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Ohio Lynchings: Albert Guest

The Columbus Dispatch
Friday, May 22, 1885
Saturday, May 23, 1885.
Transcribed by

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Friday, May 22, 1885



Albert Guest, Resisting Arrest for Rape, Shoots Henry Auer, the Town Marshal for New Straitsville, and a Boy Named Hugh McTague--The Mob Avenges the Crime by Taking the Murderer from Jail, Hanging Him to a Tree and Riddling His Body with Bullets

Special to THE DISPATCH.

NEW STRAITSVILLE, O.,—This place, yesterday and last night, was the scene of a double murder and the hanging of the murderer by an angry mob. The murderer upon whom the mob vented its wrath last night was Albert Guest, an ex-Penitentiary convict, and his victims were Town Marshal Henry Auer and Hugh McTague, a boy aged twelve.

The trouble arose about a visit by Guest and Night Watchman Wm. Tandy to the house of Wm. Wallace, Wednesday night, where they deported themselves in a very unseemly manner, demanding admission and finally threatening to break down the door unless it were opened. After gaining admission they, it is charged, committed rape upon the person of Miss Anderson, and, after gratifying their unholy desires, left the house about 4 o'clock next morning. As they departed they fired several shots at the house, some of them narrowly missing the inmates. Early yesterday morning a warrant was sworn out for the arrest of Guest and Tandy on the charge of rape, and was placed in the hands of Marshal Auer for execution. Tandy surrendered himself and was bound over to Common Pleas Court in the sum of $1,000. Guest, who had boasted that no officer should ever arrest him again, was met by the Marshal in front of the United States Hotel. Guest refused to go with the officer and, before the latter was hardly aware of the serious character of his task, Guest had drawn a 45-calibre self-cocking revolver and shot him. He fired three shots into Marshal Auer in rapid succession, and then fired two at random into a crowd which had collected about the spot. One of these took effect in the stomach of Hugh McTague, a boy standing near by. All three of the shots fired at Auer took effect--one in the thigh, one in the abdomen and another in the neck. Auer shot once at Guest, but it did not take effect.

Throwing away his revolver, after his murderous work, Guest dashed away toward the Plummer Hill mine. By this time the whole town was in an uproar, and hundreds of men, women and children were crowding and inquiring what had happened and who had done it. Auer and McTague were picked up and cared for by friendly hands. Physicians examined the wounds and pronounced them fatal in the case of each of the victims. As the affair came to be fully understood, anger and excitement rose, and in a very short time after the shooting a lot of determined men set out to capture the murderer. He was found and taken into custody in the woods near the Plummer Hill mine. He stood at bay with his hand on his pistol, prepared to shoot.

"Throw up you[r] hands," shouted a burly German, raising to his should a Winchester rifle. Guest threw up one hand.

"Throw up both hands this minute," again shouted the German, his fingers meantime playing about the trigger of his piece. "Give yourself up, G--d-- you. Throw up both hands, for I'm going to shoot you through the heart if you don't."

Recognizing the futility of further resistance Guest gave himself up. The disposition was to lynch him then and there, but wiser counsels prevailed and he was taken to jail and locked up.

As the afternoon advanced, the excitement increased and lynching was freely talked of. Men gathered in little crowds and talked excitedly. It was evident that another scene was about to be added to the tragedy. Logan and New lexington asked if help was wanted to maintain order, but Mayor Spurrier answered "No." He probably felt the influence that was exercising the people and felt that, if they had determined upon vengeance, it would be worse than useless to oppose them.

About ten o'clock, two hundred masked men appeared before the jail. They broke into the building, presented their revolvers to the heads of the officers in charge and demanded the keys of the cell. They got them. The cell which Guest occupied was unlocked and, despite his vigorous resistance, he was pinioned and taken to near the place where he had been captured in the afternoon. Others joined the band of determined men as they proceeded from the jail, and by the time the place of execution was reached the crowd had swelled to twice its size. The masked men sought to do their work quietly and without the knowledge of the village, but they failed. Guest was strung up while calling out the names of the men who he thought were killing him. When he was fairly suspended by the neck, the crowd drew off and many of them, drawing revolvers, fired into the body of the doomed man. The body was riddled with bullets, and it is doubtful whether the noose or the bullets were the cause of his death.

