The Hanging Tree
Apparently, Founders Cemetery is also home to the Hanging Tree or "Hangsman Grove."
One Web site says "the tree has seen an untold number of deaths and suffering" while another Web site says several blacks were hanged there.
Some references indicate the tree is located near the entrance to the cemetery. I'm not sure if a marker or plaque indicates the location of the tree.
In Dr. S.O. Young's 1913 book, "True Stories of Old Houston and Houstonians," he says, "The general idea is that many men were hanged out there, but as a matter of fact only three executions took place there."
According to Young, a man named Hyde was the first to be executed at the site.
"He had waylaid and murdered a man and had then left the state and gone to Louisiana or Mississippi....Proper papers were made out and Hyde was arrested and brought back. That was in 1853, and the hanging took place in what was afterwards known as Hangsman Grove just on the southeast corner of the old cemetery out of the San Felipe Road," Young wrote.
The next execution was in 1868 and involved a black man named Johnson. About two years later, another black man named Johnson was executed at that spot.
After that, Young says, executions took place at the jail or jail yard.
Labels: city life