Higbee News May 1902; transcribed by Kathy Bowlin.
May 1902--HANGED BY A MOB--Abe Witherup, the Monroe County
From Jail and Hanged to Railroad Bridge Near Paris.--Paris,
MO, May 25
Witherup, the murderer of Wm. Grown, was taken from the
Paris jail at 2 o'clock this morning, marched to the bridge
on the north edge of town and hanged.
The work was done by a mob of more than a hundred
men, who rode quietly into the town at midnight.
They went at once to the jail but were held back for
more than an hour by Sheriff Jas. W. Clark and Deputies
Martin Clark and Polk Masterson, who stood before the
entrance to the jail stockade with drawn revolvers and
threatened to shoot the first man who attempted to force an
mob stayed before the jail for nearly two hours and then
marched away. The
officers remained on guard but thought the mob had been
two o'clock several men approached and engaged the sheriff
and deputies in conversation and before they could defend
themselves they were seized, disarmed and marched away.
The mob quickly surrounded the jail again and with
sledge hammers battered the big iron doors off their hinges
in a few minutes.
H. Whitecotton rushed into the jail as soon as the doors
gave way and made a stirring appeal to the mob to desist and
allow the law to take its course.
The leaders wavered and became quiet and would
probably have spared the prisoner's life, but for the
frenzied cries for vengeance from those in the rear.
Whitecotton was swept aside and in a few seconds
Witherup was secured. He
made no resistance and in reply to questions confessed his
father and brother of his victim were in the mob and
assisted in escorting the prisoner to the bridge a quarter
of a mile away. The
brother is said to have bound Witherup's hands and feet and
adjusted the rope, and the father is said to have pushed him
off the bridge. His
neck was broken by the fall.
His death was almost instantaneous.
The mob quickly dispersed and the body was left
hanging until the arrival of Coroner Johnston this morning.
The inquest will be held Wednesday.
The action of the mob is generally deplored by the
better element in Paris and vicinity.