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

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

court-room he assumed an excited and defiant appearance, exhib-
iting the true character of his disposition-bold, determined and
undaunted in time of peril. Although about forty-five or fifty years
of age, he had little of his manhood. He was tall, rawboned, strong
and active for a man of his age; and being resolute and uncom-
promising in whatever he undertook, he was regarded as one of
the main pillars of the society. He was very officious and active
in his duties as a member of the "Order," as will appear hereafter
on the trial of others. His arrest caused several meetings of the
different companies to systematize a plan for his release; but the
scheme failed in consequence of the prompt organization of the
citizens.
Like Dr. Childs and others who were convicted and hung, he
seemed to place his reliance in the success of the Union Army and
to console himself in his crimes with the reflection that no act
could be termed criminal per se which was the necessary result
of a purpose to aid the Federal Army in reestablishing the old
Constitution and Union. He hints this belief very strong in his
statement to the Court. To this shrewd subterfuge to avoid con-
viction he was probably indebted to Dr. Childs; for while Childs
was much less active and zealous than Harper, he done the
thinking for those acquainted with him, while they done
the work of the order. Childs, after being condemned by the tes-
timony of unimpeached witnesses, clearly connecting him with the
darkest designs of the conspirators, could only say in his testi-
mony against Harper that he only told of a purpose to overthrow
the Confederacy and reestablish the Union. Childs being initiated
into the "Order" by Harper, and only instructing him to the
extent stated by him to the Court.
At this trial of Harper, does it not appear strange to any sound
mind that Childs should give in detail the designs and the objects
of the "Order" more comprehensive as well as more heinous in
their character. This version of the order of things would present
the strange anomaly of the creation being endowed with more
power than the creator. Harper did tell Johnson however, that
they were to kill the rebels or drive them out of the country, and
take their property. Upon the evidence of Johnson and the con-
fessions of the prisoner himself, the Court could only do as it did
and find him guilty and sentence him to be hung.

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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 July 24, 2014.