Saturday, May 23, 1885



No Regret for the Lynching of the Murderer — The Repulsive Scene at the Place of the Hanging—The Prosecutor Investigating the Circumstances of the Affair—Report of the Physicians Making the Post Mortem of Guess' Body—Career of th Murderer.

Special to THE DISPATCH.:

NEW STRAITSVILLE, O., May 23—Henry Auer, late Marshal of Straitsville, who was shot by Albert Guest, the man lynched on the night of the 21st, died this morning at 6:35. The body will be taken to Shawnee for burial to-morrow. The boy McTague will lives, and Dr. Newton, the attending physician, has some hopes of his recovery [see last sentence in May 23 report]. There is no feeling of regret at the lynching of Guest, the general sentiment being that he deserved his cruel fate. Whether any of the mob will be punished is a matter for the future to determine. Prosecutor James E. Johnston and Sheriff P. M. Brunner came here last night to look into the case, and their action is looked forward to with a great deal of interest.

The body of Guest was cut down yesterday morning at 7:30 o'clock by Coroner Stebbs. A crowd of two hundred or more was already at the scene of the lynching when the Coroner arrived, gazing upon the fearful sight. The head nearly nearly touched the limb to which the rope was tied. The eyes seemed starting from their sockets and the tongue protruded. His coat, which had been removed, was hung over one shoulder. Blood saturated the clothing that he wore and the grass below the corpse.

The body, when cut down, was taken to Guest's house and a post mortem was held by Drs. Newton and Allen. Ten bullet holes were found in his body.

The following is the concluding sentence of the report: "The conclusion at which we arrive is that said Albert Guest came to his death by strangulation, the bullet wounds being inflected, brobably, before the heart ceased to beat."

The Career of Guess. [Sic.]
Special to THE DISPATCH.

CARBON HILL, O., May 23.—Albert Guess was born of respectable and well-to-do parents, who resided on a farm some three miles from Carbon Hill, which they sold during the iron ore excitement to the Akron Iron Company. They then moved to a farm near Delaware, Ohio, where they now live. During his boyhood days Guess was of a quiet and rather reserved disposition, and nothing was then noticeable in his conduct that would indicate the character into which he soon developed.

The beginning of his downward career can be correctly dated from and affair that occurred in a Logan, O., hotel some twelve years ago. Albert had gone to attend the agricultural fair, accompanied by two young women of questionable character. He engaged a room at the Buntz House. During that evening four of Logan's notorious characters entered the room to capture the females. They began by assaulting Guess, who, seeing himself cornered, opened his pocket knife and began carving the intruders until the four sought safety in flight. He wa arrested for this offense and honorably acquitted by the Common Pleas Court.

This act seems to have ruined him. He was at once looked upon as a bully, and was more or less courted by the worse element in his neighborhood. He began to drink to excess, and while on one of his sprees, some seven years ago, in company with another young man of his age at Gore, the two fell in with a young miner from Kentucky, who had come to Gore on a visit. The three caroused together during the evening, and the next morning the body of the young miner was dragged on th cowcatcher of a locomotive from Gore to Straitsville. Guess and his companion were arrested. The watch which belonged to the Kentuckian was found in possession of Guess and he was convicted of robbery, and sentenced to serve seven years in the Ohio Penitentiary. Guess's companion was cleared and soon moved out West, where he has since died, but not without making a confession in which he stated that himself and Albert Guess had held the Kentuckian's head under water until he strangled, when they relieved him of his money and watch, and then placed him on the railroad track, where he was struck as above stated.

Guess served three years of his sentence and was pardoned by Governor Foster during his second term, on the condition that he abstain from the use of intoxicating beverages. The petition asking for the pardon was signed by many of the prominent citizens of Logan. The condition of the pardon was never fulfilled by Guess. It was not long until his sober hours were but few.

Society loses nothing by his death, while his wife and children, parents and relatives, of whom he has a large number, are to be pitied in their affliction.

Guess was brought up a farmer but during the past two years he has lived and worked at some coal mine at Straitsville.

Marshal Auer who died this morning will be buried by the Odd Fellows lodge of Straitsville to-morrow. Invitations have been sent to the various lodges in the Valley, and a large number have signified their willingness to attend. Arrangements are being made for special trains to Straitsville by those who well attend in a body. He will be buried at Shawnee. The funeral to leave Straitsville at 2 P. M.

Albert Guess was buried this morning.

The boy McTague, shot by Guess at Straitsville, died at one o'clock.

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