"With the Past Let These Be Buried":
The z873 Mob Massacre of the Hill Family
in Springtown, Texas
IN LATE AUGUST OF 1873, DEEP INTO THE FIERCE DOG DAYS OF A TEXAS SUM-
mer, smoke from a burning homestead stained the bleached blue sky.
The terrified inhabitants fled ahead of their pursuers, but forty-seven-
year-old widow Laduska ("Dusky") Hill and two of her daughters, Ade-
line, seventeen, and Eliza, sixteen, were cornered a short distance from
their charred home. According to an affidavit made in 1919, the women
were "taken to a point near the present site of Agnes in Parker County,
Texas, where they were shot and killed" and the broken bodies aban-
doned where they fell. The corpses of three other daughters-Nancy,
twenty-five, Martha, twenty, and Kate, nineteen-dangled from trees in
other parts of the surrounding area. As the father and oldest son had
both been killed during the preceding decade, the entire Hill family was
thus destroyed except the two youngest children, Allen Hill Jr., thirteen,
and twelve-year-old Belle.'
Even at this relatively late date, Parker County was still occasionally the
target of brief, bloody Comanche raids, but Indians were innocent of
these violent deaths. Instead, over the course of several days, in what may
be one of the most bizarre and mysterious episodes of vigilante violence
in American history, six rural white women and girls were hanged or shot
to death by their own neighbors. The killing mob was allegedly composed
of "the better element of the community, many of whom were and have
* Helen McLure is a graduate student at the University of Texas at Arlhngton. The author is
indebted to the work and generosity of genealogists Gene David Laughlin and Linda Maupin
Noel and Springtown historian Laurie Moseley III. She also thanks David E. Narrett and Richard
'Fort Worth Democrat, Sept. 6, 1873; Affidavit, G. W. Tackett and A. L. Thomas, Nov. 1, 1919
(quotation), Deed Records, Parker County, vol. 116, p. 97 (Parker County Courthouse Annex,
Weatherford, Tex.); United States Eighth Census (186o), Family No. 146, and United States
Tenth Census (188o), Family No. 225, Parker County, Texas (microfilm; Dallas Pubhec Library).
VOL. CV, NO. 2 SOUTHWESTERN HISTORICAL QUARTERLY
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 105, July 2001 - April, 2002. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101222/. Accessed March 6, 2015.