Monday, December 21, 2015

January 18, 1902: John Yellow Wolf

Today we learn about a lynching in South Dakota through the pages of The Springfield Republican (Springfield, Missouri) dated January 19, 1902:

Lynched An Indian

John Yellow Wolf Paid Death Penalty for Horse Stealing.

DEADWOOD, S. D., Jan. 18.—John Yellow Wolf, a Sioux Indian, who was released from Deadwood jail two weeks ago, was lynched for horse-stealing while on his way to his home on Rosebud reservation. When Yellow Wolf started for the agency he was given a worthless old horse and saddle. Below Rapid City he turned the old horse loose and caught a young horse out of a pasture on which to complete the journey.

He was overtaken by a number of men and was later found dangling to a cottonwood tree near White river. Yellow Wolf had served several terms in Deadwood jail for various offenses.

It is hard to know the truth with this lynching. It is said he was found dangling from a cottonwood tree, but in early February O. P. Jordon, an Indian trader at the reservation, claimed that Yellow Wolf was alive. If Yellow Wolf was alive, who was dangling from the tree, if anyone? There are several accounts of lynchings where the reports are conflicting or the person reappears later. Without more information it is hard to know if a lynching occurred and the victim was misidentified or if there had never been a lynching in the first place. 

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

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