Kickass and lynching


Kickass, the doorstop dog, says the keeper has lived so long that he can mine from his memory something to go with almost any subject, and the current preoccupation with the word “lunching” is no exception.  As a young reporter at the Stevens Point Daily Journal in 1958, the keeper was assigned to do a story for the centennial edition on a Stevens Point lynching.  The lynching occurred on Oct. 11, 1873 when a mob broke into the jail and lynched Isiah and Amos Courtwright who had earlier shot and killed the local sheriff.  Their bodies were left to hang overnight so hundreds of people could come to see them. In the course of his research, the keeper was contacted by a Stevens Point resident who said he had the limb off the lynching tree in his garage, it having been saved as a souvenir by one of his family predecessors.  The keeper dutifully went out to see the limb—it seemed rather small to have supported two lynchings, but it was photographed, and, the keeper thinks that photo ran in the centennial issue.  There is no mention of the limb in current accounts of the lynchings.  There was nothing racial in the event.  It was simply yet one more example of perverse human behavior that people edit down for historical cleansing, as if a lynching could ever be cleansed.

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