Photo of Henry Enlow
Submitted by Fay Oxley
Few men have had experiences as harrowing as that of being dragged out of bed by a mob intent on "stringing up" someone, yet that very thing happened to Henry Enlow who lived between Uniontown and St. Croix in Perry County, Indiana. He lived, yet the mob fulfilled its evil purpose that night many years ago when it hanged Enlow's companion.
On May 30, 1887, when Enlow was 15 years old he worked all day cutting ties for John Davidson, a neighbor, and spent the night at the Davidson home. During the night masked men rushed into the home and seized Davidson and Enlow for the purpose of forcing them to reveal the whereabouts of Clay Davidson, John's brother, who had been accused of kidnapping a girl.
The mob dragged them out and, after hurriedly searching them for weapons, tied them together with rope, beat them and dragged them through the woods, all the time trying to force them to tell where Clay Davidson was. It was impossible, because they didn't know, Enlow said.
BOY FREES HIMSELF
Enlow was trying frantically to get out his pearl handled knife, which had been overlooked in the search. Finally, he succeeded and cut himself loose and ran into the woods. The men did not try to recapture him so intent were they with Davidson.
Enlow said that Davidson pleaded with them to free him or at least free one hand that he might "get at" one man who was mistreating him more than the rest. But his pleas were in vain and it is said that Davidson's back was broken before the rope was tied around his neck and he was hanged to a beech tree near the home of John Finnagan, where the Shady Curve tourist cabins were later.
According to the coroner's inquest, which was filed in the circuit clerk's office on May 31, 1887, Americus Parr, Justice of the Peace, stated that the "dead body of John Davidson who was supposed to have come to his death by violence or casualty was hanging to a tree near the residence of John Flanagan in Oil Township, Perry County, Indiana, and at the same time it being represented to me that because of the condition of the body it was impractical to notify the coroner of said county the distance being so far, I issued a subpoena and delivered it to John King, deputy constable of Oil township and commanded him to summon A.J. Lamar, Patrick Powers, Isaac Keller, Wiliford King and Katie Lyon to appear before me forthwith and testify at the inquest of John Davidson".
WOMAN FOUND BODY
Katie Lyon testified that she saw Davidson when taken by masked men and that she was the first to find his body. Wiliferd King testified that he was acting in capacity of deputy sheriff on May 30, 1887, and arrested John Davidson and that masked men forcibly took Davidson from him and the next morning King found Davidson's body hanging from a tree with a rope around his neck. Patrick Powers testified the same thing and A. J. Lamar testified that 15 masked men took John Davidson, and the next day he saw Davidson's body hanging from a tree.
Parr, the justice acting in capacity of coroner, found that "John Davidson came to his death by being hanged and by violence - parties unknown to me." Davidson was dressed in a dark cloth coat, light jeans pantaloons and striped shirt, one pocket of which had $1.20 in it, the report said.
Enlow admitted that he was afraid the men would come back and get him again. "They sent word that they would get me," he said, "but I hid out for about three weeks, spending some time in Kentucky. Finally, I came back and testified against them."
ALL LYNCHERS NOW DEAD
"I reckon they never got around to making their threat good," he added. Enlow said he knew the men guilty of the lynching and said they were all now dead.
A trial of some sort was held before Squire William Heck in Cannelton, but not one of the accused men did a day for the deed. "If there is a hereafter - and I think there is - they will be punished," Enlow said.
Enlow and his son, Jason, lived in beautiful hill country that in its peace and quiet suggested Sleepy Hollow and it is hard to believe that this story or Enlow's is not a terrible nightmare. But, no, there are the records.
"Whitecapping" flourished in the neighborhood from 1885 to 1895, according to court records and "old timers." The word "whitecapping" originated from the fact that the men wore white hoods over their heads when they rode out at night to punish those who, in their eyes, were miscreants.
PERIOD OF VIOLENCE
That period was filled with violence, records reveal. Henry Knight killed Sam Lampkins in a political brawl about the year 1890, Enlow said, by slashing him with a knife in the abdomen. Knight also cut Lampkins son, Filmore, leaving horrible scars.
"I was sorry to hear that Knight had killed Lampkins because Knight was my friend and I hated to see him get into trouble," Enlow said. He added that Knight had saved his life one time when Otto Faulkenburg, another "bad man" leveled a gun at him.
Records reveal that Faulkenburg killed Henry Knight in 1907 by shooting him through the heart. For 10 years Faulkenburg was a fugitive from justice and no officers were able to arrest him.
OFFICERS SEIZE HIM
In 1917, Marshal Edward Hemphill and his deputy Victor Gelarden, went to Faulkenburg's home one night and hid in the barn. At 4 o'clock in the morning when Faulkenburg came out to milk, the officers seized him.
Faulkenburg's home was equipped with trap doors, secret hiding places and sliding panels and was guarded by vicious dogs. It also was almost inaccessible and one had to walk a mile through woods to get to it. While hiding from the "law" Faulkenburg, if cornered would drop through a trap door into a secret passage that led into a cornfield.
When Hemphill went out to arrest Faulkenburg an attorney said, "Ed, I'll take the case for half of what you find on him." The officers found $2,200 on him.
Faulkenburg was acquitted in his trial due to the fact that the man he killed was of equal ill repute.
Henry Knight's brother, Robert, was a militant socialist. In fact, there were many socialists in Oil Township and those who were not, were Republicans. Many were the brawls over politics. Because of this most of the men carried guns and trusted no one. It was said of Robert Knight that he was a crack shot with a pistol and could "bury nails" with ease. Robert Knight was socialist candidate for governor in Colorado in 1916, residents of that section of the county said.
Submitted by Fay Oxley