Jump to Navigation

History of Lynchings in Kansas

Genevieve Yost

May 1933 (Vol. 2, No. 2), pages 182 to 219
Transcribed by lhn; HTML editing by Tod Roberts
digitized with permission of the Kansas State Historical Society.

Kansas Historical Quarterly, May 1932ON April 18, 1932, Kansas was shocked by the lynching of Robert Read, in Rawlins county. Not since April 19, 1920, twelve years before, when Albert Evans was hanged at Mulberry, Crawford county, had there been a lynching in Kansas.

The newspapers, in reporting the story, desired a list of previous lynchings in the state, and a record of about fifty was very hurriedly compiled in the library of the Kansas State Historical Society. This list, when published, aroused the interest of papers and individuals and brought in additional items. The Russell Record headed a front-page story in the following issue of its paper with the line, "Hey! Russell had a lynching, too."[1] Interest grew until it was decided to prepare a list of lynchings in Kansas which should be as complete as possible. Such a list is valuable, not merely for its numbers and dates, but, as this paper shows, because it reflects certain phases of the economic, social, and industrial development and growth of the state.

This list has been compiled through histories, newspapers, recollections of early settlers, and associations interested in the subject, including the Federal Council of Churches of Christ in America, the National Association of Advancement for Colored People, the Tuskegee Institute, and the Southern Commission on the Study of Lynching. While these institutions are interested mainly from the standpoint of race prejudice, they have contributed valuable assistance. All accounts, whenever possible, have been checked by contemporary newspapers as a final authority.

While this list is presented as being complete as possible, there probably occurred some not mentioned. Rumors and vague ac counts of about two dozen not listed were found, but the information of time or place was indefinite. There is no reason to doubt that most of them did take place, but not enough data is available at present to warrant their inclusion in this list.

The lynch law, popularly spoken of as Judge Lynch, is the name for irregular punishment, especially capital, inflicted by private individuals independently of legal authorities. The working definition which compilers of lynching records have generally used is

YOST: LYNCHINGS IN KANSAS 183

that "lynching has to do with individuals supplanting the law and acting in defiance of the law."[2] On this basis the general practice of compilers of lynching records has been not to include in such records persons put to death in what are commonly designated as riots. In a riot there occurs promiscuous killing of individuals, and in a lynching particular individuals are seized and put to death for alleged specified offenses. By the laws of some states a minimum of three persons may constitute a mob; by others, five.

The Kansas statutes have several definitions of a mob. Three persons may constitute an unlawful assembly. "If three or more persons shall assemble together with intent to do any unlawful act with force and violence against the person or property of another. . ."[3]

It requires five persons to constitute a mob for whose actions a city may be held legally responsible. Since 1868 cities have been liable for damages in consequence of the action of mobs within their corporate limits. In 1923 the legislature added a clause defining this mob: "Provided, however, that the number of persons that shall constitute a mob under this act shall be five or more." [4]

In the section which defines lynchings the number is not stated. "That any collection of individuals assembled for an unlawful purpose, intending to injure any person by violence, and without authority of law, shall for the purpose of this act be regarded as a mob."[5]

The origin of the use of the word lynching to denote summary justice at the hands of a mob or an improvised tribunal is obscure. By some it is said to be from James Lynch Fitz-Stephen, warden of Galway, Ireland, who, about 1526, sentenced his son to death for murder, and to prevent a rescue by a mob executed him with his own hands without due process of law. By others the term is said to have had its origin in Virginia, where a farmer named Charles Lynch took his own way of obtaining redress for a theft by catching the culprit, tying him to a tree and flogging him. The popular conception of lynching and the method most often chosen is hanging, called in the vernacular a "necktie party," but it is not so limited. Offenders have been shot, beaten to death and burned at the stake with the same intention and the same result.

184 THE KANSAS HISTORICAL QUARTERLY

The history of lynchings in the early days of Kansas must necessarily remain incomplete. We may suppose that it was as common, if not more so, in the first periods of the territory and state as later, and unfortunately complete records of these times are lacking. We look to the newspapers for such things, and while we find early papers in the eastern section of Kansas, they did not follow the people quite so rapidly to the western part of the state. Even the papers which existed could not collect news from so large an area as we of to-day expect. Communication was slow and uncertain, and many lynchings were not heard of three or four counties away. Sometimes rumors drifted over and we find a statement like this: "A gentleman from Franklin county said eleven horses were stolen, six men arrested, two shot, two hung and two dismissed."[6] One might be reasonably certain that a lynching of some sort had occurred. Many an article in a good county history and many a reminiscence by a pioneer starts thus: "Back in the '70's . . ."

This vagueness is due partly to inability to get the facts, and is partly because a lynching did not cause so much consternation then as it does now. Lynchings were more common, the people accepted them as necessary punishments, and they were not impressed so forcibly on the mind and conscience as to-day. It is quite probable that many a person forfeited his life to a self-detailed jury, if not to a frenzied mob, whose death was never in any way recorded.

In some instances the criminal himself preferred that he go unnamed. One thief, when shot and dying, refused to give any information about himself, saying he came from a good family and preferred not to have the name degraded.[7] In Johnson county "one unlucky thief lies two feet below the surface on Tommyhawk creek, whose name, place of residence and all else concerning him are unknown unless he gave such particulars to his executioners and, if so, they never told. As nothing concerning him was divulged for several years, the poor rascal's friends, if he had any, must have wondered not a little as to what had become of him. Another unlucky soul disappeared in the same vicinity in similar style, but his executioners were so reticent that no particulars could ever be obtained."[8] Concerning the first man mentioned, the Olathe Mirror says: "It is rumored in town last Saturday that a horse thief had been caught and hung out on Tommyhawk creek. We can gather

YOST: LYNCHINGS IN KANSAS 185

nothing definite about the matter."[9] It was not always possible for the newspapers to give full information concerning a lynching, even though they desired to do so.

It is sometimes difficult to tell when a lynching is a lynching. Often a "neck-tie party" was accompanied by an impromptu court which considered itself, and was considered by the community, legal. In Coffey county "a mob held trial and asked those in favor of death to pass to the right of the building and those against to the left. Nine-tenths went to the right."[10] In Atchison in April, 1863, a mob took possession of the jail and courthouse for a week; they held court and tried each prisoner, with four or five lynchings as the result.[11] The people banded themselves into vigilance committees for the protection of themselves and their property, and death punishment by these committees was seldom considered illegal. In those days the squatters' courts were as much respected and as effective as the government courts.

In the days of the 1860's the slavery agitation made the difference between a lynching and a legal hanging quite often a matter of personal opinion and party affiliation. The Civil War in Kansas was characterized by guerrilla and bushwhacker warfare, and a hanging considered legal by one side was lynching by the other; accounts of this time depend upon which record or newspaper one reads. According to the accepted definition many of the massacres and murders perpetrated on the border of the state might be called lynchings. When a group of proslavery men massacred a free-state man they acted in accord with the sentiment of at least part of the town, who might call it supplanting the law, while the free-state men considered it acting in defiance of the law. John Brown's massacre of the Doyle family on June 24, 1856, fulfills the technical requirements of a lynching; it consisted of more than five people, and he considered it punishment for the sacking of Lawrence on May 21 by the proslavery element. But it would be difficult for any nonpartisan person now to consider any act of John Brown's a lynching. The Marais des Cygnes massacre on May 19, 1858, when five men near Trading Post, Linn county, were taken to a ravine and murdered is in the same class of border warfare. Neither side could be said to represent the sentiment of the community as

186 THE KANSAS HISTORICAL QUARTERLY

a whole, and both sides were inflamed by the hatred of the Border war.

An incident which illustrates the difficulty of distinguishing between lynchings and murder was the hanging on November 12, 1860, of Russell Hinds, a farmer living near Pleasanton, Linn county, who returned a runaway slave to his master in Missouri. Dr. C. R. Jennison, heading a party of free-state men, arrested him, quickly convened a court, sentenced and hanged him for this offense. It would be difficult to convince any southerner that this was a lynching and not a murder.[12]

On July 10, 1860, L. D. Moore was one of a party who lynched Hugh Carlin, a horse thief. On November 16, 1860, Jennison, with twenty-five men entered Moore's house and shot him in retaliation.[13] This incident satisfies the definition of lynching, but it probably savors more of guerrilla warfare.

A recent account of an event of the war would call the following a lynching: "Col. C. R. Jennison, later in command of the fifteenth Kansas, captured Samuel Scott, one of the most notorious proslavery ruffians. Scott was hanged without ceremony, and his fate met with the approval of free-state leaders."[14] While the freestate leaders considered it a lynching, very probably the proslavery faction called it murder or, at least, border warfare.

This doubtful status of lynchings during the Civil War period is shown very plainly by the contrasting opinions in a letter written at the time of a hanging and those in later accounts of the same event. On February 5, 1860, John R. Guthrie was hanged at Mapleton, Bourbon county. In the manuscript collection of the Kansas State Historical Society is a letter written by Alpheus H. Tanner which gives an interesting account of the affair.[15]

"Mapleton, K. T., Feb. 12, 1860. "MY DEAR PARENTS: . . . Last Sunday night about 1 o'clock a man named John R. Guthrie was hanged about a mile and a half from here on the top. of what is known as Tigret Mound. He was left suspended until Monday eve. His corpse was in plain sight from here as he hung. The proslavery's hung him for an alleged crime of horse stealing. They arrested him without authority or shadow of law and never gave him even a mock trial, as has

YOST: LYNCHINGS IN KANSAS 187

generally been the case. The country is again in commotion. I know not what will be the result, the probability is that unless Montgomery takes the field again it will soon blow over and give them a chance to hang the next ones that gets in their way. . . -A. H. T."

An account of this same event, as written in 1932 by C. E. Cory to the Historical Society, describes him as a horse thief

"I know a story I think worth preserving of a Bourbon county execution without benefit of clergy, but it was not a lynching. I have had the story from a lot of people, including two eyewitnesses-not participants, of course. (?) Away back in the later territorial days, when Bourbon county was in the `region beyant the law,' a young man named Guthrie was caught up near Mapleton riding somebody else's horse. Everybody knows that at that time in those parts, horse stealing and nigger chasing and homicide were offenses in a class by themselves. The hardheaded and hard-fisted farmers thereabouts gathered in a hurry. But there were no courts that they respected or had reason to respect. What to do?

"Just across the river south of Mapleton in the Little Osage bottom is a little round hill about three hundred feet high shaped almost exactly like an overturned soup bowl. They adjourned to the top of that hill. There they elected a judge and a sheriff and a prosecuting attorney. They selected a jury and tried their man, who admitted his guilt. After the verdict and the proper sentence, the sheriff had no place to keep the man, so he executed the sentence at once by hanging him to the limb of a jack oak tree nearby. His body was buried where it was cut dawn. It is there yet.

"From what I have been told I am quite satisfied that that trial was quite as regular and formal as many cases in the regular courts of that day, though not sanctioned by the law.

"By the way, that hill is the same `pretty little hill' where Lieut. Zebulon M. Pike ate the fried venison steak that September morning in 1806, as he notes in his journal. It is still called Guthrie mountain, and is one of the real beauty spots of old Bourbon:"[16]

With such conflicting accounts, who, seventy-two years after the event, shall dare to say whether this lynching was the justifiable punishment of a horse thief or the fate of a victim of border warfare?

