Our ancestor, David Miller Leffel, now has a memorial.
David Miller Leffel was one of forty Union sympathizing citizens of North Texas who were charged with disloyalty and treason against the Confederacy by a “Citizens Court” in Gainesville, Cooke County in October 1862 and then hanged in the Great Hanging at Gainesville. After the men were hanged, their bodies were thrown into an empty warehouse building on the west side of the town square. A few of the families claimed the body of their loved one, but most were left for the court officials to bury. Some of the executed men were buried in hurriedly made coffins, but when the scrap lumber from the torn-down house was used up, the rest of the men were wrapped in old blankets and buried in shallow graves along the banks of Pecan Creek, not far from where they were hanged. It has been said that rains washed away the dirt covering some of the graves and that wild pigs dug up some graves. One of the most disturbing aspects of the Hangings was the total disregard for the bodies of the victims following the executions, most did not have a decent burial and or a headstone.
Up until now there has been no memorial or headstone for the majority of men who died. That changed this past month with the Dedication of the Great Hanging Monuments at the Georgia Davis Bass Memorial Park in Gainesville.
In the close-up view of the monument with the names of the men who were hanged, you will find David's name in the bottom group that were hanged on Sunday, October 19, 1862. While we still do not know where exactly David was buried after he was hanged, we now have a memorial with his name on it.
I ordered pavers for David Miller Leffel and his wife, Susan West Leffel. In the second photo below, you can see the placement of the pavers.
At the dedication, David Miller Leffel was well represented by his descendants. In fact, three of David's great-granddaughters were able to attend the dedication. They are the daughters of Mabel Leffel Baldwin, who was the daughter of Charles Leffel and granddaughter of David Miller Leffel.
|Great-granddaughters of David Miller Leffel|
|Leffel descendants looking at the pavers|