Thursday, September 29, 2011

Nathaniel Miles Clark

Nathaniel Miles Clark

Probably more is known about Nathaniel Miles Clark (and his family) than any other man who was hanged.  There are several reasons for this; first, Clark’s son, James Lemuel Clark, kept letters, interviewed others and wrote down his memories and recollections of “the greatest tragedy of his lifetime,” and, secondly, the Clark family stayed in Cooke County, Texas keeping the memory of their ancestor alive with frequent reunions over the years.  L. D. Clark, grandson of James Lemuel Clark, took the memoirs and papers of his grandfather, edited them and added an introduction for a book called “Civil War Recollections of James Lemuel Clark and the Great Hanging at Gainesville, Texas in October 1862.”  Anyone serious about learning more about the Great Hanging needs to read Clark's book.

Description from back cover of book:
  "Not all Texas agreed with the decision to secede from the Union in 1860, and while most did abide by the decision, many remained outspoken against the laws of the Confederacy.  Civil War Recollections of James Lemuel Clark is the story of one Texas family who suffered more at the hands of their neighbors than any warring enemy.
The memoirs of James Lemuel Clark describe his involvement in a series of events leading up to the hanging of forty men in Gainesville, Texas.  Eighteen at the outbreak of the Civil War, Clark was the son of one of the men hanged for their Union sympathies in October 1862.  Clark's memoirs also tell of his experiences with the Texas militia in Indian campaigns and with the Condederate Army.  Civil War Recollections gives an overview of the events that shaped the lives of war survivors and influenced the reconstruction of Texas."

Nathaniel Miles Clark was born 26 Jun 1818 in Christian, Kentucky, the son of Lemuel Marion Clark and Anna Henderson.  He married Mahuldah Lutisha Hicklin 7 Jul 1841 in Missouri. In 1850, Nathanial and his family are found living in Cedar County, Missouri.  By that time, the couple had four young children: James, Cordelia, Martha, and William. Just after 1850, the Clark family moved from Missouri to Cooke County, Texas. They are found in the 1860 Census for Cooke County.  Four more children had been added to their  family by 1860: John Boone, Mary, Joseph, and N. M. Douglas. 
Many of Clark’s neighbors in 1860, also lost their lives during the time of the Great Hanging: Thomas Floyd, Wesley Morris, Washington Morris, Eli Scott, Hiram Kilborn.
1860 Census Cooke County, Texas

Nathaniel lost his life along with so many others in the Great Hanging at Gainesville in October, 1862.  His family buried him in the Clark Family Cemetery outside of Gainesville, Cooke County, Texas.  His headstone inscription reads: "Nathaniel Miles Clark June 26, 1816 (should be 1818) Murdered by a Mob October 13, 1862 His last words to his companion Prepare yourself to live and die. I hope to meet in a better world God bless you all"

After Texas seceded from the Union in 1862, Nathaniel's oldest child and son, James Lemuel, was drafted into the Confederate Army.  Ironically, James Lemuel was serving in the Confederate Army at the time his father was lynched. After hearing of the death of his father, James deserted the Confederate Army and returned to Texas for several months to take care of his widowed mother and younger siblings. Upon getting them settled somewhat, he later ventured north to Missouri to join the Union Army, therefore serving on both sides during the Civil War. 

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