All submitted and transcribed by J.S.
Daily Wabash Express (Terre Haute, Vigo County, IN) 30
ITEMS OF NEWS FROM WESTERN INDIANA AND EASTERN ILLINOIS
One hundred and twenty witnesses have been subpoenaed in Parke County for the Henning trial.
Daily Wabash Express (Terre Haute, Vigo County, IN) 31 Jan 1886
A telegram from Judge Jump today states an order will be made next week postponing criminal cases to ninth day of the term. This is done on account of the prosecutor, attorneys and officers having to go to Crawfordsville Monday to attend the Henning murder trial.
Indianapolis New, Indianapolis, Marion County, IN 1 Feb 1886
THE CRIME FOR WHICH A PARKE COUNTY MAN STANDS ACCUSED OF MURDER
Special to the Indianapolis News
Crawfordsville, February 1 - The trial of John C. Henning for the murder of Mrs. Lottie Volner at Rockville, was commenced in the circuit court here today. Henning went into the restaurant of Mrs. Volner in Rockville on Saturday night, October 24, 1885, between 8 and 9 o'clock, and passing through the front and middle rooms, found Mrs. Volner and a lady friend conversing in the kitchen. After a few preliminary remarks, Henning repeared his request for the hand of Mrs. Volner in marriage, having a few days previous called at the office of the county clerk and procured a marriage license without the knowledge or consent to the lady, who would not listen to his entreaty, and the license was returne3d without being used. Enraged at the last refusal he drew a revolver and fired, the ball taking effect in the body of Mrs. Volner, who retreated to the sidewalk adjoining her place of business, where she was pursued and shot twice more by the demon, either would being sufficient to produce almost instant death. Henning hid in the lot at the rear of the house where the tragedy was committed, where he was found an hour later and placed in jail. On the following night Sheriff Musser removed the prisoner to Brazil, to evade a mob of enraged citizens of Parke county, who were organized and in Rockville awaiting the hour of midnight, the time appointed, to raid the jail and hang the villain. From Brazil he was taken to Terre Haute, where he was kept until ordered back to Rockville where he appeared in the circuit court and prayed for and was granted a change of venue to this county. Henning's attorney will enter a plea of insanity as the only hope to save him from the gallows. Henning is fifty-five years old, is the father of seven children and was divoreced from his second wife. Mrs. Volner was the widow of George Volner, who was shot and killed by Charley Rutledge about three years ago. The husband and wife were murdered in the same house. About 150 witnesses have been subpenaed at Rockville and a special car was chartered to bring them here.
Terre Haute Weekly Gazette, (Terre Haute, Vigo County, IN) 4 Feb 1886
HENNING'S DIVORCED WIFE
Crawfordsville Star: The divorced wife of J.C. Henning came up from Montezuma and visited the prisoner yesterday. She sat in the jail corridor and talked through the bars for an hour. All the financial aid he will received will be from her. Yesterday Henning said: "I know I'll hang. I expect to. Montgomery county will hang me to get even with Parke in the matter of expenses in executing Buck Stout." It will be remembered that Henning claims to be a prophet.
A JURY FOR HENNING
Crawfordsville Star: The jury commissioners have made the following extra drawing of twenty-four names to be used in connection wit the regular jury panel of the present term of court from which a jury will be attempted be to drawn to try Henning: Frank Swearengen, Ripley; James Johnson, Walnut; Samuel Galey, Brown; Levi Martin, Madison; President Swank, Coal Creek; Wm. H. Breaks, Union; David Martin, Union; Silas Hendricks, Coal Creek; Wm. H. Nichols, Brown; Cornelius Canine, Brown; Morris J. Lee, Union; Wm. F. Edwards, Walnut; John Noland, Madison; Henry Smith, Sugar Creek; Charles H. Miller, Clark; Wm. J. Swindler, Brown; Josia Hunter, Ripley; James Caplinger, Scott; Wm. W. Halstead, Madison; George W. Hardee, Union; Thos. Lafollette, Franklin; Andrew W. Herron, Ripley; Robert C Craig, Franklin; Joseph S. Henry, Coal Creek.
