|A Year of Indiana History - 2016|
In the late 1860's the dreaded Reno gang terrorized Jackson County. Robbery, train robberies and other crimes had infected the surrounding population with fear. An August 3, 1865 newspaper column declared that only "lynch law" could bring order back to the county.
Rape and Murder
On December 30, 1866 miscreants raped and murdered Marian Cutlor. She had lived alone near the small village of Clearspring, in Jackson County. The authorities had arrested three men, John Brooks, Jack Eastin and John Talley. Previous to the crime, court authorities had released the Reno gang from jail for lack of evidence for their role in an 1866 train robbery. Vigilantes from the surrounding countryside decided that those accused of raping and murdering Marian Cutlor would pay for their crimes, as it appeared to them that law enforcement was not up to the task. On the night of March 30, 1867 a crowd of about 250 men gathered. They rode to the Brownstown jail. A group of them went into the jail and battered the door down, removed Brooks and Talley and took them to a large tree. After stringing ropes over two big limbs, the men hung them. The first sentence under "lynch law" had been carried out in Jackson County.
A Year of Indiana History - 2016
© Paul Wonning