Scott County, Indiana
Genealogy and History
Whitecappers from Jackson County Attempt to Lynch Reno Brothers in Scott County
New York (NY) Herald, September 15, 1868, p. 8.
NOTE: Members of the Vigilance Committee were often called whitecappers and their actions as whitecapping.
THE WESTERN EXPRESS ROBBERIES
The Vigilance Committee in Seymour, Indiana, Still at Work
The New Albany, Indiana, Ledger gives an account of the expedition of the Seymour Vigilance Committee to Lexington, Indiana, for the purpose of lynching the express robbers confined in jail in that town:A band of men, about 85 in number, arrived at Vienna from Seymour on a special train at twelve o'clock Sunday night. The distance from Vienna to Lexington, the county seat of Scott, is about eight miles, the road being a rather bad one for night raveling by strangers. The Seymour men at once proceeded to visit various farm houses in the vicinity of Vienna and, arousing the occupants, ordered them to hitch up their horses and wagons for the purpose of taking the vigilantes to Lexington. Resistance was useless, as the persons demanding transportation were well armed and were terribly in earnest. The wagons having been got in readiness, the whole company started on the Lexington Road arriving at that place about three o'clock Monday morning.
A committee at once proceeded to the residence of Mr. Amos, the jailer, and saying there were two men confined in the jail whom they wanted, demanded the keys of the building. Mr. Amos told his early visitors that there were no men confined in the jail and that he was entirely willing that they should take the keys, go to the jail and satisfy themselves of the fact. They insisted, however, that Mr. Amos should accompany them to the jail and open the doors. Resistance being useless, he got up, went to the jail, opened it, and the men, after examining it, went away satisfied that their intended victims were not there.
They then went to the depot in the belief that the Renos would come from New Albany by the train. Finding, however, when the train arrived that the men whom they had come to hang were not on board, and learning that they were still confined in the New Albany jail and would not be taken to Scott County for trial for some months to come, the crowd of men got on board the train that had brought them down, and which was in readiness for them, steam up, and proceeded to their homes in Jackson County.
The result of this visit to Lexington proves that Judge Jewett took no unnecessary precaution when he demanded arms from the governor to protect the prisoners from mob violence should they be tried in Scott County, many believing it impossible that the Vigilance Committee would venture beyond the bounds of their own county to carry out their designs against the lives of these men who, though they may be guilty, have the right to be presumed innocent till they are duly convicted in accordance with law.
The trial of the Renos will be in the Scott circuit court unless a change of venue is taken. It is reported that an attempt will be made to take them from the New Albany jail and execute them, but the vigilantes will hardly venture so far from home. The Renos, however, are regarded as the leaders in the late railroad and express robberies and there is no telling what the vigilantes may not risk to get possession of their bodies.