Newton J.Chance, a blacksmith, was among the jurors and alternates on the 1862 Jury of the Citizens Court at Gainesville,Texas who aquitted the men who were involved in the "Great Hanging" of 43 Unionists in Cooke County. N.J. Chance was also the Conscription Officer who provided Col. James Bourland the names of the Union loyalists (draft evaders) who signed a petition to repeal the Conscription Act of April 16,1862.
Newton J. Chance was elected to be a spy for the vigilance committee in Cooke County. Newton J. and his brother Joseph C. Chance infilterated the Union League and supplied Col.Bourland with a letter outlining the Union League's intention to revolt against the Confederacy. After the war, the Union League insisted and led the Federal authorities in arresting many ex-Confederates in Fannin, Collin, Hunt, and Grayson Counties and had intention to try and execute them as guerillas in retaliation of the hangings before the war. My great grandfather, Joshua D. Coffee was among the ex-Confederates who might have been on the list to be arrested. Most ex-Confederates fled that strife-torn area north Texas by the 1870s. My great-grandfather's brother, John James Coffee, moved his family to McDonald County Missouri in 1867.
On July 10, 1861, Newton J.Chance was elected lieutenant colonel of a regiment raised in Tarrant County and was placed in Brig. Gen. Ephraim M. Doggett's 20th Brigade of Texas State Troops. The brigade consisted of recruits in companies raised in Tarrant, Parker, Johnson, Erath, and Palo Pinto Counties.
In October 1861, Lt.Col.N.J. Chance resigned from the Texas State Troops and was replaced by Lt.Col. Abraham Ham. N.J. Chance became a mustering officer at Camp Reeves in Grayson County. He certified the roll of recruits in Capt. Nathan W.Townes Company H, 9th Regiment, Lamar County, Texas State Troops. On October 4, 1861, Company H of the 9th Regiment of T.S.T. was transferred into Col. William B.Simms' 9th Texas Cavalry Regiment, C.S.A. at Camp Reeves. On October 14, 1861, Capt.Nathan W.Townes was elected colonel of the regiment. N.J. Chance may have enlisted as a private in the 9th Texas Cavalry after it was mustered into Confederate service. It is likely he was discharged due to his age before the regiment left Texas.
In October 4, 1861, my great grandmother's brothers, Marion H. and Jeremiah L. Blanton from Fannin County Texas enlisted in the 9th Texas Cavalry at Camp Reeves.They remained in the 9th Texas (dismounted) Cavalry and were killed in action on October 10, 1862 at the battle of Corinth Mississippi, nearly a year to the day after they enlisted.