Cal Huey (Execution of)

Cal Huey was one of two men hanged for the 1879 murder of a Crittenden County man, though he denied being involved in the crime.

On October 26, 1879, four masked men rode up to the home of John Broadway, age fifty-five, about ten miles north of Marion (Crittenden County). One of them was John Potter, who worked for Broadway and believed that Broadway had $300 in his home. When Broadway tried to defend himself, another robber, Hiram Jeffries, shot him down. The four men fled, having netted only eight dollars.

Potter, Jeffries, L. L. Ford, and Cal Huey were arrested and charged with Broadway’s murder. Huey got a change of venue for the trial to Mississippi County, but Jeffries and Ford were tried and convicted in Crittenden County, largely on the testimony of Potter, who had turned state’s evidence. On April 14, 1880, Potter helped Jeffries escape from jail, and the two men disappeared. Ford was hanged at Marion on May 28, 1880, though many thought him innocent and he denied being involved in the murder.

Huey was convicted by a Mississippi County jury in November 1880, and after his appeal to the Arkansas Supreme Court was rejected, he was condemned to hang on January 14, 1881.

Several hundred people gathered in the jail yard in Osceola (Mississippi County) on January 14 while Huey sat on the scaffold smoking a cigar. He read a statement attacking the judge, jury, and legal system in Mississippi County but had kind words for Sheriff W. B. Haskins “who, he said, had been uniformly good and kind to him.” He continued to profess his innocence in Broadway’s slaying.

As the time for his execution neared, Huey proposed drinking a toast to Haskins, saying, as he drank a toddy of whiskey, “Mr. Haskins, here’s luck, and hoping you may live prosperously.” Returning the toast, Haskins replied, “Huey, my good wishes, and I hope you will go to heaven.”

Religious services were held at the gallows, “which Huey seemed to heartily acquiesce, but in which he took no deep interest.” Because he suffered from rheumatism, Huey sat in a chair wrapped in blankets. When the trap door was opened, “the chair on which he sat quilt and all shot down nearly six feet, and the breaking of Huey’s neck was distinctly heard all around.” He was declared dead sixteen minutes later and cut down after eighteen minutes.

For additional information:
“Cal Huey.” Osceola Times, January 15, 1881, p. 1.

“Court Proceedings.” Osceola Times, November 20. 1880, p. 4.

“Into Eternity.” Arkansas Gazette, May 29, 1880, p. 5.

Mark K. Christ
Central Arkansas Library System


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