Martin County,Indiana

The Archer Gang

The "Lynch Letter" is referenced in several articles and books about the Archers, quoting the sentence "Yet no man has suffered at the hands of Judge Lynch." The following is a transcript of the letter published in the Daviess County Democrat. The copy is poor and extremely difficult to read. Questionable portions are indicated. Transcription by Cathy Clark

The Daviess County Democrat
Washington, Indiana
27 February 1886

Desperados Of Three Counties

A Story of the Daring Deeds of a Band of Thieves in Neighboring Counties

(Special Correspondence of the Democrat)

Hillham, Dubois Co, Feb 17. -

Recently I noticed an article in your valuable paper headed "The Result of Lynch Law" which I endorse as to the wrong that generally, and we might say always, attends to appeal to mob law, because the mobs are always in direct violation of civil and statutory law. But, I would like to correct one statement in the article, to the effect that in the vicinity of the home of the Archers that no less than seven men have been hung by mobs within a few years. Now, in fact, no person has ever been hung by a mob in the immediate vicinity of the Archer's homes. Several men have


in that neighborhood and the current rumor at that time was that they were victims of a murderous band of robbers and sneak thieves.

Recent developments indicate that the rumors had foundations of facts. Yet no man has suffered at the hands of Judge Lynch.

The present situation in this vicinity is very faithfully portrayed in your article. The people here have been so terrorized until recently that appeals to justice have not been made for


whose threats of revenge kept the law abiding citizen quiet. Allow me to furnish your readers a partial list of the crimes that have been committed in this neighborhood.

For instance take the robbery of Nelson Spaulding, a wealthy old farmer who, in his old days, was hung and made give up his money to the amount of $1,200 or $1,500, and from the injury, shock and fright of the same the 

 old man was soon laid in the grave. Suit was brought, but the suspected robbers had plenty of money and evidence to defy justice at the trial. However afterwards the facts were fully brought to light, but Spaulding being dead


Next a little out from about? midst old man Dow, another wealthy farmer, was robbed of about seventeen hundred dollars. Being successful, next came store breaking. Campbell & Rhodes? dry goods, Lick Creek, Ind. Pro? & Brown, Witmore & Robins Prospect, Ind. Dr. John Ritter, drugs, West Baden Ind. Wm. Roberts dry goods, French Lick Ind., Van R. Noblitt, dry goods, Orangeville, Ind., Dr. Lines, drugs, Hillham, Ind., McCarrel Bros., Hillham Ind., H.E. Wells, French Lick Ind. were all victims to the robber gang. Then peddling wagons, wholesale notion wagons, were sacked?, and many other smaller depredations were committed when space will not permit me to mention. But one more I will mention here. A peddler was stopping with Mr. Henry Burton, a well-to-do farmer near his place, when his wagon was robbed of it's contents. Mr. Burton at once offered a reward for the arrest of the guilty parties, but they arose and swore they would burn his barn, and the reward had to be withdrawn.

Next they turned to West Baden Springs during the _______ season, robbed Dr. John A. Lane proprietor of the springs and at the same time robbed a guest of the springs of a small sum. As _______grew on Dr. Lane ______hogs were driven off, killed and sold. But so completely was he under fear of them that he did not attempt to law them when our trustee U.H. Elliott was

ROBBED OF ________

township funds while feeding his horse after coming from the bank with the money. Blacksmith shops were robbed of their tools until they were certainly in good shape for burglers. It has been discovered near the quarry hill (near their homes) of the suspected robbers several small cases in which have been found many valuable articles all of which have been returned to their rightful owners.


have been robbed. For instance widow Anderson, widow Trublood who was robbed of bedding provisions, in fact ____ she _________. Farmer Holt sold a few cattle. That night he was knocked down, beaten and bruised and his hard earned money appropriated. The robbers dared him to even attempt to bring suit and so afraid was he that he left his farm unsold and went out of the vicinity. Old man Bedster? just over the river from here sold $200 or $300 worth of cattle. That night he was hanged by a


until he gave up his money. The rough ______ to which the old man was subjected caused his death shortly afterward.

Stealing cattle is another branch of the robber gang's work. Cattle were stolen from Edward Moore, Bedford Stanfield, Jacob Stogesser, Robert New_____ and others. Horses were stolen from George Purkiser, Joel Hundelson, Soloman Lindley and Tom Braxton.

Incendiary fires have been common. Wheat stacks, barns, graineries and farm machinery were laid in ashes by the torch of the incendiary.

Samuel Bunch's blood four years ago stained the banks of Lost River and his murder is yet unavenged and the


are yet at large. Stanford was cruelly murdered last October for no other object than robbery.

The people of this vicinity do not care to appeal mob law, but they are determined to see that justice is done.

We have every confidence in the courts. All we ask is that the courts protect us _______ effort to ________ this vicinity of the murderers and desperados that have for years terrorized it.