Phil Watkins Attorney San Antonio – About 1900 a headstone 1 of 4A was added to Hanging Tree Grave and a wall was installed about 1950. When Phil Watkins bought the property, which includes the cemetery, in 1981, it was overgrown with weeds. Photo by William Luther/San Antonio Express-NewsShow More Show Less
2 of 4 San Antonio attorney Phil Watkins is seen Wednesday, July 17, 2013 at Hangin’ Tree Ranch (cq), a public cemetery near the so-called Hangman, south of Bandera, according to Forrest, Texas, where there were eight people. , they say. to the service website, who were hanged on July 25, 1863, for traveling to Mexico for defying the draft. Watkins will celebrate the 150th anniversary of his hanging on Sunday. San Antonio Express-News Show More Show Less
Phil Watkins Attorney San Antonio
A 3of 4A headstone stands at San Antonio attorney Phil Watkins (cq) Hangin (cq) Tree Ranch, a public cemetery near the so-called Hangman’s Oak, south of Bandera, Wednesday, July 17, 2013, according to the Texas Forest Service website. , in which eight people were hanged on July 25, 1863, for fleeing to Mexico to evade the draft. Watkins will celebrate the 150th anniversary of his hanging on Sunday. San Antonio Express-News Show More Show Less
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4of 4 William M. Sawyer was only one of eight tourists shot. The rest were hanged. show more, show less
Bandera – One of the darkest events in the history of Bandera County was when eight hikers were killed by Confederate soldiers under an oak tree 150 years ago, seven of whom were individually hanged with horsehair ropes and another was shot.
The motives for the July 25, 1863 massacre south of the city are disputed, as is the fate of a teenager who rode with the doomed party.
One version portrays the victims as well-fed German immigrants planning to avoid serving in the Confederate Army and go to Mexico to wait out the Civil War.
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Another person described the group as three who were already fighting for the South and traveling to the border to buy cattle back at their homes near George Town.
An Indian raid was initially suspected, but an investigation brought charges against soldiers who fled the pursuit.
It was known that tourists came to the city with a lot of money – 900 dollars, which disappeared when their bodies were found.
“The end result was obviously a robbery and a murder,” said Stanley Sawyer of Denton, whose great-grandfather William Sawyer was the only shooting victim.
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“It was a big deal for our ancestors,” said Stanley Sawyer, 77. “At this point, I don’t think we’ll ever really know what the real story is.”
To mark the anniversary and tell their story, Sawyer will join other generations and history buffs at a memorial service at 11 a.m. Sunday at the mass grave near FM 1077.
Nearby is the supposed Hanging Tree, also known as the Tree of Tragedy, a large oak tree that, although some of its branches are leafless, still looks sturdy.
They will examine various accounts of where the victims went, what motivated the cold-blooded murders, and what authorities did.
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“We’ll tell the stories that have been told, but we won’t vote for the potential stories,” said farmer Phil Watkins, who organized the anniversary event, which is expected to attract 200 people. “Maybe we’ll hear a different story on Sunday.”
The hikers, originally from Williamson County, made it to the border without incident after spending a few nights in Bandera.
After Hondo passed, they were tracked down and 25 soldiers led by Major William J. Alexander surrendered.
“All until the second night of the return journey, when in the camp … some of Alexander’s men wanted to hang the prisoner,” said the late historian and author J.M. The San Antonio Express on the 29th.
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When Alexander did not protest, some of the dissident soldiers went to the fort, 17 miles to the west, to report their comrades’ plans for extrajudicial executions.
Alexander and some of the soldiers returned from the city early in the morning – dragging the horses of the victims, putting on some of their clothes, they went to their castle.
George Hay, then 86, recalled in a 1922 essay: “I have seen many abominable crimes in my time, but this was the most despicable I have known.”
He found the rope still wrapped around the necks of the seven men, cut after each was hanged, with William Sawyer face down, the walking stick sticking out of his body, and left on the ground.
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Although only a boy, John Pike well remembers that Poole mistook Sawyer’s corpse for a bullet, and he alerted the Indians during the fatal attack.
Pike said in his 1922 article that those who arrived at the scene found the dead man’s pockets empty.
“We dug a shallow grave, put the dead there, spread a blanket over them, and covered them with dirt and stones as much as possible so that the wolf could not get to the body. “A 16-year-old boy who was captured with these people was temporarily saved… but since he was not heard from again, it is assumed that he was also killed.”
94-year-old Thomas Clarke wrote in the article that the crime caused “intense indigestion” among the local citizens, but there was nothing they could do.
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Clark said in the article, “The victims were strangers who were walking peacefully around the country. To the best of my knowledge, they have committed no crime and should not be prosecuted.” After the war, tireless efforts to catch the culprits and bring them to justice have failed.
In 1866, a local grand jury indicted Iskandar and his men for murder and highway robbery, but by then the suspects had disappeared.
The killings came less than a year after the Battle of Nueces in August 1862, when Confederate troops attacked a Federalist camp, including many German intellectuals from Hill on the Mexican Road.
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The inhabitants of this mountainous German country have long considered this war a bloodbath. A monument was erected in Comfort to the memory of the deceased.
In Bandera County, a headstone was added to Hanging Tree Cemetery around 1900, and a wall was added around 1950. When Watkins bought the property in 1981, The Ove Tree Ranch Cemetery was overgrown with weeds.
“We’ve tried to keep them clean and respectful over the years and have always allowed family visits,” said Watkins, an attorney from San Antonio.
Above the names of the deceased (C.J. Sawyer, W.M. Sawyer, George Thayre, William Shumake, Jack Whitmire, Jake Kyle, John Smart and Mr. Van Winkle) is the following inscription: “Remember friends when you pass. You are now, I so was I, as I am now, so shall ye soon be: Prepare to die, and follow me.