Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Morris Men Revisited

New information has been found on the Morris Men -- a partial list of victims from an 1880 newspaper article.  In a previous post, the Galveston Weekly Newspaper article (6 May 1880) containing information about the Great Hanging, lists four men by the name of Morris -- "William, John, Wesley and Work Morris."  Note: The "Work" Morris is most likely a transcription error and should be "Wash" Morris. 
This new list may help figure out the names of the Morris Men who were hanged.
Refer to the previous post about the Morris Men,  Who's Who The Morris Men.
Morris Men comparison chart

Online familytree databases for John W. Morris (married to Lucretia in 1860 Cooke County census) show him as one of the men who was hanged.  His father is listed as Isaiah Morris.  In 1850, the Isaiah Morris family is in Lawrence County, Tennessee -- The same county where Wesley & Wash Morris can be found living in 1850.  Is this a coincidence or a connection?

We welcome any further information, insights or corrections concerning any of the Morris Men. 
Any information, however small, might help with the research for these men.  We want to make sure we have the right men who were hanged, along with their parents, sibings, wives and children.  Thanks.


Anonymous said...

Good Job! Where are the records to help identify these men? What happened to all the original records and why did the city not keep records on the men that were hanged? Were the records destroyed on purpose? I can't believe someone did not make a list of all the men who were being hanged. I thought courts were suppose to keep records of their trials. The fact that the records are missing shows that something wrong was going on.
I agree with you that the right men need to be identified and put on the list of those who died in the hanging.

Anonymous said...

I can't find it right now, but I saw a footnote in one of the publications I read about this subject that indicated that the last time the original records were located was in 1925 with a private family. The Historical Society was trying to locate this private family. Since the records were turned over to Diamond to write his report and he worked on it for at least 14 or 15 years, they were probably passed down to some of his heirs. Maybe they will show up in the future at a raw document auction. Gainesville was not an incorporated city in 1862, so it would have been a Cooke County responsibility to keep the records, but since the militia and the citizen mob was running the show, it was not a priority. The problem was the leaders and prominent citizens of the county were hiding behind the militia and mob. The whole affair was being run by the military, and it took a few weeks for the civilian control to take over again. Martial Law had been declared at the start of the "emergency". Plus, I imagine that after the war, no one wanted any records around to remind them of the dirty deed especially since they could be used to prosecute wrong doers.