Diamond's Account of the Great Hanging
Harper in company with Welch, and I requested him to tell me all
about the organization, its objects, etc.
He said, above all things, we were to stand by and take care of each
other and if any of the members should be arrested or taken up, we
were to rescue them. He said we were to bring this war to a close--
and said something about reinstating the old Constitution. He then
administered to me an oath to keep secret everything told me. I took
another oath finally but do not know exactly what it was. I will say as
near as I can that the oath was to band together for self defense against
the secessionists, protect each other, and hunt down any traitor to the
cause. He gave me signs, grips and passwords. I heard some hints of a
correspondence between the Northern Army and our Order, and was
told by Harper that the signs were to protect the members when the
Northern Army came into the country. We were to get ammunition at
Gainesville, Sherman and fight our way out of Texas if we could not
hold the country. If we could hold the country, the rebels were to be
killed or driven out, and we were to take possession of their property.
At this stage of the proceedings the Court adjourned, and upon
meeting again Harper made full confession of his guilt. He said:
I entertain the highest respect for the opinion and judgment of this
Court. I sincerely acquit you of any attempt to do me any injustice
and commend you to the confidence of my neighbors and yours for this
fearless performance of your duty. I humbly beg your forgiveness and
the pardon of those whom I may have wronged by my connection with
I done all in my power to further and promote its objects. I was a
Union man and desired the restoration of the old government, and I
am now grieved to know that my efforts to resist the march of secession
have led to results ruinous to the peace and happiness of the commu-
nity in which I live.
I did not think a desire or an honest effort to reestablish the Union
could be termed criminal; but the order soon discovered that its organ-
ization would result in failure unless certain steps were taken to reach
the end contemplated. The measures adopted to carry out its designs,
I am sorry to say, if successful, would have terminated in crime and
bloodshed, and the destruction of property.
I hope the people will forgive me for aiding and advising the cause
pursued by the order, though many of its acts and the conduct of many
individuals I did not approve. I can only say that I deeply regret the
past and, if spared, I hope to strive to redeem my character by better
conduct in future.
He was found guilty and listened to the reading of his sentence
with calm and stolid indifference, but when retiring from 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 November 26, 2015.