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The Lynching of Joseph Marshall and Anderson Reed

Madison County ILGenWeb Coordinator - Beverly Bauser




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.


Source: Edwardsville Intelligencer, March 3, 1870
About two years ago, a German by the name of Lutka, who lived in the American Bottoms near Venice, was murdered in his own house, and the horrible charge was laid to two negroes, one of whom was caught and lynched by being tied behind a wagon by the neck, and dragged over the ground until he was dead. His accomplice, Anderson Reed, escaped, and until Saturday, February 12, he successfully eluded the authorities. He was arrested in St. Louis, and a requisition was obtained from the Governor of this State [Illinois] to bring him over into this State for trial. On February 21 he was brought over, but instead of bringing the man directly to Edwardsville, he was detained in Venice, and placed in confinement at Justice Robinson’s office. What transpired afterwards we clip from the St. Louis Republican:

“The news that Reed was in town spread very quickly through the country, and very evident symptoms of excitement were observable, and threats of lynch law were freely made. Notwithstanding these indications, on the afternoon of the following day, constable Lammert started in a light wagon with the Reed, and no other companion, to drive to Edwardsville – a distance of twenty-five miles. In view of the circumstances and feeling then existing, this act of the Constable shows a very curious conception of his duty. He should have taken every precaution to preserve his prisoner; instead of which he exposes him to the lynchers in the most favorable way for their design. The result was, as might have been plainly foretold, when about three and a half miles from Venice on the Alton Road, he was stopped by two men, who jumped into the wagon and demanded the prisoner. Reed was thrown from the wagon. A crowd of men gathered and surrounded the culprit, but offered no violence to the Constable, who, deeming discretion the better part of valor, offered no resistance. The lynchers immediately set about their murderous work. They put a long rope around Reed’s neck, so that men could hold the ends at each side, and yet be at some distance away, while a number of executioners in front poured a volley of bullets into the body of the half-strangled victim, who fell dead instantly. The corpse was then taken and thrown over a fence, but a few minutes afterwards, a wagon was driven up and the body was tumbled into it, when the vehicle drove off, and nothing further is known. It is supposed the corps was rudely interred at some point in the woods nearby.

A man named Sil Brewington states that he met the constable coming back towards Venice, shortly after the killing of Reed; that he was crying and much agitated; and said that his prisoner had been taken from him and killed. Mr. Lammert denies anything like complicity with the lynchers, but his action in the matter looks decidedly bad for him, for if he realized his responsibility as an officer of the law, he should have taken quite a different course to protect his prisoner. Mr. Lammert is the same officer who had charge of the other negro, Marshall, when he was lynched.

Before we dismiss this case, we may say there at least can be no doubt as to the guilt of Anderson Reed. Mrs. Lutka positively identified him as the companion of Joe Marshall, in the murder of her husband.”


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