While it is difficult to decide whether some of the events are lynchings or murders, there are a few which may be classed as lynchings and charged to border warfare. In Lawrence on August 22, 1863, the day after the Quantrill raid, Thomas Corlew was tried by a lynch court on the charge of having been a spy and hanged in a

188 THE KANSAS HISTORICAL QUARTERLY

barn near the City Hotel at the north end of Massachusetts street. Mr. James C. Horton[17] wrote concerning the event:

"I was there during the whole proceeding and went to one or two parties whom I thought might stop it, but to no avail. My recollection is that the jury did not find any evidence against him and so reported. His hanging was perhaps a natural outcome of the excited state of public feeling at that time, as Corlew was a Missourian and was said to have been acting with the proslavery men in 1856, but I think that many people in Lawrence regretted the occurrence and in ordinary, quiet times no such termination of a trial, even by a lynch court, would have been permitted."[18]

Since it is difficult to classify the massacres and murders of this period in a nonpartisan manner, most of them have been omitted from this list. The few which are given here as accepted lynchings are recorded as being caused by border warfare.

The guerrilla style of warfare of some of the authorized regiments on the border gave rise to groups of robbers and bushwhackers who carried on private enterprise under the anonymity employed by armies of both sides. The "Red Legs," organized by a group of men who did not wish to submit to the routine of the regular army, were employed in scouting, dispatch carrying and guiding and wore, as a distinguishing mark, leggings of red morocco. The desperadoes of the country soon learned to wear red leggings so that the blame for their depredations might be avoided. Owing to repeated complaints of this nature the organization was soon dissolved. Whenever possible distinction has been made between the legitimate forces of warfare and the thieves and bushwhackers operating under their name. Killing of disguised desperadoes has been considered lynching.

While extrajudicial punishment has been common in all countries and states, it has features which are sectional. This border warfare constituted a feature peculiar to Kansas and a few other states, since not every state was divided into factions with such intensive fighting within its borders. Because our states did not pass through the stages of their development at the same time, it is impossible to compare them by years., When Judge Lynch held court in California, in the stirring days of 1849, the eastern section of the country had passed through its formative period and was well organized.

But lynching was practically unheard of in New England at any

YOST: LYNCHINGS IN KANSAS 189

time in its history, so far as its records show. The Chicago Tribune of April 6, 1931, makes this assertion: "States which have never clad a recorded lynching include Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont." The Federal Council of Churches of Christ in America limits it further: "There are only four-Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont where such an atrocity has not been recorded for any community in the commonwealth. In four others-Connecticut, Maine, New Jersey and Utah-there has been no recorded lynching since 1889."[19] Walter White, secretary of the National Association for Advancement of Colored People, also says: "Only four states of the Union have never been stained by a lynching-Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Vermont."[20] Thus the escutcheon of two-thirds of New England, and New England only, is entirely clear. The Lawrence Western Home Journal of 1882 reprints a comment of the Chicago Inter-Ocean on an article on mob law written by Professor David Swing: "The slightest regard of crime throughout this country is alarming, and the professor's conclusion that in a few more years lynching will probably be the fashion in all the states west of New England rings like a prophecy."[21] Evidently, even in 1882, New England was considered immune from the epidemic.

Such a record must have a reason, and we find possible causes in several conditions. New England had few reasons for lynchings. Of the three main causes- murder, rape and robbery-two scarcely existed in New England as known in other sections. Rape by the negroes of the South and horse stealing in the West were two problems that New England did not have to deal with, so there remains only murder. The lives of the people in New England were plain and simple and ordered by rule and regulation. The settlements were close together, agriculture demanded only small farms and the people, recently come from a thickly-settled old country, desired contact with neighbors both for company and for protection. Many of the early settlements were made by well-organized companies under leaders and officers who, in many cases, supervised personal conduct to a minute detail. Few criminals escaped legal punishment. Justice was more surely pronounced and administered, and the people looked to the officials for punishment, having faith that

190 THE KANSAS HISTORICAL QUARTERLY

it would be forthcoming. Religion played its part, for the church was a strong influence in civil government, in making laws and in meting out punishment.

A large percentage of the New England settlers had come from England where lynchings occurred very seldom. At the time of a lynching in Leavenworth in 1902, this comparison was part of an editorial in the Review of Reviews: "But if the Leavenworth lynching had occurred in England, the ringleaders would certainly have been hanged and probably a hundred others put in prison for life, while the authorities who failed to take due precautions to guard their prisoner would not have escaped lightly."[22]

The attitude of England toward lynchings is again expressed by a letter signed "R. H.," written from England and published in the Junction City Union in 1867: "In the most recent of the papers you have sent me, I have seen with pain the account of the application of lynch law to colored persons who were in prison. The only pleasant part of the matter is the shame and indignation that you and others in your state have for the violation of law. In our country, I am sorry to say, that any accounts of this kind from America are hailed with delight by a section of our people, as if they indicated essential feebleness and failure of republican institutions."[23]

In the apprehension, prosecution, and punishment of criminals these early New Englanders found their chief source of diversion and amusement. They did not believe in lonely captivity but in public obloquy for criminals. The most exciting and stirring emotions in their lives came through these public exhibitions.[24] Sentences of whipping were usually to be carried out "on the next lecture day" when the crowd gathered. Such an attitude produced the stocks, pillories, whipping posts and ducking stools. The quick, effective lynching provided none of the exhibition of punishment as this section of the country wanted it.

The Southern states, of course, bear the unenviable record for lynchings, in the past and present alike, due to racial conflict. After the abolition of slavery it became an unwritten law in the South to punish by mob rule negroes charged with rape or assault or with the murder of a white person, and the custom is hard to forget. The study of lynchings in the United States to-day is chiefly concerned with the Southern states.

YOST: LYNCHINGS IN KANSAS 191

Aside from the South, it was in the West that lynchings flourished, and Kansas was of the early West. This West had a reputation for lawlessness that was, at least in part, deserved. This was partly because of the social conditions which prevailed during the period of development, and partly because many of the laws were not made for the existing geographical conditions and were unsuitable for them.

The nature of the country made settlements few and far between. In the early period the restraint of law could not make itself felt in the rarefied population. Territory extended faster than did effective government organization for the punishment of offenders, and men learned to mete it out themselves. Each man had to make his own law because there was no other to make it. It was but a step to individual enforcement of laws and punishment of offenders. The population had a high percentage of criminals who had fled from justice in other sections. Two lynched in Kansas for horse stealing were identified as sons of an ex-governor of Illinois, according to a Kansas City newspaper of 1910.[25]

Perhaps the fact that human life was not considered very valuable made it hard to convict a man for murder, while at the same time it made the taking of life in punishment more casual. Men went armed and moved over vast areas with other armed men, and. among them the six-shooter was the final decision in an argument. While the tales of "shootin' Dodge" and the rip-roaring cowboys who fired on any provocation doubtless exaggerate the number of men who lie on various Boot Hills, there can be no question that the continuous dangerous existence developed callousness to the taking of life. Under such conditions homicide did not entail the stigma that more thickly settled regions associated with it. Men were equal and each was his own defender. His survival imposed upon him certain obligations which, if he were a man, he would accept. Murder was too harsh a word for the final settling of an argument by gun play, but lynching was not too severe for offenders against the code of laws the men of the West respected.

Added to the lawlessness of the criminal code which grew out of the social conditions in the early days was a general disregard for civil laws which were wholly inapplicable and unsuited to the West. Congress passed laws which the settlers could not enforce in the prairie country, such as the water law, prohibiting all diversion of

192 THE KANSAS HISTORICAL QUARTERLY

water from a stream, making irrigation impossible; and the timber act, granting land free on condition that the grantee grow forests on it. When men could not abide by a civil law they came to lose respect for it, and this disrespect influenced their attitude toward other restraining factors, such as criminal and social laws.

The West was turbulent in the early days because there was no law. It was lawless in the later period because the suited to the needs and conditions of the country.[26]

The following study of the records of lynchings in Kansas from 1856 to 1932 reveals some interesting facts concerning prevalence and causes. These figures as here tabulated show the greatest number in 1860-1870, the period of the opening and early development of the state. In the decade of 1850 much of Kansas was still unsettled country, and in the fringe of settlements on the eastern border was a pioneer life of which we have now only a few contemporary records. In proportion to the population there was probably as much summary punishment of criminals as in later periods. The decade of 1860 saw the beginning of statehood with its civil laws and increased population. Emigrants from the north and south brought the Civil War, which produced the border warfare responsible for much of the lawlessness. More newspapers were printed and saved to give us a record of the time. From 1870 there was a steady decline in the number of lynchings for each ten-year period until 1900, when it remains at one for each decade after that, if we may suppose that the allotted lynching for 1930-1940 has already been produced in 1932. The number was still large in 1870, and would probably be larger if all of the records had been preserved, for that was the period of the cattleman in Kansas, and horses and cattle were favorite plunder for thieves and desperadoes. This was also the period in which men were banged, but not always lynched, by the vigilantes, as will be discussed later. The gradual decline was due to a change in social conditions and the incoming civilization.

Decade starting:

1850

1860

1870

1880

1890

1900

1910

1920

1930

Total

Horse stealing

13

54

26

           

93

Cattle stealing

1

1

             

2

Murder

2

23

13

21

14

3

1

   

77

Rape

 

7

 

3

2

 

1

1

1

15

Robbery

2

7

 

4

         

13

Border warfare

2

               

2

Misc. & unknown

1

2

 

1

         

4

Total

19

96

39

29

16

3

1

1

1

206

YOST: LYNCHINGS IN KANSAS 193

As we see, the crime in the West and in Kansas which most often brought lynching as a swift retribution was horse stealing. What the negro problem was to the South as a cause for lynching, horse stealing was to the West. One almost receives the impression that it was the principal industry of some communities. Probably it was a southern sympathizer who said that if the pedigrees of the horses on the .eastern line could be given, most of them would say "out of Missouri by Jennison." Concerning Johnson county it was written: "In the line of farmers bordering on Indian creek it was estimated that no less than sixty horses, besides many head of cattle, were stolen one summer, and the proportion was nearly the same throughout the county."[27] An account of the breaking up of horse thieves in eastern Kansas says: "The line of operations extended from Kansas City to Omaha and perhaps beyond, with the stations in between for concealing horses."[28] Organizations were formed for protection, such as the Wild Cat Horse Guards, organized April 21, 1877, in Nemaha county. The members were owners of horses and mules, who had their animals appraised and enrolled, and if stolen received two-thirds of the appraised value from the company.

The National Anti-Horse-Thief Association, organized in Missouri in 1854, had more need of activity in Kansas than any other state. In 1911 over half of its 40,000 membership was in Kansas, the other half being divided among seven other states. At least three Kansans have been national presidents, and the News, a paper authorized by the Kansas division in 1901 and published at St. Paul, by W. W. Graves, was made the organ of the national society in 1902.

The situation occupied even the attention of the executive office, and in 1863 this message was issued by Gov. Thomas Carney:

"State of Kansas, Exec. Dept., "Topeka, July 29, 1863. "The condition of Kansas, in one respect, is to be deplored. I mean the prevalence of robberies, and the too great disregard of law. This condition results, as I believe, not from any want of power to enforce the civil law, but from a want of what I may term central sources of information and [from] disconcerted action.

