Genealogy Trails


A Hoosier Lynching

Date: 1898-12-28;  Paper: Indiana State Journal
A Hoosier Lynching Scottsburg Citizens String up Marion Tyler to a Tree. Masked Men Take
SCOTTSBURG, Ind,, Dec 21.—Marion Tyler was taken from the county jail here this morning between 1 and 2 o'clock by a masked mob and hanged to a tree In the courthouse yard. Tyler was in jail awaiting trial for shooting his wife. Nov. 3. He shot her twice and shot himself twice, but both had recovered sufficiently to be up.The sentiment of the people is divided, with a, majority condemning the mob's action. There is, of course, no clew to the identity of any member of the mob. Tyler's trial was set for Jan. 13.
A few minutes after 1 o'clock Sheriff Jas. F. Gobin heard a knock at the door of his residence, and, being used to calls at all hours, went to the door in his night clothes. Three masked men with drawn revolvers thrust the door open and grabbed him, and four others with double-barrel shotguns rushed In. A member of the mob said they wanted Tyler and demanded the keys to the jail, but the sheriff refused. By this time the bedroom was crowded with masked men and the mob's leader leveled a revolver at the sheriff and demanded the keys in a hurry. The sheriff said he would die first, but his frightened wife told the mob where to find them. After obtaining the keys several members of the mob went to the room of Deputy Sheriff Cal Gobin and with drawn revolvers compelled him to dress and come down stairs.  Both the sheriff arid his deputy were ordered to lead the way and  unlock the jail and cell occupied by Tyler.  Both refused, and the members of the family were placed in one room and guarded while the mob proceeded to the jail.   The lynchers seemed to understand just where to go. They entered the upper room of the jail, lighted a lamp in the corridor and placed guards on the outside of the cell in which Tyler and an old man, were confined. The cell door was unlocked and two members of the mob entered, going direct to Tyler's bed. They bound his feet and tied his hands behind him. Then another stood by the lighted lamp and tied a hangman's noose at the end of a half-inch manila rope. This was placed over Tyler's neck, and a man took hold of him on each side and he was dragged from the jail to the street below.
On reaching the street Tyler was heard to say; "Oh, my God, kill me here!"
He was told to keep quiet, and, if he said anything else during the whole performance, the other inmates of the jail or members of the sheriff's family failed to hear it.
The mob took Tyler to the courthouse yard, two hundred yards away. The men were drilled and answered to numbers instead of by name. On reaching the courtyard the mob selected a convenient limb on a shade tree, and over this the end of the rope was thrown. Tyler was placed on an old door and held up while the end of the rope was tightly fastened. Then the door was allowed to fall, and Tyler dropped to death by strangulation, with his feet about eighteen inches from the ground.
Their work being completed, the mob marched out the courtyard to the street and disappeared. All this was done so quickly and so quietly that the town was not aroused   As soon as the guards were out of sight Sheriff Gobin came from his  residence, but he could find no trace of the lynchers. From whence they came or where they went is a mystery. Besides the sheriff's family and the old man who occupied the cell with Tyler, only one man has been found who saw them. This was a young man who returned from the country with a horse which he put in a livery stable. On coming from the stable to go to his hotel he was halted by three men with drawn revolvers. He was ordered to sit down in front of the livery stable and keep quiet. He remained across the street from the jail he says those who went into the jail wore long dark masks, but the men who guarded him wore no masks that he could discern.
After the mob left the courtyard this young man was ordered to go into the stable and remain there half an hour under penalty of being shot. He went into the stable, but came out as Sheriff Gobin was passing. The coroner was at once notified, and shortly before 3 o'clock the lifeless body was cut down and taken to an undertaker's establishment. His parents at McLeansboro, III.,were notified, and the body will be sent there.
All thoughts of mob violence had apparently passed from the minds of tho people of this locality soon after the shooting last November, and the lynching was a surprise. The people of this county greatly deplore and feel deeply the disgrace that has been brought on the community by this act of an unknown mob which is generally supposed to have been organized outside of this county.
This Is the first hanging that ever took place within the borders of this county.

SEYMOUR, Ind., Dec. 24.—A correspondent here who visited the scene of the Scottsburg lynching says the men who hanged Tyler were evidently experts, for the knot was tied in "true hangman's style," and everything gave evidence of careful preparation. He also says: "It is thought the citizens of Scottsburg had been quietly organizing for several weeks, and that the matter was purposely held off until this late day in order that the avenging of the crime might stand out more boldly and pronounced than if done immediately after the crime. George Harris, who is held awaiting another trial, heard the noise and was badly scared, fearing he was to be the victim," The correspondent gives the name of the man who was stopped by the mob as John Carlyle, of Little York.

What the Governor Says
Emphasizes the Damage Feature of his Proposed Bill
Concerning the Scottsburg lynching Gov. Mount yesterday said: "There is no excuse for such occurrences, for in any county where such a sentiment could sway the people to committing deeds of violence and murder, the same moral Influence could be trained and exerted in an opposite direction, to the end that lynchings would never be perpetrated. There Is no doubt that the liability for all damages  resulting from the lynching of transgressors of the law should fall on the counties in which the outrages are committed. I am at work on a bill which will provide that the relatives of people killed by mobs may recover from the counties in which the killings may occur by civil action. This I recommend because, in a state case, it is difficult to secure a conviction in the county courts, and it is impossible for the State to secure a change of venue to another county. Each man accused, of crime has the constitutional right to demand a trial in his own county, and the only way a change of venue could  be secured would be in a civil action by the interested parties.

