Friday, November 7, 2014

November 7, 1888: Archibald Pelon

Today we find our lynching in the Alton Evening Telegraph (Alton, Illinois) on November 9, 1888:


A Brutal Michigan Man Strung Up by Enraged Citizens.


He Makes a Brutal Assault on an Aged Woman, and While Parties are Looking for Him He Assaults the Wife of One of the Searchers

GRAYLING, Mich., Nov. 9.—Archibald Pelon was lynched shortly after midnight Wednesday morning. Last Monday he brutally assaulted an aged widow, who lived alone on the outskirts of the village, and made his escape. In the afternoon, while the woods were filled with angry men searching for him, he entered a house in the other end of the town and repeated his crime, the victim this time being a young married woman, whose husband was absent in pursuit of Pelon at the time. The country was thoroughly aroused and Pelon was captured in the evening, fortunately for him, the sheriff being at the head of the arresting party. He was brought to the village and placed in jail, but Sheriff McCullough feared that an attempt would be made to lynch the prisoner, and he was accordingly removed from the jail, which is an old and rickety structure, ill-fitted to withstand a siege, and secreted in a house in the village. His whereabouts were quickly discovered by the would-be lynchers, however, and shortly after midnight thirty masked men appeared in front of the house and ordered the prisoner to be brought out. The sheriff endeavored to protect Pelon, but he was speedily overpowered, and the trembling wretch was dragged out, and placed in a spring wagon, screaming and begging for his life. The lynchers, without any delay, drove to the edge of the village, where a rope was attached to the limb of a tree, and an end being secured around Pelon's throat, the wagon was driven from under, leaving him squirming and struggling midair. The fall was not sufficiently sharp to break his neck, and he slowly strangled to death. The body was allowed to hang until after 3 o'clock, when the sheriff cut it down. The lynching has caused a great sensation, being the first affair of the kind ever known in the vicinity. The men who did the work are mostly known, but it is hardly probable that any legal measures will be taken against them, as public sentiment was unanimous against Pelon, who has all along borne an evil reputation, and has been engaged in several criminal transactions before.

Thank you for joining me and as always, I hope I leave you with something to ponder. 

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