North Dakota

The lynching of Charles Bannon

January 29, 1931
Schafer, North Dakota
Charles Bannon (22) is hanged by a lynch mob

Bannon had been accused of killing an entire family whose farm he had worked on as a hired hand. The Haven family consisted of Albert (50), Lulia (39), Daniel (18), Leland (14), Charles (2), and Mary (2 months). Though he denied his guilt at first, he eventually confessed being a part of the murders though a “stranger” had been the instigator. He then amended his confession to claim he accidentally shot Daniel then was forced to kill the rest of the family in self-defense when they attacked him. A final confession stated he had accidentally shot Daniel, and he had shot the rest of the Havens, but he had murdered the family out of fear rather than self-defense.

Between 12:30 and 1:00am, a mob of at least 75 men broke into the jail where Bannon was held. They placed a noose around his neck and dragged him from the jail to the Haven farmstead with the intent of killing him where the Havens had been killed. The caretaker of the farm, however, did not approve and ordered the mob to leave or he would shoot them. The mob relocated to the recently constructed Cherry Creek bridge, tied the free end of the rope to the railing, and pushed Bannon off. Brannon’s lynching was the last in North Dakota.

The governor condemned the lynching, calling it “shameful,” and an investigation was opened to find the culprits. While there was a good source of forensic evidence — including a distinctive thread of red hemp in the rope which could be used to identify similar rope in a suspect’s possession and the noose knot itself which was made by someone with “expert knowledge” — no arrests were made.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s