the north side of the courthouse
In the 19th Century "death by hanging" usually meant within the same
hour the verdict was read. The tree had been employed as a hanging
tree before the Cart War, but this was the name that stuck.
Under this tree in 1857, trials were held and men were hanged for
the murder of Mexican freighters or cartmen. No exact number is immediately
available but it was more than a few. Considering the brief six-month
period, the number might be regarded as large.
TE photo, 2001
| A brief history
of the situation that led to the tree's macabre employment:
in the late 1850s was a thriving port and since most immigrants arrived
without wagons, they hired men to haul their belongings inland. Many
Anglo teamsters objected to their Mexican competition - particularly
to their lower fees.
of Fannin and his men wasn't yet in the distant past and ill will
toward Mexicans ran high. People didn't differentiate between an army
of impressed soldiers and native-born men trying to make a living.
was a town the Mexican cartmen passed through and it was in this vicinity
many were attacked, robbed and murdered. Soon they started bypassing
the town, but that only helped fuel the violence. The "cartcutters"
increased their attacks in the countryside was less likely. The authorities
did nothing, but after a particularly brutal period of bloodletting
the people had had enough.
One incident occurred near Seguin
as early as 1855, although the period usually given is from July to
December of 1857.
Complaints had been received by the Mexican Consulate in Washington
and it had all the ingredients of an international incident-in-the-making.
Texas Governor Pease requested funds from the legislature to send
the state militia as escorts for the Mexican teamsters and this was
done. It diffused the situation, but not before the citizens of Goliad
had removed much of the bad element.
A short distance from this tree is Goliad's
Escapes, in its purpose to preserve historic, endangered and vanishing
Texas, asks that anyone wishing to share their local history
and vintage/historic photos, please contact