In this post, I would like to start off by saying that the two stories which follow are in no way typical of the character and attitudes of the majority of Freestone county residents of today. Like most communities there are incidents that happen that are out of character and that we as individuals and a community as a whole would just like to forget ever happened...but in real life that wish does not always come true because there is always someone willing to air out someone elses' "Dirty Linens"....just for the sake of being able to do so or to try to embarrass someone they don't like. So a lot of times in these cases it is best to beat them to the punch by simply acknowledging that "Yes", this did happen..."No", we are not proud of what happened....and "Yes" we will be working hard to see that nothing like this ever occurs again, especially in our community and neighborhoods. Then and , only then, can the healing process begin and hopefully final closure materialize on the matter.
Solomon and The Scoundrels:The Trial & The Tale
Solomon Northups Mysterious Death. Where Is he Buried?
That narrative was titled " 12 Years a slave". This book has been designated as a historical book on Southern History.
Our second story begins in June 1922, when a young white woman is brutally beaten and raped the day before she graduates from High School. Her name is Eula Ausley and she lives near Kirvin, Texas with her grandfather, John King.
Three Black workmen are accused of the heinous crime, but circumstantial evidence hints that at least two of them were completely innocent...but maybe the third was possibly working in connection with a family of whites ,who were feuding with the King family, to commit this heinous crime. That white family having paid him a small sum of money to assist them to get their hands on the young lady.
A lynch mob was formed of locals and outsiders, who burned the three men alive while they were roped and tied to an old plow in downtown, Kirvin.
There are two names listed on Lone Star Braggin' Rights signature / story quilt that are directly connected to this story. They are:
Mrs. J.T. (John Thomas King) Hallie Green and her son ("Happy") or J.T. King, Jr.
They are listed on Lone Star Braggin' Rights signature / story quilt at Quilt Row 5 Block XXV.
Note: These two individuals had nothing to do with the atrocities, but because they were related to major players in this story, it has, regrettably, become a part of their own historical legacy and that of their descendants.
"...during their residence in Kirvin, a terrible event took place___a rape and murder of a young girl by some local workmen. As the girl was white and the workmen were Black, retribution was swift and ugly. Not only were the guilty killed by lynch mob, but other innocent Black people suffered the same treatment and all of them feared for their lives. They fled to the woods and underbrush hiding in trees and culverts. Dave (Alderman) and John T. (King) went into the countryside, at night, identifying themselves as friends and coaxing the runaways back to their homes with assurance of their safety. It was a brave and loving act."Note:
" ...(Dave) ...was not a very demonstrative man, but he was fiercely protective of those close to him. He was loved and respected by all with whom he had any dealings__from field hand to business associates..."
Row 5/ Block XXV
* ( corner names )
A book was written about this Incident by Monte Akers, a lawyer, who lived in Freestone County for nine years and served on its Historical Commission.
The following is a review of Akers' book from the Barnes and Noble website which states:
"What happened in Kirven, Texas, in May 1922, has been forgotten by the outside world. It was a co-worker's whispered words, "Kirven is where they burned the [Negroes]," that set Monte Akers to work at discovering the true story behind a young white woman's brutal murder and the burning alive of three black men who were almost certainly innocent of it. This was followed by a month-long reign of terror as white men killed blacks while local authorities concealed the real identity of the white probable murderers and allowed them to go free. Writing nonfiction with the skill of a novelist, Akers paints a vivid portrait of a community desolated by race hatred and its own refusal to face hard truths. He sets this tragedy within the story of a region prospering from an oil boom but plagued by lawlessness, and traces the lynching's repercussions down the decades to the present day.
What can the uncovering of yet another travesty do to improve race relations in light of the recent lynching in Jasper, Texas? In the opinion of Akers, " This story is now complete, but its messages can never be. The insanity of racial hatred, or hatred of any kind, the necessity of equal protection and due process of law, the danger of mob mentality, and the unforeseen consequences of deception and cover-up all hang from this tale like fruit ripe for the picking."