Nathan Oliphant was from Newton. He went to Topeka and attempted to rob a store but in the process killed owner Alonzo & Malvina Rogers, who lived above the shop. When caught, he was immediately lynched by the citizens of Topeka.
A burglar entered the residence of A.T. Rogers, merchant tailor, of Topeka, Tuesday morning at three o’clock; Mr. Rogers heard him, got up and went to the room where he was and was shot in the shoulder and stomach; Mrs. Rogers and the servant girl ran to Rogers’ assistance, Mrs. Rogers was also shot in the stomach, but the servant managed to take the revolver away from the burglar, who them made his escape, but was afterwards caught and lodged in jail. Mr. Rogers died at 9:30 a.m. and Mrs. Rogers died at 9:30 a.m. and Mrs. Rogers’ life trembles in the balance. A crowd of 6,000 to 8,000 people congregated at the jail and demanded the prisoner but the sheriff refused to deliver him; an assault on the building was made, an entrance effected, and after three hours hard work with sledges on the steel cage, the prisoner was reached; he was then taken to the corner of Kansas Avenue and Sixth street, a rope placed around his neck, and he there aditted his guilt, said his name was Nathan C. Oliphant, and that he was from Newton. He was then hanged to an electric light pole and a pistol ball fired into his body. When dead the body was dragged in front of an undertaker’s establishment and left there. The scene closed about 10 p.m. Oliphant came to Newton some years ago with his father and brother; the father sent out the strawberry patch on what is now Walt’s addition, and now lives in Florida. The younger brother ran away to the west and has never since been heard from. Nat. was braking on the Santa Fe for a long time, and was well thought of. His friends here had lost track of him for some time, and were much surprised that he should come to such an end.
Patrick Cleary broke jail at Lincoln, Kansas, Monday night, was pursued, shot and captured, and afterwards taken to the railroad bridge and hanged. Clearly murdered Jesse Turner, January 3, 1888, and was tried and given twenty years in the penitentiary. The supreme court ordered a new trial, he was taken back and held until May 16th, when he was put on trial. The jury after being out five days failed to agree. Eleven voted for murder in the first degree and one for acquittal. Monday morning the jury was discharged. Cleary plead guilty to manslaughter in the third degree and was sentenced to three years.
These lynchings are the direct result of the idiotic law concerning murderers in this state. Few are convicted, none are hanged, many of them are pardoned, and the universal verdict of the people is that these fellows were “served just right,” and hundreds have expressed a hope that all other murderers would receive similar punishment.
(c) Excerpted from the book Deadly Encounters: Murder In Harvey County by Darren McMannis. All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.