the fifteen days of terrorism in 1862. The circumstance has often been alluded to in political harangues and commented upon by the press, but thus far the names of the parties executed, and those of the members of the court of inquisition, have never appeared in print. The object of the secret organization, whose members were gibbeted, is more a subject of surmise than of fact. The secessionists at the time, held that the organization was a league to butcher the confederate command at Wichita, kill all pronounced secessionists, burn and destroy their property, and order out of the country all known southern sympathizers. The anti-secessionists, on the other hand, contended that it was a peace party favorable to an alliance with the disaffected reservation Indians, with the object of cooperating with the union army, in the event of federal success in Arkansas, in restoring order in that portion of the state, then the frontier of Texas.
MURDER RAMPANT
Be that as it may, the knife and the rifle of the assassin were rampant. On the first of October, 1862, several hundred persons assembled at Gainesville, in response to a circulated notice, alleging that a treasonable plot had been discovered. A meeting was held in the Methodist Church, and the following members of the court of inquisition appointed to investigate the matter, which court held its sessions in the Masonic lodge-room: Samuel Doss, Thomas Barrett, Wiley Jones, Benjamin Scandland, Thos. Wright, Daniel Montague, J. P. Long, J. E. Hughes, Reason Jones, W. S. Simpson, John N. Hamil, and James Jones. Some one hundred alleged traitors were arrested and brought before the tribunal for trial, during its sixteen days sessions, forty of whom were adjudged guilty and hanged upon the tree in question.
THE VICTIMS
The names of the parties gibbeted were: Dr. Childs; William, John, Wesley and Work Morris, John Crisp, Dr. Eli Thomas, Frosty, George and William Anderson, E. C. Scott, B. Dossen, Thomas Floyd, Ramsey Dye, James Powers, and the following, whose given names are not remembered Chiles, Fields, Locke, Hampton, Wiley, McNice, Worrel, Birch, Goss, Jones, Esmon, and thirteen others, whose names are not recollected. On the 2nd of the month two were hanged, on the 4th two, on the 7th one, on the 8th one, on the 10th one, on the 12th three and on the 13th eleven. On the 12th the inquisition adjourned, subject to call between that date and the 15th. Col. Young, one of the most popular men in north Texas, was assassinated, together with several other confederate officers. The inquisition reassembled and passed sentence on nineteen members of the league, all of whom were hanged on the 17th. There were three degrees in the league. Those who had only taken the first degree were invariably acquitted, and those who had subscribed to the second and third oath, taken by those degree members, invariably executed. The NEWS reporter has been unable to learn the character of the several oaths."

The above newspaper article can be found on THE PORTAL TO TEXAS HISTORY website:
The Galveston Daily News(Galveston, TX), Vol. 39, No. 34, Ed. 1 Saturday, May 1, 1880, page 1
http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth462743/m1/1/?q=Saturday

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing this news article. Really appreciate all the research you have posted. It is important that we do not forget what happened that dark October in 1862! Your blog can stand as a memorial to the poor unfortunate men who were killed. Sounds like a lot of them were just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Anonymous said...

Where did you find this newspaper article? Was it online someplace? Did other newspapers list any names? It seems that the Gainesville papers should have reported on the men who were hanged. Or did the newspapers get destroyed like the court records were destroyed?

Anonymous said...

Which website or repository did you find this newspaper article? I would like to find the original newspaper with this article in it. Thank you for posting this. Hopefully others will also post any information they find on the men who were hanged. Definitely not enough research has been done on the men who died in the hanging. I am surprised that a Texas University has not taken this up as a research project.

Anonymous said...

This newspaper reporter was absolutely correct in calling the Citizens Court, a "court of inquisition" and the weeks in which the Citizens Court was holding it's trials, the "fifteen days of terrorism in 1862."
If he had said these things in 1862, he would have been shot just like the Sherman editor Foster.