Go to: Home Page * History Index *

Harrison County Iowa Genealogy

Murder of City Marshal Whitney
and the
Lynching of His Murderer

Submitted by Vicki King

Missouri Valley Times - Missouri Valley, Iowa - Thursday May 3, 1894

CITY MARSHAL WHITNEY KILLED ~ A Nest Of Burglars Raided ~ J.B. Lyon has a Narrow Escape ~ One of the Burglars Shot Three Times

The inhabitants of Fourth and Michigan streets were awakened this morning by the rapid firing of revolvers at the house on the corner of Fourth and Michigan streets. For the last two months burglaries have been of almost nightly occurrence in this city and the burglars seem to have experienced good luck in escaping detection. Yesterday a slight clue to the perpetrators of the numerous burglaries was secured and the house of a man by the name of Henderson, living at the corner of Fourth and Michigan, was located as the headquarters of the gang. Last night Marshal Whitney, Night Marshal Deal, Special Police Jim Wisecup and J. B. Lyon concluded to watch the place. A search warrant was sworn out so that the house might be searched for the stolen goods. The officers surrounded the house and watched it all night, but nothing particularly suspicious transpired except that Henderson and two other men came in about 11 o'clock. The officers waited until about five o'clock this morning it as determined to search the house, and see what could be found. Marshal Whitney, Night Marshal Deal, J.B. Lyon and Jim Wisecup went to the door and knocked and not being admitted they walked into the room. The house is a story and a half structure. In the room downstairs the officers found Henderson, and Special Police Wisecup was left to guard him and the other three men went upstairs. When they stepped into the bedroom upstairs they found two of the burglars and when Marshal Whitney ordered them to surrender they opened fire on the officers. Marshal Whitney and Lyon returned the fire. At the second shot from the burglars Marshal Whitney reeled backwards and fell against Night Marshal Deal and pitched headlong down the stairs. A shot had struck him just about the heart and killed him instantly. Lyon and Deal then emptied their revolvers at the burglars. One of the burglars was shot four times; one in the shoulder, one in the lungs, and one in each leg. Lyons got a shot through his clothes, and it came so close that it broke through the skin above his heart for about two inches. It was close enough to make Mr. Lyon feel that he was nearly sent for. After the shooting upstairs the officers vacated the house, taking the body of the dead marshal with them. The body was laid on the sidewalk and some of the officers were sent downtown to wake the people and get help. During the excitement one of the burglars in some way got out of the house and ran up the hill toward Snyder's timber. As soon as it was discovered that one of the men had escaped searching parties were started out in every direction, and it is believed at this writing he will be caught.

~THE WOUNDED BURGLAR~ The burglar that is wounded unto the death says his name is Peter Johnson, and he claims that he has no relations. In his clothes a meal ticket was found issued by a restaurant in Grand Island, Neb. On the back of the ticket is written the name Kumbocker, but the wounded man denies that that is his name. He had five dollars in his pocket but no letters by which he could be identified. He is a sandy complected man about five feet ten inches tall and weighs about 175 pounds, and looks like he would just as leave kill a man as not and he demonstrated this morning that he knew how to handle a revolver. The shot he fired that killed Marshal Whitney was well aimed, and the one he fired at Mr. Lyon came within an eight of an inch of doing the business. He is a man that should have been killed long ago, if one should judge by his looks.

~NIGHT MARSHAL DEAL'S STORY~ To the Times Night Marshal Deal gave the following as his version of the shooting. "Marshal Whitney, myself, Lyon, and Wisecup, about five o'clock this morning went to the door of Henderson's house and knocked. We had to knock three times before the door was opened. Henderson came to the door himself and told us to come in.

