Happy New Year to all my readers. 2018 went quickly. Its really hard to believe that it is 2019. I will strive to make 2019 better than 2018 with many goals. Take more time to do things I enjoy. Be more productive, less time on cell phone, and more time with family and friends. I hope the same for you.
I haven’t written much about the boy from Etna that became famous in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. I enjoy researching Tom Horn and trying to get as many facts about his situation as I can. Such a mystery that is out there, and only with written facts, he was later proved to be innocent.
He wanted to come back to Missouri. He wrote this in one of his letters to a friend while he was in jail. He said that had truly made up his mind to go back to Missouri and sit down on a farm. He said he would like to get back to Missouri by the time the greens get ripe, so he could live on greens. He had already been incarcerated for about 2 months and would be in jail for another 4 months. He had not been able to read a newspaper in all that time.
John Coble and another gentleman were the only ones that had been to see him in jail. On October 12 he wrote to Coble again to see about getting affidavits to clear his name. He talked with the Judge many times about his whereabouts during the shooting of the Nickell boy.
Tom Horn was a handsome young man, around 6’2”, always getting all the attention when he came to town. However, on November 20, 1903, he was hanged in Cheyenne, Wyoming on a sunny day. The Sheriff there liked Tom Horn, as did many other people, so much so, that they had to design a special trap that was water activated to hang him from the gallows. No one in attendance wanted to spring the trap. He was so popular that the National Guard had to guard the jail all the time, up to the hanging.
Tom himself had written many letters to his friends to get him help before it was too late. He even wrote John Coble a letter about ten minutes before he was taken to the gallows. There were 1,000’s of people in attendance that day. They buried him on November 27 with all the due respect that relatives and friends could show. They had the largest funeral every held in Bosler, Wyoming. Everyone showed courtesy as the hearse passed seven blocks. When they arrived at the cemetery, there was standing room only. There were around 2,500 people in attendance.
His family thanked the Sheriff Smalley for being so kind to Tom and his family. They did return his hat, shoes and grip to the family. Charles Horn had made arrangements to have a guard placed at the grave. The gentleman stayed there until they called him to leave.
So it is, how a man from Etna, never was able to return to his native Missouri, due to his untimely hanging for a murder he did not commit. More on this later, until next time, good bird watching.