Posts Tagged ‘Lynching’

Texas Lynching – Abuse of 14 year-old Wife

December 28, 2010

Image by K-Weston on Flickr


James Howard Taken From Jail and Hanged at Midnight.

TEXARKANA, Tex., Dec. 18. — James Howard, aged 35 years, was taken from jail here at midnight of the 15th, by a masked mob, by whom he was carried a short distance below town and hanged to a railroad trestle. Howard was arrested Wednesday on a warrant sworn out by his mother-in-law, Mrs. Winchew, charging him with maltreating his wife, who si scarcely 14 years old. Howard and his wife were married last July. Mrs. Howard tells the story of the atrocious brutality on the part of her husband. She says he frequently tied her feet together, while she was in a state of nudity, and hanging her up by the feet, beat her unmercifully and threatened to kill her if she told any one of his cruelties.

On the first day of November Howard took a common branding iron, used to brand live stock and heating it red hot branded a large letter “H” on his wife’s person in two places while she was tied to the bed. After suffering several weeks from the effects of these burns, Mrs. Howard  told her mother what had happened with the result that Howard was arrested.

Deputy Sheriff Hargett anticipated that a mob would attack the jail at night, and had employed extra guards, but the mob gained entrance while the guards were eating their midnight meal.

Milford Mail (Milford, Iowa) Dec 23, 1886

Mrs. Holton Meets an Awful Fate

July 12, 2010

Main St. and Courthouse - Springview, Keyapaha Co., Nebraska

Image from Bad Men and Bad Towns – By Wayne C. Lee


Mrs. Holton Meets an Awful Fate In Keya Paha County.


Her Body Discovered in Her Cabin With a Rope Tied About the Neck — Evidences of a Terrible Struggle — She Was Suspected of Giving Up Secrets of Thieves to the Authorities.

BUTTE, Neb., March 19. — Mrs. W.E. Holton of Keya Paha county was found dead in her home last night by neighbors. She had been lynched. Her body was lying on the floor with a piece of rope, about 10 feet long, and a hatchet and a hammer beside her. The coroner was summoned and an autopsy showed that she had died of strangulation, and had also been assaulted. The woman was living alone, as her husband had been sent to an insane asylum. It is supposed the motive of the lynching was to prevent the woman from giving testimony against the rustlers, as she had been summoned as a witness against a gang of thieves in the county. She had borne a good reputation. It was evident that she had fought a hard fight for her life and her honor, as the bedding and clothing were torn and scattered around the room.

No warrants have yet been made, but a meeting of the best citizens of the neighborhood was held yesterday, and it was decided prompt measures should be taken, and it is expected that another and possibly several hangings will take place before long.

Several Under Suspicion.

Several persons are under suspicion, and these parties will be taken and compelled to confess.

The body of Mrs. Holton was interred at Oakdale cemetery at Doty, this county, yesterday.

The latest report comes that a man named Hunt is implicated in some way with the lynchers, and it is thought he can be forced to a confession. A number of the alleged rustlers were recently arrested and taken to Springview, where they broke jail and escaped to the reservation, where they were afterward recaptured and convicted.

The country where the lynching occurred is in the heart of the cattle rustling district.

Money Found on the Body.

The coroner’s jury after viewing the body delivered a verdict in accordance with the circumstances, that the deceased came to her death by hanging, and that the deed was committed by a person or persons unknown to the jury. A large sum of money was found on the body which had escaped the observation of the lynching party. The house was thoroughly ransacked and several articles of value, including a new Colt’s revolver, were missing.

The Evening News (Lincoln, Nebraska) Mar 19, 1895


Wreaked Upon a Woman Who Knew Too Much


Taken from Her Bed, Cruelly Outraged and Lynched by Cattle Thieves who Feared Her Testimony Before the Vigilants.

BUTTE, Neb., March 19 — News of a terrible tragedy has just reached this place. It occurred last Thursday in Keya Paha county, near Rocksburg. Mrs. W.H. Holton, who was living alone on her farm, was taken from her bed, cruelly outraged and then lynched. A neighbor discovered the deed the next morning when he passed by the home. The woman was found lying on the floor of her dwelling, surrounded by her scattered and torn clothing and the clothing of her bed. Tracks of many men’s feet were found in the yard and in the house.

No warrants have yet been issued, but a meeting of the citizens of the neighborhood was held Sunday, and it was decided that prompt measures should be taken.

The body of Mrs. Holton was interred at Oakdale cemetery at Doty Sunday.

Keya Paha county is noted for its lynchings by vigilants. There is no doubt but that the crime was committed by rustlers, who have been running off horses and cattle from the neighborhood, and who have reason to fear the vigilant committee.

The latest report says that a man named Hunt is implicated in some way with the lynchers, and it is thought he can be forced to confess.

