Hanging Tree

Doctor Macauliffe lived at Wrights and his bro-in-law, James Heavener, was drunk and being cruel to his sister who was Macauliffe’s wife. Heavener thought that Macauliffe would not shoot and told the doctor he would not shoot him. But the doctor being provoked and in sympathy with the woman reached down and got a gun from among his medicines and shot. This was in the doctors office. Macauliffe was being taken to county seat at Carrollton via road south of Hickory Grove cemetery and reported overtaken by lynchers just as they rounded corner going west south of the Grove and hanged there. It is not known if a mob overtook them or if he was hanged by those taking him to Carrollton in the wagon. It seems to be the opinion of many that it was those who were taking him to Carrollton and that each swore to secrecy of the event. There was much sympathy for the doctor at that time.

The doctor was found hanging by Albert Griffin as he was on his way to school the next morning. Some did not want him buried in the cemetery. So he was buried in the very south east corner of the cemetery.

The grave was first marked by taking his name plate off his office door and fastened to a hedge on a cedar stake. Later a cement slab was made and the name plate was placed on it.


Research will have to prove the relationships of the people above. There are different versions as to the relationship of the woman. She is said to have been the wife of the doctor, the wife of Heavener, and also is said to have been the sister of Heavener. One newspaper says that Mrs. McCauliffe was the niece of Heavener; another says she was the niece of the doctor.

Doctor Charles McCauliffe did marry in Greene Co., IL, 30 Nov. 1878, Miss Louisa Jane Heavener. She was the daughter of Oliver Heavener and Sarah Brace. They were married in Wrightsville, his age 33 and her age 20.

Whatever the relationship of the two men the point is that the doctor was trying to protect the persecuted woman. Therefore, there has been much sympathy for the doctor down through the years.


Charles Howe of Quincy, IL, a great grandson of Doctor Macauliffe, confirms that the murdered man was a brother in law of the Doctor. The Doctor had a three year old son who was a grandfather of Charles Howe.

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