A Guide to the Thomas Barrett Narrative, 1885
Thomas C. Barrett, jurist during the Great Hanging at Gainesville, son of Thomas and Jane (Christian) Barrett, was born in Anson County, North Carolina, on June 21, 1809. After the trial ended, Barrett, fearing reprisals, decided to move his family to a safer place. The Barretts moved to Mount Vernon in the fall of 1863 and remained there until June 1865, when they moved to Bell County. In Bell County Barrett heard that federal soldiers were arresting people who had committed crimes during the Civil War. He spent several nights sleeping out of doors and hiding before he decided to leave Texas until proper authorities were again in control. He went to Mount Pleasant, Mississippi, in January 1866 and visited relatives in Tennessee before returning to Gainesville in December 1866. He demanded a jury trial for his part in the hangings and was found not guilty on December 11, 1868. In 1885 Barrett published his memoirs in a book, The Great Hanging at Gainesville. He deprecated the role of emotion in the jury's decisions and argued that his being on the jury had saved large numbers of lives. He spent the remainder of his life as a preacher for the Church of Christ, a doctor, and a farmer in Cooke County, where he died on July 24, 1892.
Information taken from the Texas Handbook Online entry on Barrett.
Account by Barrett of the Gainesville trial of a group of anti-secessionists in 1862, the hanging of the Unionists, and the subsequent court martial of the jury members by Federal occupation forces. The account was published in 1885 as The Great Hanging at Gainesville, Cooke County, Texas.
Thomas Barrett Narrative, 1885, Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.
Detailed Description of the Papers