A number of alleged rustlers were recently arrested and taken to Springview, where they broke jail and escaped to the reservation, where they were afterward recaptured and convicted. The proximity of the Indian reservation to the scene of the depredation makes it possible that United States deputy marshals may have to make arrests if warrants are sworn out.

Mrs. Holton is said to have assisted in securing the conviction of the cattle thieves, and this is their revenge.

Daily Republican (Decatur, Illinois) Mar 19, 1895


Possible Clue Being Followed by the Sheriff.

BUTTE, Neb., March 19. — The authorities think they have struck a clue that may lead to the apprehension of the lynchers of Mrs. Holton. Mrs. Holton was a German woman about 50 years old and fairly well to do. Her husband, Theodore Holton, was sent to the hospital for the insane at Norfolk about eighteen months ago. Since that time the wife had lived alone on the ranch, the couple having no children. She looked after the bunch of cattle they owned and managed to prosper much as when her husband lived with her. They had been in this section of the country a number of years and well-known to the cattle men of all descriptions. It is just this acquaintance that undoubtedly brought about the crime. She was the principal witness against a young fellow named Davis, charged with stealing horses. It is believed that he knows of the crime. His whereabouts are now unknown. This led the sheriff in following and he expects results in the near future.

The county in which this crime was committed is far removed from the railroad and telegraph, and there are no towns near from which information could be readily secured. It is thinly settled and of such a character that it is not improbable that this will be only one more added to the list of violent deaths that have occurred in that portion of the state which will never be explained or brought home to any one, though the authorities believe they can locate the criminals.

The Fort Wayne Gazette (Fort Wayne, Indiana) Mar 20, 1895

Lynch Law Revived

January 12, 2010

Humor and Inference for a serious incident:


The Southern Tribune, published at Point Coupe, Louisiana, says:

“A preacher whose name, we believe was Twing, attempted to commit a rape on a little girl about 6 years old, somewhere on the Atchafalaya, about two weeks since. He was caught, tarred and feathered, rode on a rail, and then put in a canoe and turned adrift in the Bayou, without oars or paddles of any kind. We have been informed that a jug of water and a loaf of bread was put in with him, so that if people were afraid to venture near the ‘strange bird’ to assist him, he would be safe from starvation.”

Sandusky Clarion (Sandusky, Ohio) Apr 26, 1845

Lynched for a Case of Mistaken Identity?

February 18, 2009
Slaughtered Hogs

Slaughtered Hogs

On the 14th instant a man named Casteel, living near Des Arc, Arkansas, was taken from his home and hung. He was charged with being unable to distinguish his own hogs from his neighbors.

Galveston Daily News (Galveston, Texas) Nov 2, 1868

Oscar F. Beckwith: Tried Six Times, Finally Swings

February 16, 2009


The story of Oscar Beckwith, the murdering cannibal, is mentioned in the above book.

Arrested for an Old Homicide.

HUDSON, N.Y., February, 24. A special from Gravenhurst, Province of Toronto, to the Daily Register says: Oscar F. Beckwith, charged with the murder of Simon A. Vandercook, at Austerlitz, Columbia county, January 10, 1882, was arrested on the Parry Sound district, east of Georgian Bay, Province of Toronto, Upper Canada, on Sunday by Ex-Sheriff Henry M. Hanan, of this city. The prisoner was in the wilderness 100 miles from civilization. He was conveyed to Toronto and lodged in prison awaiting extradition. Beckwith burned the body of his victim, some portion of which he pickled for food and escaped.

Trenton Times, The (Trenton, New Jersey) Feb 24, 1885


A Long Chase After a Murderer.

BRACKBRIDGE, Ont. Feb. 24. — On Jan. 10, 1882, in Austerlitz, Columbia county, N.Y., Oscar F. Beckwith, alias Charles White, murdered his companion and partner, cutting the body of the victim into pieces, burning the head and limbs in a box stove, and salting down the trunk. The remains were afterward found in the shanty which had been occupied by the deceased and the prisoner. Detective J.P. Gildersleeve, of Kinderhook, Columbia county, N.Y., went to work on the case and followed the criminal to the Pacific ocean, and thence through Canada along the Canadian Pacific railway. He put himself in communication with Detective Rodgers, of Barrie, and D.F. McDonald, a government woodranger, and these, with the assistance of Chief Constable Perkins, of Gravenhurst, accompanied by Detective Gildersleeve and Sherif Hamor, of Columbia county, N.Y., succeeded in arresting the murderer Beckwith at South River, in the district of Parry Sound. The party passed through here with the murderer, en route to Toronto.

Chester Times (Chester, Pennsylvania) Feb 24, 1885



Finally Strung Up on the Gallows — The Victim Nearly Eighty Years of Age — A History of His Crime — and Numerous Trials — A Hunt for Gold Leads to the Crime.

