In October 1862, 42 men were tried for their Union Sympathies and convicted by a Confederate ‘Citizens Court’ in Gainesville, Texas. 40 men were hanged and several were shot while trying to escape. According to McCaslin, “Many of the victims were not of the lower echelons or fringes of society, but instead could claim to be middle-class.”
The following is a list of ‘Great Hanging’ men and their known occupations. Since most came to Texas to become landowners and farm, the majority of the men were obviously farmers, but it’s surprising to see other occupations represented as well. Many of the men had trades or held county offices. Known talents, such as being a musician, are also noted.
1. C. F. (?Frosty?) Anderson - ?
2. George W. Anderson - ?
3. Richard J. Anderson - ?
4. William B. Anderson - farmer
5. Thomas O. Baker - farmer
6. Bennet C. Barnes - farmer
7. Barnibus Burch - farmer
8. Samuel Carmichael - carpenter
9. Ephraim Chiles - farmer
10. Henry Chiles - physician
11. Nathaniel M. Clark - farmer
12. Henry Cockrum- -farmer, miller
13. John Mansil Crisp - blacksmith
14. Arphaxton R. Dawson - farmer
15. Rama Dye – farmer, justice of the peace, minister, road overseer
16. Hudson John Esman – farmer, musician
17. Henry S. Field - shoemaker
18. Thomas B. Floyd (shot) - farmer
19. James T. Foster (shot) - physician
20. Curd Goss - farmer
21. Edward D. Hampton - farmer
22. M. D. Harper - carpenter
23. William W. Johnson - farmer, Clarke called him Dr. Johnson
24. C. A. Jones - ?
25. David Miller Leffel - carpenter
26. Leander W. P. Jacob Lock - farmer
27. Abraham McNeese – farmer
28. Richard N. Martin - farmer
29. John M. Miller – carpenter, teacher, musician
30. John A. Morris - farmer
31. Wash Morris - farmer OR John W. Morris - farmer
32. M. Wesley Morris - farmer
33. William W. Morris - farmer
34. James A. Powers – “sawer”
35. William R. Rhodes - farmer
36. Alexander D. Scott - farmer
37. Eli M. Scott - farmer, road overseer
38. Gilbert Smith - farmer
39. William B. Taylor - farmer
40. Eli Sigler Thomas - physician
41. James A. Ward - farmer
42. William Wilson Wornell - farmer
43. William Boyles (later shot and possibly died from wounds) - farmer
44. Hiram Kilborn (shot) - road overseer, school trustee, poll supervisor, Baptist preacher
Other men that were killed during that time: Hanged by James Young:
William A. McCool - ?
John M. Cottrell -?
A.N. Johnson - ?
E. Junius Foster, shot by Young, newspaper editor of the Sherman Patriot, shot as he was closing up newspaper office.