13 February 2012

Midwesternist Macabre Monday: The Skeleton of Jeff Davis in Ragersville, OH

When thief, rapist and all-around asshole Jeff Davis began yet another crime spree around Tuscarawas County in 1873, the townspeople of Ragersville, Ohio, finally had enough. 

They put the rage in Ragersville.

Out of jail for only two weeks, Davis was arrested for the attempted rape of an 8 year old girl. The angry townsfolk gathered at the local schoolhouse where Davis was to have his  preliminary hearing.  Before the hearing could commence, the sassy Davis taunted the outraged spectators until somebody in the angry mob clubbed Davis in the head with a fireplace poker. Injured, Davis was then tied to a horse and dragged to the outskirts of town where he was shot three times...in the head.  Still alive & now begging for mercy, the mob hanged Davis from a tree.

 Rasputin: "Is that all?  Pussy."
Davis's corpse was thrown in a pile of sawdust.  A short time later, a local doctor retrieved the corpse and put it in his attic.  The doctor apparently got bored with having a rotting corpse in his house and eventually buried it across the county line.  A different local doctor dug him up, boiled the flesh off the bones and then used the skeleton in his office for a number of years.

Davis's bones have had many owners over the years (an owner once traded the skeleton for a box of cigars), but he now has a permanent home in the Ragersville Historical Society's Museum basement, where he is kept in a glass case (along with the fireplace poker that did him in).  The Historical Society is located across the street from the original schoolhouse where the mêlée began.

An article about the lynching on the Historical Society's website
proudly proclaims it to be the only lynching in county history!
If you're ever in East-Central Ohio and want to look at the results of vigilante justice, head on over to the Ragersville Historical Society's Museum at 8800 Crooked Run Road Southwest, Sugarcreek, OH. But that's not all:  You can also see the copper cauldron that produced the first Swiss cheese in America.

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