Tag Archives: crime

Nebraska’s Vigilante Justice

Public opinion can be a dangerous thing. This is especially true in the case of mob lynching, something we associate with the “wild west” and the lack of a civilized judicial system. However, in an article in the Fall 2012 … Continue reading

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A Controversial Pardon: Governor Poynter and John Benwell Kearns

One of the most controversial official acts of Nebraska Governor William A. Poynter was the pardon of John Benwell Kearns (aka John Benwell). When Kearns was released from the Nebraska State Penitentiary on May 23, 1899, he disappeared quickly from … Continue reading

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Mystery Grave in Boyd County

Like something out of detective fiction, a crew digging a trench found an unmarked grave in a rural field where no graves were known to exist. This 2000 discovery near Lynch, Nebraska, resulted in an excavation led by Nebraska State … Continue reading

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Murder at the Lincoln Hotel: The Irvine-Montgomery Case

The trial of William H. Irvine for the murder of Charles E. Montgomery in October of 1892 in Lancaster County District Court captured statewide (and national) attention. The crime for which Irvine, a Salt Lake City real estate man, was … Continue reading

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Stinkfinger’s Popular Illustrated Monthly Magazine

I recently discovered a rather strange item while editing a collection description on our website. The finding aid for our Charles E. Wood collection lists an item entitled, Stinkfinger’s Popular Illustrated Monthly Magazine. Intrigued by the title, I decided to … Continue reading

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The Great Omaha Train Robbery of 1909

On a night train heading into Omaha, “two men wearing long coats, slouch hats, and dark-blue polka dot handkerchiefs over their faces suddenly appeared over the tender and jumped down to the engine,” writes Tommy R. Thompson. One of the … Continue reading

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“Judge Lynch” in Nebraska

During the six decades from 1859 to 1919, at least 45 men and two women died at the hands of lynch mobs in Nebraska while during the same period, only 23 or 24 individuals were executed according to law. Find … Continue reading

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The Great Sheedy Murder Trial of 1891

It was Lincoln’s most sensational criminal trial of the nineteenth century. But as historian Timothy Mahoney argues, the Sheedy case was more than just a sordid tale of murder, adultery, and greed. In “The Great Sheedy Murder Trial and the … Continue reading

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