Ya'll, I don't know about you, but sometimes I hear from you guys about the violence or negative content in Sedalia crime these days. But here's the thing.  Sedalia has had instances of wrongdoing and violence, even back in the day.  You can see them if you look a little bit. I love to just look at some old random historical sites. Or some old newspapers from back in the day. You know what I mean.


But you guys.  YOU GUYS.  Today I found a story.  You might have even heard it before, actually. This story involves violence, nudity, drama, the whole works.  I read this story in a book called The First One Hundred Years, which I'm sure you can find online, because... well, I did.  And I THINK, I'm not 100% sure here, but I think I used to have a copy.

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Anyway, the book was talking about the development of the town in the 1800's.  They were asking a bunch of people various stories about Sedalia's rougher days.  While they note nothing was ever as bad as the stories they tell out in the Wild West... we did have a couple doozies.


Back in the olden days, there was a dude they referred to as John Doe. Not sure why they didn't name him, I guess some of his family must have asked for anonymity.  Apparently he grew up right, but while he was young he.... "got a taste for the drink", as my Grandmother used to say.  So anyway, Johnny was kicking around during the Civil War days.  I'm assuming he was either too young to enlist, or he disqualified or something?

So our boy J-Dogg started to surround himself with some people of like mind.  The kind of people who all liked to commit crimes together, you dig.  Like, if you put a group of like minded individuals looking to commit crimes together today, it would be called a gang.  Or a crew.  It was very likely that kind of thing. I'm thinking JD might have been the ringleader, because he was known for being very violent with a terrible temper. He and his gang were known to go out and cause all kinds of trouble.  They were the kind of guys that if you heard them coming, you hightailed it out of there.


One day he and the boys decided to go to a bar.  I'm sure a lot of smart decisions started with a trip to the bar.  /S.   So Doey and his boys are throwing their weight around, as they do.  They knocked down the owner, and then hit two strangers.  The owner went outside with him, and even spoke to him nicely, thinking they were going to just part ways for the night.


This jerk John goes and shoots the saloon owner in the back!


Jerk move.  Big time.  And he clearly was ready to keep the fight going, because when he went back to his hotel (the Leet Motel, at the corner of Main and Moniteau), and said he would totally shoot anybody who tried to arrest him. Which... guys, I don't know if you know this, but....that has never worked. Ever.  In the history of ever.

Because that wasn't going to play with just about anybody in Sedalia at the time. Even though JD had threatened to shoot him, a guy named Cantrell went up there and took care of bizness.  He got Johnny restrained and took him to The Cooler.


Now I bet you're wondering what The Cooler is.  It's not, like, a fridge or anything.  Not a walk in cooler.  It's a log building made of two stories.  No heating.  So the idea was, they'd put you in there for a bit, the wind would get cold, and you'd cool off.  Or at least calm down enough to see sense.


So J-Dizzy is chilling out, while a coroner's jury had been summoned, basically holding a little trial in the saloon where it all happened.


What happened next is... well, all speculation.  Nobody has officially owned up to what happened.  But here's the story Someone told.  About 12 guys showed up to The Cooler, armed, and decided they were done with this man's nonsense.  So they beat him with revolver butts, put a rope around his neck, stripped him naked, and then dragged him from the back of a horse buggy through the thick, ankle deep mud.  Then, they... well, murked him. They strung him up, in case he wasn't already dead. He was found dead the next morning hanging from a gateway in the lumber yard.


Here's the thing, guys. It was cold that night and the mud froze.  So footsteps could be traced back, but....nothing happened after that.   Today, Cops, Detectives, Paramedics, they'd be everywhere. The scene would be swarming with people.

Nobody was arrested.  Nobody was prosecuted.  Nobody even SAID ANYTHING.


The book notes that someone put a sheet over him after they found him, but nobody was ever held accountable for his death.  And after that, apparently there were "fewer deeds of violence".  I guess either people were afraid to get murked themselves, or... John was like, responsible for 85% of the crime in Sedalia at the time.  Which, from how he's described....might be accurate.

What do you think? Do you have any other older Sedalia stories you'd like to tell us?

Historically yours,

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