Gainesville council approves construction of "The Great Hanging" monuments

By: Morgan Downing Email
By: Morgan Downing Email

GAINESVILLE, TX -- The Gainesville city council approved the placement of two monuments that some in the community say are long overdue.

In October 1862, nearly 150 men suspected of supporting the Union were arrested for treason against the Confederacy.

42 of them were hanged in Gainesville, just days later.

Now,151 years later, the city and community is making sure this historical event is not forgotten.

91-year-old L.D. Clark has waited decades to hear these words...

"The motion passes unanimously," Mayor Jim Goldsworthy announced to the council.

Tuesday night, the council approved construction of two 5 foot tall monuments to be built where The Great Hanging took place.

"Well, it makes me feel somewhat justified," Clark said.

Clark's great great grandfather, Nathaniel Clark, was one of the men accused of treason, and hanged on the land right off California Street in Gainesville.

Clark and other members of the Great Hanging Monument committee say this project is long overdue.

"As you grow up in this area, you hear about it. So, I felt like it was a story that was long overdue to be told to the general public," Nancy Brannon said.

Nancy Brannon says the current monument, which was erected in the 60s, is nearly unreadable. And Steve Gordon says the information on it is now outdated.

"That's the information available up to 1964. There's been a lot of research done since then," Gordon said.

Gordon and several other Gainesville residents, some whom have since passed away, have worked tirelessly to collect the facts of the historical event.

Mayor Jim Goldsworthy said their efforts helped push this motion through.

"Our concern at council is that we're historically correct. Beyond that, we would like us to remember history as it unfolded and learn from history," Goldsworthy said.

The monuments will tell the known facts, and list the 42 names of the men who died.

The group says this outcome is a victory for them, but specifically for Mr. Clark.

"There's been a great change of heart in Gainesville concerning this monument, and it's going to be a great, adequate one to fit the situation," Clark said.

Clark has written both a novel and screenplay on The Great Hanging. He says he hopes one day that screen play will be bought and shown in theaters across the country,

The group has spent their own money, and collected donations to pay for the monument.

If you'd like to help contact Steve Gordon at 940-372-8835.


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