When we told him our business and that we had a search warrant for the house and wanted the men there he told us to upstairs, as they were up there. Whitney, Lyon and myself went upstairs. I took the lead and when I walked into the room I found the two men asleep on the bed. Lyon and Whitney followed me into the room. I awoke them and told them they were my prisoners. The burglar that escaped (later on) lunged out of bed and showed a 41 revolver under my ear and if I moved I would be a dead man. I had not expected an attack and was taken unawares and as the man had the drop on me I didn't move. The other burglar pulled a revolver out from under the bed clothes and commenced shooting at Whitney and Lyon. They returned the fire and for a about fourteen seconds it was pretty lively around there. The room is only about eight by twelve feet and the firing was a short range.

Whitney was hit by the second shot from the burglar in bed and fell backwards down the stairs. After Lyon had emptied his revolver he jumped down the stairs. All this time the other burglar held the revolver at my ear swearing he would blow my head off and telling me not to make a move. When Lyon jumped down the steps, I told the burglars that they had just as well surrender, as they were sure to be taken. The who had done the shooting was in the bed and had been shot in four places and I thought he was dead. He came to and when I told them they had better surrender he said they had shot him to death and he would kill me and attempted to level the revolver at me. I saw that to stay there meant certain death, so I knocked the revolver to one side , that the man had at my ear, and jumped down the steps, and I didn't hit any of the steps, either, going down. They shot at me as I jumped out the door. The wounded burglar is a desperate man and the only wonder to me is that we all were not killed, for the bullets were thicker than hail stones in that room for a little while. I think the men were just pretending to be asleep, and think they heard us when we went up the stairs. They had their revolvers in bed with them. When I went into the room the burglars' clothes were on a chair on the other side of the room from the bed. Think that the one that got away was about twenty-two years old, and he had no mustache but was smooth shaved. I had plenty of time to get a good look at him for he had me held up for five minutes with a revolver held at my ear. It wasn't a very pleasant sensation to feel the cold barrel of that pistol against my ear. I am thankful to get out of the scrape alive and hope it will be a long time before the officers of this city are called upon to go through another such an experience. Marshal Whitney never spoke after he was shot, but threw up his hands and fell backwards down the steps. The burglar that was wounded was the collest man in the ~whole outfit."

~THE WOUNDED BURGLAR'S STORY~ Bob Crawford took care of the wounded burglar all forenoon and he says he told the following facts in relation to himself. He says he got in with a crowd of bums at Fremont last week and got drunk with them. They told him they were coming to Missouri Valley to rob a store, and said that they had been over there once before and robbed a store so he joined them in the expedition. Says that the burglar that got away was one of the gang. Four of them robbed Lyon's store Thursday night, and took the good to Henderson's house. Says Henderson was not with them. He said they would have given themselves up if the shooting hadn't taken place. Is very sorry for the part he took in the affair and sorry that Marshal Whitney was killed. He says the burglar that got away was a stranger to him and he had only known him a few days. He says that he has no people. He was suffering so terribly this forenoon that he begged Mr. Crawford to kill him. He says that they had no particular trouble in getting into Lyon's store and as it was dark they had all the time they needed to take what they wanted. The goods were carried up the back alleys to Henderson's house and stored in the wood shed and in the different rooms. He says they intended to operate in this city for a week or town and then get out. The man is growing weaker and will probably die this evening. Every time he breathes the air and blood oozes out of the wound in his breast. The two wounds in his legs and shoulder are very painful, and he has lost a large amount of blood. The bullets have not be probed for yet.

~THE GOODS FOUND~ All the goods stolen from Lyons's store were found in an old shed adjoining the house. Night Marshal Deal and Mr. Lyon broke open the door to the shed and found a bull dog chained in it. The dog didn't propose to let them in, so they sent him to the happy hunting ground. The goods were found under an old carpet, and on the top of the carpet a piece of an old picket fence had been thrown. In the pile of good found were razors, scissors, knives, guns, etc, and Mr. Lyon identified the goods as those stolen from his store. A part of the goods were also found in different rooms of the house.

~MARSHAL WHITNEY~ Marshall Whitney who was killed by the burglar this morning had been on the force in this city but a short time but during that time has proved himself a very efficient officer. He was a man who had always been well respected in our city. He was a single man and lived with his mother in Snyder's addition. A coroner's inquest will be held over the remains at 2 p.m.