". . . The stealing of horses and other stock, though not so universally prevalent as formerly, is, I regret to say, still common in nearly all parts of

194 THE KANSAS HISTORICAL QUARTERLY

the state; and what is more unfortunate, the difficulty of detecting the robberies and arresting or subjecting the thieves to punishment is equally common.

"This may be accounted for, in part, by the fact that, in sparsely settled communities, horse thieves may perpetrate what would seem the most daring acts and enjoy comparative immunity from punishment, because they have concert among themselves, while the losers and local authorities have no such concert ....

"Every county has its sheriff. Suppose it were made the duty of such sheriff to furnish detailed information of the robbery so made (that is, of horses, their size, color, etc., and so of cattle and other property) to the sheriffs and local authorities of the central points, by the most speedy means of conveyance, mail or otherwise .... A concert of action like this on the part of the sheriffs of the different counties, aided by those who suffer, would go far, in my judgment, towards correcting the evil under which Kansas now suffers ....

"Were the legislature in session I should most earnestly recommend to that body the passage of a law making it the duty of the sheriffs of the different counties to furnish such information, with a suitable reward for such service. The effect of this would be to secure what we now so much need-concert of action against thieves and robbers. As it is, I would earnestly urge the sheriffs and the people of the several counties to adopt and enforce this policy as alike essential to private interests and the public good.
THOMAS CARNEY.[29]

That there was an effort made to punish theft of live stock by legal proceedings is shown in the first territorial statutes of 1855: "Persons convicted of grand larceny shall be punished in the following cases, as follows: First, for stealing a horse, mare, gelding, colt, filly, mule or ass, by confinement and hard labor, not exceeding seven years."[30] This was enacted again as a part of the criminal code by the session of 1859.[31] In 1870 this law was rewritten to include "neat cattle," an indication of the growth of the cattle industry on the plains.[32] An amendment in 1920 shoved horses to second place and introduced a new clause in first place providing for "the stealing of any automobile, not less than five years and not more than fifteen years,"[33] indicating that the horse was no longer supreme.

While some horse thieves were brought to justice, many were not treated so kindly. For a horse thief there were seldom any extenuating circumstances and little time for explanation or prayer. Perhaps there were more attempts to steal a man's horse than there

YOST: LYNCHINGS IN KANSAS 195

were to steal his property or his life, for the cowboy and the pioneer valued their horses as they did their lives. Often, indeed, a man's horse meant his life. To the settler the horse was communication, transportation, and escape from danger, as well as his means of livelihood. When the horse and man first became associated together in Europe years ago there arose two traditions of horsemanship or horse culture-the one, that of a settled people with whom horses were but one of the incidents of life; and the other, the tradition of the nomadic people to whom horses were vital. Both traditions found their way to America and each its appropriate environment. The "civilized" culture came through Europe to England and found lodgment in the English colonies of the Atlantic coast; the nomadic horse culture came from the Asiatic steppes to Arabia, across northern Africa to Spain, and with the Spaniards to the pampas of South America and up to the plains of the United States.[34]

Kansas, though settled in great part by people from New England, was so influenced by her location in the great plains that her use of the horse was of the second class. In the pioneer days settlements were few and distances between them were great. The telephone was not invented until 1876, wireless telegraphy and the radio were undreamed of; the horse was the primary means of communication and as such was glorified in the dashing Pony Express. Transportation was by horseback or by open or covered wagons drawn by horses. While automobiles have now replaced the horse to a great extent in all phases of work and pleasure and even pushed it from first place in the laws, no thief yet is recorded as being lynched for stealing the family Ford, or even the Rolls Royce, although in 1915 the Anti-Horse-Thief Association extended its protection to owners of automobiles as well as of horses.

On April 28, 1860, the first railroad touched Kansas soil[35] at Elwood, but not for many years could it take the place of the horse in transportation over the whole state. For both short and long distances, work and pleasure, the horse was supreme. In addition to being communication and transportation the horse also meant protection. The plains Indians were mounted, and to combat them the pioneer must be as well mounted. It is interesting that these were the only mounted Indians in the whole history of the moving American frontier, whether English or Spanish. The records of the woodland region do not reveal that the Indians who fired the cabins and

196 THE KANSAS HISTORICAL QUARTERLY

scalped the settlers were horse Indians. In the forest region the Indian went on foot, protected by the forests and the thick underbrush. In the West the open country and the horse gave the Indian the ability to strike suddenly and get away quickly, and either to follow and fight, or to flee, the settler must needs be mounted also. Thus was brought into being a new method of warfare known as "Indian fighting."[36]

The horse was more important as a means of livelihood in Kansas than it was in the East. The great extent of level surface, the treeless land, and the subhumid climate changed the agriculture of small farms of the East to large stock-grazing and extensive wheat ranches of the West, and for these industries the horse was indispensable. Wheat was cultivated by horses, not by tractor. Cattle drives, round-ups, and herding-all parts of the cattle business to which horses were as essential as cattle-are well-known and popular subjects of fact and fiction to-day. A cowboy's pride, and often his wealth, was centered in his horse, and the attachment between the two was great. Considering the value of the horse to the early settler it is not surprising that men flared to anger quicker and dealt punishment more unhesitatingly and harshly to a thief of horses than to a thief of life or property.

Horses and cattle were the property of which the westerner could most easily be robbed. It is rather curious that the number of lynchings for cattle stealing is so small, for we know that cattle rustlers were a menace in the West. Only four lynchings for such robbery are recorded in this list, and two of those were men hanged in 1866 for cattle stealing and murder combined.[37] In April, 1863, thirty- four cattle were stolen in Butler county and driven 150 miles to Lawrence. Even the Indians hired to track them lost the trail at various places. When caught, the thief was put in jail.[38] Yet a man might be lynched for stealing only one horse. A cow thief was not nearly so bad in public estimation, for where a horse was life itself to the plainsman, a cow was merely property. And in cattle ownership the code of the West made a strange distinction between a cow and a maverick which the East could never understand. A branded cow was the private property of the man whose brand it bore; a maverick was public property and belonged to the man who could brand it first. The fact that

YOST: LYNCHINGS IN KANSAS 197

the maverick was the calf of the branded cow did not affect the situation very much, especially in the early days. There were few cattlemen who did not brand mavericks, but no cattleman considered himself a thief for having done so. Perhaps the distinction also made it hard to determine and prove a man a cattle thief.[39]

Nevertheless, many organized bands of cattle thieves were punished, and many were instances in which the hanging was not considered a lynching. When rustling of both cattle and horses began seriously to threaten the profits of the cattle business, and when men discovered that the law was unable to cope with the situation, the vigilantes of the range appeared. These were bands of citizens organized to prevent the commission of crime, or to deal summary punishment in instances where the civil and lawfully constituted authorities seemed powerless to enforce the law. These alert, swift-riding posses gave a first offender a sharp warning to quit the country; on the second offense they hanged him to the nearest tree or shot him down if he pulled his gun.

These vigilance committees were bold with their punishment, and even issued warnings of their intentions in the newspapers: "Hunters may fire the grass on the Cherokee Strip, on the Kansas line, if they choose, but the cattlemen intend to hang all who do so."[40] During the Butler county war, which was a specific drive against horse thieves in Butler county, in 1870, the writer of a Butler county history recollects that an article appeared in the Walnut Valley Times, El Dorado, stating that: ". . . the horse thieves then infesting that country, and their friends, must go. That they had killed four on November 4th, and four on December 4th, and that they proposed to kill four on the 4th of every month thereafter until all were gone, and that any attempt to prosecute them therefor, meant death."[41] This was signed, "798 Vigilantes."

These protective associations of cattlemen and of other groups were not authorized by the statute books, but so dependent were the citizens upon them that many death punishments they inflicted were hardly considered lynchings and so often escaped the records as such.

The vigilantes of 1860 have their present-day parallel in the county vigilance committees maintained primarily for bank robbery. They spring from the same causes as those of old-the inadequacy of the protective law and officers. The sheriff's authority is limited

198 THE KANSAS HISTORICAL QUARTERLY

to his own county; his facilities of men, money and time are often inadequate, and he has had to call upon private citizens to aid him in detection, pursuit and capture of criminals. Out of this situation has grown the vigilance committees of the present, which were planned at a meeting of fourteen state bank associations of the central states, including Kansas. They are organized and managed locally according to varied local conditions, but sponsored by the protective department of the Kansas State Bankers Association according to one central plan. In Kansas the number has grown from one in 1925 to ninety-five in 1932. They existed at one time in 103 of the 105 counties, with a total state membership of 3,900. Each consists of from fifteen to one hundred men, with an average of thirty in a county and are selected by the sheriff and bank officials and appointed by the sheriff for his term of office. The expenses, arms, ammunition, training and operation are financed by the banks; the men receive no salary. They are issued commissions as special deputy sheriffs. While the law recognizes only one kind of deputy sheriff and these are given the regular commission, they have an oral agreement that they are to act only in case of a major crime and are considered "special" deputies. They have the full authority of any deputy under the law. In pursuing a criminal the sheriff shoots only as a last resort and then at his own discretion and on his own responsibility. These special deputies have the same responsibility in bringing in a prisoner. They are bonded to the extent of $7,500 against damages ordered by a court incurred in pursuit of their duty.

Any killing of a criminal by these committees could not be considered lynching. They differ from their earlier counterpart in two ways: they are entirely legal and nonsecretive. Although they are committees of citizens banded together for protection, as were the others, their legal authority and sanction come in the clause which permits a sheriff to commission deputies to aid him. While the status of the old vigilantes might vary, some being more legally organized than others, the status of these is the same over the state, since they are under one central plan. The former were often secret organizations; the latter are not, desiring all the publicity possible. They hold annual shoots in September at Fort Riley when they meet for practice and discussion. They are the old vigilantes with the veneer of legality necessitated by the advance of civilization.[42]

YOST: LYNCHINGS IN KANSAS 199

When conditions of the country eliminated horse stealing, as it did very definitely about 1877, murder was left as the main cause for lynching, and it holds first place continuously thereafter. Throughout the time from 1877 on, murder has produced over twice as many lynchings as other causes combined. Several cases which have been listed here under murder also include other crimes. Many cases have been accompanied by robbery, rape or torture, and the combination particularly incensed the people. They have been classed here with murder, as being the most hideous of the crimes.

Rape, which holds third place in Kansas as a cause for lynching, brings in the race problem, as here the ratio of negroes to whites is four to one. Again we find the number highest in the period of 1860, with only one less in the 1870's. In 1860-1870 five negroes and one white man were lynched for rape; in 1870-1880 one negro and five whites, the latter committing robbery and attempting murder. The seven men from 1880-1930 lynched for rape have been negroes, but in 1932 the victim again was a white man.

Of the entire number of lynchings only thirty-eight have been of negroes, with the ratio increasing in the later years. In the early days, when horse stealing caused most of the punishment, the negro population was not very great, and those who were here owned or could own very little property. The negro exodus from the South into Kansas from 1878 to 1882 increased the percentage in population, and their recognition as citizens established also their right to break the criminal and civil laws. In 1899 a negro mob lynched one of their own race for murder, when Charles Williams, a negro, was lynched by his people in Galena, April 27, 1899. The records also include a Mexican and an Indian. But the negroes form such a small percentage of the total lynched, a ratio of one negro to four and one-half whites, that the race problem cannot be considered an especially important factor in the state.

