Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The Great Hanging at Gainesville

A unionist "peace party plot" aimed at revolt against the 
Confederate government in Texas was discovered in Sep- 
tember, 1862, in the North Texas area including Cooke, 
Grayson, Wise, Denton, and Collin counties. Prompt action by 
local authorities broke up the organization in October, 1862. 
Following a declaration of martial law in Cooke County, a "Cit- 
izens Court," or jury, of twelve men composed of army officers 
and civilians was formed at Gainesville. It found thirty-nine of 
the participants guilty and sentenced them to be hanged for con- 
spiracy and insurrection. Three other prisoners who were members 
of military units were permitted trial by court martial as they 
requested and were subsequently hanged by its order. 
This was copied from a document about an event that was hidden for many years or not talked about. However, in my genealogy research I came across this and was greatly fascinated by this. The reason being that it is so intriguing is that my third great grandfather Arphax Dawson was one of the 42 men hung in Gainesville.

The State 

vs. 

Curd Goss, Wm Anderson 

John Miller, Ar[phax] Dawson, 

and M. W. Morris. 



Disloyalty & 
Treason. 



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. 

"There are signs, grips and passwords in the Order which will 
afford protection when the Northern Army comes in, and by which 
the members know each other ["].
Arphax had three sons who fought in Confederate units.  According to a descendant, Ephriam A. Dawson was serving in a Confederate Texas Cavalry unit on the very day that his father was hanged by the confederates in Gainesville . Ephiriam is my second great grandfather. 


Here is a great blog that has many resources about this event:  http://gainesvilletx1862.blogspot.com

It looks like we missed an opportunity to go to a dedication for the memorial in Gainesville. On a side note one of the speakers at the ceremony was a History teacher Diana had at Cook County College back in 1976. (Her husband taught my History class.) We will be going to Gainesville to get pictures of the memorial site.

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