Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Those Andersons

Four men with the Anderson surname were hanged at Gainesville during the Great Gainesville Hanging in October 1862. According to McCaslin their names were; C. F. Anderson, George W. Anderson, Richard Anderson and William B. Anderson.

Researching for records using online sites such as Ancestry.com, Fold3.com, WorldVitalRecords.com, FamilySearch.org, Genealogybank.com (newspapers), Portal of Texas History, and using Google's search engine has not provided much in the way of new information to prove who each of the Anderson men could be.

One of the first questions I asked, "Were they random men who happened to have the same surname or were they connected in some way?"

Each Anderson will be reviewed with the information found from McCaslin’s book and Diamond’s account. Any additional information will be added to each man.  The most important "new clue" was found in the 1880 Galveston Weekly News article.

Richard Anderson

McCaslin (Tainted Breeze, pg 195): “Richard J. Anderson is listed in the 1860 Grayson County census (F.N. 1,178) as a twenty-eight-year-old farmer from Missouri with $750 in personal property and no real estate. His wife and their three children, the youngest of whom was six years old, were all born in Missouri.”

The census record below is the one referred to by McCaslin. Is the “R. J. Anderson” listed in Grayson County, the same Richard Anderson who was hanged? No records have be found to prove or disprove this theory.

1860 US Federal Census; Grayson County, Texas; Roll: M653_1295; Page: 218; Dwelling/Family #:1152/1178.

Richard Anderson was sworn into the Peace Party by JWP Lock at the same time Lock swore in P. Q. Russell, William Anderson, George Anderson and John Tourly.

According to Diamond’s account of the Hangings, Richard Anderson had his own individual trial, not a group trial. Diamond shares the following about the Richard Anderson trial: “The evidence against this prisoner being the same in substance as that against Harper & Lock, it is deemed unnecessary to repeat it here. He was found guilty, and after [being] sentenced to be hung, made full confession of his guilt.” Since all we have is Diamond’s opinion of the trial, it will never be known exactly what the transpired during the actual trial for Richard Anderson.

C. F. Anderson > E. F. Anderson > Edward Frost Anderson

Anderson was tried in a group trial along with eleven other men. Diamond’s gives the following description of the trial: “The State vs. C. A. Jones, James Powers, Eli M. Scott, Thomas Baker, Geo W. Anderson, Abraham McNeese, Henry Cockhran, C. F. Anderson, Wm Wernell, B. F. Barnes, Wm Rodes and N. M. Clark.” He further states, “The testimony against the above mentioned conspirators corresponds with the testimony herein before produced on the trial of Childs, Fields, Harper, Lock, and others. They all acknowledged their connection with the organization, and made full confession of their guilt at the gallows.”

According to McCaslin, “C. F. Anderson said Lock swore him in and then told him that the organization was for mutual protection when the Federal army came…Lock took the stand in his own defense, saying that he…had organized the Peace party as a protective society, not to attack their neighbors.” During the trial for JWP Lock, “E. F. Anderson” was a witness.

So, were there two men connected to the trials?  One named C. F. Anderson and one named E. F. Anderson??  Or, was there only one man, who was either C. F. Anderson or E. F. Anderson?

“C” F Anderson from the group trial who said Lock swore him in, and “E” F Anderson, the witness for Lock, are probably the same person. The “E” to a “C” may have been a transcription error. The Anderson man who was hanged was most likely E. F. Anderson. And, his name is probably Edward Frost Anderson, as explained below.

The 1880 Galveston Newspaper article is the earliest record of names of the Great Hanging victims, outside of the court documents.  The 1880 article gave the names of three victims of the Hanging whose names were Anderson: “Frosty, George and William Anderson.” 

For transcription go to Galveston Daily News 1880

Research on the name of Frosty Anderson comes up with a “Frost Anderson” who lived in Lamar County, Texas in 1850.  What is interesting about this Frost Anderson is that his name was Edward Frost Anderson or E. F. Anderson. The Frost Anderson from Lamar County had two sons who were named William (b. 1832) and George W. (b. 1835). Lock, who swore Anderson into the Peace Party and was hanged at Gainesville, was also from Lamar County.  Anderson was asked to testify in Lock's trial.  Frost Anderson and JWP Lock most likely knew each other in Lamar County before moving to Cooke County.  Dr. Henry Chiles, the first man to be hanged in Gainesville, was also living in Lamar County, Texas in 1860.

1850 Lamar County, Texas Federal Census, Precinct 4, page 285

Anderson Family in 1850:  Frost Anderson, Age 40, born Tennessee;  Matilda Anderson, age 38, born Tennessee;  William Anderson, age 19, born Tennessee;  George W. Anderson, age 15, born Tennessee;  Jessee Anderson, age 13, born Arkansas;  Susan E. Anderson, age 5, born Texas;  Mary A. Anderson, age 3, born Texas;  Thomas D. Anderson, age 1, born Texas.

