Missouri and Ozarks History

Information and comments about historical people and events of Missouri, the Ozarks region, and surrounding area.

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I'm a freelance writer specializing in the history of the Ozarks and surrounding region. I've written sixteen nonfiction books, two historical novels, and numerous articles. My latest books are Wicked Women of Missouri, Yanked Into Eternity: Lynchings and Hangings in Missouri, and Show-Me Atrocities: Infamous Incidents in Missouri History.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Lynching of Dr. A.D. Taylor

Dr. A.D. Taylor of Medoc in Jasper County, Missouri, had been a surgeon in the army during the Civil War and was reportedly a well-respected physician after the war. In addition, he had taken up preaching and was supposedly a gifted orator. But he was also known as an abusive husband, beating and otherwise tormenting his wife on almost a daily basis. On several occasions he had threatened to kill her.
On Friday, May 27, 1870, he apparently set out to carry through with the threat and starting beating her unmercifully. He hit her over the head with a gridiron, reportedly breaking it in two. After she fell to the floor, he started kicking her and then began torturing her by stabbing her with a pair of scissors and slicing her face and breasts with a butcher knife. He also used the knife to cut her hair off.
When some neighbors heard her screams and started toward the Taylor house to investigate, Dr. Taylor, apparently realizing he'd gone too far this time, fled to the woods and hid out. On Sunday morning he appeared at a neighbor's door asking for breakfast, but instead of feeding the hungry doctor, the man arrested him and took him to the local constable, who held him pending charges.
Later that evening, as the constable was moving his prisoner to a different location for safekeeping, a posse of about 30 men intercepted the two, took Taylor to a nearby tree, and strung him up. According to one report, Taylor's neighbors, upon hearing about the beating of Mrs. Taylor and "believing that the crime was caused by Dr. Taylor's neck being too short, lengthened it about an inch by hanging him to a tree. The remedy was effectual," the same report concluded. "He will never whip his wife again."
At last report, Mrs. Taylor was clinging to life, but it was uncertain whether she would survive.
And that, I guess, is how wife beaters were dealt with in the old days.


Anonymous Greg Cherry said...

Lewis and Perry Pixley were never caught; they moved to Arkansas and Oklahoma and changed their names. Their young brother with whom I am related, was William Harrison Pixley. My family records indicate that Lewis and Perry Pixley sought revenge for the murder of their father Plummer. William H. Pixley went to live with his oldest brother, Daniel and later moved further south to Cedar Creek, Crawford County, Arkansas. Notes taken by Rev. Gilbert Pixley, grandson to W.H. Pixley cites that his grandfather said the brothers changed their names on account of the handbills issued for their arrest; some of them changed their names to Blevins (Bill and Jim) and moved to OK and the other moved to Clarksville, Arkansas near W.H. Pixley's home in Cedar Creek, Crawford Co., Arkansas. The brother that lived in Arkansas near W.H. assumed the name of Sam Moore and married to wife Lacey (Lacey McCurdy). It wasn't until much later that she learned of his real name. She lived in what is today, Alma Arkansas.

While I am not entirely sure why Gen. Bailey was murdered or whether Sheriff Bailey (Gen. Joseph Bailey) was in fact implicated in their father's death, I find the original account rather incredulous e.g. the prisoners being allowed to ride with their guns, behind the Sheriff as they were being escorted from their home back to Nevada, Mo. The reason he rode from behind (and supposedly without a gun). If these guys were so notorious and desperate, I think I would have been armed and I most definitely would have wanted them in my eyesight the entire ride back to Nevada. Let's just say there is much more to the story than what pro-Union papers printed and what history recalls...

January 19, 2014 at 3:42 PM  

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