The Vigilantes of Montana, part 7

The Virginia City Hangings

On January 14, 1864, the Vigilantes surrounded Virginia City and arrested seven men. The night before they had met in a secret tribunal that considered the rest of Yeager's list, some of whom had already fled Alder Gulch. The Vigilantes had agreed that a unanimous verdict of "Guilty" would be required to pass sentence, and that they would pass only one sentence: Death.

Of the eight men they sought, one escaped, seven were arrested, and five were found guilty. They were, with their crimes:

Boon Helm, public nuisance, self-confessed murderer, and cannibal.

Frank Parish, road agent, stage robber; specifically, robbing the stage on the thirteenth of November; co-conspirator with Henry Plummer.

Club-Foot George Lane, road agent, co-conspirator, telegraph agent for the Plummer gang, warning gang members when valuables were being carried on a stage.

Hayes Lyons, road agent, guilty of robbery and murders, specifically the murder of John Dillingham.

Jack Gallagher, thought not on Yeager's List, was found to be a co-conspirator and accessory before and after the fact of robbery and murder; specifically covering up the murder of John Dillingham by cleaning one pistol and shuffling them all so that no one could tell which had been the actual murder weapon; and finally, attempted murder on the person of George Temple on December 31st.

They marched these five men up Wallace Street, the main thoroughfare in Virginia City, to an unfinished building and hanged all five from a supporting beam.

In the meantime, other companies of Vigilantes rode north and east in search of the other men on Yeager's list, and eventually hanged them all. Twenty-four men in all were hanged by the Vigilantes of Montana at this time.

(Next: The Hanging of Joseph Slade)


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