Sunday, June 14, 2015

August 20, 1893: Silas Wilson

Today we learn about a lynching in Kansas, which reads like Sherlock Holmes or forensic report in parts, through the pages of The Leavenworth Weekly Times (Leavenworth, Kansas) dated August 24, 1893:

SWUNG TO DEATH.

Silas Wilson Lynched Within a Short Distance of Milwood.

Siles [sic] Wilson, the noted penitentiary bird is dead and at the end of a rope. He once run [sic] away with a white man's white wife, narrowly escaped lynching at Tonganoxie, was in jail here a year for shooting at a man, served a term in Jefferson City, Mo., and six years at Lansing.

It was stated Monday evening that he had an acquaintance with a 16 year-old girl at Round Prairie which though not criminal was disgusting to the young men of the neighborhood and they had threatened to run him out of the community. Sunday forenoon Wilson was at the Eight Mile house, and got into a difficulty with Henry Ehart of Round Prairie and Ehart hit him with a chair, but the full force of the blow was warded off  by Mr. John Hand, whose farm joins Ehart's.

The next seen of him he was found hanging to a tree. Dr. A. G. Chase, of Millwood, was in the city last evening on his way to Cincinnati and during a conversation related the following:

"At a late hour Sunday night some young men returning home from Millwood, discovered a body hanging to a honey locust tree near the roadside. It was very dark but by the aid of matches they found it to be the body of a colored man. Soon after, as I was returning from a professional visit, I met these young men, having passed the body without discovering it; and being informed of the matter, went back and examined the body. It was that of a young man about thirty; of mulatto color, about six feet high and square built. He was hung with a long halter or lariat rope, 25 or 30 feet long, his arms tied behind him and one sleeve of his coat partly off. It was too dark to determine the clothing. I am of the opinion that it was done about dark. A spring wagon with five or six men in it was seen going towards Leavenworth about 10 o'clock and it is possible that this party could give an account of the dead. They were strangers here. The body hung on the high bank overlooking what is called Witt's crossing, about 300 yards south of the bridge across Stranger.

["]The man has been at work for Mr. John Hand near Round Prairie and had some mail matter for Hand in his possession. It can be seen that the body had been dragged for a hundred yards or more, probably with the rope around his neck.

"A marked deformity of the man is a club foot. He has been working with one of the Eharts within the past few months.

["]The party that I met last night in the spring wagon, two of them wearing light colored sombreros' were seen after dark at the west end of Stranger bridge on foot, near where [a] straw hat was found and where the marks in the road shows there was a struggle, and from there up to a point where he was hung, it shows that a body had been dragged. The man has a severe contused wound on the forehead as if he had been knocked down with a club."

Coroner Hamilton visited Millwood yesterday and held an inquest over the body. The jury returned a verdict of death by hanging, by persons unknown to the jury.

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

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