The Great Hanging at Gainesville, 1862
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In what may have been the single largest outbreak of vigilante violence in American history, forty men were hanged at Gainesville, Texas in October 1862. With the Civil War in full swing, rumors of a Unionist plot to murder Southern sympathizers brought long-simmering tensions in the frontier community to a boil.
Harvey House of Texas
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$19.95 + tax
Gainesville and Cooke County
$21.99 + tax
This is not an all-inclusive or complete history of the county, but a representative of many phases of the county life through the years.
Heroes, Scoundrels and Angels
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The First 100 Years in Cooke County
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In the early morning hours of October 1, 1862, state militia arrested more than two hundred alleged Unionists from five North Texas counties and brought them to Gainesville, the seat of Cooke County. In the ensuing days, at least forty-four of the prisoners were hanged, and several other men were lynched in neighboring communities. This event proved to be the grisly climax of a heritage of violence and vigilantism in North Texas that began before the Civil War and lasted long afterwards.
Local Historian Ron Melugin has roamed this frontier Texas cemetery for over a decade, collecting fascinating stories about the "residents" laid to rest here. Spanning the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, these tales of extraordinary people who died in extraordinary ways.
On the eve of the twentieth century, small town Texas was still wild country lacking in the commodities and culture centers of larger cities. This changes, however, with the arrival of Santa Fe rail line.
Found in every corner of the state, Harvey Houses were not just restaurants in hotels for weary, hungry travelers but were also bustling social center and often the only commercial outlet for the communities that developed around them.
Author Rosa Walston Latimer tell the history of hosiptality the "Fred Harvey Way" in the turn-of-the-century Texas, woven from personal stories of the famous "Harvey Girls."
From the main streets and down towns of Cooke County, to hometown boys like Gene Autry who made it big, Shana Powell, brings us this fascinating pictorial history. We invite you to relive the past of this charming Texas county trough more than two hundred vintage images.