Tuesday, April 25, 2017

March 30, 1877: Charley Manley

Hey everyone, K here. Sorry there hasn't been an article recently. I was in the middle of moving, but having done that articles should continue fairly regularly.

Our first article comes from the Atchinson Daily Champion (Atchinson, Kansas) dated April 8, 1877:

Charley Manley, a Well-Known Character in Northern Kansas, Hung by a Body of Masked Men.

The Seneca Courier, published near the scene of the Manley tragedy, thus gives the particulars:

    The news reached Seneca last Monday morning, that on Saturday night last Charley Manley, a notorious character, who has carried a hard name for years, was lynched and hung at Grenada. Although the stories were at first very conflicting, in the afternoon parties came to Seneca who were present at the affair, and we learn the full paticulars [sic], as follows:

    John O'Brien's horses were stolen some time ago, and last Saturday Manley, and Joe Brown, of Granada township, were arrested upon an affidavit of O'Brien charging them as accessory thieves. Manly was arrested at Netawaka by Constable Sewell of Wetmore, assisted by George Gill, and Brown was arrested by I. Hudson, of Granada.

    The prisoners were arraigned before 'Squire Crist, at Hudson's Hotel in Granada, for trial, and the case was called about half-past 8 Saturday night. As the case was opening, Manley was in the court room and Brown in an adjoining dining room; but before any proceedings were had, an armed force, fully masked, entered the court room and seized Manley. Resistance to the lynching was made by Constable Sewell and 'Squire Crist, but the lynching party set about firing pistols, and thus secured their victim. During the firing Brown escaped through a window, and has not since been neard [sic] from. No one was harmed during the firing, and as the bullet-holes were afterward found in the ceiling, it is supposed the shooting was done to create a furore [sic] and better accomplish the plot.

    The lynching party went west from Granada, and next morning Manley's body was found on W. W. Letson's farm, on the north side of Muddy creek, hanging by the neck to a tree in the timber. 

A coroner's inquest was held over Manley's body on Sunday. There were some $70 in cash and several worthless scraps of paper found upon him, and a membership certificate to some mysterious order. The jury rendered a verdict that Manley "came to his death by hanging by the neck with a rope by a party of masked men, names unknown—the act was felonious."

    The lynching party performed their work of arrest in a quiet but deliberate manner. There was no excitement outside of the shooting, and no symptoms of drunkenness, or profane language. Mr. Crist was knocked down to his knees when attempting to rescue Manley, and Constable Sewell was "intimidated" from arresting the lynching party by a shot-gun cocked and pointed at his face. All the officers did their duty and were evidently as surprised as was Manley at the proceedings. It seemed a matter of the gravest duty, and those engaged in the affair likely feel that they have rid the country of a man who defied the law, and had often boasted on his fearlessness of arrest and punishment. They formed a rear-guard after the capture, that prevented the officers and others following the prisoner, and hence the manner of Manley's death, and the last scenes, are only known to the lynching party.

    We have no censure to make in this particular case, but trust nothing of the like will become common. It is a serious matter; and the advice of D. Crockett is opportune: "Be sure you are right, and then go ahead!"

The next part of our story comes from the Recorder-Tribune (Holton, Kansas) dated April 5, 1877:
Charley Manley, of Netaweka[sic], the Victim

The following are the facts, so far as we have been able to glean them, in reference to the sad affair of lynching, which occurred at Granada, last Saturday night.

It is a notorious fact, and one to be very much lamented, that the crime of horse stealing has become so common here in a few counties in Northern Kansas, and has been carried on so successfully as to justify the conclusion that there is an organized gang, the members of which, in all probability, reside in almost every community.

All are aware that, while horses have been stolen every few weeks, first in one locality, then in another, for the past few years, it has been next to impossible to secure the conviction of a single one of the thieves. It is true a few young boys have been convicted, and sentenced to the penitentiary for stealing horses and cattle; but the probabilities are that there were none of them members of the organization; on the contrary, were novices, doing a little business on their own hook, and were easily arrested and convicted.

Our information is to the effect that certain parties lately arrested in Nemaha county, and now in jail at Seneca, have turned states evidence, and implicated others, and that C. C. Manley, of Netawaka, was designated, not only as one of the gang, but a leader of the same. Officers with a warrant in their possession came to Netawaka on Saturday and arrested Manley, and took him first to Wetmore, and from there to Granada, where they stopped for the night, guarding their prisoner at the hotel. About 10 o'clock p.m., a company of masked me, 40 or 50 in number, rushed into the sitting froom of the hotel, where Manley and his guard were, firing their pistols, evidently with the intention of creating all the confusion and consternatio[n] possible, and seized Manley, and without ceremony hustled him out of the hotel, one of the party throwing a noose over his head, as they passed out. 

What else occurred we have no reliable information of, except that, on Sunday morning, Manley's lifeless body was seen dangling at the end of a rope, the other end of the rope being secured to the limb of a cottonwood tree, on Mr. Letson's farm, near the town. Some time Sunday the body was cut down, a coroner's inquest held, and a verdict returned in accordance with the above facts.

Manley was a saloon keeper, at Netawaka, and we learn has been regarded by the citizens there, and other places where he has lived, as a bad, and, by some, as a dangerous man. Just what evidence the so-called regulators may have had that he was guilty of horse stealing, we are not informed. Even though it was conclusive, we do not wish to be understood as upholding them in what they have done, in taking the law into their own hands. A band of horse thieves is certainly a terrible curse to a community, and not the least of the evil that often results from such a curse, is that lesser curse—a vigilance committee.

Thank you for joining us and as always, we hope we leave you with something to ponder.

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