Corners a hell hole

A vigilante is a person who takes the law into his own hands to avenge a crime.  This usually occurs when that person feels the justice system has failed him.  The good guy gets the bad guy.  And, often times, the vigilante is considered to be a hero.

In the case of the hanging in Ada, Oklahoma, in 1909, a group of citizens took it upon themselves to form a vigilante justice committee, and they then made the decision to hang four men awaiting trial for the murder of a local rancher.  This decision had been made after numerous murder cases went to trial preceding this one, all of which the courts and the juries failed to convict.  The citizens in Ada had at least 20 assassins-for-hire living in their community.   And no one was safe . . . not even the assassins themselves.

Many people would argue that the mob wrongfully took the lives of these four men.   They would be right.  Vigilante justice is never the right thing to do.  But sometimes, maybe, it is the only thing left to do.

“The Corners consist of the saloon and a big corral, with not another building nearby, located on a high hill just above the South Canadian River, with the Chickasaw nation on the opposite bank, and the Seminole nation just to the east.   . . . “

In July 1905, the citizens of Ada prepared a Petition which they sent to their governor requesting he abolish the Corner Saloon.   The Petition cited in detail 15 assault to kill cases and nine murders which were currently on the U.S. Court’s docket in Ada and of which were noted to have come directly from the Corner Saloon.   Said Petition was signed by “every business man and seven-eighths of the professional men of Ada,  I.T., a small city of 5,000”.

Why is this Petition important?  Because it shows that the citizens sought help from their state government in an effort to force the assassins to move.  Yet, it appears as though their pleas were ignored as nowhere have I found any response to this Petition.  The Corner Saloon remained open until statehood and prohibition forced all saloons in Oklahoma to close in 1907.  This is when the criminals began to congregate on Main Street in Ada.  It would then be two years before a mob in Ada would take matters into its own hands.  The citizens wanted governmental justice.  What they got was vigilante justice.

. . . .   “A feud between two factions has raged there for years and the saloon furnishes a meeting place and bad booze to stir up the courage and emnity of the two sides, hence the murders are of frequent occurrence, but the perpetrators are seldom if ever punished.”

(The Guthrie Daily Leader, July 17, 1905.)