Missouri and Ozarks History

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

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Location: Missouri

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.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Lynching of Irwin Grubb

In June of 1885, Irwin Grubb and Dorson B. Anderson traveled south by wagon together from Lawrence County, Missouri, supposedly headed for Texas. Anderson, who was described in contemporaneous reports as a deaf mute, had earlier lived in Henry County. On the night of June 19, the two men camped in McDonald County about three miles north of Pineville. Some people who lived nearby heard three shots during the night but thought little of it. The next day, however, the wagon passed through Pineville with only one man in it. A couple of days later, the wagon was found along with a money box that had been broken into and its contents taken. About a mile away one of the horses that had been pulling the wagon was found killed and its saddle covered with blood. About the first of July, a boy saw buzzards circling above a hollow not far from Pineville, and upon investigation he found Anderson's body.
Grubb was soon identified as the man who had been with Anderson in the wagon, and he was located back in Lawrence County, arrested on suspicion of murder, and taken back to stand trial. On the trip back to McDonald County, Grubb reportedly confessed, saying at first that he had killed Anderson during an argument and scuffle over a broken saucer but later admitting that he had shot him while he slept and then shot him again and again when Anderson tried to rise. The officers who were taking Grubb back to McDonald County laid over in Neosho with their prisoner, and it was predicted there that Grubb would never reach Pineville but would "adorn a post oak tree instead" somewhere between Neosho and Pineville. A mob did, in fact, form, but not until after the officers reached Pineville. The mob was dissuaded from taking the law into its own hands, and Grubb was promptly taken back to the Jasper County jail at Carthage for safekeeping until his trial.
Grubb was returned to Pineville in late October for trial but was granted a continuance at the November term of court. Afraid that Grubb might "escape his just reward," as one newspaper phrased it, a mob once again formed. (This was apparently at least the third time that a mob had formed bent on vigilante justice in the Grubb case.) When the deputy and the guard who were watching the prisoner left the jail to get a drink of water, two or three men with pistols suddenly appeared and shoved the weapons in the lawmen's faces. They were ordered to throw up their hands, and when they complied, the rest of the mob appeared. The angry mob demanded the keys to the jail, but the guard, who was named Bacon, refused, saying he didn't know where they were and wouldn't hand them over if he did. The mob then threatened to kill him. Bacon's wife, who lived at the jail with her husband, upon overhearing the conversation, grew alarmed and said that she knew where the keys were and would get them if the mob promised not to hurt her husband.
She produced the keys, and the mob went into the jail and ordered Grubb to come out. When he complied, they took him to a tree just north of the Pineville square and hanged him, not far from the spot where Dr. Albert Chenoweth had been shot down by an assassin less than two years earlier.


Anonymous Nancy Brown said...

Interesting, Always like to see stories with a McDonald County storyline.


February 25, 2014 at 9:46 AM  

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