Clarifying the Triangle at Leslie and Cleveland Avenues and John Hamilton’s Hanging

I have been bombarded with questions over the time since I started this blog about “hangings” that supposedly took place on the Triangle, a piece of land in the center of town that is bordered by Cleveland Avenue, Brown Street and Leslie Avenue. I would like to clarify that to the best of my knowledge there has only ever been ONE hanging that took place in this part of town. Many years ago, there stood a tree in the yard of the Shader place, which is now where Maplewood Drive is, just off of Leslie Avenue. This tree was known locally as the “Hanging Tree,” and was supposedly the tree from which John Hamilton was hung in 1818 for the murder of Alexander Sanderson. This tree has been gone for many, many years now, and the pond near where it stood was filled in for the placement of two houses in the Maplewood subdivision.
Other authors over the years have gave the Triangle itself as the location of this deed, but they were only using it, I assume, as a reference point for the general vicinity. Eugene Newman, known affectionately as “Savoyard” stated this very thing. Clarence Alcock, writing in the early 1940s, stated “hangings,” as if more than one occurred there. And “Uncle Dan’l” Tolle, who wrote by the pen name ELLOT, erroneously stated that one of the Adwell brothers was hung here. Josh Adwell hung at Munfordville, KY after a change of venue, and John Adwell was taken out Bowling Green Road to a place now known as Honeysuckle Lane. The tree he was hung in stood until about 15 or 20 years ago.
I have never came across any other names of anyone being hung in this area of the Triangle, but if someone out there has any written proof there were others, please let me know. Otherwise, no other research I have done over 30+ years of genealogy and historical research has ever turned up on anyone else hanging in that area. The Triangle itself was larger at one time in the early days, but the area of grass there now, has probably been only grass since the founding of Glasgow. Children used to play ball games and other pasttimes there. No records show any trees to have ever been on that spot of land.
I hope this little piece will be of help to some people. I know I have enjoyed the research and reading of many helpful articles by well-versed people on the history of this area of town. I have many other things to say about this area at a later date. For now… Enjoy your weekend!

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About Gclee

I am a long time genealogy and local history hunter from Barren Co., KY. I have many stories to share that may be of interest to other local genealogists and history buffs. I enjoy this as a hobby and hope I can be of encouragement to others. I also hope everyone enjoys my stories as much as I have enjoyed learning about them.
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5 Responses to Clarifying the Triangle at Leslie and Cleveland Avenues and John Hamilton’s Hanging

  1. Sarah Crose says:

    I just bought an old log cabin up in Lewis Free Road – the owner said her ancestor John Hamiltin built the home. Could this be the same John Hamilton?

    • Gclee says:

      It should be. They were the only Hamilton’s I know of in that area, and This John Hamilton is the only John I know. That would be in the general area where Sanderson was killed. Of course, it was later claimed that Hamilton was not the one who murdered him. Thanks for sharing this! I find it very informative.

      • Sarah Crose says:

        How neat. Could you give me more information regarding the murder and hanging or direct me somewhere to find more info?

  2. Gclee says:

    I wrote another article a couple of years back entitled “Justice or Not?” If you look in the tags on the right side of the page, you will see Dr. Alexander Sanderson. This will pull up aany articles pertaining to this story, except for this one on the Triangle.

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