~GOT A SHOT AT THE BURGLARS~ Claude Humphreys was one of the special officers last night and he and his brother-in-law, Milo Gross, of Fremont, were called this morning when the house was surrounded. While they were guarding the front of the house one of the burglars attempted to get out of the upstairs window and they took a shot at him with their revolvers. It didn't take but about a second for that burglar to be back into the house.

~NOTES OF THE DAY~ Constable Ennis took Henderson to Logan this afternoon for safe keeping as many of the people were talking of lynching him. ~ The business men of this city have raised $250 as a reward for the escaped burglar and the city authorities through the mayor office $50 making a reward $300 for his capture. ~ The coroner's inquest was adjourned at 2:30 until 10 o'clock next Monday. ~ Mo. Valley was never as greatly excited as it has been today. ~ Just as we go to press there is a rumor on the streets that the burglar has been surrounded in the woods near Calhoun and is standing the people off with a couple of big revolvers. Quite a number have gone up from this city to help capture him. ~ The reception given this gang of burglars will have a tendency to put a stop to the burglary business in this city. ~ This has been a busy day with the newspaper boys. All the leading dailies in the state have asked fro special reports. Mayor Miller sent a 1,000 word special to the Omaha Bee. The TIMES sent a 600 word special to the Omaha Herald. The Globe and nonpareil asked us for a 300 to 500 word special, and we sent the Des Moines Daily Capital and Sioux City Tribune each a 300 word special. ~ At time of going to press the wounded burglar was still alive but no hope for his recovery. ~ J.B. Lyon says he don't care for another as lively time as that was. ~ The funeral of Marshal Whitney will take place from the M.E. church on Monday afternoon at 2:30, Rev. Roderick preaching the funeral sermon.

Missouri Valley Times - Missouri Valley, Iowa - Thursday May 3, 1894

HUNTING A BURGLAR ~ Five Hundred Men and Boys put in the Day Hunting the Escaped Burglar ~ The Timber North of the City Thoroughly Searched but no Burglar Found

Yesterday was a busy day for a large majority of the people of this city. The report had been circulated that he had been seen in the timber north of Calhoun. A young man by the name of Richard Foreman came into the city about 8 o'clock and reported that he had seen the burglar in the timber near Calhoun and that he had taken two shots at him. He also said that Sheriff Coulthard with a posse was on the ground and wanted as many as possible to come up from this city and help him take the burglar. In a few minutes teams started for the scene loaded with men, each one carrying a shot gun or rifle, and every one of them determined to plug that burglar and get the three hundred dollars reward offered for his capture. In an hour, at least two hundred men and boys had left for the scene, and it seemed that there was no possible show for the burglar to escape. The timber around Calhoun was thoroughly searched and half a dozen different stories as to where he had been seen were run down and they all proved to be made out of the excited imagination of some farmer. A report was circulated that the burglar had slept in a cave in the timber above Girton's all night and had left there about 1 o'clock in the morning, and had been tracked into the timber near John Coffman's place in Raglan township. Immediately the crowd started for that place and the timber where it was said he had been tracked to was surrounded, the party dividing up into companies an marching through the timber, searching every stump and tree where a burglar could possibly find a hiding place, but no burglar showed up to be shot. It is said that in the case where he is supposed to have stayed all night that the tracks of a horse's hoofs were found and the imprint of a man's foot in his stocking feet was found. The tracks of the man was measured and they corresponded with the tracks found in the plowed ground near Calhoun. The track left by the horse's hoof showed that the horse was plate shod and the trail from the cave was followed in this way for three miles or more leading north to the heavy timber just south of Magnolia. The trail was lost here and it was judged from the direction that he was making for the timber over in Raglan township. The man who told the story about the man staying in the cave said that he could hear the men talking during the night and he thinks that he had got a pal with him. The man who overheard the talk was asked why he didn't arrest the burglars and he said he had no gun, not even a "horse pistol" and he didn't care to tackle a couple of desperate burglars empty-handed, in fact he had not lost any burglars lately, and if he had he wasn't in any hurry to take chance on going to the other world this spring.

