Mahaska County


Histories of Mahaska County

Attempted Lynchings in Mahaska County, Iowa

J. W. Brown

August 3, 1857

On the night of the election in Oskaloosa, August 3, 1857, J. W. Brown, the editor of the Herald and E. W. Rice sat talking in the office of the former, when about midnight a saloon keeper, Bowen, and his gang, came past. Brown and Bowen had difficulty in getting along peaceably with each other.  Stopping under the office window they began to make threats upon the life of Brown, which were easily overheard within. As the threats became more violent, Brown armed himself and stood ready for defense. A few minutes later Bowen was heard to declare that he would head the gang and they would clear the office. As he started for the door, Brown called out to him to stop or suffer the consequences. Bowen reached the door and started to break it open, but was shot before he succeeded.  He fell, mortally wounded, and the mob did not dare go further.
Source: Annals of Iowa, Volume 11, Number 4 (1914), Pg. 271