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Executions in Madison County, Illinois

Madison County ILGenWeb Coordinator - Beverly Bauser

 

 

ELIPHALET GREEN - FOR THE MURDER OF WILLIAM WRIGHT ON CHRISTMAS EVE, DECEMBER 24, 1823

On Christmas Eve, December 24, 1823, two men – William Wright and Eliphalet Green - were working as laborers in the distillery of Abel Moore near the Wood River Creek, which ran near Moore’s property. Moore’s homestead was located along Rt. 140, just east of the Alton State Hospital. A quarrel began between the two men, which ended in a fist fight. Green was badly beaten. He became furious with rage. Green, who was thought of as “half-witted,” took his gun, loaded it with a charge of gunpowder and one lead bullet, and deliberately shot William Wright as he was retreating to the house. Wright was struck in the right side, and died immediately thereafter. Green went to Edwardsville to the office of Squire William Ogle and gave himself up. After hearing Green’s story, Ogle committed him to the jail, where Sheriff Nathaniel Buckmaster took charge of him. Green was tried and convicted or murder, and hung on February 12, 1824.  To read the full story, please click here.

 

 

GEORGE SHARPE AND JOHN JOHNSON - FOR THE MURDER OF FRANZ JACOB BARTH ON MAY 1, 1857

On May 1, 1857, Jacob Barth, a peddler, was traveling on the road between Troy and St. Jacob. Three men – George Sharpe (alias George Gibson), Robert Sharpe (alias Joseph Watson, and brother to George), and John Johnson (alias Edward Barber) “waylaid” Barth and shot him, supposedly because Barth wouldn’t let the men ride in his wagon. The men had started out from Iowa, with the intention of robbing and committing murder, if necessary. All three were captured early the next morning near Lebanon, and taken to the Edwardsville jail. They were tried and convicted of murder and sentenced to hang. However, Robert Sharpe’s sentence was commuted, as he was but a mere youth. George Sharpe and John Johnson were hung on June 19, 1857. To read the full story, please click here.

 

 

JOSEPH MARSHALL AND ANDERSON REED LYNCHING - FOR THE MURDER OF MR. LUTKA IN 1868

In 1868, a German man by the name of Mr. Lutka, who lived in the American Bottoms near Venice, was murdered in his home. Two men - Joseph Marshall and Anderson Reed - were charged with the horrible crime. Mrs. Lutka, apparently at home at the time of the murder, identified the two men.  Anderson Reed escaped, but Joseph Marshall was caught. Instead of being taken to jail and given a fair trial, he was taken by a mob, who tied him to a wagon and dragged him over the ground until dead. In February 1870, Anderson Reed was arrested in St. Louis. The Governor of Illinois issued a requisition to bring him to Edwardsville, Illinois, for trial. However, he was placed in the jail at Venice, under the charge of Justice Robinson. The news spread that Reed was in Venice. Justice Robinson placed Reed in a wagon to take him to Edwardsville, but instead of taking precautions and having more men with him, he started off alone with the prisoner. The wagon was stopped by a mob of men, who took charge of Reed and shot him to death. To read the full story, please click here.  SEE ALSO: The lynching of Joseph Tuttle below, which involved Justice Robinson.

 

 

JOSEPH TUTTLE - AN INNOCENT MAN LYNCHED BY MOB IN VENICE

On March 1, 1870, Joseph Tuttle was riding his horse through the streets of Venice, leading another horse. A remark was made by someone, that he appeared to be a horse thief. Tuttle passed the Venice ferry, and took the road leading to East St. Louis. While talking to a man from Edwardsville, Justice Robinson from Venice caught up with him, but rode on toward East St. Louis (supposedly to notify the police there). Unsuccessful, Justice Robinson turned around and found Tuttle near the Wiggins Ferry. He arrested Tuttle and took him to the jail in Venice. He left Tuttle in the charge of Deputy James Dickey, and left for Edwardsville with another prisoner, Anderson Reed. Tuttle was allowed to go to a saloon owned by Mr. Lammert, and passed some time away there. It later alleged that Tuttle went out of the saloon, and ran. Deputy Dickey followed and shot at time. A mob joined in the pursuit, also shooting at him. He soon fell into their hands and was thrown into a wagon. Tuttle was then hit with clubs and stones, and died at their hands. He was about 25 years of age. It was later found that he was engaged in stock trading, and was an honest, upright man. His body was never found. To read the full story, please click here.

 

 

WILLIAM C. BELL - FOR THE MURDER OF HERMANN WENDELL ON NOVEMBER 21, 1868

On November 21, 1868, a German farmer by the name of Hermann Wendell was brutally murdered near Edwardsville. Wendell’s wife and father-in-law had left for St. Louis to attend the wedding of the sister and daughter, leaving Wendell alone with William Bell, a common laborer who had been living with the family. Wendell went to the nearest neighbor – about 100 yards away – and then returned to his home. Shortly after, a gunshot was heard. When the wife and father-in-law returned, Hermann was missing. Bell told them he gave Hermann $2, and that he left with the intention of going to St. Louis to attend the wedding. Suspicion was raised, and Bell was arrested. The body of Hermann Wendell was found buried in the hog pen. Bell was tried and convicted of murder, and sentenced to hang November 12, 1869.  To read the full story, please click here.