About noon ten or fifteen loads of armed men drove into the village of Magnolia and it looked to the citizens of that place like a war had broken out. Magnolia hasn't been so lively a place since the day the Logan followers stole the county seat from that town. The search was kept at all day until the shades of evening began to gather warning the hunters that it was time to go home for it was not the worst thing in the world. They gave up their hunt for the burglar and returned to the Valley, and every new party that came in had to tell the expectant and excited people a history of their experience during the day.

~THE WOUNDED BURGLAR~ Captain Moyston, captain of the Omaha police, came up to the Valley yesterday to see if he could identify the wounded burglar. He was taken to Henderson's house where the burglar was in bed, being guarded by four officers. When the captain walked into the room he said to the sounded man "Hello, Reddy, they seem to have you down pretty solid here." "Yes captain, they have got me this time, sure."

The captain had recognized in the wounded burglar one of the worst men the police of Omaha has ever had any thing to do with. He says the man's name is Fred Wilson, alias "Reddy" Wilson, one of the smoothest and most desperate burglars ever in the west. The wounded man recognized the captain as soon as he stepped into the room where he was. Captain Moystan gave the TIMES the following history of the wounded man: "Wilson has served three terms in the Nebraska penitentiary. The first job he ever did in Omaha was about fifteen years ago, when he held a grocery store proprietor up in broad daylight and robbed him. After getting the cash he ran out of doors, cut a horse loose that was standing in front of the store. He was chased over into the bottom west of Council Bluffs and his horse mired down in the mud. Before they captured him he succeeded in wounding two of the police who were after him. He got three years for this job. The next we heard of him was when he robbed a store in Blair, Neb. And was chased by the officers and overhauled near Arlington, Neb. Before they succeeded in arresting him this time he shot the job off of the deputy sheriff and wounded another officer. He was sent to the penitentiary again for this job. The next time we heard of him he was arrested for robbing the house of the secretary of state in Lincoln, Neb. He was captured that time without his wounding anybody and was sent to the pen for that job, and was just released from the Penitentiary February 1st. To show you how smooth this man Wilson is I will relate a job he did in our city after he got out of the penitentiary the second time. He came to Omaha, rented a room in a very aristocratic part of the city. He would remain in his room all day and go out at night, telling the proprietor of the house that he had a job of work which kept him out all night. In ten days he robbed a half a dozen stores of silks and satins and got away from the city without his landlady even suspicion that he was anything but an honest man. He was always regarded by the police of our city as a desperate and dangerous character and we never gave him the least opportunity to get the drop on us for we knew that he was a "killer" and a man that it would not do to take any chances with.

Captain Moystan says that Henderson was not considered a bad man when he lived in Omaha but bore a very good name there, in fact, he said that Henderson had done the police of that city good turns in giving them tips that led to the arrest of several hard gangs. Henderson was conductor on one of the motors while he lived in Omaha.

The city authorities felt that it was dangerous to keep the wounded burglar at the Henderson home, as they were afraid that his friends from Omaha might undertake to rescue him, so last night after dark, the officers removed him to the city jail where he could be more easily guarded and where the chances of his escape would not be so good. The city was considerably excited that night, and there was talk of lynching the wounded man but a wiser course prevailed and it was decided to let the law take its course.

The city has gained a bad enough reputation as it is by having such a gang in our midst without adding the crime of lynching to it. The wounded man is being guarded day and night no possible way of him escaping. He will be taken to the county jail as soon as he is able to be moved. It is not know if he will ever be bound for Logan as he is badly wounded.

