1865 — Trinity Co., TX
"Franklin Benton's older sister, Evaline Benton Meredith and her husband Pleasant W. Meredith, had preceded him to East Texas, having moved to Trinity County near Pennington in 1858 with their children Harriet, Margaret, and Alice. But shortly after Franklin and his bride arrived, Pleasant W. Meredith was murdered by a lynch mob who hung him from an oak tree, along with a man named Brown, at a place called ... Nogalus. There are many stories about this hanging, which took place in late 1865. Some claim that the mob believed that Mr. Meredith and Mr. Brown had been involved in a conspiracy which resulted in a murder; others claim that they were accused of cattle rustling; still others claim that this lynching resulted from a conspiracy to frame Mr. Meredith in order to obtain his land grant. The most likely story is that his hanging, which occurred just after the Civil War ended, was the result of bitterness and hatred caused by the war itself. Mr. Meredith, who had served in the Army of the Confederacy, had come home on leave and had never returned to battle. The Confederate soldiers, returning from a bitter defeat at the hands of the Yankees to a land beset by carpetbaggers and scalawags, were filled with a rage which often found its release in hanging or otherwise destroying those of their countrymen who they believed had deserted or betrayed their cause. Since Pleasant Meredith was believed to be one of these, they drug him from his home one dark night, along with his wife, Evaline, who was heavy with child. They had intended to hang Mrs. Meredith also, but after a brief argument at the gate of the ranch, they released her because of her unborn child, and thus Pleasant Elizabeth Meredith "Betty" grew up to become the matriarch of the John Maderson Womack family, was saved from destruction before she could even be born. Rosella Benton Standley, daughter of Franklin Benton, related that Evaline Meredith and Franklin Benton hurried in a wagon to the site of the lynching, but were too late to save Pleasant Meredith. An armed guard who had been left at the scene refused to cut his body down from the tree until daybreak so that 'all could see and be warned.' Therefore the two remained there waiting in the wagon all through that long, cold, horrible night while the bodies of the two murdered men swayed at the end of ropes from a limb of the huge oak tree, and finally at dawn they were allowed to pull the wagon up under the tree, cut the rope, and gently lower the corpse into the wagon bed and, grief-stricken, carry him away from the place of his destruction to his final resting place."
Trinity County Beginnings pp. 205-206