McDonald (Lynching of)

A pair of Marion County men were shot as suspected horse thieves on Christmas Day of 1870 by a trio of vigilantes from Springfield, Missouri. A man named McDonald was killed in the incident.

According to a short article in the January 25, 1871, Arkansas Gazette, three men from Springfield “named Patterson, and Dodson, and a third, name unknown,” rode into Marion County in pursuit of a stolen horse. Once in the county, they apprehended a man named Otterbury, and while one vigilante guarded him, the other two detained a man named McDonald “whom they also accused as being one of their thieves.” After “some altercation,” the Missourians shot the two men after Otterbury “attempted to resist.” McDonald died of his wounds, while Otterbury appears to have survived. After the attack, the vigilantes “left for parts unknown” after claiming and seizing a horse from a Mr. Hodges in Centerville.

The 1870 census lists no one named McDonald, Otterbury, or Hodges as living in Marion County, though there were two men named Henry Arterberry, aged fifty-six and twenty-one and presumably father and son, living in Flippin (Marion County). Nothing else apparently was published about the incident, and it appears that the three Missourians never paid for their crimes.

For additional information:
“State News.” Arkansas Gazette, January 25, 1871, p. 3.

Mark K. Christ
Central Arkansas Library System


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