Missouri Valley Times - Missouri Valley, Iowa - Thursday May 3, 1894


~ "Reddy" Wilson Hung from he Steps of the City Hall ~ A DESPERATE MAN GONE. ~ The Murderer of Marshal Whitney is taken from Jail and Hung. ~ He Dies Without Confessing any of His Crimes.

 For the first time in the history Missouri Valley experienced a lynching bee this morning. A mob of about one hundred masked men this morning at 2 o'clock took "Reddy" Wilson, the murderer of Marshal Whitney, out of the city jail and hung him to the steps of the city building. The mob overpowered Special Police Tim Dean and Tom Norris, who were guarding the prisoner in the jail. They demanded the keys of the officers, but they refused to give them up saying the did not have them. A crowbar was procured from the electric light building near by, and the locks on the jail door were busted off and the mob entered the jail. A rope was placed around the doomed man's neck and he was asked if he had anything to say. He said that he had been forced into the life he led and had never intentionally killed a man, and claimed that he shot Marshal Whitney in self defense. He refused to confess anything and the leader of the mob said, "Boys, do your duty," and a hundred hands grabbed the rope that was around the poor wretch's neck and drug him out of doors. It was only ten feet to the steps leading to the second story of the city building and in a few seconds the crowd had his body under the steps when three men walked out from upstairs and taking hold of the rope pulled the body up and fastened the rope to the banisters. In a few minutes the mob had dispersed, and nobody but the officers were left on the scene. The body was left hanging until 6 o'clock a.m., when Squire Tamisiea ordered it cut down and taken to Losey, Bell & McGavren's undertaking establishment, where it was prepared for burial.

~ THE ELECTRIC LIGHT PLANT SHUT DOWN ~At 1:30 two masked men walked into the electric light station and ordered John Perry, the man in charge, to shut down. As each of the men had a 44 revolver shoved under Mr. Perry's nose, he concluded that it was the proper thing to do, so he shut off the light. Night Police C. W. Ryle was in the electric light plant and he was also covered with a revolver and told to keep quiet, as there was some business on hand and he was not expected to be in it and Ryle kept quiet. The city authorities had ordered the street lights to be run all night, as they were somewhat afraid the people might conclude to wreak their revenge on the wounded man in jail, and they thought that by running the lights it might deter them, but hadn't figured on the crowd holding up the man in charge of the lights. After the lynches had left the scene the lights were turned on again and burned until daylight. The arc light at the corner of Fourth street was let down onto the ground and the rope taken to hang the man with, but when the crowd reached the jail they concluded that the rope was too light so they went to the electric light plant and got a heavier rope with which to do the job. The arc light at Erie and Third streets was broken so that it could not be used, whether accidentally or purposely we could not learn.

~ THE MOB FORMED ~ About midnight small bodies of men could be seen making their way to the Second ward school grounds. They came in twos and threes from all directions, and every man of them wore a mask, so that it was impossible to identify them. There was very little talking done by anyone. (5 lines that are too blurry to read.) ..going on in the little groups in which the men had divided up into. At 1:20 the order to march was given by the man who was acting as captain of the mob, and the company moved out of the school house and onto Huron street and marched to Third and then to the jail. Not a word was spoken on the trip by anyone above a whisper. The men set their heels down with a hard thud that proved to the onlookers that the day of judgment was close at hand for "Reddy" Wilson, the murderer of Marshal Whitney. The company marched in a solid phalanx like men going in battle, each man determined to see that the death of Marshal Whitney should be then and there avenged.

~ AT THE JAIL ~ When the mob formed in front of the jail Special Police Tim Deal and Tom Norris were overpowered and requested to give up the keys to the cells, which they refused to do, saying the didn't have them. Two of the mob were sent to the electric light house and in a minute or two returned with a crowbar, with which the outer jail door was pried off, and the lock of the inner door, which is made of iron bars was broken. Upon entering the jail the prisoner was found on a bed in the corridor of the jail, instead of in the cell as had been expected. He was informed that his time had come and that if he had anything to say he had better say it quick, as the proposed to send him before his Maker to answer to him for his murder of Marshal Whitney.

