The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 66, July 1962 - April, 1963

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

REVIEW OF McCURLEY
In reviewing the testimony of this man McCurley, many re-
markable features in the design and operations of the order are
prominent and quite noticeable. While McCurley was nothing
but an implement in the hands of others to detect and expose the
inside workings of the "Order," he was nevertheless a man that
stood fair among his neighbors and whose evidence was received
as the truth, and not questioned or denied by the accused or
his friends.
He was a man of ripe age s at that time was engaged in carrying
the mail between Denton and Gainesville. He was known to be
fond of a social glass with his friends at times, but ever on the
alert and quite sound in his suspicions of those with whom he had
intercourse.
Had it not been for the exceeding volubility of the younger
Childs (Ephraim) superinduced by an overflow, or overdose, of
bad Confederate whiskey, he would not in all probability have led
the sagacious McCurley to suspect the worst from the organiza-
tion in which he boasted of being an active member. And but for
these voluntary communications, he might have lived to be useful
in his favorite "Institution," and witnessed its triumph in crime
and wickedness.
Being intoxicated, he felt equal to any emergency and forgot
for the time being the oath of secrecy and the necessity of that
caution so necessary to carry out purposes for which they were
organized. His object was to gain the sympathies of McCurley by
referring to his record as a Union man. McCurley discloses no dis-
position to learn or go into any thing further than to frankly
admit that he would be pleased with the restoration of the Union
upon any fair or honorable means. But when he was informed
that this was to be accomplished by means of signs, grips and
passwords, and the murder of his neighbors and the betrayal of
his section into the hands of an unscrupulous, heterogeneous,
reckless organization, he seems to shudder at the idea and declined
to receive any further information.
At his first interview with Childs, not withstanding he pressed
the matter with such earnestness, McCurley's conduct shows that

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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 September 21, 2014.