Overlooked by 98% of the Dallas population, Martyr’s Park is located just the other side of the trees from the Grassy Knoll. This park commemorates the location of another form of assassination. After the July 8th, 1860 Great Fire, which burned down the Dallas business district, rumors that the fire was intentionally set by a band of rebellious slaves led the City of Dallas to form a 52 man Committee Of Vigilance. Despite having no evidence, this Committee spent 15 days interrogating and torturing 100 slaves, resulting in the “implication” of 1070 slaves. The Committee agreeing it would be economically unwise to hang all 1070 slaves, decided to make examples of Patrick Jennings, Sam Smith, and Old Cato. All remaining slaves in the Dallas area, whether implicated or not were beaten. District Judge Nat Burford reportedly left the proceeding in disgust, stating “I didn’t think the three men were guilty, but someone had to die”.
265 Commerce St. Dallas TX.
Copyright 2012, Brad Ford Smith.