Saturday, February 13, 2016

July 17, 1894: Louis Laferdette

Today we learn about a lynching in Kentucky through the pages of The Cincinnati Enquirer (Cincinnati, Ohio) dated July 17, 1894:


Lynched Early This Morning Near Burlington. 

Louis Laferdette, who murdered William Whitlock, a farmer, near Burlington, Ky., was lynched this morning near the scene of the crime by a masked mob of 25 men, who entered the residence of Jailer Chrisler at Burlington. At the point of a revolver they forced Chrisler to give up the keys to the jail. The prisoner was then taken from the jail, masked and driven near the farm of the murdered man, where he was strung up.

Found in the August 13th edition of the same paper is an article about the boy who shared a jail cell with Laferdette. I am only posting the sections of the article concerning Laferdette since the article is long and the boy was not lynched. 


By a Dead Criminal.

A Boy Forger Makes an Astounding Confession,

Declaring That His Father Led Him to Crime.

The Accused Parent Immediately Flees the Country,

Taking With Him His Brother's Guilty Wife.

Astonishing Sequel To the Lynching of Louis Laferdette at Burlington.

The confession of the youth . . .

The youthful prisoner is Robert Green . . .

Since that time he has languished in the rickety little jail, his only companion during that time being the unfortunate Italian, Louis Laferdette, who was lynched by a band of masked men three weeks ago. In the short time that they were together a firm friendship was formed between the hardened criminal and, as the evidence now shows, the innocent lad.When Laferdette was dragged from his cell that awful night his last voluntary act was to kiss the boy upon the cheek and bid him good-by, asserting to his executioners that little Bobbie was his only friend in the wide, wide world. As the last handclasp was given he told the little prisoner that in his pocketbook was a diamond that should be his in the event that the lynchers carried out their murderous purpose. The parting was a pathetic one, the little fellow returning to his bunk to weep over the fate of his companion in bondage.


During their talks before the lynching, Laferdette, who, after all, seems to have had good traits, told the boy that if he was guilty to confess his misdoing and accept the punishment that would be dealt out to him.

"Tell the truth, Bobbie, "he said. "You will feel all the better for it after it is over."

The words of the man now buried in the potter's field at Burlington sunk deep into the mind of the boyish prisoner and for weeks he brooded over the advice given him. It was a wrestle with the spirit, for although innocent, the lad, whether the impulse was fear or filial piety, felt obligated to keep a great secret concerning the crime for which he was imprisoned. Struggle as he might, the words of Laferdette rang in his ears by day and by night until a last the good angel triumphed and the lad broke down.

Sending for the Prosecuting Attorney . . .


Then followed an occurrence . . .

As may be expected . . .

Mrs. Green is a . . .

In the meantime . . .


It seems strange that the innocent should be protected and the guilty exposed through the instrumentality of a would-be murderer and hardened law-breaker such as Laferdette was. It will be remembered that this person was arrested for the attempted slaughter of an old farmer living opposite Coal City on the Kentucky side, who had been his benefactor. After being captured after a desperate fight and incarcerated in the jail at Burlington, he took frightful oaths to kill the persons who were instrumental in having him arrested. Knowing the desperate character of the man, and indignant over his cruel treatment of his benefactor, the farmers of the vicinity formed a lynching party, and, taking Laferdette from jail, hanged him. His black record bears at least one mark of good merit, for it was his advice that caused the exposure of one who was as great if not a greater criminal than he was.

There is talk . . . 

I left the beginning of each paragraph to give an idea as to the length of the article. Thank you for joining me and as always, I hope I leave you with something to ponder.

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