|Birth: ||Feb. 12, 1819|
|Death: ||Dec. 24, 1871|
On November 14, 1863, Adam Alfred and an unidentified man (later reported and most probably erroneously believed to be a son of Adam Alfred) were hanged by Confederate bush-whackers. These bush-whackers were from the McConnell and Johnson/Johnston families. They rode next door to the home of Robert Gann, who was home on furlough from the Union Army and shot him after the hanging of Adam. Robert's two young sons, Thomas and George witnessed their father's murder. Adam survived the hanging, but the unidentified man did not. Adam did suffer a broken neck and scars from the rope burns for the remainder of his life. It is reported that Robert was buried at night in the Jones Cemetery because the bushwhackers were still in the area. It is also reported that these same bushwhackers tried to hang Leroy Been, but he saw them coming and hid behind a rock fence
Though much work remains to be done on the family of Adam Alfred Gann, it is conjectured by some researchers that he may have been the oldest of four brothers, perhaps born to a Mary Gann. However, Mary Gann is shown to be head of household in the 1830 census which, if accurate, would suggest that if John V. Gann were her husband he was already gone from the home by 1830. As yet, no conclusive evidence has been found to link John V. Gann to Mary. In fact, no record has been found anywhere other than the above mentioned letter that indicates the probable lineage of Adam Alfred Gann, and nowhere else has the name John V. Gann yet been located in any document. Naming patterns strongly suggest that Adam Alfred may have had a brother, William Anderson Gann, born about 1823/24, and who, it is known, emigrated to Johnson County, IL, where Adam Alfred and family probably also lived for a while in the mid-1850's. Though Adam Alfred was called Alfred within the family, most documents show him as Adam A. Gann. Family naming patterns of early Gann ancestors in East Tennessee also suggest a strong likelihood that Adam Alfred was in some way directly descended from, or otherwise related to, "Old" Adam Gann of Jonesborough, Washington County, Tennessee, his wife's (Susannah's) maternal great-grandfather, which would make Adam Alfred and Susannah cousins of some degree.
In 1837, Adam Alfred married Jane Susannah LaFollett in Jefferson County, Tennessee. In the 1840 census, he and his growing family lived in Sevier County, TN. By 1845, they resided in Hamilton County, TN, at which time he and eldest son, William Vinyard Gann, attended the marriage of Robert Gann, born 1839 (perhaps the youngest brother of Adam Alfred), to Rachel Been/Bean. Adam Alfred appears in the 1850 census of Hamilton County, TN. By sometime in 1851, Adam Alfred was living in Illinois, probably at Ganntown in Johnson County, where he remained through 1854. Sometime after 1854 and before 1856, he moved the family to Missouri, probably in or near Dallas County where numerous other Gann families resided, and to which some of Adam Alfred's children returned in the 1860's and 1870's. In 1857, Adam Alfred and family were living in Bates Township, near Greenwood, Sebastian County, AR. In this same year, 1857, he applied for and received on March 1, 1860, an original land grant (Certificate No. 3886) of 160 acres from the United States for public lands in the State of Arkansas. By March 1, 1860, Adam Alfred had also acquired an additional 40 acres, as shown on state land records, giving him an estate of 200 acres. This property where the family would make their home lay on Bean Ridge in what was called Center Valley, located on the old Cornish-Auborn Road, less than 5 miles north and east of Greenwood. The property much later became known as the "Old Stewart Place". Today the property lies within the perimeter of Ft. Chaffee Military Reservation. The land was held in the family until 1888 when the estate was sold in at least two parcels. Alfred, Susannah, and their children living at home, appeared in the 1860 and 1870 census returns for Sebastian County, AR. An 1880 census has yet to be found for widow Susannah and the minor children.
The circumstances of Adam Alfred's last years of life that are said to have hastened his untimely death at the age of 52 years, 10 months, and 12 days, have been widely told within at least three different branches of Adam Alfred's descendants, in the families of daughters Margaret Catherine, Mary Malinda Louisa, and son Marion Francis "Frank" Gann. The account has also appeared in print in "The Key", a historical periodical of Sebastian County, as told by Will J. Gann, a grandson of Adam Alfred who lived to be 103 years of age, to Horace Bryan. During the Civil War, Adam Alfred was a Union sympathizer in a Confederate state. But a soldier he was not, though his age at the time war broke out was well within the range of soldier's age. Family lore is that Adam Alfred had a "bad" leg and walked with a limp. The cause of this crippling disability is unknown today, but apparently, whatever the cause, it was sufficient enough to keep him out of the service. But patriotism to the U.S. government ran strong within the Ganns of Sebastian County, and in this regard their political beliefs mirrored the vast majority of their Gann families in Tennessee. Adam Alfred's son, William Vinyard Gann, and Adam Alfred's presumed brother Robert Gann, and Daniel Gann (exact relationship unknown) together joined ranks with the Union Army on March 1, 1863, at Fayetteville, AR.
