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Lynchings in Ohio; William Bales

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The Marion Star
Friday, April 10, 1891, page 3
Transcribed by



Policeman Harper's Assassin Strung Up by a Rope—A Terrible Lesson to a Gang of Toughs Who Infest the Town.

Special to the Daily Star

Kenton, O., April 10, 1891.—[William] Bales, the murderer of Policeman Harper, was taken from the jail and lynched here Thursday night by an infuriated mob. The mob had been at work organizing every since Bales had been put in jail, and Thursday evening every citizen of this place knew that ere another day dawned the murder of Policeman Harper would be avenged. During the early part of the night small crowds of men could be seen making their way toward the meeting place of the mob. At about 12 o'clock they marched to the jail and broke down the outside doors, and fifteen masked men entered the jail, forcing Sheriff Neville to deliver his keys to them. They then entered the corridors of the jail and hastened to the cell occupied by Bales. Bales was terror stricken, crouching in the corner of his cell, but offering little resistance. He was taken to a tree near by, where at least five hundred people awaited the coming of the lynching party. A rope was soon procured and thrown over a limb of the tree. A noose was quickly made in the rope and placed about the murderer's neck. Nervous but willing hands soon had hold of the rope, and his writhing form was coolly pulled up several feet from the ground. They held the rope until life was extinct; tying the rope to the trunk of the tree, they left his lifeless body to the mercy of the winds.

After those who had participated in the lynching had dispersed or mingled in the crowd the excitement seemed to grow more intense, the fire bell was rung, people were seen running about the streets as if mad, and it would have been hard to find more than a dozen people at their homes in the city. The body was cut down and will be given burial here.

It is supposed that some of the police were among the spectators of the horrible affair. The citizens are all in sympathy with the mob and are well satisfied with the manner in which the murder of their fellow townsman has been avenged.

This should be a lesson to a gang of toughs who infest the city, prowling about at night, robbing whoever they chance to meet. Harper had been quite successful in bringing them to justice. They swore that they would kill him; the result of their oath has been recorded in the history of crime, and the affair of Thursday night was but just punishment at the hands of indignant citizens.

An eye witness to the horrible scene said to your correspondent that he understood that it was the intention of the mob to hang his two accomplices, who are confined in the jail. There is but little doubt of their guilt, but it seems that the executioners gave them the benefit of what little doubt there was in their favor.

The Salem Daily News
Saturday, April 11, 1891, page 1
Transcribed by



The Mob Composed of Fifty Persons—Their Victim Strung Up to a Tree Near the Jail—All Wore Masks—The Jail Door Broken Open and Revolvers Thrust in the Sheriff's Face

Kenton, O., April 11—William Bales who murdered Policeman Harper, Tuesday of last week was taken from the jail by a mob composed of fifty persons at 2 o'clock yesterday morning and hanged to a tree near by. The mob gained an entrance to the jail by breaking down the door, which awakened Sheriff Neville, who rushed downstairs with a revolver. A dozen men met him at the foot of the stairs and thrust four revolvers in his face, demanding the jail keys, saying they wanted to get Bales to hang him. The sheriff refused to get the keys, not having them with him. They found the keys in an adjoining room and opened the jail doors, got Bales out and gave him only enough time to put on his pants and a pair of slippers. They took him out and hung him to a maple tree on Wayne street, near North street, about fifty yards from the jail.

All Over in Twenty Minutes.

The mob was well organized, and all wore black masks except one, which was white, apparently the leader. No noise was made. All spoke in whispers. The work was quickly and systematically done. Not more than twenty minutes elapsed from the time the door was broken until Bales was dangling between earth and sky. He did not make any fuss only groaned a few times while leaving the jail cell. Sentinels guarded all approaches leading to the jail. Nobody was allowed to approach nearer than a square. The mob dispersed as quickly and silently as it gathered, all going in different directions. Nobody saw the hanging except the lynchers. Some guarded the sheriff, while others stood on the street corners and stopped pedestrians from approaching. Who the mob were and where they came from is a mystery. The coroner is holding an inquest.

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