The first man hanged in the county was swung to a locust tree near Grove City, by a mob, in 1868. His name was Mike Kelley, and he had killed a man by the name of Tom Curran in a saloon in the town. Kelley had had his preliminary examination before Esquire J. L. Smith, and had been bound over to the district court. Then the night after the conclusion of the trial, a mob took him by force from Constable Lew Bigelow, and his assistant, Tom Jordan, who were guarding him, and hanged him, as stated. The members of the mob were masked, The killing of curran is said to have been unprovoked.
From "History of Cass County, Iowa Together With Brief Mention of Old Settlers," by Lafe Young, Atlantic, Iowa, Telegraph Steam Printing House, 1877, pg. 20.