~ August 29, 1885 • Black Hills Weekly Times ~


The Liveliest Town in the Hills During the Last Thirty-Six Hours.

Few Additional Particulars of the Murder and Lynching.

If Ignorance is bliss the average Sturgis-ite must be supremely happy, for although the town has been agitated from the center to circumference by events of more than extraordinary moment, we have yet to find the individual at all conversant with the first fact or incident. Repeated interviews in person and by wire, and unceasing effort in various other directions, supply the following: Early Monday the better class of citizens of Sturgis who had determined to unearth the mystery surrounding the death of Dr. Lynch, became satisfied that Hallis was


And they at once resolved that he should speedily suffer for his great offense. They found the man with whom he had exchanged clothing, and to who he had repeatedly declared an intention of killing the doctor; they found the party from whom he had purchased ammunition, and they found the deadly weapon with which the unprovoked crime was committed. These facts were laid before the coroner’s jury, and with the verdict of the latter to, in a measure, justify them, they proceeded with their self-imposed mission. Hallis rested in the calaboose, under the guardianship of John McDonald and Norman McCauley, when, at about 9 o’clock, two score of masked men quietly drew near, and in manner so cautious that not a soul absent from the building was aware of the event (so they say), obtained custody of the prisoner, and as silently retired to


Rear of the Catholic Church, where, with little ceremony and delay the guilty wretch was suspended ‘twixt heaven and earth. The identity of the mute band of executioners, its place of abode and aught else pertaining to it, was not divulged and never will be known. Like a phantom cortege it appeared, and, performing its work, vanished from sight. Two hours later a detachment of the Twenty-fifth infantry under command of Captain Jackson, arrived at the calaboose to protect Hallis from violence. The situation was then disclosed, and all Sturgis was startled by the announcement; “Hallis is hung.” The “news” spread rapidly. In town it was hailed with satisfaction; at Fort Meade it aroused great indignation and muttering of vengeance against the town and people, among the comrades of the assassin.

To prevent trouble, General Sturgis ordered a strong detail of the Seventh cavalry to the threatened town, and none too soon for scarcely had the detachment started ere a mob of colored soldiers was encountered and turned back. The cavalrymen patrolled the streets until daylight, as did, also, many a well-armed citizen; and thus disaster was averted.


Early yesterday morning a detail of colored soldiers and an ambulance from Fort Meade arrived at the gibbet cut down the body and conveyed it to town, where, in the office of Dr. Pratt, it was viewed by the multitude. Later the remains were taken to Fort Meade for interment. Toward evening Coroner Wright impanelled a jury and proceeded with an inquest, the result of which has not been received. It is said that Hallis made a full confession; that he willingly accompanied his captors, and that he faced death without flinching. His neck was not broken, death resulting from strangulation.


Coroner Wright returned at 11 o’clock last evening, bringing the first definite information of the day. He was in bed at the time of lynching, but says that he subsequently learned that during the absence of Constable Souter from the calaboose, about twenty men quietly arrived and knocked on the door of that institution. Challenged from within, the leader of the party answered, “Souter,” whereupon the door opened, and in a second the two guards were overpowered and marched toward Crook. A half hour later they were released and bid return to Sturgis and not look back. They obeyed. At about 11 o’clock a company of cavalry under command of Lieutenant Scott, proceeded to Fiddler’s tree, cut down and attempted to resuscitate the body, and failing the coroner was sent for, and upon his arrival the remains were taken to Dr. Pratt’s office, where an inquest was held yesterday, the jury finding that death resulted from hanging, at the hands of parties unknown. The name of deceased was Ross Hallon. His grievance at the doctor was that the latter had threatened to file complaint against him for assaulting his mistress, Mamie Lewis.


At a meeting of the committee yesterday, it was decided, among the other things, to order Baldy Ford to leave town. The hat was passed ‘round and $13 collected. Baldy was met on the street and notified that he must leave town within fifteen minutes; that a certain carriage was at his disposal and that the money less livery bill was his. Replying that he was a creature of circumstances, and that, possibly, a short trip would be beneficial, he entered the carriage and departed for Rapid.

The better element of the community are determined on reform, and we greatly mistake their disposition and their ability if they do not accomplish it.

The funeral of the late Dr. Lynch took place yesterday afternoon under the auspices of Olive Branch Lodge, A. F. and A. M., and was very largely attended, many business houses closing during the hour of ceremonies.

Kirk G. Phillips has received appointment as administrator of the estate of deceased. The doctor possessed considerable town property, a stock of goods, and, we believe, was interested elsewhere in the Hills. The value of the estate cannot now be stated.


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