Columbus Hanging Tree - Columbus, TX
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member WayBetterFinder
N 29° 43.163 W 096° 33.133
14R E 736781 N 3290199
Quick Description: Away from the downtown area, this hanging tree is at the junction of Hwy 71 and FM 109 on the north side of the Colorado River, about 0.5 miles after crossing the old iron bridge.
Location: Texas, United States
Date Posted: 12/30/2018 12:22:55 PM
Waymark Code: WMZRWK
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member lumbricus
Views: 1

Long Description:
Normally a hanging tree is found next to the courthouse, jail, or the town cemetery; but, this one is about a mile or so away from the Colorado County Courthouse. Columbus appears to be trying to downplay their hanging tree by not promoting its presence. However, there is a pink granite centennial TX historical marker at the base of this tree noting the formation of Colorado County. I take this as the County acknowledging that this tree does play a role in the history of the both Columbus and Colorado County. The officials around at the time knew this location was suitable for such a marker and probably hope it helps minimizes the remembrance of what the tree was used for.

A few days before Thanksgiving in 1935, a mob took two black teenagers (ages 15 yrs & 16 yrs old) who had confessed to raping and killing a white teenaged girl (19 yrs old) away from the local sheriff and hanged them both from the branches of this tree. This unconventional mob-rule method of passing judgement (whether truly guilty or not) sealed the reputation of this tree as the Columbus Hanging Tree.
Newspaper article of the lynching:
(visit link)
Wikipedia account of the Columbus Hanging Tree:
(visit link)
This was just a year before the centennial marker was placed by this same tree in 1936.

Columbus, TX has at least five noteworthy trees.
1) This Columbus Hanging Tree.
2) The District Court Oak (AKA: The Columbus Court Oak)
3) The Columbus Live Oak that is the 2nd largest oak in Texas
4) The Columbus Courthouse Magnolia Trees
5) A Memorial Tree dedicated to PFC Christopher Reed Kilpatrick for his service in Iraq

Interstate 10 and US 90 overlap and pass through Columbus, TX. It is about an hour drive west of Houston along I-10, and about 2 hours drive east of San Antonio. From Austin, Hwy 71 intersects with I-10 and US 90 in the middle of Columbus.
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Website: [Web Link]

Historic Event:
This tree was the site of a lynch mob hanging of two black teenagers in November 1935. It had wide coverage in newspapers and the State prosecutor testified he supported the mobs actions! It is famous for the mob lynching, the racial tension it exposed, and the racial bias of the prosecution.
It has a Colorado County TX historical marker next to the base of the tree (placed just a year after the hanging). This doesn't make the tree famous but does show the officials at the time knew the historical value of the tree.


Year: November 1935

Species: Live Oak

Approximate Age: 200

Location: At the junction of Hwy 71 with FM 109, north of downtown Columbus, TX

Visit Instructions:
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WayBetterFinder visited Columbus Hanging Tree - Columbus, TX 12/31/2018 WayBetterFinder visited it