Bald Knobber 2: The Botched Execution of Chief Bull Creek Dave

AN EYE FOR AN EYE

A special edition of Yesterday’s News exploring the criminal justice system at its most extreme: Inflicting the Death Penalty

This episode is a sequel to the tale of The Giant Vigilante Captain Nat Kinney, about one of the Bald Knobber masked vigilante groups that sprang up in the Ozark region after the civil war.

This story concerns the Bald Knobbers in the adjacent county to Nat Kinney, where once again, and another instance where vigilante justice backfires. It’s a good story and has a lot of action, including a jail break.

But my favorite part is the heart-breaking report of the artist who ventures into the hills to get sketches of the families of the condemned men just days before their scheduled execution. The sketches are posted below, but his word pictures are some of the most powerful I’ve come across in the historic newspaper archives.

Music by Dave Sams

Clips

1887-0312-the_springfield_leader_sat__mar_12__1887_ 1887-0316-the_daily_gazette_wed__mar_16__1887_ 1887-0317-the_cincinnati_enquirer_thu__mar_17__1887_ 1888-0413-st__louis_post_dispatch_fri__apr_13__1888_ 1888-0414-the_evening_kansan_sat__apr_14__1888_ 1888-1230-chicago_tribune_sun__dec_30__1888_ 1888-1230-the_inter_ocean_sun__dec_30__1888_ 1889-0509-st__louis_post_dispatch_thu__may_9__1889_ 1889-0510-st__louis_post_dispatch_fri__may_10__1889_ st__louis_post_dispatch_sun__may_5__1889_bill-walker st__louis_post_dispatch_sun__may_5__1889_cabin st__louis_post_dispatch_sun__may_5__1889_chasnewman st__louis_post_dispatch_sun__may_5__1889_dave-walker st__louis_post_dispatch_sun__may_5__1889_home st__louis_post_dispatch_sun__may_5__1889_john-matthews st__louis_post_dispatch_sun__may_5__1889_matthewschildren st__louis_post_dispatch_sun__may_5__1889_mrs-walker st__louis_post_dispatch_sun__may_5__1889_walker-children st__louis_post_dispatch_thu__may_9__1889_bull-creek-dave

What the Cab Driver Forgot

Crane Neck Nugent, Prohibition Trigger

The Gangster Chronicles 2.1

YESTERDAY’S NEWS

A reading from historic newspapers in the golden age of yellow journalism

The second volume of The Gangster Chronicles explores one of the many side effects of the Great Experiment, America’s Prohibition on alcohol.

I’ve often contended that Prohibition made criminals out of a lot of ordinary people who just wanted to drink and serve drinks. But it also gave some truly bad men an opportunity to misbehave.

Although he had one of the worst nicknames names ever, Raymond “Crane Neck” Nugent, was one of the most ruthless of the era’s gangsters.

At 25, he went to trial for the murder of a bootlegger, and when the witness who came forward right after the event changed his mind at the trial — well, we’ll look at that here in Chapter One.

Before his own demise, Nugent would be suspected in at least 15 high-profile murders, including the most famous gangland massacre of the Prohibition era. Yeah, he was probably one of the guns at the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.

Musical direction by Dave Sams