On November 14, 1863, Adam Alfred and an unidentified man (later reported to be a son of Adam Alfred, though no evidence has been found to support this claim) together were hanged by Confederate bushwhackers--that is, by civilian sympathizers of the Army of the South. During the four-month period from September 1, 1863, when the Union Army captured Ft. Smith and the Battle of Devil's Backbone was waged south and southwest of Greenwood, through January 1864, wholesale carnage was committed in and around Greenwood as neighbor assaulted neighbor. Union victories preceded Confederate sympathizer atrocities. Hangings were commonplace events, shootings not at all unknown, and homestead burnings more than occasional occurrences. Political and perhaps personal hostilities, too, ran rampant in the frenzy of emotions roused by the Civil War in the region hotly contested by warring factions. And perhaps bigotries and anti-Indian sentiment abounded as well, for son Frank Gann conveyed the impression to his grandchildren that Adam Alfred was hung as much for being "a crippled half-breed Indian" as for any other reason. This vengeful time is known today in the annals of Sebastian County and Arkansas history as the "Bushwhack War". The bushwhackings were liberally committed by sympathizers on both sides of the war. Greenwood was the second county seat of Sebastian County after Ft. Smith, and thus the second most important town in the country with its strategic proximity to Ft. Smith and own political center. In fact, the very reason why Adam Alfred chose to settle in the area may have been because frontier fortunes could be made by supplying the Fort and its large but shifting population. Ft. Smith was the westward terminus and major supply post for settlers entering the Indian Territory or journeying beyond via the southern route. Each year, thousands in transit to new destinations made their trek overland via wagon and by water on the Arkansas River to Ft. Smith and surrounds where they readily paid top-dollar for provisions.
Men of the McConnell and Johnson/Johnston families, whose descendants are today counted among the upstanding citizens of Greenwood, are said to have been in the party of bushwhackers that hanged Adam Alfred and then rode next door and shot and killed Robert Gann, who was home on furlough from the Union Army at the time of his death. Robert's two young sons, Thomas and George, ages 9 and 6 witnessed their father's murder. It has been reported that the marauders said to Robert, "We got your brother and now we're gonna get you." One source says Robert was buried at night in Jones Cemetery because the bushwhackers were still in the area. The Gann women hauled Robert's body by handcart to the cemetery to bury him. It has been further reported in print that "this same bushwhacker band almost got Leroy Been" (the young husband of Adam Alfred's daughter, Margaret Catherine), but "he saw them coming and hid behind a rock fence". The unidentified man who was hanged beside Adam Alfred reputedly died on the rope that fateful day that brought much grief to the Gann families of Sebastian County. He may well be buried in one of the three unmarked graves that flank Robert Gann's grave. But through Providence and swift human intervention Adam Alfred survived the assault on his person, though not without suffering a broken neck and scarring rope burns for the remainder of his short life, just over eight years. He was only 44 years old when hanged. We descendants can scarcely imagine the horror of that day from Adam Alfred's point of view as he dangeld from the rope, facing what could only appear to him as his imminent and humiliating death at the hands of neighbors turned enemies.
The family legend that has been passed down through at least two branches of family, through descendants of Mary Malinda Louisa and Marion Francis "Frank" Gann, long separated by generations and time, is that an "old Indian" saw the bushwhackers stringing up Adam Alfred. Hiding in a hollow log, he watched the hanging take place. As soon as the bushwhackers rode off, the Indian rushed to cut Adam Alfred down, thus saving his life. It has been said that injuries from the hanging were severe enough that Adam Alfred was unfit to do much labor thereafter, a tragically unfortunate situation for a family man and farmer dependent upon his own physical labors for a livelihood for his family.
On Christmas Eve of 1871, Adam Alfred drew his last breath and departed this life. It is not known to what extent, if any, the hanging of 8 years earlier had hastened an untimely demise, but it has been popularly believed by many descendants that the hanging was a contributory, if not direct, cause. Adam Alfred left behind his 52-year-old widow and 4 minor children.
Jane Susannah LaFollett Gann (1819 - 1887)
Margaret Catherine Gann Been (1841 - 1902)*
William Vineyard Gann (1843 - 1915)*
Henry Farrow Gann (1845 - 1879)*
Louise Melinda Gann Rose (1850 - 1935)*
Isaac Newton Gann (1856 - 1915)*
Marion Francis Gann (1859 - 1935)*
Susan Emeline Gann Justus (1860 - 1960)*
Created by: Angie
Record added: Mar 12, 2003
Find A Grave Memorial# 7256449