Men and women of Texas have been executed since the early days of settlement. Those committing crimes in early times were extinguished from society in public demonstrations. Early slave owners and traders made lynchings common-place, and crimes of murder and rape were addressed with a rope. As law and order began to take hold of the people of Texas, local governments handled the trials of the accused. However, once convicted and sentenced, the justice system rarely had the chance to carry out an execution because of vigilante mobs who would take the prisoner by force and dispense their own justice.
Hanging was the official method of execution between 1819 and 1923. The later year was the first year that Huntsville was designated the official place of executions for the state of Texas. The method of death from 1923 to 1977 was the electric chair. "Old Sparky" took the lives of 361 deathrow inmates. Lethal Injection has since been thought to be more humane and has been used since then. The entire issue of government mandated death is a controversial subject. Many people believe "an eye for an eye", and others believe that "thou shall not kill" includes the government.
Regardless of the verdict of debate, we present here the names of all those people who were put to death on Texas soil. The list is sorted by last name filed under letter to the right. If you know of any person who is not listed here, and was executed in Texas for a crime, please email me with the information: Gary Webb
Burial for these people is the primary focus of this website. To collect this information will depend entirely upon those with the information contacting me. A large number of prisoners who died by execution were buried at the Captain Joe Byrd Cemetery in Huntsville, off prison grounds. For an excellent website on this cemetery see: Huntsville Prison Cemetery. Other excellent sources of information that have extensive details about the executed can be found at these sources:
Texas Department of Criminal Justice Home Page for executions after 1977.
The Rope, The Chair, And The Needle by James W. Marquart, ©1994, University of Texas Press for those executions before 1977.
Without Sanctuary by James Allen and John Littlefield, © 2000, for early lynchings in Texas.
Hanging Tree of Orange, Texas: Cross-cut saw thwarted Judge..., by W. T. Block, a reprint of the Beaumont Enterprise, May 30, 1978.
Need more information:
In 1938, Honey Island, Hardin County, Texas, a black man was lynched by a vengeful mob. Does anyone know the persons name?