Sunday, September 27, 2015

July 21, 1897: Ephraim Brinkley

Today we learn about a Kentucky lynching through the pages of The Courier-Journal (Louisville, Kentucky) dated July 23, 1897:


Ephraim Brinkley Hanged To a Tree Near Nebo.


Victim Had Been Accused of Assassinating Cyprian Troulias. [sic]


Madisonville, Ky., July 22.—(Special.)—Ephraim Brinkley, who lived about four miles south of Nebo, was hanged by a mob last night.

The hanging was no surprise to a great many of the people who were acquainted with the circumstances leading up to the tragedy. About three weeks since Cyprian Trouillas, a near neighbor of Brinkley's, was shot and killed one evening while eating his supper. While it was not positively known who did the killing, suspicion pointed very strongly to Brinkley as the murderer. Since that time circumstances have occurred that strengthened the conviction that Brinkley was the guilty man. There have been mutterings among the people of the neighborhood that the crime was likely to go unpunished. For several days it had been known that threats were being made that the guilty man should be dealt with. These threats were put into execution last night.

Brinkley, it is alleged, was a man of bad character. He had been accused of stealing hogs and cattle from his neighbors, but from some cause he was always able to escape the penalty of the law. Since the night of the murder every one who knew anything of the surroundings was satisfied in his mind that Brinkley was the guilty man. As a result of this feeling the people of that community think it is a good riddance.

The hanging took place on a tree in front of the house of the man who, it is alleged, Brinkley killed. The body was left hanging to the tree until about midday, when Esquire Heschel Porter, the nearest magistrate, was called upon to hold an inquest. The inquest disclosed no evidence as to who were the parties composing the mob. There has never been a hanging by a mob in this part of the State where there was so much general approval as in this case. The people of that part of the county had been terrorized by Brinkley until forbearance had ceased to be a virtue. Brinkley was about thirty years of age and was married.

It is common talk that Brinkley and Trouillas' wife were on terms of criminal intimacy, and there is very strong feeling against the woman. On the night of the killing of Trouillas his wife went to Brinkley's and reported that her husband had been shot. Brinkley was in ? when she got there and said that he ? too tired and sleepy to go to see about the matter. The wife of the murdered man then went to bed and they all slept until the next morning. Then they went to the home where the murder had been committed and raised the alarm. Brinkley was one of the chief managers of the funeral. He went to Nebo and secured the burial clothes and also drove the hearse to the cemetery. His actions at every move aroused the suspicions of his neighbors. It is rumored that before hanging Brinkley the mob strung up Trouillas' wife and she confessed that Brinkley did the shooting. The woman was released. 

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

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