The statistics for the United States show that women have been lynched, but none has been found for Kansas. The White Pine Cone of Colorado, for January 25, 1884, contained this item: "Not many years ago a man and woman were arrested for murder in Lawrence and hanged from the Kansas river bridge. The woman showed more courage and shoved the man off and then jumped herself." No more information about this was found, and "not many years ago" was considered too indefinite for inclusion here, so Kansas as yet has no recorded lynching of women to her discredit.

Robbery holds fourth place, and there are comparatively few

200 THE KANSAS HISTORICAL QUARTERLY

cases where a man was lynched for robbery alone. Many of the :cases have been accompanied by attempted murder, attempted rape, or torture, or were the culmination of a series of crimes which incited the wrath of the community. The most recent lynching for robbery occurred in 1884, when four men were killed following a bank robbery in Medicine Lodge. In addition to this crime these men had the reputations and records of desperadoes, although one-Henry Brown-after a career with Billy the Kid, was marshal at Caldwell, and another-Ben Wheeler-was his assistant.

One of the most prevalent crimes of to-day has as yet caused no lynchings. It is due more to our changing ideas of punishment and advance in civilization that we have not lynched bank robbers than it is to any scarcity of them. In numbers they seem to have taken the place of the horse thieves of the 1860's; and as has been stated, these are the two major crimes which have necessitated vigilance committees. The vigilantes disbanded after the cattle days were over and were remembered only in legend and fiction until called into being recently for this other crime which promises to become as serious as horse stealing was. While bank robbery is so extensive, we have not yet dealt with the bandits by lynching, so as a source of crime it does not appear in this list.

These four are practically the only causes which have evoked lynchings in Kansas. Two deaths during the Civil War times have been recorded here as lynchings and attributed to border warfare. Three have had to be listed with reason unknown. The only available account of the lynchings of two negroes in Wyandotte in 1866 gave no reason but simply stated that they were taken "from the calaboose and shot."[43]

Doubtlessly, men were sometimes hanged when their guilt was not clearly established-one of the greatest dangers of, and arguments against, lynching. Mob action is usually inspired by emotional frenzy rather than calm reason and does not stop to weigh the evidence. A negro shot a Mr. Cox in Atchison in 1870, and a mob headed by Mike Clare hanged him. "Cox recovered and some believe the shooting was accidental. Clare left town and never came back."[44]

There are also cases in which foul play has been disguised by the appearance of a lynching. Thomas Reynolds was found hanged in Geary county in August, 1868, with this note pinned to his cloth

YOST: LYNCHINGS IN KANSAS 201

ing, "Beware, horse thieves, we know you now." He was not considered a suspicious character by his community and at the time of his death was known to have had money with him, so it was thought possible that he was robbed and murdered.[45] In December, 1885, in Caldwell, Sumner county, Frank Noyes, white, was found hanged, with a note in his pocket which accused him of house burning. It was known that he had several hundred dollars and public opinion was that he had been robbed and hanged as a blind. The jury gave a verdict of "hanged by unknown parties."[46]

But in most instances there was no doubt that the right person was hanged, and in two cases the lynched man's victim even came to life to accuse him. Teahan shot Conklin while both were riding from Wyandotte to Kansas City, Mo. "Conklin put spurs to his horse and reached Kansas City without further harm and was cared for at the Gilliss Hotel." He returned to accuse Teahan, who was hanged.[47] In Leavenworth, in 1857, "Baize and Squarles slugged him (Stephens), robbed him and then threw him into the river for dead, but he came to, swam ashore, reported the incident to the police and had the men arrested, so there was no doubt as to their guilt."[48] The narrator of this lynching continues: "A funny little incident happened in connection with this affair. An Irishman was put in jail for getting drunk, and when the mob gathered and broke into the jail the Irishman became frightened and began to cry out, `Faith, men! I am not the mon!' and kept on repeating it. Judge Samuel D. Lecompte made a speech trying to disperse the mob, but to no avail."[49]

There have been a few instances where a criminal was strung up to be hanged and then released, though usually a determined and infuriated mob brooked no interference. In Lyon county a crowd met the sheriff at Rock Creek and took from him his German prisoner charged with murder of an Irishman. They were hanging him when the limb of the tree broke, letting him fall to the ground. The sheriff plead his case so well that the mob released the prisoner and the sheriff continued with him on his way to jail.[50]

What did the people of the state as a whole think of the practice of lynching? If we may believe the newspapers as reflecting the at-

202 THE KANSAS HISTORICAL QUARTERLY

titude of the people we receive the impression that, while they deplored lynching as an evil, they considered it a necessary evil. One of the earliest contemporary accounts is the article concerning Squarles and Baize in which the Elwood Advertiser says: "Though summary justice was meted out to the wretches, yet public opinion sanctions it as a necessity, and will effectually strike terror into the hearts of the many similar gangs who infest that city."[51] In 1865 the Wyandotte Gazette parries the responsibility: "It is only when the laws of the land utterly fail to protect life and property that the people can be justified in taking the punishment of criminals into their own hands. Whether that time has arrived in Wyandotte is a question the people must decide for themselves."[52]

"We have no censure to make in this particular case, but trust nothing of the like will become common."[53]

"We deplore mob law under all circumstances, but if there ever was a case that was justifiable this is one of them."[54]

"While the mob spirit, therefore, is to be condemned in unstinted terms, the lesson which its prevalence prevails is that the laws on our statute books must be more rigorously, more certainly, more severely executed."[55]

We find such statements in the early years. They condemn the method, but hope for some good as a result.

How different is the comment of the Olathe Mirror in 1916. "Johnson county and Olathe feels its shame. It will take decades and decades-maybe never-to erase the blot put upon us by the exhibition of mob violence . . . Johnson county sorrows to-day and will for years to come over the shadow cast on her fair name."[56]

In 1920 the Mulberry News is not quite so penitent. "The majority of the people of Mulberry do not approve of what happened here Monday . . . . Yes, it is regrettable. . . . . but surely it was justifiable."[57]

In 1932 we have this attitude: "While the offense committed was a most dastardly crime, mob lynching cannot be countenanced, and every effort will be made to discover and prosecute the members of the mob. For a mob to take the punishment out of the hands

YOST: LYNCHINGS IN KANSAS 203

of the constituted authorities results in a breakdown of government, and it cannot and will not be permitted to go unpunished in Kansas."[58]

In these statements is shown the changing attitude of the people. The social conditions which produced lynchings produced also a tolerance for them, and both vanished together. The extension of civil authority into the territory provided punishment of criminals, and its enforcement gave the people confidence to rely upon it. We like to think, also, that an advancing civilization yielded some influence against the practice. To a state which does not sanction capital punishment., death penalty by an extrajudicial method should be especially abhorrent. That which should not be done by legal action of a jury is worse when due to the frenzy of a mob.

Often there was at least a coroner's verdict, if not a jury's verdict, though some, we may believe, had not the formality of either. Usually the coroner reported that the victim "came to his death at the hands of unknown parties." One even went so far as to say, with what could hardly have been unconscious humor, "came to his death by strangulation, through his own exertions and assistance of parties unknown."[59] The coroner gave a verdict of suicide for the death of Newton Walters, in Columbus, in 1895, but he was thought to have been lynched for murder.[60] In 1866, in Nemaha county, one horse thief was shot while attempting to escape, and another was caught and hanged. The newspapers reported "both lost their lives by accident."[61] Quite often there was no action against the crowd. The community, if not actually approving of individuals who took retribution into their own hands, at least declined to interfere.

When there was disapproval against the action, punishment of the mob usually went no farther than the verdict of the coroner or the jury. Rarely was there conviction or punishment of persons who participated in lynchings, owing largely to the sympathy of the jurors for their action. The vigilance committees, who concealed neither their actions nor their membership, acted with the backing of public opinion if not legal sanction. The members of a mob were seldom known or admitted, and no one wanted to know. Quite often the majority of the people of a community participated.

204 THE KANSAS HISTORICAL QUARTERLY

In the lynching of Bob Scrugg for murder, at Oak Mills in 1877, the "justice of the peace was one of the posse."[62] At the lynching of a gang of five who attempted robbery, murder and rape in Ladore, 1870, it was said that. "three hundred of the best citizens participated."[63]

It is not surprising that citizens seemed to find immediate lynching more effective than court trial. Of four of the Netawaka gang of horse thieves operating in Nemaha county in 1877, the Seneca Courier says: "Manley was hung; Rourke plead guilty; Brown ran away, and Harl stood trial and is cleared."[64] Harl was tried in Atchison and acquitted. "The verdict seemed to give universal satisfaction and it is the general opinion that certainly the citizens of Nemaha county can have no reasons to find any fault with the verdict of the jury or the decision of the court."[65] But the citizens of Nemaha county did seem to find fault with the verdict. On March 29, the same paper remarked: "Since Harl was cleared we are ready to believe anything in the O'Brien horse-stealing case."[66] And on May 17: . . . . The horse-stealing Case went wrong-end to."[67]

"Within the last eight years there have been something like twenty murders committed in this county, and in no case has the guilty party been punished by due process of law."[68] This editorial concerning Wyandotte county in 1866 does not indicate confidence in punishment by court procedure.

Lack of respect for the courts and the juries is not even thinly disguised by the Junction City Union in 1868, in reporting the investigation of the lynching of Thomas Reynolds, which was reported at first in only a six-inch space. There was some indication of foul play in his lynching, and the coroner's jury dragged through several months.

"One man arrested for lynching Reynolds dismissed without provocation."[69] "Coroner's jury met last Monday to inquire into the death of Reynolds who, it appears, died some time in the history of Davis county. We understand it adjourned to meet again. We would suggest to the commissioners that they employ this outfit by the year."[70] "The inquisition met last Thursday.

YOST: LYNCHINGS IN KANSAS 205

We could not find out what they done (sic] but learn they made no verdict. We would suggest that these owls (we allude to their wisdom) be employed to find out what became of our Democrat party . . ."[71] "The long agony is over. The mountain labored and brought forth a small sized rat. We publish below the verdict of the coroner's jury in case of Thomas Reynolds, deceased. The coroner's bill of costs came before the county commissioners on Thursday. It charges for seventeen days of actual service. A stupendous bundle of manuscript accompanied the verdict. This was the testimony and as it was taken in secret a great curiosity was evinced to see it. Portions of it are rich and entirely street gossip in its character. The question which bothered the commissioners was whether the bills should be paid, or how much of them. The final decision of the jury was that he was found suspended to the limb of a tree by part of his bridle rein, by some person or persons unknown to the jury."[72]

One would not believe that the Junction City Union had much respect for the coroner's jury.

Growing public sentiment against lynching was evidenced by acts of the legislature of 1903. Before this time there had been no legislation concerning lynching. Prompted, perhaps, by the lynching in Leavenworth in 1901 and by one in Pittsburg in 1902, the legislature of 1903 passed the following laws, as measures to prevent further occurrences:

"MOB AND LYNCHING DEFINED: AIDING OR ABETTING LYNCHING. That any collection of individuals assembled for an unlawful purpose, intending to injure any person by violence, and without authority of law, shall for the purpose of this act be regarded as a mob, and any act of violence exercised by such mob upon the body of any person shall constitute the crime of lynching, when such act or acts of violence result in death; and any person who participates in or aids or abets such lynching, upon conviction thereof shall be imprisoned in the state prison for not more than five years or during life, in the discretion of the jury.

