MOB ONCE HANGED AN INNOCENT NEGRO HERE. ~ Was Suspected of Having Shot a Policeman -- Chief Ahern and Captain Snow Were Present.

August 18, 1908

Was Suspected of Having Shot a Po-
liceman -- Chief Ahern and Cap-
tain Snow Were Present.

Policemen old in the city service recall but one negro lynching in recent Kansas City history. There has been mob violence threatened here, but only once was a man's life taken by citizens. A mob hanged a negro of the name of Harrington April 3, 1882, and the police still insist that the man was wrongly accused of murder.

Old-time policemen who figured in the affair were Daniel Ahern, now chief of police; Frank Snow, now captain of police in charge of police court property; Con. O'Hare, Patrick Jones, and five others. The monument erected by the people as a tribute to policemen who fell in discharge of duty -- on the west side of city hall -- bears Jones's name and the date of his death. His name is the second on the long list. He was the victim of a negro's bullets in St. Louis avenue, and another negro was lynched for the crime.

Patrolman Jones lived in the West Bottoms. On the night of his death he had been relieved from duty and had started home to supper. As he turned into St. Louis avenue he met Tony Grant, a negro of bad reputation, carrying a sack.

Jones at once suspected the negro of theft and asked him what he had in the sack. The negro declined to tell and the patrolman placed him under arrest. The sack contained a firkin of butter which the negro had stolen from a grocery. As Jones leaned over to examine the contents of the sack he was shot and killed. The bullet came from behind the policeman and no one saw the shot fired. Tony Grant, believed to be the guilty negro, fled.

Here's where Harrington came into the limelight. Sitting in front of John Monohan's boarding house at Ninth and Hickory streets, he heard the shots and ran toward the body of the policeman. Police a few minutes later arrested him on complaint of white citizens who had also been attracted by the pistol shot..

Harrington, the police maintain, was innocent, but he was hanged an hour later from the Fifth street car bridge. Daniel Ahern, then a patrolman at the West Bottoms station, was assigned with a squad of six officers to take Harrington to police headquarters and started on foot around the bluff to the North End.

A crowd of excited citizens followed the negro and his police escort and soon the officers saw they had made a mistake in starting with the prisoner. It was too late to turn back and they entered the bridge. At the same time a crowd from the North End entered the bridge from the north and the police found themselves, with the negro prisoner, hemmed in. They pleaded with the mob, but were thrust aside. A noose was slipped over Harrington's head and he was thrown over the bridge rail.

Captain Frank Snow and Con O'Hare ran through the crowd and jumped off the end of the bridge, intending to cut down the negro and possibly save him.

As Snow leaned toward the rope a man on the bridge above leaned low over the rail and sent a bullet into the top of Harrington's head. The mob dispersed and the police remember the incident as the only illegal hanging in the history of Kansas City. Tony Grant was never captured and most of those who had a hand in the affair, with the exception of Ahern and Snow, are dead.