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

Diamond's Account of the Great Hanging

Capt. A. Boutwell." You are hereby authorized and commanded in
the name and by the authority of the people of the County of Cooke
and State of Texas to take into custody the body of Henry Childs and
him safely keep until the 4th day of October 1862, and at 2 o'clock
p.m. on said day you will execute the sentence of this Court, by hang-
ing the said Henry Childs by the neck until he is dead dead dead. And
may God have mercy on his soul. Danl Montague, Prest.
The carriage was then driven from beneath the limb, and in a
moment more the body of Henry Childs dangled in the air, while
the branches of the obstinate and unyielding elm trembled like
an aspen under the weight and shuddering motion of the dying
After life became extinct the body was taken down and placed
in possession of the weeping family and friends, who with appro-
priate ceremonies gave it decent sepulture.
Thus died Dr. Henry Childs. He came from Missouri to Texas,
but a few year anterior to the War between the States and was
regarded by his neighbors as a man of upright deportment, and
possessing a degree of intelligence above mediocrity. It cannot be
said of him, however, that his conduct 8c associations were of that
kind to warrant an opinion in his favor, beyond a mere negative
conception of the man as an individual having the mind unde-
cided as to his character.
His countenance was of that peculiar cast, calculated to create
vague conjecture as to whether he might be a man prone to good
or evil. About forty two or three years of age, stout [of] build
though not corpulent; shoulders slightly stooped, brown hair, and
blue eyes, he seemed the embodiment of good health, and but for
his connection with this "Order," might have lived an honorable
and useful life.
After he had sworn in Col. Chance, he was told by his best
friends 8c members that they were fearful that he had dug the pit
for their destruction-that they feared Chance's treachery, know-
"Alexander Boutwell, the first sheriff of Cooke County, was born in Arkansas in
1825. He was a member of the Peters Colony and took up land as a farmer in Cooke
County before its organization in 1848. Connor, The Peters Colony of Texas, 197;
Smith, First zoo Years in Cooke County, 13; U. S. Seventh Census, 1850 (Returns
of Schedule 1, Free Inhabitants, for Cooke County, Texas, microfilm, Dallas Public
Library), family no. 2.


Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 66, July 1962 - April, 1963. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed April 28, 2016.

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