"ACCESSORIES AFTER THE FACT IN LYNCHING. Every person who shall, after the commission of the crime of lynching, harbor, conceal or assist any member of such mob who participates in or who aids or abets such crime, with the intent that he shall escape detention, arrest, capture, or punishment, shall be deemed to be and shall be an accessory after the fact, and may be charged, tried and convicted and punished though such member be neither charged, tried nor convicted, and upon conviction thereof shall be imprisoned in the state prison not more than twenty- one years nor less than two years.

"PROSECUTION OF LYNCHING OFFENDERS. Any person accused of the crime of lynching or as an accessory after the fact may be prosecuted in the courts of this state by information filed and signed by the prosecuting attorney or attorney-general, based upon the affidavit of some competent and reputable person.

206 THE KANSAS HISTORICAL QUARTERLY

"JURISDICTION OF COURTS IN LYNCHING CASES. In case any persons shall come together in any county in this state for the purpose of proceeding to another county of the state with the view of lynching any person, or in any case any person or persons shall purchase or procure any rope, weapon, or other instrument in one county for the purpose of being used in lynching any person in another county, such crime of lynching, if committed, shall be and constitute a continuous offense from the time of its original inception as aforesaid; and the courts of any county in which such overt act has been committed shall have jurisdiction over the person of any member of the mob committing such overt act, and such person may be prosecuted in such county and punished for murder the same as if the lynching had occurred therein.

"LIABILITY OF SHERIFF WHEN PRISONER TAKEN AND LYNCHED. If any person shall be taken from the hands of a sheriff or his deputy having such person in custody and shall be lynched, it shall be evidence of failure on the part of such sheriff to do his duty, and his office shall thereby and thereat immediately be vacated, and the coroner shall immediately succeed to and perform the duties of sheriff until the successor of such sheriff shall have been duly appointed, pursuant to existing law providing for the filling of vacancies in such office, and such sheriff shall not thereafter be eligible to either election or reappointment to the office of sheriff: Provided, however, That such former sheriff may, within ten days after such lynching occurs, file with the governor his petition for reinstatement to the office of sheriff, and shall give ten days' notice of the filing of such petition to the prosecuting attorney of the county in which such lynching occurred and also to the attorney-general. If the governor, upon hearing the evidence and argument, if any, presented, shall find that such sheriff used reasonable effort to protect the life of such prisoner and performed the duties required of him by existing laws respecting the protection of prisoners, then such governor shall reinstate such sheriff in his office and shall issue to him a certificate of reinstatement, the same to be effective on the day of such order of reinstatement, and the decision of such governor shall be final."[73]

Other sections of this article provide for assistance of the sheriff by bystanders; the removal of the prisoner to state prison or reformatory; and the aid of the militia.

Since the legislature seemed to realize that the sheriff and his deputies usually were powerless before a mob, it made the second clause of section 1007 a loophole providing for his reinstatement by the governor, if justified after an examination, and in the lynchings which have occurred since then the sheriff has been returned to office immediately. In a case in 1916 "friends got busy in his behalf and after four days had elapsed he was reinstated."[74] In 1932 he "filed his petition and after a secret court behind closed doors the governor reinstated him."[75]

Several states have enacted laws designed to suppress lynchings.


73. Revised Statutes, Kansas, 1923, ch. 21, art. 10, sees. 1003-1007.

74. Olathe Mirror, September 28, 1910.

75. Atwood Citizen-Patriot, April 21, 1932.

YOST: LYNCHINGS IN KANSAS 207

In Kentucky "the penalty for lynching shall be confinement or life imprisonment. The penalty for attempted lynching shall be confinement in the penitentiary for not less than two years nor more than twenty-one years." It also provides for the removal of a culpable officer, as do Indiana and Florida. North Carolina permits the judge of the court issuing the indictment to transfer trial of the case to another court without preliminary appearance of the defendant before him, which allows the accused to be taken into another court for safe-keeping and to be tried there without danger of being mobbed. Minnesota and Ohio have drastic penalties for lynchers and to prevent lynchings. West Virginia and South Carolina give representatives of the person put to death the right to sue in the courts for damages against the county in which the lynching took place, the maximum amount in West Virginia being $5,000.

As administration of the criminal law is in the hands of the several states the federal government cannot deal with the participators of a lynching unless it occurs on government reservations. Efforts to secure enactment of federal legislation upon the subject resulted in the passage by the house of representatives on January 26, 1922, by a vote of 230 to 119, a bill that was known as the Dyer antilynching bill, introduced by the republican representative, Leonidas Carstarphen Dyer, from, Missouri. This provided that culpable state officers and members of lynching mobs should be tried in federal courts upon the failure of state courts to act, with sentences of fines or imprisonment; it forbade and penalized any interference with an officer protecting a prisoner from lynching; it penalized an official who failed to do his duty in preventing a lynching; and it penalized a county or counties which failed to use all reasonable effort to protect citizens against mob violence, to the extent of $10,000 recoverable in a federal court. There was much dissension over the constitutionality of the bill, on the point of usurpation of state rights by the federal government, but the supreme court was never called upon to decide. A debate before the committee on the judiciary, house of representatives, gave both arguments

"There can be no question that the denial to persons of a class of the equal protection of the laws by officers of or under the state, charged with their equal enforcement, is the act of the state, and that the failure of the state through its officers to give the equal protection of its laws to a class must justify the intervention of the United States under the fourteenth amendment to carry out its guaranty of equal protection . . . . We hold it to be incontrovertible principle that the government of the United States may by

206 THE KANSAS HISTORICAL QUARTERLY

"JURISDICTION of COURTS IN LYNCHING CASES. In case any persons shall come together in any county in this state for the purpose of proceeding to another county of the state with the view of lynching any person, or in any case any person or persons shall purchase or procure any rope, weapon, or other instrument in one county for the purpose of being used in lynching any person in another county, such crime of lynching, if committed, shall be and constitute a continuous offense from the time of its original inception as aforesaid; and the courts of any county in which such overt act has been committed shall have jurisdiction over the person of any member of the mob committing such overt act, and such person may be prosecuted in such county and punished for murder the same as if the lynching had occurred therein.

"LIABILITY of SHERIFF WHEN PRISONER TAKEN AND LYNCHED. If any person shall be taken from the hands of a sheriff or his deputy having such person in custody and shall be lynched, it shall be evidence of failure on the part of such sheriff to do his duty, and his office shall thereby and thereat immediately be vacated, and the coroner shall immediately succeed to and perform the duties of sheriff until the successor of such sheriff shall have been duly appointed, pursuant to existing law providing for the filling of vacancies in such office, and such sheriff shall not thereafter be eligible to either election or reappointment to the office of sheriff: Provided, however, That such former sheriff may, within ten days after such lynching occurs, file with the governor his petition for reinstatement to the office of sheriff, and shall give ten days' notice of the filing of such petition to the prosecuting attorney of the county in which such lynching occurred and also to the attorney-general. If the governor, upon hearing the evidence and argument, if any, presented, shall find that such sheriff used reasonable effort to protect the life of such prisoner and performed the duties required of him by existing laws respecting the protection of prisoners, then such governor shall reinstate such sheriff in his office and shall issue to him a certificate of reinstatement, the same to be effective on the day of such order of reinstatement, and the decision of such governor shall be final."[73]

Other sections of this article provide for assistance of the sheriff by bystanders; the removal of the prisoner to state prison or reformatory; and the aid of the militia.

Since the legislature seemed to realize that the sheriff and his deputies usually were powerless before a mob, it made the second clause of section 1007 a loophole providing for his reinstatement by the governor, if justified after an examination, and in the lynchings which have occurred since then the sheriff has been returned to office immediately. In a case in 1916 "friends got busy in his behalf and after four days had elapsed he was reinstated." 74 In 1932 he "filed his petition and after a secret court behind closed doors the governor reinstated him." 75

Several states have enacted laws designed to suppress lynchings.

YOST: LYNCHINGS IN KANSAS 207

In Kentucky "the penalty for lynching shall be confinement or life imprisonment. The penalty for attempted lynching shall be confinement in the penitentiary for not less than two years nor more than twenty-one years." It also provides for the removal of a culpable officer, as do Indiana and Florida. North Carolina permits the judge of the court issuing the indictment to transfer trial of the case to another court without preliminary appearance of the defendant before him, which allows the accused to be taken into another court for safe-keeping and to be tried there without danger of being mobbed. Minnesota and Ohio have drastic penalties for lynchers and to prevent lynchings. West Virginia and South Carolina give representatives of the person put to death the right to sue in the courts for damages against the county in which the lynching took place, the maximum amount in West Virginia being $5,000.

As administration of the criminal law is in the hands of the several states the federal government cannot deal with the participators of a lynching unless it occurs on government reservations. Efforts to secure enactment of federal legislation upon the subject resulted in the passage by the house of representatives on January 26, 1922, by a vote of 230 to 119, a bill that was known as the Dyer antilynching bill, introduced by the republican representative, Leonidas Carstarphen Dyer, from, Missouri. This provided that culpable state officers and members of lynching mobs should be tried in federal courts upon the failure of state courts to act, with sentences of fines or imprisonment; it forbade and penalized any interference with an officer protecting a prisoner from lynching; it penalized an official who failed to do his duty in preventing a lynching; and it penalized a county or counties which failed to use all reasonable effort to protect citizens against mob violence, to the extent of $10,000 recoverable in a federal court. There was much dissension over the constitutionality of the bill, on the point of usurpation of state rights by the federal government, but the supreme court was never called upon to decide. A debate before the committee on the judiciary, house of representatives, gave both arguments

"There can be no question that the denial to persons of a class of the equal protection of the laws by officers of or under the state, charged with their equal enforcement, is the act of the state, and that the failure of the state through its officers to give the equal protection of its laws to a class must justify the intervention of the United States under the fourteenth amendment to carry out its guaranty of equal protection . . . . We hold it to be incontrovertible principle that the government of the United States may by

208 THE KANSAS HISTORICAL QUARTERLY

means of physical force, exercised through its official agents, execute on every foot of American soil the powers and functions that belong to it."

The minority report set forth the unconstitutionality of the law:

"This proposed intervention of the federal government directed against local power, supplanting and superseding the sovereignty of the states, would tend to destroy that sense of local responsibility for the protection of person and property and the administration of justice, from which sense of local responsibility alone protection and governmental efficiency can be secured among free peoples .... As a precedent, this bill, establishing the principles which it embodies and the congressional powers which it assumes to obtain, would strip the states of every element of sovereign power, control, and final responsibility for the personal and property protection of its citizens, and would all but complete the reduction of the states to a condition of governmental vassalage awaiting only the full exercise of the congressional powers established." 76

Thus the growing attitude against lynching in Kansas was part of the trend over the whole country. While the newspapers revealed it in their editorial opinions, they also reflected it in their treatment and presentation in the news columns. In the territorial days and even in 1870 a lynching might be told in four or five inches on the back page of the paper. When Johnson and Craig were lynched in Ellsworth in 1867, the nearest newspaper, the Junction City Union, in Davis (Geary) county, told the story in five lines.[77] The same paper in 1868 gave six inches without headlines, on an inside page, to the lynching of Thomas Reynolds in its own county.[78] In April, 1869, the Leavenworth Times and Conservative, a four-page daily, related the lynching of George Thompson, in its own city, in twelve inches on the back page. In 1874 the Wellington Press, a weekly, told the story of the lynching of four men in six inches, though devoting two columns to the chase and arrest of the same and another gang of horse thieves.[79] By 1916 a lynching had reached the front page, with the Olathe Mirror giving two columns to a news article and editorial.[80] Two and a half columns on the front page were given to a lynching by the Mulberry News on April 23, 1920. By 1932 the event was blazoned in a full-page headline used by the Atwood Citizen-Patriot to start a front-page double-column story which was continued in one and a half columns on the fourth page. From five lines in the local news in 1867 the

YOST: LYNCHINGS IN KANSAS 209

newspaper space-value of a lynching has grown to a full front-page headline and double column in 1932.