Frost Anderson cannot be found in the 1860 census in either Lamar or Cooke Counties.  In addition to the children listed in the 1850 census, some family databases have an additional son, John Anderson, who was born about 1830 in Tennessee.

This evidence seems to point to the fact that C. F. Anderson and E. F. Anderson were the same man and he was most likely Frost Anderson from Lamar County.
Two of his sons, William and George, may have been the William Anderson and George W. Anderson who were also hanged.

William Anderson

McCaslin (Tainted Breeze, page 195): “William B. Anderson is listed in the 1860 Cooke County census (F.N. 451) as a twenty-seven-year-old farmer from Tennessee with $175 in personal property. His wife was from Arkansas, but their son, age eight, was born in Texas. Anderson first appears on the tax roll for Cooke County in 1859; he paid only a poll tax for that and the next few years, but in 1862 he was accessed for 2 horses and 7 cattle. He did serve for a period of time in a military unit, because the 1862 tax rolls for Cooke County found in the archives at UNT declare that his payment would be delayed because he had ‘gone to war.’”
1860 Cooke County, Texas Federal Census, page 249

In the above 1860 census, William Anderson is a 27 year old Tennessee native and his wife, Lucinda, is a 17 years old Arkansas native. There is an 8 year old Francis King living in the household, who does not appear to be the son of William or Lucinda. The William Anderson in this 1860 Cooke census would be approximately the right age to be the son of Frost Anderson.

A marriage record in Lamar County can be found for William Anderson who married Lucinda Davis on 3 Nov 1855. Lucinda’s father, Abner Davis, can be found on the 1850 census for Lamar County.  He moved to Cooke County, Texas, where he died on 15 May 1859. Lucinda’s widowed mother, Sarah Davis, and Lucinda's siblings can be found living in Cooke County in the 1860 census. It is interesting that Sarah Davis has a 17 year old Catherine King living in the household.  Lucinda and William, also, had someone with the name of King living with them.

The age for Lucinda is bothersome, because she would only be about 13 years old when she married. Marrying at such a young age is not unheard of, but also not all that common. I personally had a great-aunt who married at the age of 13 years old in the 1920’s. So, although uncommon, young marriages could and did happen.

The big question was whether or not William Anderson, with wife, Lucinda, in 1860 Cooke County and hanged in the Great Hangings, is the same William Anderson who married Lucinda Davis in Lamar County. But, the above evidence seems to support the fact that both are the same man. Also, evidence seems to point to the fact that William Anderson is the son of Frost Anderson of Lamar County.

William Anderson was tried and condemned to death by the "Citizens Court" in a group trial, along with Curd Goss, John Miller, Arphax Dawson, and M. W. Morris. Diamond (Diamond's Account, page 85) stated of this group trial, "These prisoners all acknowledged their guilt, giving the signs, grip, and password, and were active members of Capt Ramey Dye's company. All found guilty and hung."

William was hanged on 19 Oct 1862. His body was probably buried at the mass burial grave site.

It is not known what happened to Lucinda after the 1860 census, or if William and Lucinda had any children.

George W. Anderson

McCaslin (Tainted Breeze, page 195): “George W. Anderson first appears in the Cooke County tax roll for 1862, when he paid taxes on $124 in property, including 1 horse and 4 cows.”

According to Jackson Mounts’ testimony in Lock's Trial, he (Mounts) was sworn into the Peace party at the same time as “P Q Russell, Wm Anderson, George Anderson, John Tourly, and Richard Anderson.”

George W. Anderson was tried in the same group trial as C. F. Anderson (or Frost Anderson). He was found guilty along with the group and was hanged on October 13, 1862.  He was buried in the mass grave burial site.

The above information is all that is found from Diamond's Account and McCaslin's Book about George W. Anderson.

In the Lamar County 1850 household of Frost Anderson, there was a 15 year old George W. Anderson. It is very likely that he is the same George W. Anderson who was hanged in the Gainesville Hangings.  He could have moved to Cooke County around the same time as his brother, William.  Both men are on the 1862 Cooke County, Texas tax roll.

It is not known if George W. Anderson was married or had any children.

Evidence seems to point to Edward Frost Anderson, and two of his sons, William and George, as being three of the "Anderson Men" who were hanged during the Great Hanging at Gainesville in 1862.  I have drawn my conclusions based on documents such as census records and the 1880 newspaper article, and the Anderson connections to family and friends, such as "Lock".
But, one has to wonder how three men in the same family could have been hanged without mention being made in a record, newspaper or document.

Any help or thoughts or corrections on the Andersons would be appreciated. Thanks.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this information. Good investigative work. Wondered what happened to Edward Frost Anderson.