On this day in 1897, a vengeful mob broke into the Ripley County Jail and forcibly removed five robbery suspects before lynching them. The vigilantes strung up the suspects’ naked and battered bodies from an elm tree about two blocks from the jail then dispersed a little before 1 AM. It is believed that an estimated 250 people were present during the hanging. Approximately only 800 people lived in Versailles at the time.
The lynching victims were identified as:
- LYLE LEVI, 57, shot through the breast then dragged to the tree and hanged
- WILLIAM JENKINS, 27, skull crushed in with a stool, noose put around neck,
body dragged to the tree and suspended
- HENRY SCHULER, 24, skull crushed, body dragged to the tree and suspended
- CLIFFORD GORDON, 22, bound, dragged to the tree and hanged
- ALBERT ANDREWS, 30, bound, dragged to the tree and hanged