Why were lynchings in the early days dismissed with a sentence or two? We find this especially true in the papers of the 1860's when men were hanged for horse stealing. Hanging a horse thief seemed to be a rather matter-of-fact incident, a punishment which a man should expect if he were caught in that vacation. They were often desperadoes with other crimes on their records, and the country as a whole desired to be rid of them, even by drastic measures. Often, too, they were men who had come to the West alone and did not leave families to create sympathy. When horse stealing disappeared in the '80's, with it went an attitude toward lynching which had approached nonchalance. In the following decades when a greater percentage of lynchings were for murder, the murder plus the hanging aroused stronger sentiment. The growing civilization which made lynchings less common at the same time gave them more news value.

It is also in great part due to the changing styles of journalism that a lynching now is given in many more words and details. The early newspapers contained very little local news, most of the space being filled with advertisements, "telegraphic" national news, and clipped matter. An issue of the Leavenworth Daily Conservative for June 10, 1862, contained sixteen columns of advertisements, four and one-half on the front page; six and one-half columns of national and telegraphic news; and one and a half columns of local news-a percentage of six and one-fourth for local news. While the early papers might have Associated Press facilities, organized in 1865, to give them national news, communication among their neighboring counties was slower and less certain, and the "local items" and "personal news" which fill our town weeklies and even city dailies were not the fashion in newspaper circles. They filled the front page with plate or advertisements and put local news on the inside or back page. Practically nothing rated headlines, because headlines were not used. The papers of the middle and late 1800's were dignified in appearance. The papers of to-day reflect the era which produces them. These "ballyhoo years," as Frederick L. Allen calls them in his Only Yesterday, have produced the publicity agents with their knack of associating their cause or product with whatever happens to be in the public mind at the time, and of concentrating upon one tune at a time.

210 THE KANSAS HISTORICAL QUARTERLY

"They discovered -- the successful tabloids were daily teaching them -- that the public tended to become excited about one thing at a time. Newspaper owners and editors found that where a Dayton trial or a Vestris disaster took place they sold more papers if they gave it all they had-their star reporters, their front-page display, and the bulk of their space. They took full advantage of this discovery. . . Syndicate managers and writers, advertisers, press agents, radio broadcasters, all were aware that mention of the leading event of the day, whatever it might be, was the key to public interest. The result was that when something happened which promised to appeal to the popular mind, one had it hurled at one in huge headlines, waded through page after page of syndicated discussion . . . was reminded of it again and again in the outpouring of publicity-seeking orators and preachers, saw pictures of it in the Sunday papers and in the movies, and (unless one was a perverse individualist) enjoyed the sensation of vibrating to the same chord which thrilled a vast populace."[81]

While Allen was writing of the large dailies, the small-town weeklies have been influenced in proportion by this trend toward sensationalism, and have tended to play up an important event in headlines and details. The decline of lynchings and a growing intolerance for them, together with a different journalistic style, are responsible for the changed attitude and presentation by the newspapers.

Figures on lynchings in the United States for the years 1882-1927 show that Kansas ranked 18th of all states, with fifty-five to her discredit.[82] Chronological tables in the appendix say fifty-one occurred before 1904, four from 1904 to 1908, one from 1909 to 1913, one from 1914 to 1918 and two from 1919 to 1923.[83] The Southern Commission on the Study of Lynching in their pamphlet, Lynchings and What They Mean (1931), indicate on a map that eight lynchings occurred in Kansas from 1900 to 1931-two in Bourbon county, two in Crawford county, one each in Johnson, Leavenworth, Shawnee and Stafford counties. That they have not given names and dates in each case makes it more difficult to check.

Some of those given by other associations have been omitted from this list as incorrect, since no accounts of them were found in contemporary local newspapers. As an example, the Tuskegee Institute lists a Doctor Herman, negro, lynched in Topeka on May 13, 1901, for "race prejudice." The Topeka Capital for that week indicates that Doctor Herman left town but was not lynched. They also list an unnamed white man lynched in Stafford, Stafford county, on May 8, 1919, which the local newspapers fail to record.

210 YOST: LYNCHINGS IN KANSAS

Three, giving information of date and name, but with place unknown, have been omitted. So these figures will differ from those compiled for the state by other associations, perhaps being fewer, but with the hope of being accurate and authentic.

Several associations, mainly in the South, are making active campaigns against lynching, stressing additional legislation for the protection of prisoners, more certain punishment of criminals, methods of preventing and dispersing mobs, efforts to secure court trials and convictions of participants in mobs, and the growth of public opinion against lynchings through churches, educational institutions and the press.

There has been a notable decrease, with occasional exceptions, in the number of persons lynched since the turn of the century. While the number is declining in the United States as a whole, it is doing so more rapidly in some states, including Kansas, than in others. Northern and Western states have almost completely abandoned lynching since the passing of frontier conditions. Only the Southern states more or less regularly resort to the practice. Perhaps if data for later years only were considered, Kansas would rank better than eighteenth among the states.

LYNCHINGS IN KANSAS, 1850-1932.

(Giving date, name, place and alleged crime.)

1860-1869

 

1. In 1850's

Six horse thieves. Rising Sun, Douglas county. Horse stealing.

2. Dec., 1856

Partridge; unknown man. On Pottawatomie creek, southeastern Kansas. Robbery.

3. Aug. 1, 1857

Baize; Squarles. Leavenworth, Leavenworth county. Murder.

4. 1858

Shaw; Johnson. Island in Marais des Cygnes river (Franklin county). Horse stealing.

5. Spring, 1858

Theodore Royer. Shannon, Anderson county. Horse stealing.

6. Apr., 1858

Claywell. Burlington, Coffee county. Horse stealing.

7. Aug. 5, 1859

John Squires. Leavenworth, Leavenworth county. Horse stealing.

8. Aug. 12, 1859

Wilson. Atchison, Atchison county. Horse stealing.

212 THE KANSAS HISTORICAL QUARTERLY

1850-1859

 

8a. Nov., 1859

William Hugh. Emporia, Lyon county. Cause unknown.

8b. Nov., 1859

Price. Hulls Grove, Jefferson county. Cattle stealing.

8c. Dec. 27, 1859.

A. F. Bishop. 110, Osage county. Horse stealing.

1860

 

9. Feb. 5, 1860

John R. Guthrie. Mapleton, Bourbon county Horse stealing.

9a. June 9, 1860

John Johnson. Black Jack, Douglas county. Horse stealing.

10. July 10, 1860

Hugh Carlin. Bourbon county. Horse stealing.

10a. July 28, 1860

Joseph Gilliford. Council Grove, Morris county. Horse stealing.

1861

 

11. Mar. 27, 1861

Isaac Edwards. Topeka, Shawnee county. Murder of an Indian.

1862

 

12. May, 1862

Mexican. Lyon county. Horse stealing.

13. June 9, 1862

Two soldiers: 2d Ohio cavalry and 10th Kansas Marmaton, Bourbon county. Rape.

14. Oct. 1, 1862

Jack Dixon; Stephen Branch. Manhattan, Riley county. Horse stealing.

15. Dec. 15, 1862

C. Mincer alias Charles Spencer; unknown horse thief. Wabaunsee county. Horse stealing.

1863

 

16. May 18-23, 1863

Alexander Brewer; William Sterling; Porter Sterling; Daniel Mooney; Henry (Pony) McCartney; Edward Gilbert. Atchison, Atchison county. Robbery and torture.

17. June 3, 1863

James Melvin; William Cannon. Highland, Doniphan county. Horse stealing.

18. July 26, 1863

Scranton. Manhattan, Riley county. Horse stealing.

19. Aug. 22, 1863

Thomas Corlew. Lawrence, Douglas county. Border warfare.

YOST: LYNCHINGS IN KANSAS 213

1864

 

20. 1864

Warren, negro. Garnett, Anderson county. Murder,

21. Feb., 1864

Stevens; Stevens' son. Stanton, Miami county. Horse stealing.

22. Feb., 1864

Stevens' son. Ohio City, Franklin county. Horse stealing.

23. Feb., 1864

Five horse thieves. Jefferson county. Horse stealing.

24. May, 1864

E. H. Wetherell. Riley county. Cattle stealing.

25. June 16, 1864

James Stevenson; Charles Wilson. Stanton, Miami county. Horse stealing.

26. June, 1864

Two horse thieves. Franklin county. Horse stealing.

27. Aug. 14, 1864

George D. Bennett. Wathena, Doniphan county. Horse stealing.

28. Oct. 8, 1864

Goisney. Marysville, Marshall county. murder.

1866

 

29. Feb. 27, 1865.

Miles N. Carter. Seneca, Nemaha county. Murder.

30. April, 1865.

William Bledsoe; Jacob Bledsoe. Greenwood county. Horse stealing.

31. Dec., 1865

Walker. Oketo, Marshall county. Robbery.

32. Dec. 18, 1865

John Tehan Bartholomew. Wyandotte, Wyandotte county. Murder.

33. Dec. 26, 1865

Carl Eden. Holton, Jackson county. Border warfare.

1866

 

34. 1865-1866

Two negroes. Wyandotte, Wyandotte county. Unknown.

35. Jan. 16, 1866

Thomas McElroy. Marysville, Marshall county. Murder.

36. Mar., 1866,

Two horse thieves. Nemaha county. Horse stealing.

37. Mar., 1866

Howard; Howard. Spring river (county unknown). Horse stealing.

214 THE KANSAS HISTORICAL QUARTERLY

1866

 

38. Mar. 7, 1886

Strong; horse thief. Ft. Scott, Bourbon county. Horse stealing.

39. Apr., 1866

Two horse thieves. Humboldt, Allen county. Horse stealing.

40. Apr. 13, 1866

Newt Morrison. Wyandotte, Wyandotte county. Murder.

41. Apr. 29, 1866

Joe Tippie; Sam Tippie. Monmouth, Crawford county. Murder.

42. May, 1866

Gulp. On Verdigris river, Wilson county. Horse stealing.

43. May 1, 1866

Charles Quinn. Leavenworth, Leavenworth county. Murder.

44. May 13, 1866

Peter Baysinger. Monticello, Johnson county. Horse stealing.

45. May 26, 1866

Horse thief. Tomahawk creek, Johnson county. Horse stealing.

46. June, 1866

John House; H. Long; Billy Jones. Pleasant Grove, Greenwood county. Horse stealing.

47. Summer, 1866

Elias Foster. Mound City, Linn county. Murder.

1867

 

48. Feb., 1867

Wm. P. Myers; James Myers; George Myers; Edwards; Gillett. Baxter Springs, Cherokee county. Horse stealing.

49. Feb. 3, 1867

Jack McDowell. Morris county. Horse stealing.

