E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
Put out of the way, hanged, or otherwise got rid of. In Denver (America) unruly citizens are summarily hung on a cotton tree, and when any question is asked about them the answer is briefly given, Gone upi.e. gone up the cotton tree, or suspended from one of its branches. (See New America, by W. Hepworth Dixon, i. 11.)