The Story Behind the Infamous Wichita Falls Lynching of Bank Robbers is Scarier Than I Thought
I knew this story wasn't pretty, but my God was it worse than I imagined.
So a few months ago, I did a story on famous historical markers in Wichita Falls. I will put it at the bottom of this post if you want to check it out. One of the more unique ones was for the Wichita Falls Bank Robbery of 1896. Looks like "Kid" Lewis and Foster Crawford killed a bank teller in Wichita Falls when they robbed the City National Bank.
They got away with $410 dollars in cash. Adjusting for inflation, that's worth around $13,000. The Texas Rangers found the pair just outside of town and brought them into the local jail. Word got out in Wichita Falls that the bank robbers were caught. Here is where the story does not go as I imagined it. I thought this was a group of dozens that took part in this.
According to the Daily Press in 1896, they reported to their readership that a group of a thousand Wichitans took part in breaking down the doors to the jail. Other reports say it was hundreds. Authorities were unable to stop the angry mob who took the two outside of the bank where the robbery took place. It looks like the citizens of Wichita Falls in 1896 organized this by ringing the fire bell in town that night. When they heard that, it meant everyone assemble outside of the jail.
Apparently the suspect known as "The Kid" started messing with the angry mob as they got a noose ready in the streets. He was laughing and cursing at the angry mob. He apparantly told the crowd, "My name is Younger Lewis, my mother and father reside in Neosho, Missouri." One member of the mob said, "You're going to die now". He didn't seem to care according to reports. He told the crowd to tell his father that he died as a nervy man? I have never heard that phrase, apparently nervy means strong.
Someone in the crowd apparently yelled out, "Times up!" and "The Kid" was hanged to death in Wichita Falls. Reports from that night said he didn't kick or quiver while he died, which was unusual for a hanging. All while this was going in, his partner in crime Foster Crawford was a witness to all of this.
Foster apparently did admit to helping in the robbery, but he said "The Kid" was the one who shot the bank teller. Apparently Foster had one last request, whiskey. I'm shocked that someone actually got him some. He actually drank a lot. They only had the one rope which was preoccupied with "The Kid". Apparently while waiting for another rope, Foster fainted. Not sure if from the whiskey or from the fear he was about to die. Either way, it didn't stop the mob from hanging Foster Crawford as well.
Word quickly spread about the incident throughout the country. Articles in newspapers went up in Washington, Kansas, Massachusetts, Louisiana, and Missouri. You can check them out here. If you want to know more weird Wichita Falls history, my post on the historical marker is below.