The Murder of John Jennings

Wheeling Register
June 18, 1873

Excitement in Wetzel County


Their Houses Burned.

From a gentleman just returned from Wetzel county we learn that the war against the desperados who have so long held undisputed sway in that county, is still being waged, and the Vigilance Committee who have the matter in hand, and who call themselves Modocs, are fully endorsed and supported by all good citizens, and that the war against the outlaws will never cease until every one of them is driven from the county.

The band of cuthroats and robbers, who have compelled the formation of the Vigilence [sic] Committee by their acts, have for a long time had things pretty much their own way. They have resisted every process of the Courts and have shot at and driven away the officers of the law. They have assaulted and robbed citizens in broad daylight and have committed every species of outrage with impunity. The people finding themselves powerless else, have taken the law into their own hands and and [sic] are wreaking terrible and sure vengeance.

On Friday last the "Modocs" ordered off five families belonging to the Jennings gang and burned their houses to the ground, destroyed the improvements and warned the desperadoes to leave the State and not return under the penalty of death.

The parties thus driven out reached Bellaire, on their way west, on the Mallie Ragon, Monday night. They are said to be a hard looking set, but are now thoroughly cowed and tolerably civil.

The citizens of Wetzel have only just got warmed up to the work, but are determined not to cease their efforts till the last man of the gang is driven out.

Crime and Punishment

West Virginia Archives and History