s When Mother and I made a pass through Jackson today, I took a glance over at the Cape County Courthouse and said, “I think winter maybe finally got the Hanging Tree.” It sure looked bare.
Winter hasn’t been the only hazard The Tree has faced. In 2010, there were fears that a proposed roundabout would come close enough to kill the tree.
Presiding Commissioner Gerald Jones was quoted in The Missourian as saying, “If these three commissioners agree to give up that much of our beautiful courthouse lawn, there would be a three-person hanging on that hanging tree,” Jones said. “And I believe that would be us.” Cooler heads prevailed and the tree and courthouse lawn were saved.
What’s the Hanging Tree, you ask?
The tree, now more than 100 years old, was the site of one of the last – if not THE last -hangings in Cape County. You can read about Sheriff Bernard Gockel carrying out John Headrick’s sentence that he “be hanged by the neck, between heaven and earth, until he is dead” in my 2010 post.
The tree lives!
After checking out some other things, I headed back to the Courthouse Square for a closer look. The old tree was full of leaf buds. It is ready for service, just so long as the bad guys are really, really short.
Click on the photos to make them larger.