The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 105, July 2001 - April, 2002 Page: 297
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"With the Past Let These Be Buried"
later murder of his widow and five daughters ... was considered the most
atrocious deed committed in West Texas." She further points out, "The
people who suffered most during the conflict were those who remained
loyal to the Union and refused to aid the Confederacy.... Some were
hanged by vigilantes, and some by mobs. Certainly those who remained
alive had few pleasant memories of the war years."'
Marvin London expressed a similar point of view in Famous Court Trials
of Montague County. "Allen C. Hill was killed in 1863, during one of the
worst parts of the Civil War, over what was said to be prejudices against
him as a 'Yankee Sympathizer.' He is said to have been killed by vigi-
lantes." In London's opinion, the massacre of the Hill women was a Civil
War and Reconstruction tragedy. "In the harsh years of the war anger
mounted against the 'Yankee Sympathizers,' and vigilante groups sought
to drive them from the South or destroy them .... These angers, and
these crimes, did not end with the war.""
However, most of the published accounts have doubted or dismissed
the theory of Civil War and Reconstruction "prejudices" as providing suf-
ficient impetus for the killings. The most recent version of the tale, Park-
er County local historian and Springtown resident Laurie Moseley III's
comprehensive account, "Death Dancers" (1998), incorporates all of the
traditional elements of the story from a point of view similar to that of Nix
and Dugan. Like these authors, he acknowledges that "unresolved con-
flict over the Civil War" may have been one of several possible reasons for
the mob action, but ultimately he forcefully rejects political explanations
for the violence. Similarly, in his 1960 book, Goodbye to a River, writer John
Graves wonders, "Was Unionism still that repugnant, seven years after the
war? Probably, though women seldom heat up enough about politics for
it to matter." Although he also mentions the prostitution charges, Graves
sounds a note of sympathy for the young women who were said to have
been too fond of music and dancing. He described the vigilantes as "out-
raged Confederate Calvinists, grimly active brothers' keepers."9
Certainly the 1873 newspaper accounts of the massacre did not reflect
such a compassionate outlook. The first reports seem to have appeared in
North Texas newspapers in late August and early September 1873. These
accounts likely initiated the myth-making that would soon envelop the
family and also the later popular tradition linking the Hill women with
7 Ida Lasater Huckaby, Ninety-four Years in Jack County, 1854-1948 (Austin: Steck, 1949),
8 Marvin F. London, Famous Court Trals of Montague County (Saint Jo, Tex.: S J. T. Printers,
" Laurie Moseley III, "Death Dancers" (ms. in possession of the author, 1998), 18 (1st quota-
tion); John Graves, Goodbye to a Raver (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1960), 2o3 (3rd quotation),
204 (2nd quotation).
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 105, July 2001 - April, 2002, periodical, 2001; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101222/m1/327/: accessed November 16, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.