 

 

WILLIAM FELIX HENRY - FOR THE MURDER OF HENRY DEPUGH AND HENRY ROSS ON MARCH 28, 1883

On March 28, 1883, a double murder was perpetrated at Rocky Fork in Godfrey. Two young African-Americans, who were cousins, were gunned down in their home. Henry Depugh, son of Reverend Depugh, and Henry Ross were both shot in the head. On Tuesday evening, March 27, Henry Depugh had gone into Alton and purchased a pair of shoes. He left for home in a wagon at about six o’clock. Ross had been at the home of a neighbor, but left for home at an early hour, saying he expected DePugh from town. The next morning, Mr. Green’s young son, Joseph Green, went to the home to borrow some eggs. The door was locked, so he peered into the window. Horrified, he saw the body of Depugh lying on the floor, and ran to tell his father. An investigation followed, but the murderers were not discovered until February 1884. William Felix Henry, a 23-year-old colored man, left a breech-loading shotgun behind at R. H. Flagg’s store in Alton for security on purchasing some goods. The gun fit the description of one of the weapons taken from the Depugh home the night of the murder. Further investigation found a revolver, similar to the one possessed by DePugh, at A. S. Bennet’s second-hand store in Alton, left behind by William Felix Henry. William F. Henry was arrested and placed in the Alton jail. His uncle, Reverend Jacobs, visited him in the jail, and after a conversation, Henry was ready to confess.

William F. Henry had gone to the Depugh and Ross home on March 27, 1883, and slept part of the night with them. He rose, and in cool deliberation, shot Henry Depugh while he was cooking a meal for his guest. It was later determined by he shot Depugh because Depush had shot his dog years ago. After shooting Henry Depugh, the assassin put another load into his victim, and then finished him with a bullet from the revolver. Henry Ross, according to William F. Henry, slept through the murder. William F. Henry, started to leave, but feared that Ross would tell that he had been there, so he went back inside and killed him as he slept. He then set the house on fire, and left in the darkness of the night. After the confession, which was kept quiet in fear of a lynch mob, William F. Henry was taken to Edwardsville to the county jail. A trial was held, and he was sentenced to hang on January 16, 1885. However, William F. Henry soon retracted his confession, and implicated others in the crime. Because his stories kept changing, no one believed him. William Felix Henry was hung on the gallows until dead, on January 16, 1885. Deputy Sheriff Volbracht made a trip by stagecoach to Fork McKinney, Wyoming Territory, to arrest Reuben Morris, a U. S. Cavalry soldier who William F. Henry implicated in the crime. Morris surrendered, and was brought back to Edwardsville and jailed, along with Lemuel Welch, who was also implicated by Henry. After further investigation, it was revealed the men were innocent, and Reverend Henry Depugh, father of one of the murdered men, withdrew his charge against them and they were released. To read the full story of the murder, please click here.

 

 

PATRICK BOYLE - FOR THE MURDER OF JOHN MUENCH ON AUGUST 12, 1891

On August 12, 1891, two men – John Muench and Patrick Boyle – were “tramping” near Nameoki. They went to Charles Forcade’s Saloon, where Muench treated Boyle to a drink. He laid down $1 and received 90 cents change from the bartender. They left the saloon and started north on the railroad tracks. After proceeding some distance, Muench stepped off the track. When he was a few yards away, Boyle drew a pistol and shot Muench in the back, telling him to give him all his money and everything else he had. Muench handed over the 95 cents and a bundle, which contained several shirts. Boyle then ordered him to go back where they came from. Muench made his way to the saloon in Nameoki. A doctor was called and the wound was pronounced serious. Boyle was later arrested at Carlinville on a Chicago & Alton fruit train. In the rail car was the bundle of clothes belonging to Muench. The Madison County Sheriffs went to Carlinville and took possession of Boyle. They waited for the 9:30 train, but it was late. As the Sheriff stepped into the operator’s office, leaving the prisoner in the hands of his assistants, Boyle escaped. He was later found in a farmer’s field, still handcuffed. He was arrested once again and taken to Edwardsville.

John Muench was placed in the hospital with a bullet lodged in the lungs. He was suffering intensely, but was able to identify Boyle and the bundle of clothes Boyle had taken. Muench died on a Sunday morning. A trial was held and the verdict was murder. Boyle was sentenced to hang, however Illinois Governor Joseph W. Fifer stayed the execution until January 23, 1892, to give time for the Supreme Court to review the case. Patrick Boyle was hung on January 23, 1892. He was buried in the Catholic Cemetery. To read the full story of the murder, please click here.

 

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