The Campaign For DA

3.07.2016

Pioneer History Of Wise County


I mentioned I had found this book a few weeks ago, and I've been making my way through it. It was written in 1907 and reads like poetry in addition to the fascinating facts it tells. For example, look at this paragraph about the "Peace Party" which may or may have not consisted of Union sympathizers during the Civil War.  This was after the "Great Hanging" in Gainesville:

The trial commissioners occupied the upper story of the Confederate Arsenal [in Decatur], the office of the latter being on the ground floor. Sentinels were placed about the town, one or two on each road leading therefrom. Mysterious midnight searches, investigations and arrests now followed and the county was thrown into a fit of excitement. The trials began with the arrival of the first prisoners and continued until the question of guilt of all the accused parties was settled. Some were found to have rendered only a perfunctory allegiance to the secret order, and these were ordered detained to be sent later to the Confederate Army. Out of the number tried five were adjudged totally guilty and sentenced to capital punishment. The names of these unfortunates were: John Conn, Ira Burdick, Jim McKinn, Parson Maples and — Ward. John Conn had been a member of the Confederate guard sent from Wise County to Gainesville to remain during the trials there. At the ending of their respective trials each of these men were conveyed to a tree which stood in the Swan pasture at the western edge of town, and hanged by the neck until dead.

Anyone know where Swan pasture is?

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

I believe it may have been in the vicinity of the present Eagles Nest apartments, north and west from the museum (the old DBC Administration Building). I know there is a tradition that the last hanging in Wise County was held in that location.

Anonymous said...

In the current winds of changing place names because their namesakes are Confederate, based on this story, there are many places in need of such in Wise and Cooke counties.

Anonymous said...

DBC would be SW of town. There was a dairy at the old western edge of town, with pastures west of Cowan Street, where Walmart/Lowes et. al. are now. Perhaps that it?? (PURE SPECULATION ON MY PART)

Adolph Oliver Bush said...

Next to Swan Lake???

Anonymous said...

No, no...On Golden Pond.

Brian said...

I found a reference to the location of the pasture from a 1956 Wise County Messenger article whic interviewed "old-timers" as part of a cenntenial celebrations of the founding of thr county: https://www.newspapers.com/clip/4551352/

Anonymous said...

Amazing how white people view the "pioneer spirit".

Anonymous said...

Amen.