THE CASE CONTINUED UNTIL NEXT MONDAY BECAUSE THE COURT WAS CROWDED WITH OTHER BUSINESS
Crawfordsville, Ind, Jan 28 - Gazette Special - Yesterday was the day set for the trial of Jack Henning, the murderer of Mrs. Volner, but the case was postponed until Monday next. The cause of the postponement is due to the fact that the court's attention was occupied in the trial of some sharpers who had been working the note scheme in Montgomery and Park counties and were caught. The town was literally thronged with people, some to serve on the witness stand and others out of mere curiosity. Henning's son, a singular looking youth, arrived on Wednesday and seemed anxious for the trial to proceed. The witnesses went home last evening and will pay another railroad fare next Monday.
Crawfordsville Star: One hundred and ten persons from the vicinity of Rockville have been summoned to the Henning murder trial.
There will be a good deal of expert testimony in the Henning case. jack will act as crazy as possible. It will not require any effort whatsoever, either.
Henning is not so pretty without his beard, and
Rockville people will hardly recognize him, having not seen him since
his barber fixed him up. A likeness of the noted gentleman was only
secured by considerable effort, the interested gentleman not being
very willing to have his face grace newspaper columns.
Daily Wabash Express (Terre Haute, Vigo County, IN) 10 Feb 1886
Henning, the Rockville woman-killer, who is sentenced to hang on the 27th of May, can look from his cell window at the Crawfordsville jail, and see the scaffold on which Coffey was hung.
Indianapolis New, Indianapolis, Marion County, IN 15 Mar
Sam Archer, the last of the gang arrested, is said to be the worst of the lot, and almost every crime in the calendar is laid at his door. He has a brother in the house of refuge, and a brother and sister in jail at Paoli, charged with stealing.
Indianapolis New, Indianapolis, Marion County, IN 17 Mar 1886
THE LAW SHOULD REACH THEM
As to being any better than Missouri, Kentucky, Alabama and kindred states for mob violence and outlawry, it is a question if Indiana's reputation is not already too deeply stained to protest. The hanging of the Archer gang which followed quickly on the heels of the Vincennes mob-murder, is followed now by the doings of an Orange county mob, quite up to the style of "nigger"-torturing mobs in southern states. A man named Smith had the misfortune to be a nephew of one of the Archers and is described as "a most desperate character." (Oh course!) He was seized by a pack of would-be murderers and hanged three times in order to make him confess what he knew of the doings of the Archer gang. And, pray to what purpose are the doings of the Archer gang? Are they not all murdered by the mob with the exception of one who turned state's evidence? The pretense is too slight to justify killing a cat, let alone torturing it. But this man was "strung up" three times, and protesting his ignorance and innocence always was finally granted his life, which by a faint flicker hadn't been choked out of him, on condition tha the would leave the state. We would a good deal rather the cowardly fiends who did this would leave the state. ..
Indianapolis New, Indianapolis, Marion County, IN 19 Mar 1886
TROOPS CALLED FOR
Judge D.J. Heffron, of the judicial district at Daviess and Martin Counties, and Sheriff John A Padgett, of Martin County, today united in a call upon the governor for troops to assist in preserving the peace next Wednesday, when the notorious Sam Archer and Lynch are given their preliminary hearing at Shoals. It will be remembered that Archer and Lunch were removed to Jeffersonville penitentiary for safe keeping. The governor will grant the request for aid and will notify the adjutant-general of state to have in readiness a company of militia.
