Friday, June 16, 2006

Henry Howard Arrested For Alleged Crimes

June 1885--The headline read "An Unhung Villian".

Was the Coshocton Age headline prophetic or an incitement for a lynching? Regardless of intent, Henry Howard, a recent arrival from Florida, ended up as an unwilling guest to a Coshocton swinging party.

On June 20, the paper detailed the assault of 16 year old Eliza Bache and 31 year old Ellen Phillips. The two women, along with Miss Bache's brother, encountered a man, later identified as Henry Howard, on their way to a strawberry patch. According to the Age, the brother left, and Henry Howard re-appeared at the strawberry patch. After making a comment about the berries and, without warning, Ellen Phillips was allegedly struck above her eye and again on the back of head. At this point, she was choked and managed to struggle free. Bache rushed to her aid and she too was attacked. Phillips rushed to a farm and, according to the Age, "(Howard) persued his assault upon the helpless girl and accomplished his designs."

The Age, in a description of Miss Bache's condition,"She was terribly lacerated, and injured internally as well as externally. The description of her condition, as given by the physician, is terrible, and cannot appear in print."

James Mooney, described as a "tramp", had heard the swift moving story while drinking at the Hardscrabble Saloon. He saw a man fitting the assailant's description walk past the saloon. He followed the man and made a citizen's arrest. The man was turned over to the sheriff by Mooney.

Henry Howard was described as being 5'6" and heavy set. He wore corduroy pantaloons, a blouse made of ducking or drilling, and a cap. According to the Age, Howard didn't appear excited and told a "well connected, but decidedly improbable story."

Later, four witnesses, including Ellen Phillips, identified Henry Howard as the alleged assailant. Once word spread through the community, a crowd surrounded the jail. Loud threats of lynching filled the air, but the sheriff calmed the crowd and they disbursed. A preliminary hearing was set with Justice Cantwell.

More about the lynching of Henry Howard on Sunday


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