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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Hang'em High

Vigilante mob justice ruled the Pioneer days. Even as court systems were put into place, public opinion and brute strength were more than jailers could handle. Though the use for Vigilante justice has passed, it was probably necessary to survive in the wild lands of Texas. A horse was equivalent to what a car is to us today. But much more important in the sparsely populated Texas of the 1800's. A horse was essential to survive in the rough land. The horse's value and necessity made it a serious crime to steal it. An old belief back then was that
"a man coveted his possessions in the west in this order: first his horse, second his rifle, third his dog, and fourth his wife. Steal his wife but beware of the wrath rendered if one was to steal his horse"

I found the Odom graveyard once again through the GEOCACHING web-site. A fella with the handle pipesville placed this virtual gps hide. Pipesville seemed to believe that even though there are two grave markers
"they are both for the same man."
But they have different years for the hanging(s). Maybe they buried Horse thieves in the same area of the cemetery. It's a very quaint cemetery right off FM916(N 32° 17.192 W 097° 07.266). Technically it is in Johnson County but maybe a mile East, the way the crow flies, is Ellis County. According to the older looking headstone the Big Oak hanging tree would have been in or very close to Ellis County. If the tree is still there it is on private property because there is no public road 1/2 mile due East of the graves.

Both headstones seem sympathetic towards the "alleged" Horse Thief.




Anonymous said...

Hi there!

I really like the site. Is it just limited to Midlothian?

Here's an interesting story involving a horse thief and how an old Midlothian family came to be in the county.

Right after the War Between the States, the Union troops were occupying Texas. A young man in Jack county had a Union officer try to take his horse. Well the fellow didn't have much more than that animal, so he injured (or killed) the guy and hightailed it into Ellis County.

He became a prosperous farmer and he and his wife raised a passel of kids. Grandkids came along too. One of these moved out west to Los Angeles and had a son who became very prominent in the entertainment industry. You know him.

The Eastwoods are still in Ellis County, but one with deep roots here, has left a permanent meme in popular culture.

Creeker said...

I really like the site. Is it just limited to Midlothian?

Mainly posting about the Midlothian/Ovilla area because I live there and time wise it's a place to start but have plans to go all over Ellis County.

The Eastwoods are still in Ellis County,

I have never heard that. I'm assuming you are refering to Clint Eastwood's family? I believe Tommy Lee Jones had relatives in Lancaster(Hardscrabble) and some in Ovilla ,I believe. I'll have to check my Ovilla History book. Thanks for the info!

Creeker said...

Yeah I found it in the Ovilla History Book Page 125. Edna Martin originally from Lancaster married and moved to Ovilla. Edna Martin's (Edna Jones maiden name)"nephew, Tommy Lee Jones, son of her brother Clyde C. Jones, has been successful in his acting career where he is one of today's most popular actors." Says the OHB. Another note Edna's oldest son was Lecil Travis Martin a.k.a. Box Car Willie. So that would make Tommy Lee Jones and Box Car Willie first cousins.

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