November 21, 1884
Savanah, Missouri
Oliver Bateman is hanged for the murder of two young girls

On August 21, 1884, two sisters visited the Bateman household for lunch with Oliver and his sister before leaving to their own home. The girls, Austie (9) and Adella (7) McLaughlin, didn’t arrive home that night; their bodies were found the following morning. The eldest daughter was found to have been “outraged” (raped) and her throat cut, severing her jugular vein on both sides of her neck. Austie had been shot in the head. (Sources list the names, ages, and causes of death switched, but this combination is the most prevalent.)

The Batemans were the first suspects, having seen the girls last. Oliver (either 19 or 22, described as “an unsophisticated country youth”) and his brother Newton (18), were protected by authorities from a lynching, and afterward it was revealed Newton was innocent of any charges. Shoe impressions left at the scene of the murder were somewhat small, a size No. 6, which Oliver wore. His younger, but larger, brother Newton wore a size No. 8. Additionally, the pistol ball extracted from Adella’s head was matched to Oliver’s gun.

Three months after the murders, Oliver went to his execution proclaiming his innocence and reportedly “faced the black cap with remarkable courage.”

St. Joseph Weekly Herald. November 27, 1884


  • The Southwestern Reporter, volume 10. St. Paul: West Publishing Co., 1889
  • “Innocence Avenged.” The Weekly Herald [Fort Scott, Kansas]. November 27, 1884
  • “Bateman’s Expiration.” St. Joseph Weekly Herald [St. Jospeh, Missouri]. November 27, 1884
  • “Bateman, The Murderer.” St. Joseph Weekly Herald [St. Joseph, Missouri]. September 11, 1884

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