HUDSON, N.Y., March 1 — Oscar F. Beckwith, was hanged at the court house in this city at nine minutes past ten o’clock this morning for the murder of Simon Vandercook of Austerlitz, January 10, 1882.

This case became celebrated from the fact that the murderer was six time sentenced to death but succeeded in escaping the penalty until to day. Beckwith, who is seventy-eight years old, is repulsive in appearance. His conduct during his two trials and three years of confinement has been brutal, and he evidently delights in showing that he is a fiend in human form.

The crime was committed January 10, 1882. Beckwith lived alone in a hut in the town of Austerlitz, Columbia county. It was perched on the side of a mountain, where he believed there was a gold mine. For weeks and months he searched for the precious metal, but eventually a company purchased the land in the vicinity including the lot on which was located Beckwith’s little home. Vandercook, a robust, hearty man, about twenty-five years younger than Beckwith, was selected as manager of the property. From that time Beckwith entertained a hatred of Vandercook, and finally killed him and partly burned the body in a stove. On January 12 suspicions became aroused and a party of searchers headed by an officer went to Beckwith’s cabin and broke in the door. The dead body of Vandercook lay upon the floor. One ear, a foot and some other parts of the body had been cut off. The parts remaining were horribly mutilated, and a terrible stench pervaded the apartment. Two axes, on which were flesh, blood and gray hair, were found in one corner of the cabin. Three years passed without any tidings of the murderer. Detectives kept up the search, and in February of 1883 he was found chopping wood in a wild section of Ontario, Canada. He had been living there for some time under the name of White.

In the course of time he was extradited and brought to Hudson. He was found guilty of murder in the first degree and sentenced to be hanged January 8, 1886. The case was taken to the general term, which confirmed the judgement of the lower court, and he was sentenced to be hanged, the day for execution being July 20. An appeal was taken to the court of appeals, which likewise affirmed the conviction and the date of Beckwith’s execution was fixed for the third time. The prisoner’s counsel, Levi F. Longley, then moved for a new trial on the ground of newly discovered evidence, and Judge Ingalls granted the same on the affidavits presented. Appeals were taken to both the general term and court of appeals by the prosecuting attorney, who opposed Judge Ingall’s order granting a new trial.

The second trial was begun on February 2, 1887, but in the meantime the prisoner’s counsel asked for the appointment of a commission in lunacy to examine into Beckwith’s sanity.

The commisssion, after hearing the testimony of several physicians and experts, pronounced him sane, and a second jury, after a week’s trial, found him guilty of the crime with which he was charged. The fourth day set for his execution was March 24, 1887. The case then went to the general term for a second time, with no better results than before, and he was sentenced for the fifth time to be hanged, the day set for the execution being October 14. The court of appeals was again resorted to, but soon all hope was lost, and the old man, almost tottering by the grave, was sentenced to be hanged Thursday, March 1.

The Daily Northwestern (Oshkosh, Wisconsin) Mar 1, 1888


The execution of Oscar F. Beckwith, aged seventy-eight years, who murdered Simon Vandercook in 1882, and who had been six times sentenced to death, took place in Hudson, N.Y. on the 1st.

Stevens Point Journal, The (Stevens Point, Wisconsin) Mar 10, 1888

From the Lost Gold (Treasure Finder) website:

4) Somewhere in the Columbia County town of Austerlitz, high on one of the snow capped cones of the Tatonics lies an abandoned gold mine. (It was not very profitable as the yellow streaked quartz yielded very little gold.) Oscar Beckwith was born in this area in 1810, and after many years of traveling the west, returned home at age 67. After finding traces of gold on his property, he sought financial backing from a certain Simon Vandercook, taking him on as a partner. The partnership did not work well and in 1882, Beckwith did away with his partner. The grisly remains were found hacked up and disemboweled in his cabin. The skull had been charred inside a wood stove, the liver cooked in a frying pan and other parts apparently prepared for pickling in a brine barrel.

Beckwith was able to escape justice for six years, but was eventually found and brought to justice. Beckwith eventually confessed his crime and described in detail how he had bludgeoned, stabbed and partially consumed his victim to get rid of the evidence. The crime was so gruesome that Beckwith was sentenced to death by hanging.

While awaiting the sentence to be carried out, he told some of his visitors about the discovery of a new gold vein, much richer than the first, which he discovered just before he eliminated his partner. No coaxing would get him to reveal the location of the new site, for he hoped the governor of New York would commute his sentence. He was hanged on a cold March morning in 1888, in the courtyard of the jail at Hudson. Shortly thereafter, the infamous blizzard of ·8 swept across the Taconics, obliterating Beckwith? old cabin and any signs of his gold mine.

Was there a second gold mine? Greed was probably the incentive for Beckwith? murdering his partner Vandercook, thus it lends credence that a new gold vein had almost certainly been found.