Tuesday, November 25, 2014

November 25, 1889: Hans Jacob Olsen

Today we learn of an unusual lynching from the pages of The Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia) dated November 28, 1889:




He Had a Quarrelsome Disposition, But Committed No Crime—Arrests to Be Made of the Perpetrators.

MILWAUKEE, November 27.—The bloodstained records of Judge Lynch's court do not show a more dastardly crime than was committed Sunday night, at Preston, in Trempleau county, in this state. Hans Jacob Olson [sic], aged fifty, was torn from his house and lynched by a party of masked men. Olsen was partially insane and somewhat quarrelsome, and had been ordered by his neighbors to leave the country. He neglected to do so, and was strung up. Olsen was seized in bed, pulled out and his hands tied behind him, despite his desperate efforts and the screams of the family. Without even allowing him time to put on his clothes, the men led him out of the house. Once outside Olsen learned what was to be done with him. He caught sight of a new rope hanging over a limb of a large tree which stands not more than twenty feet from the little cabin which was his home. He struggled to free his hands


until they bled freely, but finding himself unable to get loose, submitted, in sullen silence.

The rope was put around his neck and willing hands drew him up to strangle. His legs were not tied and his kicking and struggling was fearful. The mob remained sometime, however, lest he might be cut down before he was dead. Then after shouting threats of lynching any one who should dare cut down the body, they dispersed. The body was discovered in the morning, but was not cut down until the coroner arrived. The coroner's inquest was held yesterday at Preston and the following verdict was returned:

Deceased came to his death by strangulation, caused by being hanged by the neck by masked persons unknown.


No evidence as to the identity of the lynchers was offered. It is Preston's common gossip that the lynchers were led by one of the most prominent farmers in Preston. Further facts will be brought out by evidence following arrests about to be made by the state. The district attorney has the case in charge and wholesale arrests are expected.

This next excerpt comes from an article in The North Carolinian (Elizabeth City, N. C.) dated December 11, 1889:


. . . Olsen had served five years in State Prison for loading wood with powder with intent to blow up the stove of a family at Blair. Arriving home from Waupun, he was shortly afterward sentenced to the County Jail for six months for threatening the lives of his family. He had just returned home from the County Jail when he was hanged.

I didn't add the first part of the article because the information was the same as the first article. Thank you for joining me and as always, I hope I leave you with something to ponder.

1 comment:

  1. Hans Jakob Olson was abusive to his wife, tied up the testicles of neighbors horses, put explosives in wood that was used to bun in the family stove of his "landlord", remained in the area while the rest of the m men went lumbering in the Winter, burned down a neighbors barn, was told to leave the area on a stipulation to be removed from the local jail but had lied. His wife and son were involved, but his wife's brothers and distant cousins as well. He was an abusive, violent husband and when the laws of the time did not prevent him from coming back and beating his wife, the rural community did what most families want to do in those situations. By the way, the 3 sentenced were pardoned only a few years later.

    This is an example of what most families wish they could in similar situation. Maybe not the lynching in this day and age but certainly something similar. I applaud the strength of his wife.