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.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

A Lynching in Saline County

I have observed before that, while lynchings during the 1800s and early 1900s were not everyday occurrences, they were frequent enough that, unless some sensational aspect in addition to the lynching itself attended them, they were often not widely reported. This, of course, was especially true if they occurred in rural areas, where they were witnessed by few, if any, outside parties. In such cases, details about the lynching were often scarce. I have written about at least one or two such cases previously, and another example was the case of Tom Stanton.
On the morning of December 17, 1873, a farmer named Fristoe (probably Thomas Fristoe) residing near the village of Cambridge in Saline County, Missouri, sold a large lot of hogs to a stock buyer in Cambridge for $1,000 in cash. A desperado named Tom Stanton, another tough named Highley, and three of their sidekicks got wind of the transaction and trailed Fristoe out of town until they reached an isolated spot a couple of miles outside the village, where they overtook him and shot him down. Pouncing on him, they cut his throat and then rifled through his pockets, securing the thousand dollars in cash.
The gang fled to some nearby timber to divvy up the stolen money but got into an argument about the split. Meanwhile, a passerby on the road discovered Fristoe's still-warm body and also overheard the argument in the nearby woods. Realizing what had happened, he left quietly and quickly rounded up a posse of men from the neighborhood. The posse set out after the culprits and captured three of them, with the other two making their escape. The three captives, according to a correspondent to the St. Louis Dispatch, were "summarily disposed of in accordance with the terribly stern and retributive judgment of Judge Lynch." A posse was sent after the remaining two killers, but they were apparently never found. It is also not certain whether Stanton and/or Highley were among the three villains who were hanged.


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