Joplin History in Volume 1, Issue 11

In the most recent issue of the Joplin Metro Magazine, Issue 11, the pickings are regrettably slim for pieces of Joplin history.  The lengthy article on the Joplin Police Department has some information on the history of the department, including a list of officers who have fallen in the line of duty.  The murder of one officer on the list, Officer Theodore Leslie, sparked the lynching of Thomas Gilyard.  For more details on that murder and the lynching, pick up a copy of White Man’s Heaven, by Kimberly Harper. You can learn more about the Joplin Police Department on Historic Joplin here. Copies of the Joplin Metro Magazine can be found around Joplin in businesses, including the lobby of the Joplin Globe building.

Second and Wall – Site of the 1903 Joplin Lynching

In anticipation of our coverage of the 1903 Joplin lynching, we bring you photographs of the location of the tragedy: Second and Wall. It was at this intersection that Thomas Gilyard was lynched from the arm of a telephone pole by a mob. First is a drawing of the lynching that was printed in the Joplin Globe immediately after the lynching.  The artist was Ralph Downing, who later went on to be an artist for the Kansas City Star (where he worked the rest of his career). 

The lynching of Thomas Gilyard

The first photograph comes courtesy of the Post Memorial Art Reference Library and was taken  just a couple months after the lynching, if not sooner.

The back of the photo read, "Joplin, Mo. June 17, 1903. This is where Bro. C.H. Button and myself lodged at the home of Mr. Wilson. The telegraph pole is where a negro was mobbed and hung last spring. Taken by Prof. C.H. Button, J.R. Crank. Taken at Bible School Convention." Courtesy of the Post Memorial Art Reference Library, Joplin Missouri

The next photographs were taken just last month, December 2010.  Regrettably, the time of day and the position of the sun got in the way of nailing a photograph from the exact same position.  For identification purposes, the only surviving landmark from the gruesome moment is the stone retaining wall which you will find in all the images.

Second and Wall - Present Day

Second and Wall - Present day

If you don’t want to wait to learn more about the lynching, you can read about it in White Man’s Heaven by Kimberly Harper or pick up the most recent edition of the Missouri Historical Review.

Sources: Post Memorial Art Reference Library, Joplin Daily Globe, White Man’s Heaven by Kimberly Harper, and Historic Joplin Collection.