The doomed man never quailed but claimed he had shot the Marshal and Lyon in self defense, had never killed a man before, and had been forced into the life he had led. "He told the mob they would be sorry for the act they were about to commit, and if they would let him alone he would soon die anyhow." He would not tell who his pals in the crime were and wouldn't say anything as to his relatives and wore a stold sullen look and seemed to care little whether he died or not. After he had spoken a few words a rope was thrown around his neck and he was dragged to the stair steps and willing hands took hold of the rope and swung the man off into eternity with the blood stain of Marshal Whitney still fresh on his soul. The knot was tied under the man's left ear in a professional manner and the man who fixed that rope knew just how a job of that kind should be done. At daylight this morning the citizens who were out before 6 0'clock saw the body hanging to the steps of the city building and for a background was the sign, "Public Library." A sheet had been wrapped around the body, and as it swun in the breeze it presented a ghastly sight, a terrible warning to the tough element of the city to make themselves scarce in this neighborhood - a warning to all burglars that Missouri Valley is not a healthy place for such people.

~THE CAUSES FOR THE LYNCHING ~ Mob law is to be regretted under any circumstances, but there were many causes leading up to the lynching of "Reddy" Wilson in this city this morning. The city for the last six months has been overrun with tramps, thugs, robbers and plug uglies. The officers of the city have done all in their power to keep this element down and have given their best efforts in that direction, but the police force has been too small to cope with the gangs of tough men that travel through the country at the present time. Missouri Valley is especially well located to catch all these people, as it is at the junction of three main lines of railroad and is on the direct route from east to west and north to south. Being a first class city the thieves think of course they can reap a rich harvest here. Were it a small country town they would pass it by without stopping. During the last two months there have been no less than twenty robberies committed in this city, and the citizens felt the time had come to call a halt. When the parties who were employed in the raid on Lyon's place were arrested at the forfeit of Marshal Whitney's life and the accounts heard from Lyon, and Night Marshal Deal the people were worked up into a pitch of frenzy almost and they were determined that something should be done that would serve as a warning to that class of people to give Missouri Valley a wide berth. When the report was circulated through the city that the officers had been led into a trap and murdered, the cry for revenge went up from almost every man on the street and we believe that if Henderson had not been taken to Logan he would have been lynched on the night of the murder, and we think that Morris did a smart thing when they got the man out of the city. We believe the citizens of Missouri Valley are as law abiding and peace loving people as there are in the United States, but their patience had become exhausted by the number of crimes that had been committed in this city, and their determination to make an example of the burglar that was in their reach was only business. Of course a sober second thought of the matter would have convinced them that the better course would have been to allow the law to take its course, but when they thought of their murdered marshal, who was an excellent officer, a splendid man, a good citizen, and an honor to any community lying cold in death, caused by the bullet from a revolver in the hands of the burglar in their reach, it is little wonder they concluded to take the law into their own hands and wreak a summary vengeance upon the man who so ruthlessly shot Marshal Whitney in cold blood. The Times does not believe there is a man in Missouri Valley, who believes for a moment, who believes in mob law-not a man n that crowd who did not believe that it was better for the law to take its course, but it must be remembered that the day before the lynching they had followed a friend and brother to an untimely grave, sent there by the murderous bullet of the burglar. The people away from this city do not realize the causes, surrounding the lynching. Missouri Valley does not favor mob law, and this morning every man in the city regrets the hanging of the burglar but had he escaped they feel that the that he might have again returned to the city and murdered other of our citizens. We all are sorry that a lynching should have occurred inour city, but that will not bring the dead man back or clear the stain upon the city, but there is a consolation in knowing that the lynching will be a salutary warning to other burglars to stay on the other side of the Missouri river.

