“Gallows Hill” was bounded by Nash Street on the north, King Street on the South, Occoneechee Street on the east, and Union Street on the north. It encompassed town lots 207 through 218 plus a section of the town commons. The gallows
itself may have been located somewhere on lots 207 through 210 or, most likely, it was located on the town commons, just south of Union Street.
These gallows were used from circa 1850 to circa 1865 for hangings, when the sheriff apparently reverted back to hanging people at the downtown jail
. Some executed prisoners were also buried on gallows hill, including those executed at the downtown jail, until at least 1879.
Local resident/carpenter John R. Christmas built the gallows sometime between 1846 and 1850. The gallows were repaired by a Dave Clark in 1870.
The town commons were sold by the town commissioners between 1880 and 1922. The “gallows hill” area was developed by Joe Cheshire and H. Winder Webb in the early 1900’s.
Excerpt of the 1863 S. T. Alderman map, with "Gallows Hill" outlined in red
Excerpt of aerial photo, with the likely site of the gallows outlined in red
Excerpt from the August 1850 term of the Orange County court
July 1962 News of Orange clip
Individuals believed to buried at/on "Gallows Hill":
Henry Andrews - 1879
Robert Boswell - 1879
Lewis Carlton - 1879
Alphonso Davis - 1879
Bob Gunn - 1870
Tom Young - 1870
According to current research, there are between five and 17 individuals believed to be buried at the site.