Pleasant Hill Shootout and Lynching
Another chapter in my Desperadoes book is about a shootout that occurred at the Pleasant Hill (Mo.) train depot (at left) on February 20, 1915, between city marshal Joseph Adams and nightwatchman Clarence Poindexter on one side and two tramps named Williams and Ryan on the other. The gunfight ensued when Marshal Adams tried to arrest and search the two men on suspicion of having committed a robbery at Richards, Missouri, sixty miles south of Pleasant Hill, the night before. The shootout left Poindexter dead, Ryan mortally wounded, and Williams less severely wounded but under arrest for the killing of Poindexter. In the wee hours of the next morning, February 21, Williams was dragged out of his cell by a determined mob and hanged from a water tower just a block or two from the jail. Later evidence showed that Williams and Ryan had not been the Richards robbers, but the feeling around Pleasant Hill was that they must have been guilty of something or they wouldn't have resisted arrest.