The Great Hangings of 1862

We all know what the movies and Western shows tell us about the old West, but what are the facts? Here, we’ll discuss what these truths are, and get a better idea of what life was like in the real West!
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Zanza
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Re: The Great Hangings of 1862

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Most lynchings went unpunished. Even today, when lynchings happen on the Internet and a rage mob destroys a person's life, it's very rare for anyone to be punished.
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Re: The Great Hangings of 1862

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About 15 years ago, I read a book about the Leo Frank case. Leo Frank was a factory foreman tried and convicted for the murder of Mary Phagan a young employee in his factory. Leo Frank was sentenced to death. Many believed Frank had been convicted for being Jewish. Governor John Slaten commuted his sentence to life imprisonment. A few months later, a mob stormed the prison and lynched Leo Frank. The majority of the lynch party were respected members of the community. No one was ever charged or convicted.
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Re: The Great Hangings of 1862

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I remember learning about the Frank case after seeing the movie The Murder of Mary Phagan. He never had a chance. He was a Jew, he was a factory owner, and worst of all, he was a Yankee. He was indicted on May 24, 1913, and convicted on August 25. His last appeal failed in the Supreme Court in April 1915, and then Governor John M Slaton commuted his sentence. He was lynched on August 16, 1915. He was posthumously pardoned by the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles in 1986. The first national anti-lynching memorial, designated the Leo Frank memorial site, was placed in Georgia in 2018 by The Jewish American Society for Historic Preservation.


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Dana2020
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Re: The Great Hangings of 1862

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I am paraphrasing, but Governor Slaton stated he could plant, he could how, he could farm, but he could not abide the company of a guilty conscience. Governor Slaton spoke of another governor who turned another Jew over to a mob and that governor's name is a curse.
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Re: The Great Hangings of 1862

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Dana2020 wrote: Wed Sep 16, 2020 2:42 am I am paraphrasing, but Governor Slaton stated he could plant, he could how, he could farm, but he could not abide the company of a guilty conscience. Governor Slaton spoke of another governor who turned another Jew over to a mob and that governor's name is a curse.
I have read where Governor Slaton stated that, Dana.

Do you recall if Jim Conley was never brought to trial for killing Mary Phagan?
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Zanza
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Re: The Great Hangings of 1862

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Jim Conley was sentenced to a year in jail in 1914 for being an accomplice in the murder of Mary Phagan. Historians believe he was the actual murderer and that Leo Frank was completely innocent.
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Re: The Great Hangings of 1862

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Dana2020 wrote: Wed Sep 16, 2020 2:42 am I am paraphrasing, but Governor Slaton stated he could plant, he could how, he could farm, but he could not abide the company of a guilty conscience. Governor Slaton spoke of another governor who turned another Jew over to a mob and that governor's name is a curse.
I always feel a little sorry for Governor Slaton. He stated that instead of commuting Leo Frank's sentence he would have issued a full pardon but he was convinced that Frank was going to be able to prove his innocence with legal proceedings. I guess he felt that a pardon is something you only give a guilty man but it would have been better for Frank to have that stain on his character than a rope around his neck. It was just a very sad thing all around. They made a miniseries out of the incident. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0095678/
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Re: The Great Hangings of 1862

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Governor Slaton was a rising member of the Democratic party, but he never held public office again. He credited his wife for helping him reach his decision to commute Leo Frank's sentence. Mrs. Slaton stated she would rather be the widow of brave man than the wife of a coward.

If I remember correctly, Jim Conley lived at least until the 1950's. The Leo Frank case was one of the first cases where testimony of an African-American was used to convict a caucasian.

Jack Lemmon and Peter Gallagher were awesome in the movie!
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Re: The Great Hangings of 1862

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Dana2020 wrote: Thu Sep 17, 2020 4:09 am Governor Slaton was a rising member of the Democratic party, but he never held public office again. He credited his wife for helping him reach his decision to commute Leo Frank's sentence. Mrs. Slaton stated she would rather be the widow of brave man than the wife of a coward.
Mrs Slaton must have been quite a woman. As for the governor, he may have lost his career but he saved his soul. How hard it must have been to do the right thing in the face of all that opposition but he was very fortunate in that his wife was solidly behind him.
Dana2020 wrote: Thu Sep 17, 2020 4:09 am If I remember correctly, Jim Conley lived at least until the 1950's. The Leo Frank case was one of the first cases where testimony of an African-American was used to convict a caucasian.
It's also worth noting that it's a case where a white man was lynched for the crime of a black man, which is a sad lesson in how lynching is not about race but rather how crazy people get when mob justice is involved and how anyone can become a victim. Clarence Thomas specifically called his Supreme Court hearing a high-tech lynching and we see a lot of mob justice today on the Internet. It seems like it's something that we always have to guard against, the urge to rush to justice and take revenge.
Dana2020 wrote: Thu Sep 17, 2020 4:09 am Jack Lemmon and Peter Gallagher were awesome in the movie!
Incredible movie. Peter gave a bravura performance as Leo Frank, particularly the lynching scene.
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Re: The Great Hangings of 1862

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Has anyone else read Eternity Street by John Mack Father? It is a book about early Los Angeles. Extralegal justice, a euphemism for lynching, was a not that uncommon and accepted thing for a long time.
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