The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 88, July 1984 - April, 1985

Book Reviews

perspective. While he presents an excellent analysis of the contribu-
tions of the military to economic growth, he includes little about other
factors and the result is that the reader is left with a one-dimensional
Midwestern State University KENNETH E. HENDRICKSON, JR.
Civil War Recollections of James Lemuel Clark. By James Lemuel
Clark. Edited by L. D. Clark. (College Station, Tex.: Texas
A8cM University Press, 1984. Pp. 124. Preface, editor's introduc-
tion, photographs, maps, notes, index. $12.50.)
On the night of September go, 1862, Texas state militia under the
command of Colonel James Bourland arrested over one hundred
suspected unionists in Cooke County. A "Citizen's Court" of twelve
men in the county seat of Gainesville convicted and hanged only seven
prisoners for disloyalty and conspiracy, but over thirty more were
lynched or shot by an angry mob of settlers who besieged the jurors
during three harrowing weeks. Emotions peaked with the mysterious
assassination of Colonel William Cocke Young, a Civil War hero serv-
ing as prosecutor of the trials. Believing the Union League responsi-
ble, his son supervised the execution of nineteen prisoners in retalia-
tion for the murder.
James Lemuel Clark did not witness the Great Hanging, but his
father was one of those lynched by the mob in Gainesville. Young
Clark, reluctantly serving with General Joseph Orville Shelby in Ar-
kansas, deserted soon after learning of events at home. He returned to
North Texas but soon left again for Kansas, where he joined the
Union army as a scout. He quietly settled in Cooke County after the
war and continued to collect material about the hanging. Late in life
James Lemuel recorded all his experiences in a memoir for his de-
scendants and included everything he had found concerning the Great
The memoir stayed in the Clark family until publication by L. D.
Clark, James Lemuel's grandson. Clark has done an admirable job of
synthesizing a prefatory account of the Great Hanging from major
available sources, but unfortunately clings to the family interpretation
of the affair as simply the plot of a small faction of self-serving "slavo-
crats" in Cooke County. This interpretation fails to explain the fa-
vorable reaction across the state to the destruction of the Union
League in North Texas. Clark's work is extremely important, how-
ever, because it is the first published presentation from the perspective


Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 88, July 1984 - April, 1985. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed May 29, 2016.

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