He Was an Extra, on the Street-Car Lines,
Marion Tyler lived in Indianapolis about ten months. At the time of the shooting he was employed by the street-car company as "first extra." When he first came here he and his wife lived with her mother, at Oliver and Marion avenues. Some months ago they separated, and Mrs. Tyler's brother came on from Scottsburg and assisted the wife in moving back there. One night Tyler went to his home and found the place deserted. It is said by those who knew him here that after that night he was a changed man.
After his wife left him Tyler boarded with the family of Joseph Cochran, at 2115 North Illinois street. The Cochrans say he talked a great deal about his wife. He appeared to lay his troubles at the door of his mother-in-law, and once brought a libel suit against her afterward dismissing tho case. On the day of the Scottsburg shooting Tyler left the Cochran home about 7 o'clock in the morning. On the Saturday night before he had complained that he had been feeling badly, but remarked that "it would all be over and settled one way or the other by another week's end." He said to Mrs. Cochran on the morning he left that in case he did not come back she could burn his clothes, sell them or throw them away. Just as she pleased. He appeared in a very serious mood when he bid the family good-bye.
Those who knew Mrs. Tyler say she was a good-looking young woman of about twenty-seven, of more than ordinary intelligence. She was a wldow at the tlme she was married to Tyler in Scottsburg. Her first husband was Benjamin Garriott. who died several years ago. She and Tyler were married In the spring of 1837. Shortly after their marriage they came to this city. Tyler, iis said, was about thirty years of age. He was a large, good-looking man. Some of his acquaintances in West Indianapolis say that trouble between him and his wife arose over money matters. It is claimed that Tyler made a strong effort to get hold of his wife's money, and this caused an estrangement. They separated in West Indianapolis on July 18.

Date: 1899-01-11; Paper: Indiana State Journal
After the Lynchers Judge New's Instructions to Scottsburg Grand Jury. Investigation Started and Tangible Results

Scottsburg Ind., Jan. 9.—A special grand jury ,drawn for the purpose of Investigating the lynching of Marion Tyler was sworn in today and instructions delivered by Judge New. The jury consists of John W. Montgomery, a merchant of
Austin, as foreman; Isaac A. Bridgewater, ex-county treasurer; Asbury Thompson, blacksmith, of Scottsburg; William P. Shea, farmer; Samuel R. Smith, farmer, and J. M. C. Richey, farmer. Judge Willard S. New delivered the usual charge given to grand juries, which was supplemented with a special charge. In part as follows:

"As you well know a horrible crime has recently been committed in this county, and on account of that crime I directed the clerk of this court to proceed in the way known to law to draw a grand jury for this term. It is to you that the people must look for prompt action and satisfactory resuits. No men were ever called to serve as grand jurors who were confronted with duties of a more serious nature and the result of whose labors were more anxiously awaited than yours. I have no reason to believe that you would fail, or even hesitate, to do your full duty, but so anxious am I that the persons who perpetrated this crime be punished that I say to you now, that if any one of you would have the slightest hesitancy in performing your full duty you should at this time make the fact known in order that some one else can be selected to take your place. There Is no county in this State, gentlemen, in which the people have manifested a more anxious desire and determination to punish violators of the law than in Scott county, and it is of the first importance that you so discharge your duty in connection with this crime that the good name of Scott county will continue to live and be respected as it has been in the past.
When this mob took from the jail of Scott county Marion Tyler, and murdered him, it not only committed the crime of murder, but it inflicted a wrong upon the people and a stain upon the good name of Scott county. It rests with you largely
whether or not this stain shall be removed. From the day this crime was committed to this time the people ail over Indiana and even beyond the borders of our own State have rested their eyes upon Scott county and anxiously awaited to see whether or not the perpetrators of this crime, or any of them, would be punished. It Is your duty as grand jurors to investigate this matter,  to honestly. faithfully and conscientiously endeavor to ascertain the guilty parties, No matter how much time or labor may be  required you should leave nothing undone and not be satisfied until you have either returned indictments, or exhausted all honorable means to do so. You will not be without able assistance, for you will be given all possible help that the law and State can furnish you. You should not fail to indict any person on account of fear, favor or affection, but you should be guided by an honest desire and a firm determination to conscientiously discharge rour duties."
The grand jury organized and got down to business this afternoon. Subpoenas for nearly a score of witnesses were at once Issued, and within a very short time the grand Jury had begun the investigation. The reports heretofore published that officers were in possession of the names of many members of the mob is considered as being somewhat premature. However, it is generally believed that the officers are in possession of some clews that point toward the identity of some members of the mob, but it will require more evidence than is now known to cause the arrest of any. The local officers appear willing to do all in their power to bring the guilty to justice, and in this determination they have the support of nearly every citizen of this county.

Return To The Main Index Page