Indianapolis New (Indianapolis, Marion County, IN) 27 Mar 1886
WILL HANG IN JULY
ARCHER SENTENCED TO DEATH
LYNCH'S TERRIBLE TESTIMONY AT THE TRIAL YESTERDAY - THE WITNESS PLACED UNDER ARREST FOR ANOTHER HOMICIDE
Shoals, March 27 - The greatest excitement prevailed in the court room yesterday during the examination of Lynch. He testified in effect as follows:
Am twenty-eight years old; am the John Lynch who is charged, with the Archer gang, of murdering Samuel Bunch; known Sam Archer ten years; knew all the Archer gang; saw them after Marley killed Mart Archer Jr., and they blamed Bunch with his death. Gang swore for revenge that Bunch harbored Marley for killing the boy, and Bunch was a d-d rascal; that he gave Marley money; that they would take Bunch in and make him tell where Marley was. Witness said Sam Archer, the prisoner and Mart Archer, Sr., started off to get Bunch, and after several hours brought him back. When they came up Bunch said: "They have got me, Lunch." Mart Archer said "they were going to take Bunch to Saltpeter cave and keep him there until he told where Marley was." Bunch's hands were tied with bark; the night was dark, and we were in the woods. We all then went to Saltpeter cave. Bunch walked between Sam and Mart Archer; the cave was two miles distant. All were armed to t he teeth. Bunch was a large man weighing two hundred pounds, a six-footer, grit to the backbone. The only light was the stars. Mart Archer left the party when near his house and got a lantern. The cave was in a hollow in the woods, with only a path leading to it. The entrance to the cave was only two feet in diameter and was solid rock.. Mart Archer went in first and then came out and whispered to the gang, so Bunch couldn't hear that they were going to kill Bunch. Witness objected, but he Archers said it was too late; that they must kill Bunch or be killed. Mart led the way into the cave, Bunch next, the gang following. Old Tom stood outside as guard. The cave was very large and had several apartments. Bunch sat down on a rock, the gang sat down on a rock twenty feet away. Mart asked Bunch where Marley was, and he replied he didn't know. Mart said he would give Bunch five minutes to tell where Marley was, and told the gang to get ready to shoot. Bunch said: "You wouldn't shoot anybody." They waited a few moments, when Mart Archer cried, "Fire!" and they all blazed away. Sixteen shots were fired. Bunch groaned, but never spoke. Sam Archer, prisoner, tired six shots. Witness fired three shots. Cave filled with smoke. When cleared Mart Archer stepped up to Bunch's body and tired the seventeenth shot in his head.
After that the gang left for home. For a week they worried about the body. The next Sunday night they went to take Bunch's body out, but Sam Archer (prisoner) was drunk, and Mart said: "If they were going to publish it in the newspapers, they had better do it, and not take him out, as Sam was drunk." Postponed until July 26. That night the Archers had half a gallon of whisky and two gallons of coal-oil and a plank box. They reached the cave, drank the whisky. All went in and rolled Bunch into the box; decomposition created a terrible smell, and could hardly stand it; nailed up the box and took it to a pile of dry oak. Mart poured on coal-oi and set it on fire, and, full of whisky, watched the funeral pile until consumed, and went home. Witness did not see the place again for two years. Saw it again two weeks ago; went there with officers, found the pile of ashes and some of Bunch's bones, also nails from his coffin. Went to the cave, and the rock on which Bunch sat is still covered with stains of Bunch's blood, plainly visible; found several bullet marks in the rock.
A number of other witnesses testified that they had visited the cave and found evidence of the correctness of Lynch's story. Several doctors identified the bones found in the ashes as human bones, and the blood on the rocks as human blood. The state closed soon after noon and the argument began at 2.45. An exciting episode of the day was the arrest of John Lynch on another murder charge - that of killing Sanford Freeman. Lunch, therefore, is till a prisoner.
SENTENCED TO HANG
Special to Indianapolis News.
Shoals, Ind, March 27 - The jury was charged this morning and after a brief consideration, returned a verdict of guilty. Archer was then sentenced to be hung July 9.
THE RICHARDSONS AT SHOALS
Adjutant-General Koontz has returned from Shoals where the Richardson Zouaves are guarding Samuel Archer, who is being tried for murder. The trial will be concluded today, and there is little doubt that Archer will be convicted, and he will then be returned to the southern prison for safe keeping. Great crowds have been in attendance upon the trial, but there have been no violent demonstrations and probably were treated very kindly, and he compliments the boys very highly on their soldierly conduct.
Greencastle Banner, Greencastle, Putnam County, IN 1 Apr 1886
John Lynch, who turned State's evidence on the trial of Sam Archer, for the Bunch murder, pleaded guilty to a charge of perjury and was sentenced to the penitentiary for three years and was fined $50.
Daily Wabash Express (Terre Haute, Vigo County, IN) 10 Jul 1886
THE LAST OF THE ARCHER GANG MEETS HIS END YESTERDAY AT SHOALS
BRIEF HISTORY OF THE GANG AND HOW IT WAS BROKEN UP
HANGING AT SHOALS
RETRIBUTION OVERTAKES THE LAST OF THE ARCHERS
Special to the Indianapolis News.
