Sunday, September 29, 2013

"A mob of probably 250 people had gathered. Most of them were armed...."

Mob Besieges Lyinig-in Hospital and
Terrible Scene Follows.
Hospital Burned to the Ground and
Desperate Occupants Driven
To a Thicket Yield Only
After Being shot.
   Gilman, Ills., Aug. 27. Two men killed, three wounded two of them perhaps fatally, one woman wounded, and her residence burned, are the results of an all-night battle between a mob and Mrs. C. W. Wright, who keeps a lying-in hospital and who is accused of the murder of Dessie Salter, the 16-year-old daughter of a citizen of Leonard, Ill., who died at the hospital Friday.
   The dead are John Myers, laborer, employed by Mrs. Wright, and Michael Ryan, citizen, serving as deputy constable.
   Fatally wounded: Lawrence Ryan, brother of the dead man, shot in abdomen; George Willoughby, citizen, shot through left lung; Mrs. Wright, shot through right shoulder, bullet taking a downward course.
   Seriously wounded: Peter Bauer, member of the citizens' attacking party, shot through the stomach.
   The first act of the tragedy was enacted when Constable Milstead went to the house on the outskirts of the town, occupied by Mrs. Wright, to arrest her on a warrant sworn out after the coroner's jury had declared her guilty of murder. A number of deputies gathered upon the street, accompanied Constable Milstead. Mrs. Wright barred the door. In forcing an entrance the constables encountered unexpected opposition. They broke the outer door open and entered the darkened room. Michael Ryan felt his way across the first room to the inner apartment, when a shot rang out and he fell dead. The constables made a hurried exit, and formed a picket line around the building. At intervals they fired into the building in the hope that the occupants would surrender, but without success. An
attempt to fire the building failed as recent rains had so dampened the timbers that fire would not catch.
   About 3 a. m. the family of Michael Ryan arrived. The dead man had been carried to the bushes near the house, where he met his death. A mob of probably 250 people had gathered. Most of them were armed. The scenes of grief which followed the arrival of Ryan's wife and children fired the crowd with frenzy. Dozens of bundles of straw, saturated with petroleum were piled against the front and sides of the so-called hospital and ignited. In a moment the place was a mass of flames. Shot after shot rang out from the upper windows and George Willoughby, a local represntative of the Standard Oil company, fell with a bullet in the left side. The next victim was Peter Hauer, a member of the attacking party. These casualties so angered the crowd that volleys were fired into the house as fast as they could load their firearms.
Escaped From the Flames.
   Contrary to expectation no screams followed the progress of the flames and the mob began to think that the Inmates of the building had been cremated. Suddenly, from a bunch of timber in the rear several shots came in the direction of the mob, which were answered a hundred to one and tho fire was quickly silenced. Members of the mob rushed to the timber and in the dim light of the coming dawn, found the body of John Myers, a blacksmith, who had been employed by Mrs. Wright, stretched in the death agony. He was shot in a dozen places about the head and shoulders, showing that he had been lying on his face, firing at his enemies when he met death. Near by lay Mrs. Wright, a ragged hole in her right shoulder.
   The rioters carried her down town, jeering as they went. She was taken to the council chamber and physicians set to work in an endeavor to bring her to consciousness.
   After Mrs. Wright was taken to the city hall, a strong guard was placed over her. A crowd soon assembled and threats of lynching were uttered. Every effort was made to quiet and disperse the mob, but at 9.30 a.m. the mob made another demonstration, smashing in the windows with stones and clubs. This culminated in a shot being fired through the window by one of the mob barely missing the woman. Officers finally restored order.
   Mrs. Wright was taken by Sheriff Martin to Paxton at noon by rail and will be taken to the Watseka Jail. The mob became more quiet during the afternoon. No further demonstration is feared in Gilman. It is rumored the mob will attack the Watseka Jail.
   The investigation of the coroner's Jury into the death of Bessie Salter disclosed that her body was taken to Leonard, Ills., under cover of darkness early Sunday morning. No coffin was procured and she was wrapped up in an old blanket and piece of carpet and burled. After the jury had heard the evidence of Clarence Salter, father of the girl, the coroner came to the conclusion that it was injudicious to wait longer for Mrs. Wright's arrest.
   The coroner's jury immediately took up the case of John Myers, but no evidence has been given to disclose who fired the shot that killed him.
[The Evening Bulletin, Maysville, KY., Tuesday, August 28, 1900. Volume XIX. Number 301. Pg. 1]

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