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When the county sheriff handled Texas executions

There was a time in Texas history -- from just before the days of the republic up until 1923 -- when death sentences were carried out by local authorities. Back then the method of executing a convicted criminal was by hanging.

During that time, 467 people were executed this way, 60 percent of which were African-American. Eighteen were hanged in Harris County. The executions were an event, with thousands gathering outside to catch a glimpse of the condemned or to hear his final words. Such scenes played out often in the 122 Texas counties that performed executions.

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