An Early Day Vigilante Committee, Barber County, Kansas Barber County, Kansas.  

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The Barber County Index, October 13, 1927.

An Early Day Vigilante Committee

How Barber County Vigilante Committee Worked in the Seventies

Greenville Adams, circa 1900.

Photo from the collection of Kim Fowles.
At left: Greenville Adams, circa 1900.
Photo courtesy of Kim Fowles.

Green Adams, pioneer resident of Barber county recalls some of the trials and problems of the settlers in this county and has given the Index the following account of an incident in connection with the activity of a vigilante committee.

"When I landed in Barber county this country was filled up with horse thieves and desperadoes. I have seen all of the bad men of the west. Bill Brooks and Bill Anderson or "Hurricane Bill," who was the finest specimen of a man I ever saw. But Bill Brooks wore his hair long and looked like an awful bad man. It looked as though it was impossible for a man who wanted to live upright to stay here, because they are stealing all the good horses that were in the country. The men had a meeting to adopt some plan to stop the stealing. So we formed what was called a vigilante committee, to which about 75 men belonged. We had meetings about three times a week.

"A man by the name of Walker had a team stolen. Suspicion pointed to a man by the name of Parker. A meeting was called and a decision made to make an example of someone. And fate decreed that Parker was the man. He worked near the head of the river on a cattle ranch coming to town every Sunday. I was one of the chosen to arrest Parker. Two other men, Puckett and Montgomery were with me. We went up the river and waited for Parker, but he went a different road. We were not discouraged but continued to wait. He passed us before we saw him. We started after him in full pursuit and ran him a mile before overtaking him. Mr. Montgomery dropped out during the chase and was not there when the arrest was made. Parker was taken over in the canyons south of the river but we hardly knew what to do as it was a big job for two men, to hang him. A council was held at which I agreed to stay and keep Parker while Puckett went to town after the rest of the committee. Parker suspected at once as to what was going to take place. Of all the crying and praying that I ever heard, he did it. I say very frankly that I shed a few tears myself. About eleven o'clock Puckett came back and reported that there wasn't a man who would come and help hang him. We realized that something had to be done, so we proceeded to do it. We started toward town with Parker in front of us. When we reached Turkey Creek I told Parker to hit the grit. He didn't seem to be very anxious to go because he was afraid I would shoot him. But I knew within my own mind that Parker was perfectly safe, but I told him when he left to go clear out of the country. I have never laid eyes on Parker since, and never was anxious to do so. I got home that morning about three o'clock, and told my wife that I never would attend another of their vigilante meetings. The very idea of men going to work to hang a man on suspicion, wasn't what it was cracked up to be. If any old timer happens to read this article, they will know what Parker it was for he is known as 'Bolivar.' "


Also see:

Green Adams Describe Things As He Saw Them In Barber County In The Early 1870's
Barber County Index, October 6, 1927.

Obituary: Greenville "Green" ADAMS

Lee Wynkoop: "Recalls Narrow Escape From Indians"
(Undated newspaper clippings.)


Thanks to Shirley Brier for finding, transcribing and contributing the above news article to this web site!

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