Deputy Sheriff
Cyrus Oscar Thomas
Posey County Sheriff's Department
Friday, October 11, 1878

Age: 39
Badge #:
Panel 16W, Line 26
Panel L30, Line 12 (2009)

Incident Details

Cause of Death:
Date/Time of Incident:
Friday, October 11, 1878
02:00 am
Incident to Death Duration:
Same day
Incident Location:
902 East 2nd Street, Mount Vernon
Incident County:
Incident Township:
Weapon Used:
Suspect Disposition:
Died while in custody (7)
Burial Place:
Bellefontaine Cemetery, Mount Vernon

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   Deputy Sheriff Cyrus Thomas was shot and killed while attempting to arrest a wanted suspect.

   A few days earlier, seven males were accused of raping three females in their homes in which four of the suspects were arrested. Deputy Thomas and three other officers went to a house to arrest one of the other suspects when Deputy Thomas was shot in the face and chest with a shotgun by the homeowner, killing him.

   A constable was able to return fire and seriously wounded the man, who initially fled the scene but was later arrested.

   The 51-year-old offender was lynched by being butchered, then having his body parts dumped in the jailhouse privy.

   One of his sons was burned to death in the fire box of a steam locomotive, while his other son was shot before being stuffed in the hollow trunk of a tree.

   The next day a mob assembled at the courthouse, forced their way into the county jail and hanged the four incarcerated rape suspects, ranging in age from 21 to 42, from locust trees in the public square.

   Deputy Sheriff Thomas, from Mount Vernon, was survived by his expectant wife, three children, two brothers, three sisters and parents.

Military Service

United States Army
Civil War (Union)
Corporal (CPL) ▪ 1861–1865

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