Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The Tom Horn Execution Case!

Good morning key lovers!

  Today I decided to switch things up a little bit and focus on one of the other various artifacts found in our key museum that is not a key- a piece of rope that Tom Horn was hung with after being convicted of the murder of 14 year-old Willie Nickell.

  Tom Horn was an American Old West scout who carried out various jobs as a gunman, cowboy, soldier, detective, and Pinkerton.  He is believed to have committed about 17 murders during his time as a scout, and was finally executed after being accused with the murder of Willie Nickell in 1902.  Willie Nickell lived in Iron Mountain, Wyoming, and was the son of Kels Nickell, a sheep rancher. Kels Nickell had been involved in a feud with his neighbor Jim Miller, who was a cattle rancher.  Horn visisted Jim Miller and his family, and learned of the feud with the Nickell family.  On July 18, 1901, young Willie Nickell was found murdered near the family's homestead gate.

  Following his son's death, Kels Nickell was shot and wounded wile 60-80 of his sheep were clubbed to death.  Other various violent attacks occurred against the Nickell family, prolonging the murder investigation.  Tom was later questioned about the murder by Deputy Marshal Joe Lefors, After gathering what was perceived to be ample evidence, Horn was arrested for the murder of the young boy.  After receiving a guilty verdict by the jury, Horn was sentenced to be executed by hanging.

  Tom Horn was one of the few people in the Wild West to be hanged by the Julian Gallows, which were water-powered gallows where the trapdoor was connected to a lever which pulled the plug out of a barrel of water.  This then caused the lever with a counterweight to rise, pulling the support beam under the gallows.  Horn was buried in Boulder, CO in the Columbia Cemetery.  There is still debate to this day if Horn was wrongly accused of the murder, as many believed that he did not commit the act.  The picture above is Tom Horn holding his execution rope as he awaits his hanging.

  On a lighter note, I hope you all enjoy this beautiful summer day, and if you happen to be in visiting Estes Park, come pay us a visit here at the Baldpate!

  Signing off,