50. Mar. 21, 1867

Eli Mackey, negro; Jackson Mackey, negro; Harry Van, negro. Ft. Scott, Bourbon county. Murder and robbery.

51. May 29, 1867

John Moran, negro; Daniel Moran, negro; John McGorman, negro. Bartletts mill, Geary county. Rape.

52. June 13, 1867

Daniel Webster, negro; Tom Van Buren, negro. Wyandotte, Wyandotte county. Murder.

53. June 13, 1867

Negro. Shawneetown, Johnson county. Rape.

54. Oct. 3, 1867

Charlie Johnson; Charlie Craig. Ellsworth, Ellsworth county. Horse stealing.

YOST: LYNCHINGS IN KANSAS 215

1868

 

55. "Latter part of 1868"

Indian half-breed. Chetopa, Labette county. Murder.

56. Aug. 22, 1868

Thomas Reynolds. Geary county. Horse stealing.

57. Dec. 14, 1868

Negro. Ellsworth, Ellsworth county. Rape.

1869

 

58. 1869

Three negroes, 38th infantry. Ft. Hays, Ellis county. Murder.

59. Apr. 29, 1869

George Thompson. Leavenworth, Leavenworth county. Murder.

60. May 5, 1869

Enoch Reynolds. Sheridan, Sheridan county. Murder.

61. May 12, 1869

Fitzpatrick. Ellsworth, Ellsworth county. Murder.

62. June, 1869

Tesse; Clark Odell. Shawnee, Johnson county. Horse stealing.

63. June 7, 1869

C. H. Houston. Wyandotte county. Horse stealing.

64. June 26, 1869

William Beagle. Shawnee, Johnson county. Horse stealing.

1870

 

65. 1870

John Pierce. Jacksonville, Neosho county. Murder.

65a.Jan. 4, 1870

George Johnson, negro. Atchison, Atchison county. Murder.

66. May 11, 1870

William Ryan; Patrick Starr; Patsey Riley; Richard Pitkin; Alexander Matthews. Ladore, Neosho county. Murder and rape.

67. May 19, 1870

Two horse thieves. Sedgwick county. Horse stealing.

68. June 27, 1870

E. G. Dalson. Iola, Allen county. Murder.

69. Aug. 6, 1870

John Sanderson. Junction City, Geary county. Horse stealing.

70. Nov. 9, 1870

George Booth; James Smith; Jack Corbin; Lewis Booth. Douglas, Butler county. Horse stealing.

216 THE KANSAS HISTORICAL QUARTERLY

1870

 

71. Dec. 1, 1870

Mike Dray; Dr. Morris; Dr. Morris' son; William Quimby. Douglass, Butler county. Horse stealing.

1871

 

72. 1871

Jake Hanes; Guy Whitmore. Salem, Jewell county. Horse stealing.

1872

 

73. Apr. 11, 1872

McCarty. Sumner county. Murder.

74. Aug. 15, 1872

B. W. Harwood. Labette county. Murder.

1873

 

75. May-June, 1873

Cross. Norton county. Horse stealing.

75a. Aug. 23, 1873

Three negroes. Elgin, Chautauqua county. Horse stealing.

76. Sept. 1873

John Keller. La Cygne, Linn county. Murder.

76a. Nov., 1873

Unknown. Fort Scott, Bourbon county. Horse stealing.

1874

 

77. July 28, 1874

Tom Smith. Wellington, Summer county. Horse stealing.

78. July 29, 1874

Bill Brooks; Chas. (L. B.) Hasbrook; Charlie Smith. Wellington, Summer county. Horse stealing.

79. Aug. 19, 1874

L. L. Oliver. Caldwell, Sumner county. Murder.

1876

 

80. June 5, 1876

Number unknown. Rossville, Shawnee county. Horse stealing.

1877

 

81. Mar. 31, 1877

Charley Manley. Granada, Nemaha county. Horse stealing.

82. Aug. 20, 1877

Bob Scruggs. Oak Mills, Atchison county. Murder.

83. Nov., 1877

Horse thief. On Osage creek, Bourbon county. Horse stealing.

1882

 

84. Jan. 2, 1882

W. E. Graham. Ellsworth, Ellsworth county. Murder.

YOST: LYNCHINGS IN KANSAS 217

1882

 

85. Apr. 13, 1882

Thomas Wooton. Wakeeney, Trego county. Murder.

86. June 14, 1882

Isaac Kind, negro; Pete Vinegar, negro; Geo. Robertson, negro. Lawrence, Douglas county. Murder.

1883

 

87. Feb. 1, 1883

Charles Cobb. Winfield, Cowley county. Murder.

88. Feb. 9, 1883

Henry Smith, negro. Paola, Miami county. Rape.

1884

 

89. Mar. 21, 1884

Samuel Frayer. Marysville, Marshall county. Murder.

90. May 1, 1884

Henry Brown; Billie Smith; John Wesley; Ben Wheeler. Medicine Lodge, Barber county. Robbery.

91. Sept. 14, 1884

Frank Jones. Wellington, Summer county. Murder.

1885

 

92. Mar. 19, 1885

Frank Bonham. Independence, Montgomery county. Murder.

93. Apr. 30, 1885

George Mack. Great Bend, Barton county. Murder.

94. July 6, 1885

John Lawrence, negro. Girard, Crawford county. Rape.

95. Dec. 8, 1885

Frank Noyes. Caldwell, Sumner county. House burning.

1886

 

96. Apr. 23, 1886

Henry Weaver; Oliver Weaver; Philip Weaver. Anthony, Harper county. Murder.

97. May 10, 1886

Francis Lyle. Prescott, Linn county. Murder.

98. Nov. 9, 1886

Samuel Purple. Jetmore, Hodgman county. Murder.

1887

 

99. Jan. 30, 1887

Richard Wood, negro. Leavenworth, Leavenworth county. Rape.

1888

 

99. June 27, 1888

John Rigsby, negro; Wiley Lee, negro. Chetopa, Labette county. Murder.

218 THE KANSAS HISTORICAL QUARTERLY

1888

 

101. June 27, 1888

Wallace Mitchell. Syracuse, Hamilton county. Murder.

102. June 28, 1888

Chubb McCarthy. Minneapolis, Ottawa county. Murder.

1889

 

103. June 4, 1889

Pat Cleary. Lincoln, Lincoln county. Murder.

104. June 4, 1889

Nat Oliphant. Topeka, Shawnee county. Murder.

1892

 

105. Sept. 14, 1892

Hugh Henry, negro. Larned, Pawnee county. Rape.

106. Nov. 29, 1892

Commodore True, negro. Hiawatha, Brown county. Murder.

1893

 

107. Apr. 20, 1893

Dana, Adams, negro. Salina, Saline county. Murder.

108. Aug. 20, 1893

Silas Wilson negro. Millwood, Leavenworth county. Rape.

1894,

 

109. Jan. 14, 1894

J. Green Burton; John Gay; William Gay. Rusell, Russell county. Murder.

110. Apr. 23, 1894

Jeff Tuggle, negro. Cherokee, Crawford county. Murder.

111. May 8, 1894

Lewis McKindley; W. McKindley. Sharon Springs, Wallace county. Murder.

112. May 12, 1894

George Rose. Cottonwood Falls, Chase county. Murder.

1895

 

113. Apr. 3, 1895

Newton Walters. Columbus, Cherokee county. Murder.

1898

 

114. June 13, 1898

John Becker. Great Bend, Barton county. Murder.

1899

 

115. Mar. 28, 1899

Henry Sanderson. Holton, Jackson county. Murder.

116. Apr. 27, 1899

Charles Williams, negro. Galena, Cherokee county. Murder.

117. Nov. 2, 1899

Wells, negro. Columbus, Cherokee county. Murder.

YOST: LYNCHINGS IN KANSAS 219

1900

 

118. Jan. 20, 1900

Ed Meeks; George Meeks. Ft. Scott, Bourbon county. Murder.

1901

 

119. Jan. 15, 1901

Fred Alexander, negro. Leavenworth, Leavenworth county. Rape.

1908

 

120. Dec. 25, 1902

Mont Godley, negro. Pittsburg, Crawford county. Murder.

1916

 

121. Sept. 21, 1916

Bert Dudley. Olathe, Johnson county. Murder.

1920

 

122. Apr. 19, 1920

Albert Evans, negro. Mulberry, Crawford county. Rape.

1932

 

123.* Apr. 19, 1932

Richard Read. Atwood, Rawlins county. Rape.