Shoals, Ind, July 9 - Samuel Archer was hanged here this afternoon for complicity in the murder of Samuel A. Bunch. The hanging wrs[sic] as private as could be made, although an immense crowd gathered in town to witness it. The gallows was inclosed with canvas walls to shut out the crowd.
Archer is reported to have made two requests of the authorities, which, if granted, he said would make his death an easy one. He asked that the use of the gallows might be dispensed with, and that he be hanged from the same limb of the tree from which the mob a few months ago swung his father, old Tom Archer. Of course this was impracticable. His other request was the John Lynch, the perjured murderer and informer, now in the Southern prison, should be brought to Shoals to face him in the presence of twenty good men. Archer said he would make in Lynch's presence a complete confession of all the crimes of the gang, but that unless he was allowed to see lynch he would carry to the grave his terrible secret. It is said that the proposed confession would implicate a number of Martin county men and two or three residents of Daviess county.
THE ARCHER GANG
HOW IT WAS BROKEN UP BY OLD JOE WELLS
The biggest man in Orange county in the estimation of his neighbors is old Joe Wells, the village blacksmith at French Lick, for it is due him that the Archer gang is no more. Few persons outside of the immediate neighborhood of Joe's old home are aware of the important part he played in the capture of the cowardly bandits.
The gang proper consisted of Mart Archer, the captain, aged forty; his brother Thomas, aged sixty; John Archer, son of Thomas, all of whom were hung at Shoals; Sam and Thomas Archer, also sons of old Thomas, the latter a mere boy, and Mart Archer, a nephew of Thomas. There were associated with them John Lynch, Sam Morley, John Johnson, Mack Holt, Nathan Holt, Wild Tom Archer, son of James Archer, a reputable citizen of Martin county; Webb Lynch, Wm. Ross and Off Minton.
"Little Mart Archer," the nephew of Thomas and Sam Morely, stole a log-raft and quarreled over the division of the money they received for it. Mart was not satisfied over the division, and swore he would "blow" on Morley. Morely shot him to death, and was helped to escape form the county by one Sam Bunch. A few days afterward, Bunch was captured by the gang and take to a cave, two and a half miles from French Lick Springs. He pleaded hard for his life, but the scoundrels were obdurate and poured sixteen bullets into his body, leaving it in the cave, where the body was afterward found. Shortly afterward, Stanford Freeman, 60 years old, a cousin of Bunch, was called to his door at midnight and murdered in cold blood. A man named McCormack, a Bunch sympathizer, was also shot from ambush and killed.
About four months ago Well's blacksmith shop was burlaized, old Wells got into the confidence of young Mart Archer, and wa told who perpetrated the robbery. Wells arrested five of the gang and marched them to jail at the muzzle of a Winchester. They were all sent to the penitentiary. The Archer gang became divided. John Archer divulged information leading to Marts arrest. Mart turned the tables and John Lynch, John and Tom Archer were landed in jail. Lynch followed this up by confessing to various deeds of the gang which led to the lynching of three of the principals at Shoals.
Old Joe Wells, the hero of Orange county, is sixty-four
years old, and was born near where he now lives. He was once a
prosperous farmer, and owned a farm about a mile east of French Lick.
He lost everything through endorsing the notes of friends, and about
ten years ago settled down at French Lick as the village blacksmith,
and has lived peaceably until the recent troubles disturbed the even
tenor of his way. He is a rugged specimen of the Hoosier rustic, with
a wrinkled, beardless face, slender, wiry body, and about five fee
elven[sic] inches in height. His small gray-black eyes are quick and
intelligent, and his manner modest and prepossessing.
Daily Wabash Express (Terre Haute, Vigo County, IN) 13 Jul 1886
Samuel Archer, who died on the gallows at Shoals on Friday was buried Saturday afternoon near his old home, in Martin county. Saturday night the vigilantes met at a school house on the outskirts of the village of Shoals and had a long consultation. It is understood that Sam Archer's confession was under discussion, and that a number of citizens were marked and will be punished for their evil doings. There is consequently a prospect of lively times in Martin county in the future.
