The Second Chance of Mr. Teeples

Well, sometimes, it happens.

Sometimes the same old story has a twist, and people are given a change to change the ending.

There was a fellow in 1857 by the name of Teeples who made the grave mistake of stealing a horse in Scott County, Iowa.

Unfortunately for him, Scott County had a Vigilance Committee—a kind of volunteer police force—to take care of things like that.

Mr. Teeples luck was bad from the beginning.  He was caught in the act of stealing the horse from its pasture and when the Vigilance Committee heard the news, they didn’t wait for the sheriff—they took the law into their own hands.

Mr. Teeples was immediately “tried” and sentenced, then tied up and dragged to a tree.

They hanged him until he was dead.

Or that’s how the story usually ends.

It seems that in their great haste to string up the horse thief, the Committee didn’t fashion a very good noose.  And Mr. Teeples was a burly man with a strong neck and decent acting skills.

The Committee went on their way and told Mr. Teeples’ friends to claim his body.

His friends went to cut him down and found him alive and well, if suffering from rope burns on his neck and a new appreciation for his own mortality.

So when the Vigilance Committee hurried back to try again, Mr. Teeples begged for his life and also offered the names of several other horse thieves and counterfeiters in the area.

The Vigilante Committee spared his life.

As we haven’t come across his name in the newspapers since, we wonder if his change of heart stuck?

(posted by Pat)



“Another Man Hung.” Davenport Democrat, July 7, 1857

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