Clark County Clipper, November 20, 1884

Slain In Cold Blood

A Defenseless Clark County Citizen Killed by the City Marshall of Belle Plaine


The Wichita Eagle of the 16, contains the following dispatch:

Belle Plains, Nov. 16, 1884.

A Democratic jubilee here last night wound up with the shooting of John C. Crouch by John Wallen, and the hanging of the latter by the excited population.

The innocent victim of this affair, John C. Crouch, had a claim about four miles southwest of this place, on which he settled about the first of July.  From the Eagle and Shirley Reitz of Sand Creek, who received a letter from Belle Plaine, we glean the following:  Wallen was city Marshall.  His reputation was not of the best and he had gone so far as to boast of having killed a man in Kentucky.  The excuse for his appointment was that some "work" was to be done, characters to look after.  It was thought he could do it better than any one else, and as an experiment he was recently appointed as a sort of detective.

About 10:30 Saturday night, while in a billiard hall, he became an element of disturbance to such an extent that the proprietor remonstrated against his action, whereupon he left.  The first man to met on going out was Crouch, and without saying a word drew his pistol and shot the unsuspecting man.  The weapon was a 45 caliber.  The ball struck Crouch under the chin and passed out above the right shoulder.  Death ensued almost instantly.  Wallen, instead of attempting to escape boasted of what he had done.  He was soon in the hands of authorities, and by 11 o'clock he was incarcerated in the calaboose, but not to remain.  In an hour about a hundred of the excited crowd proceeded to the Mayor's residence and demanded the key to the jail.  Seeing it was useless to resist, the key was surrendered.  The prisoner was at once taken from the jail and marched to where his lifeless victim lay.  He was told that his time had come and given a chance to say what he desired if anything.  He did not pretend to deny his crime and only asked for a trial, and a drink of water.  The latter was given him and he was immediately marched to a post and hung with wonderful dispatch, where he remained till 9 o'clock Sunday.

Mr. Crouch was about thirty five years of age, unmarried.  He formerly lived near Belle Plaine, and had been called from here by the illness of a brother.  He was well known on Sand Creek, being one of the first settlers there, and well liked by all who knew him.


Submitted by ~Shirley Brier~ in September 27, 2005.



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