Richmond Palladium and Sun-Telegram, 1 Sep 1907
HOMICIDE TRIALS IN WAYNE COUNTY
PAPER READ BY JUDGE HENRY C FOX BEFORE THE WAYNE COUNTY PIONEERS' ASSOCIATION AT CENTERVILLE, ON AUGUST 17TH 1907
BATES OF WIFE MURDER
The next case is which the defendant suffered death, was the case against Nathaniel S. Bates, who was hanged in Richmond. Bates killed his wife in Hagerstown. This was an atrocious murder. In the morning of the day on which he killed his wife, he was seen to sharpen his pocket knife while in the country. He then went to the house where his wife was and while they were alone he committed the deed. After doing it, he appeared upon the streets and told wheat he had done. He was at once arrested, afterwards indicted and put upon trial. The trial commenced on the 5th day of May 1886, and lasted four days. The jury found him guilty and inflicted the death penalty. The court sentenced him to be hanged on the 26th day of August following, which was done. Bates went upon the witness stand and while testifying in answer to questions, said that when he went into the house he struck his wife with an axe-handle and knocked her down, then took her by the hair, dragged her head upon his knee and cut her throat with his pocket knife. He further answered that in doing so he believed he was guilty of murder in the first degree and deserved death.
Daily Tribune, Vol 17, No 21 (Terre Haute, Vigo Conty,
IN) 21 Dec 1902
VIGO'S FIRST HANGING
GREAT CROWDS SAW DYAS SWING ON STRAWBERRY HILL
MAN ROSE ON HIS COFFIN
WAS HAULED TO THE SCENE IN AN OPEN WAGON AND DIED BY BEING STRANGLED ON SCAFFOLD
The announcement of death sentence to be meted out to Murderer Matthew Alexander has caused a great deal of talk to the other murders committed in Vigo county which were punished by death. A few of the older generation can remember the first hanging in this county, which took place on July 5, 1844. The second occurred on Dec 23, 1869.
Henry Dyas was the first person hung in the present limits of the county. Geo Brock, an Illinois cattleman, was brutally killed by Dyas in Nevins township in the fall of 1843. A house of ill repute was kept by one Mrs. Brady and her daughter, about a mile north of the present mining town of Grant. Dyas was married by frequented the place. Brock came from Illinois with cattle and stopped at the Brady house. He had an altercation with Mr. Brady about a liquor bill and Dyas killed the cattleman as he sat in a chair at the Brady house. Alexander Mars was a witness of the crime and it was on his testimony that the murderer was hanged. Another witness in the case, Asa Fenton, became insane during the trail and died a few years later.
Dyas was sentenced to death on June 4, 1844, and met his
fate before the eyes of thousands of persons on July 5. The hanging
took place at the foot of Strawberry hill, forming a natural
amphitheater for the multitudes of curious who came from all
parts of the country. The jail at that time was at Third and Ohio. The
murderer was taken from his cell, dressed in his death shroud,
which was white. He rode from the jail on top of the coffin in an open
two horse wagon, a long procession following to the place of
execution. Sheriff William Ray sprang the trap of the gallows after
the noose had been placed about the man's neck by Deputy Sheriff M.M.
Hickox. In some manner the rope slipped and instead of breaking the
murderers neck, Dyas died of strangulation.
The second and last legal hanging to take place in this county was on December 23, 1869 when O.A. Morgan paid the penalty for killing John Petri. Morgan entered the Petri house, at Twelve Points, with the intention of robbing Mr. Petri, who was an old man. Petri tried to defend his home and Morgan shot him. Judge Crain passed the sentence and the execution was conducted by Sheriff Stewart, in an enclosure built in the center of the intersection of Third and Walnut streets. Hundreds of people were in the city but only a few saw Morgan hanged. Passes were issued to a number for admission withing the enclosure and others availed themselves of the opportunity afforded by housetops, climbing to the roofs of neighboring dwelling and looking over the wall around the gallows.
The first Vigo county murderer to meet the death penalty
was Noah Beauchamp, who killed George Mickleberry in May 1840 near St.
Marys. The killing was due to a family quarrel between two well-to-do
farmers of Sugar Creek township. On change of venue the case was tried
in the Parke county courts and the execution took place at Rockville.
On April 6, 1868 John Reeves was deliberately killed by an employe named Stevens. the case came up during the same tem[sic] of court in which Morgan was sentenced to death, and Stevens also was given the death penalty. A new trial was secured and the sentence changed from death to life imprisonment.
Several other murders have occurred but only in a few cases has the punishment been as severe as imprisonment for life and up to Friday afternoon none others had been sentenced to hang.
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