Hangman’s Tree

(6.5 miles) Look for a tree surrounded by rail fence next to road.

As miners and prospectors came to seek their fortune, outlaws, claim jumpers, gamblers, and other trouble makers followed close behind. In late August, 1861, the valley was taken over by and organized band of horse thieves from Salt Lake City, known as Button’s Gang. The gangs’ domination was so complete they simply commandeered any cabin they wanted and appropriated supplies or equipment they fancied. An estimated 50 murders were committed in the first two years of the discovery of Holcomb Valley. For example, “Hell Roaring Johnson” was shot when he tried to fix the first election in the valley. Some outlaws evaded justice, but those who didn’t met their Maker on Hangman’s Tree. For many years this juniper tree was mistaken to be the famous Hangman’s Tree, the symbol of law and justice in the turbulent Holcomb Valley. (The original Hangman’s Tree is now believed to be a stump 100 feet east of Belleville Cabin). Nevertheless, you can look up and imagine the scene when as many as four outlaws were hanged at once from the branches of a large tree.

Hang Man’s Tree

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