1892: Ruggles brothers lynched

July 24th, 2010 Headsman

On this date in 1892, highway robbers John and Charles Ruggles were shanghaied from a Redding, Calif. jail and lynched.


John and Charles Ruggles, lynched in Redding, Calif.

These two charmers knocked over the Redding & Weaverville stage on May 14, 1892, killing the coach’s guard when he fired back.

Charles Ruggles was wounded in the exchange and soon captured, but John Ruggles got away with the lockbox.

With a price on his head, John secreted the stolen loot somewhere and was not arrested until June 19.

Reunited in jail, the handsome outlaws were evidently a big hit with the ladies. As the Los Angeles Times reported on July 25, 1892,

The recent sentimental attitude of a number of women toward the prisoners as well as the line of defense adopted by their counsel, who has been evidently endeavoring to implicate Messenger [Amos "Buck"] Montgomery [the dead victim] as a party to the crime, had been denounced by a number of persons in the county and it is believed the lynching was due to those causes.

When the vigilantes came for him, John tried to buy the boys’ way out of trouble — or at least, buy Charley’s way out — by offering to reveal the location of his treasure.

The mob wasn’t interested, and the cache has never been found since. On the other hand …

The lynching of a brace of stage-robbers at Redding a few nights ago was not at all in accordance with law and order; but that it will have a discouraging effect on the “hold-up” industry, there is little question. It will be perfectly safe to indulge in stage rides in Shasta county, no doubt, for some time to come.

-Los Angeles Times, July 27, 1892

Also on this date

Entry Filed under: 19th Century,Borderline "Executions",California,Common Criminals,Crime,Hanged,History,Lynching,Mature Content,Murder,No Formal Charge,Pelf,Public Executions,Summary Executions,Theft,USA

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