1. Moore, Ely, Jr., "Story of Lecompton" in Kansas Historical Collections, v. 11, p. 478.
2. Leavenworth Herald, December 6, 1856.
3. Elwood Weekly Advertiser, August 6, 1857.
4. Andreas, History of Kansas (1883), p. 605.
5. Johnson, W. A., History of Anderson County (1877), pp. 114, 116.
6. Burlington Republican, December 14, 1908.
7. Kansas Weekly Herald, Leavenworth, August 6, 1859.
8. Ibid., August 13, 1859.
8a. Topeka State Record, Nov. 5, 1859.
8b. lbid., Nov. 12, 1859.
8c. Ibid., Jan. 7, 1860.
9. A. H. T. [Tanner], letter to parents, February 12, 1860, from Mapleton, K. T. (Manuscript in Kansas State Historical Society vault.)
9a. Topeka State Record, June 9, 1860.
10. Andreas, History of Kansas (1883), p. 1070.
10a. Topeka State Record, July 28, 1860.
11. Kansas State Journal, Lawrence, March 28, 1861.
12. Ibid., July 10, 1862.
13. Leavenworth Conservative, June 12, 1862 ; Junction City Union, June 1, 1862.
14. Manhattan Express, October 4, 1862.
15. Kansas State Journal, Lawrence, December 25, 1862.
16. Atchison Daily Champion, May 23, 1863.
17. Kansas Chief, White Cloud, June 4, 1863.
18. Topeka State Record, August b, 1863.
19. James C. Horton, letter written May 22, 1905, in Kansas City, Mo., to G. W. Martin. (MS. in Kansas State Historical Society.)
20. Johnson, History of Anderson County (1877), p. 120.
21. Andreas, History of Kansas (1883), p. 808.
22. Ibid.
23. Ibid.
24. Junction City Union, May 14, 1864 ; Manhattan Independent, May 23, 1864.
25. Lawrence Tribune, June 17, 1864.
28. Ibid., June 18, 1864.
27. "Illustrated Doniphan County," supplement to Weekly Kansas Chief, Troy, April 8, 1916, p. 233.
28. Andreas, History of Kansas (1883), p. 918; Forter, History of Marshall County (1917), p. 436.
29. Andreas, History of Kansas (1883), p. 945.
30. Ibid., p. 1119.
31. Atchison Daily Free Press, January 8, 1866.
32. Wyandotte Gazette, December 23, 1865.
33. Atchison Free Press, February 3, 1866.
34. Andreas, History of Kansas (1883), p. 1232; Wyandotte Gazette, April 21, 1866.
35. Atchison Free Press, January 22, 1866.
36. Ibid, March 24, 1866.
37. Wyandotte Gazette, March 24, 1866.
38. Atchison Free Press, March 10, 1866.
39. Atchison Weekly Free Press, May 12, 1866.
40. Wyandotte Gazette, April 21, 1868.
41. Andrews, History of Kansas (1883), p. 1119.
42. Atchison Weekly Free Press, May 19, 1868.
43. Leavenworth Conservative, May 2, 1866.
44. Olathe Mirror, May 17, 1886.
45. Ibid., May 31, 1888; Heisler & Smith, Johnson County Atlas (1874), p. 34.
46. Leavenworth Conservative, June 8, 1866.
47. Mitchell, History of Linn County (1928), p. 327.
48. Junction City Union, February 16, 1867.
49. Leavenworth Conservative, February 7, 1867.
50. Wyandotte Gazette, March 30, 1867.
51. Junction City Union, June 1, 1867.
52. Wyandotte Gazette, June 22, 1867.
53. Ibid., June 22, 1887; Olathe Mirror, June 20, 1887.
54. Junction City Union, October 6, 1867.
55. Case, History of Labette County (1901), p. 68.
56. Junction City Union, August 29, 1868.
57. Ibid., December 19, 1868.
58. Andreas, History of Kansas (1883), p. 1292.
59. Leavenworth Times and Conservative, April 30, 1869.
60. Junction City Union, May 8, 1869.
61. Ibid., May 16, 1869.
62. Heisler & Smith, Johnson County Atlas (1874), p, 84.
63. Wyandotte Gazette, June 12, 1869.
64. Wyandotte Gazette, July 3, 1869.
65. Case, History of Labette County (1901), p. 68.
65a. Atchison Champion and Press, January 8, 1870.
66. Andreas, History of Kansas (1883), p. 828.
67. Junction City Union, May 21, 1870.
68. Andreas, History of Kansas (1883), p. 670.
69. Junction City Union, August 13, 1870.
70. Andreas, History of Kansas (1883), p. 1431; Wabaunsee County Herald, Alma, December 8, 1870.
71. Andreas, History of Kansas, p. 1431.
72. Ibid., p. 987.
73. Ibid., p. 1495.
74. Case, History of Labette County (1901), p. 69.
76. Andreas, History of Kansas (1883), p. 1083.
75a. Junction City Union, August 30, 1873.
76. Border Sentinel, Mound City, September 19, 1873.
76a. Kansas Daily Tribune, Lawrence, November 18, 1873.
77. Wellington Press, July 30, 1874.
78. Ibid.
79. Ibid.
, September 3, 1874.
80. Topeka Commonwealth, June 14, 1878.
81. Seneca Mirror, April 8, 1877.
82. Atchison Daily Champion, August 21, 1877.
83. Fort Scott Weekly Monitor, November 8, 1877.
84. Ellsworth Reporter, January b, 1882.
85. Wakeeney World, April 15, 1882.
86. Kansas Weekly Tribune, Lawrence, June 14, 1882.
87. Cowley County Telegram, Winfield, February 8, 1883.
88. Ibid., February 16, 1885.
89. Marshall County News, Marysville, March 28, 1884.
90. Medicine Lodge Cresset, May 1, 1884.
91. Wellington Wellingtonian, September 18, 1884.
92. Independence Star and Kansan, March 20, 1885.
93. Great Bend Register, May 7, 1885.
94. Girard Press, July 9, 1886.
95. Freeman, History of Southern Kansas (1892), p. 381.
96. Harper Sentinel, April 24, 1888.
97. Linn County Clarion, Mound City, May 14, 1888.
98. Jetmore Reveille, November 10, 1888.
99. Leavenworth Times, January 30, 1887.
100. Chetopa Democrat, June 29, 1888.
101. Syracuse Democrat Principle, June 28, 1888.
102. Chetopa Democrat, July 8, 1888.
103. Kansas City Times, June b, 1889.
104. Ibid.
105. Larned Weekly Chronoscope, September 18, 1892.
106. Ruley, History of Brown County, (n. d.), p. 234.
107. Salina Herald, April 21, 1893.
108. Leavenworth Times, August 22, 1893.
109. Russell Record, April 21, 1932.
110. Weir Journal, April 27, 1894.
111. Peoples Voice, Wellington, May 11, 189.
112. Chase County Leader, Cottonwood Falls, May 17, 1891.
113. Topeka Capital, April 1, 1895.
114. Barton County Democrat, Great Bend, June 18, 1898.
115. Holton Recorder. March 30, 1899.
116. Columbus Advocate, April 27, 1891.
117. Ibid., November 2, 1899.
118. Fort Scott Weekly Tribune, January 26, 1899.
119. Topeka Capital, January 25, 1901.
120. Pittsburg Headlight, December 26, 1902.
121. Topeka Journal, September 21, 1918.
122. Mulberry News, April 23, 1920.
123. Topeka Capital, April 18, 1932.
* These figures are footnote numbers and not total lynchings. See page 192 for totals.

1. Russell Record, April 21, 1932.
2. F.C.C.C.A., Law and the Mob (1925), p. 6.
3. General Statutes, Kansas, 1868, ch. 31, sec. 268.
4. Laws, Kansas, 1923, ch. 79, sec. 1.
5. Laws, Kansas,1923, ch. 221, sec.1.
6. Lawrence Tribune, June 18, 1864.
7. Horse thief shot in Wabaunsee county, Dec. 15, 1862.—Kansas State Journal, Lawrence, December 25, 3862.
8. Heisler & Smith, Johnson County Atlas (1874), p. 34.
9. Olathe Mirror, May 31, 1866.
10. Burlington Republican, December 14, 1908.
11. Kansas City Journal, March, 1902 ; "Atchison County Clippings" (compiled by Kansas State Historical Society), v. 4, p. 50.
12. Tabor, "This Day in Kansas History" (volume bound by Kansas State Historical Society), p, 132 ; Leavenworth Times, February 12 1928 in "Crimes and Criminals" Clippings (Kansas State Historical Society), v, 2, pp. 295, 296.
13. Andreas, History of Kansas (1883), p. 1070.
14. Tabor, "This Day in Kansas History," p. 132.
15. Alpheus Hiram Tanner was born in Ruggles, Ohio, July 28, 1836. He came to Kansas in 1857, living first in Pleasanton. In 1918 he lived on a farm in Bourbon county on the Osage river, near Mapleton.
16. Letter from C. E. Cory, June 31, 1932. Extract from Expeditions of Zebulon M. Pike (1895), v. 2, p. 396: "In about five miles we struck a beautiful hill, which bears south on the prairie; its elevation I suppose to be 100 feet. From its summit the mew is sublime to the east and southeast. We waited on this hill to breakfast and had to send two miles for water. Killed a deer on the rise, which was soon roasting before the fire . . " A footnote to this edition says. "Camp is in Bourbon county, somewhere in the vicinity of Xenia, Zenia, or Hay, a small place near a branch of the Little Osage."
17. James Clark Horton was born at Ballston Spa, New York, May 15, 1837; came to Kansas and settled at Lawrence in March, 1857. He served in the house of representatives in 1874 and in the senate in 1875 and 1870. In 1878 he moved to Kansas City, where he died May 14, 1907.
18. James C. Horton Kansas City, , to Hon. George w. Martin, Kansas State Historical Society, May 22, 1905. Letter, in MSS. of Kansas State Historical Society.
19. Mob Murder in America (1923), pamphlet, p. 5.
20. White, Rope and Faggot (1919), p. 230.
21. Lawrence Western Home Journal, May 25, 1882.
22. Review of Reviews, v. 23 (March, 1901), p. 263.
23. "R. H." letter headed Wigan, England, July 22, 1867, published in Junction City Union, August 17, 1867. R. H. is probably Richard J. Hinton, a free-state pioneer of Kansas and friend of John Brown. According to a biography by W. E. Connelley, in Kansas Historical Collections, v. 7, p. 491, "some years after the close of the war he went on extensive travels in Europe, Asia, and Africa . . . commissioner of emigration in Europe, 1867."
24. Earle, Stage Coach and Tavern Days (1900), p. 214.
25. Clipping, marked only "Kansas City, Oct. 1910 " in "Summer County Clippings" (compiled by Kansas State Historical Society), v. 1, p. 287.
26. Webb, Great Plains (1931), pp, 498-500.
27. Heisler & Smith, Johnson County Atlas (1874), p. 20.
28. Junction City Union, August 15, 1868.
29. Kansas State Journal, Lawrence, July 30, 1863.
30. General Statutes, Kansas, 1855, ch. 49, sec. 81.
31. Laws, Kansas, 1859, ch. 28, sec. 73.
32. Laws, Kansas, 1870, ch. 62, sec. 1.
33. Laws, Kansas, 1920, ch. 38, sec. 2.
34. Webb, Great American Plains (1931), p. 66.
35. Elwood and Marysville railroad.
36. Webb, Great American Plains (1931), p. 68.
37. Joe and Sam Tippe, cattle robbery of Ralph Warner and murder of John L. Shannon, on April 29, 1888.
38. Kansas State Journal, Lawrence, April 23, 1883.
39. Webb, Great American Plains (1931), p. 498.
40. Breeder's Gazette, Chicago, December 22, 1881, p. 82.
41. V. P. Mooney, History of Butler County (1918), p. 258.
42. Information supplied by W. W. Bowman, president, Kansas State Bankers Association, and Neill Rahn, formerly chief of the protective division and head of the state vigilance organization.
43. Andreas, History of Kansas (1883), p. 1232.
44. Atchison Daily Globe, July 11, 1929.
45. Junction City Union, August 29, 1863.
46. Freeman, Incidental History of Southern Kansas and the Indian Territory (1892), p. 384.
47. Wyandotte Gazette, December 23, 1865.
48. Frank M. Gable, Leavenworth Times, February 9, 1919.
49. Ibid.
50. Kansas State Journal, Lawrence, May 15, 1862.
51. Elwood Advertiser, August 5, 1857.
52. Wyandotte Gazette, December 23, 1865.
53. Seneca Mirror, April 8, 1877.
54. Lawrence Western Hone Journal, June 15, 1882.
55. Wellington, Wellingtonian, September 18, 1884.
56. Olathe Mirror, September 28, 1910.
57. Mulberry News, April 23, 1920.
58. Atwood Citizen-Patriot, April 29, 1932.
59. Ellsworth Reporter, January 5, 1882.
60. Topeka Capital, April 4, 1895.
61. Atchison Free Press, March 24, 1866.
62. Atchison Daily Globe, August 21, 1917.
63. Andreas, History of Kansas (1883), p, 826.
64. Seneca Courier, May 17, 1878.
65. Atchison Patriot, quoted in Seneca Courier, March 16, 1878.
68. Seneca Courier, March 29, 1878.
67. Ibid., May 17, 1878.
68. Wyandotte Commercial Gazette, April 21, 1866.
69. Junction City Union, September 19, 1868.
70. Ibid., October 3, 1868.
71. Ibid., November 7, 1868.
72. Ibid., January 9, 1869.
73. Revised Statutes, Kansas, 1923, ch. 21, art. 10, sees. 1003-1007.
74. Olathe Mirror, September 28, 1916.
75. Atwood Citizen-Patriot, April 21, 1932.
76. M. N. Work, Law vs. The Mob, 1925, pp. 4, 5.
77. Junction City Union, October 5, 1867.
78. Ibid., August 29, 1868.
79. Wellington Press, July 30, 1874.
80. Olathe Mirror, September 28, 1916.
81. F. L. Allen, Only Yesterday (1931), pp. 189, 190.
82. White, Rope and Faggot (1929), p. 289.
83. Ibid., p. 255.