Diamond's Account of the Great Hanging
Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Tennessee, Missouri, and other border
states to Texas by the lure of free land. Few of them owned any
Negro slaves. Most were indifferent, or even opposed, to the insti-
tution of slavery. Cooke County was only one of some ten or
eleven contiguous counties settled in whole or in part by persons
with the same general background. The counties comprised what
had long been known as the Forks of the Trinity (River) area.
Measuring roughly one hundred miles square, it extended south-
ward from the Red River to a line below the cities of Dallas
and Fort Worth. There was also settled within it a small but
forceful minority with differing background and outlook. These
persons had come chiefly from the longer settled areas of eastern
Texas or from states in the Deep South. They tended to prefer
land in the rich bottoms of the main river courses rather than in
the open prairie country. Their farms were basically cotton plan-
tations. This minority group owned almost all of the Negro slaves
introduced into the area, and it was as strongly pro-Southern in
sentiment as any group of Mississippi or Georgia cotton planters.
Viewed nationally, it was obvious that the opening of the
Territory of Kansas to white settlement in the 185o's had pro-
duced a bloodstained rehearsal of civil war itself. Reverbera-
tions of that struggle between Free-Soil partisans and Abolition-
ists on the one hand and pro-slavery, extreme state's rights men
on the other were felt sharply in North Texas. The people in
the northernmost counties of Cooke, Montague, Grayson, and
Fannin were closer, in fact, to the bleeding ground of Kansas
than to their own state capital at Austin. Little more than two
hundred miles of Indian Territory, present Oklahoma, separated
them from the fratricidal strife to the north.
Reflections in North Texas of the troubles in Kansas were con-
fined at first to nonviolent contests for the minds of inhabitants.
The principal threat, in the eyes of the pro-Southern extremists,
was found in the Abolitionist evangels from beyond the state.
Most of these were itinerant preachers of various denominations
who urged an end to slavery on moral or religious grounds.
Ministers of the Methodist Episcopal Church, by then referred
to as the Northern Methodist Church, were especially suspect.
The northern counties of Texas also were the only part of the
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 66, July 1962 - April, 1963. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101196/. Accessed July 25, 2014.