~ REPORT THAT THE OTHER BURGLAR CAPTURED A MISTAKE ~ A report reached the Valley last night at 9 o'clock that the burglar that had escaped and had been in hiding in the timber north of the city since the morning of the murder had been captured at Mondamin. In a few minutes after the report had been started the city was almost as much excited as it was when the searching parties were out after him on Sunday. Little knots of men were gathered on every corner discussing what the effect would be if he should be brought back to this city, and the universal verdict was that it would be very unhealthy for him if he was brought here. A report was circulated that he had been taken off the train and taken across the country to Logan, Night Marshal Deal and Abe Daniels left on the freight train for Mondamin at 1 o'clock to bring the man back to the city if he proved to be the right man. When they reached Mondamin they found the man under arrest was a fellow by the name of Carruthers, and he had been arrested by constable Ike Thomas. He was not the man wanted, although he answered the description of the missing burglar in many particulars. It was found that he had been working near Mondamin for several days, and was only unfortunate in resembling in a small degree the man that is so badly wanted in this city. A thousand different reports were circulated to the city last night about the missing burglar, but they were aft from the imagination of excited citizens.

~ THE BURIAL OF THE BURGLAR ~ The burial of the burglar will take place this afternoon from the mortuary. He will be laid to rest in the Potter's field, as he had no money and no friends, and as the mantle of earth falls over his body the mantle of forgetfulness will fall over the memory of him and there he will lie, unknown and unwept, until the judgment morning, when he will be called before the Great Judge to answer for his many crimes, among which the blackest is the murder of Marshal Whitney. So mote it be.

~ NOTES OF THE LYNCHING ~ It was an orderly crowd. The burglar's face was slightly skinned when he was dragged out of the jail door. The man that tied the knot under the burglar's ear knows how the job ought to be done. The body hung from the steps of the city hall from 2 to 5 a.m. this morning. The other prisoner in the jail was so badly scared that he won't enjoy a mean of victuals for the next four hundred years. Everybody has his own opinion as to the lynching this morning. When a fellow tells you he knows who composted the crowd of lynches, tell him he don't know what he is talking about. We don't think anybody knows who they were. The lynches were all masked so that one man didn't know who the next man to him was. The fellow that started the report that the lynches was a crowd from Logan, surely must have been mistaken. This is the first and it is hoped that it will be the last lynching bee ever seen in Missouri Valley. The murder of Marshal Whitney was the first one ever committed in this city. Had Marshal Whitney been less popular than he was the lynching might not have happened - everybody was his friend. The report in the Omaha Bee this morning must have been written before the event happened as it says the man was hung to a tree and the lynches had to light a match in the jail to find the man. There were two lamps burning in the jail when the burglar was taken out. The Bee was too previous with its report and its reporter must have known that the lynching was to have taken place and write it up in advance. None of its particulars were correct. The last fair days have been the most exciting ones ever know in this city.

Missouri Valley Times, Missouri Valley, IA May 3rd, 1894
Marshal Whitney
At 3 o'clock Sunday the remains of the murdered marshal was laid to rest in Rose Hill Cemetery. The deceased was 
a member of the Junior order of American Mechanics, and was buried by that order. The members of the order went to 
the home of the deceased in Snyders addition and escorted the remains to the Methodist church. At the third ward 
schoolhouse the procession was joined by the Mo. Valley Cornet band, and was let to the church to the strains of the 
funeral dirge. At the church an eloquent sermon was preached by Rev. Roderick. The coffin was covered by a beautiful 
floral offering by the members of the order and the merchants of the city. After the sermon the funeral procession was 
formed again and headed by the Mo. Valley band, marched up 3rd St. to the cemetery, where the remains were laid 
away until the last day. The dead marshal was a brave man, a good officer and a splendid citizen, and his untimely 
and tragically death has cast a gloom over the entire city. He leaves an aged mother and two sisters to mourn his 
untimely death. 

In memory of Marshal Abner Whitney
Born July 17th, 1860 at Charles City, Iowa
Died April 28th, 1894 Missouri Valley, Iowa
Buried Rose Hill Cemetery, Missouri Valley. Iowa

Return to the Harrison County History page.