By CATHY MOUNCE
It was standing room only at The Little Theater on the North Central Texas College (NCTC) campus Monday evening as a special theatrical reading commemorating the 151st anniversary of the “great hanging” that took place in civil war torn Gainesville in 1862 where 42 rumored Peace Party citizens of the city were hanged.
The reading titled “October Mourning” was based on the book “The Tainted Breeze” by professor Richard McCaslin of the University of North Texas Department of History.
Sponsored by the NCTC Honors Program and the Cooke County Historical Commission, the script for the presentation which was written by NCTC’s Dr. Pat Ledbetter, featured 16 characters in the cast along with narrator Kevin Beall.
The presentation told the story from the perspective of the participants themselves in order to explain rather than excuse the actions taken on that infamous day.
The character of hanging victim Nathaniel Clark was portrayed by his great grandson L.D. Clark who was part of five generations of Nathaniel Clark’s family attending the presentation on Monday.
The complete cast of characters included Kevin Beall, Josh Phillips, Cameron Fuller, Caitlyn Chambers, Phillip Pierce, Norman Newton, Russell Schmid, Steve Gordon, Craig Hertel, Sam Houston, Ben Willingham, L.D. Clark, Gordon Smith, Kelly Fiore-Watson, Jeffrey Watson, Corey Hardin and Ron Melugin.