Pemberton Lynching

The Inter Ocean, October 11, 1875

Peoria, Ill., Oct. 9-A desperate character named Burope Pemberton, who was arrested in Mason city, Mason County, yesterday, for horse stealing, and taken to Forest City for safe keeping, was taken from the officer in charge this morning about 2 o'clock, and lynched. The constable having the prisoner in custody made a desperate resistance, and mortally wounded one of the lynching party. Another one was terribly cut by Pemberton, who fought like a tiger for his life. His body was found this morning hanging from the limb of a tree, and completely riddled with bullets. The lynchers were all disguised, but it is supposed that they are citizens of Forest City, and every effort is being made to ferret them out. There is great excitement in Mason County about the affair.

St. Louis Globe-Democrat, October 13, 1875

The Lynching of Pemberton in Mason County, Ill.
His Former Associates in Crime Engineer the Job

Havana, Ill., October 12-Among vague, various and conflicting rumors, a visit to the premises, and a thorough investigation, bring out the following facts in regard to the Pemberton hanging, ten miles southeast of this city:

Buret Pemberton was a young man about twenty-three years of age, and had returned from his service in the State prison to the vicinity of the place where he met his tragic fate, but a short time since. Finding his surrounding of an uncongenial nature, he went to Mason City, and was employed in a harness shop as a workman. His old associates, fearing his knowledge of his and their former lives, did not sleep well, and determined to put him out of harm's way. A warrant for his arrest was sworn out before a Justice in the mob's locality, and an officer sent for his arrest.

Pemberton was arrested and brought to Havana and kept here till 4 p.m., when, accompanied by the Constable, he took the cars for the north, to the place of his murder, reaching there about 5 p.m. He was taken before the Justice who issued the warrant, and there detained until 12 o'clock at night, and, no prosecuting witnesses appearing against him, he and the Constable went out of the door of the Justice's office to go their homes for the remainder of the night. At the door, a blanket was thrown over the head of the Constable and he was made a prisoner and carried away. The victim was knocked down while shouting murder till his voice was smothered by strangulation. He was beaten to death, and his mangled remains afterwards hanged to a tree. Poor Pemberton, knowing that his life was gone, determined to leave a token of remembrance among his murderers. He had a short, strong knife in his possession, which he used with vigor and effect.

Somebody, now unknown, was carried to a physician's office and bled terribly, and a first-class funeral or a protracted absence is expected from some of the residents of that locality.

Pemberton's mutilated remains hung on the tree from before daylight until 12 o'clock noon on Saturday, even his brothers not caring for his body.

The lynchers pretend to screen themselves behind the inefficiency and incompetency of the present Prosecuting Attorney, but this is no palligtion or mitigation of their crime.

Contributed by Kristin Vaughn