The Vindicator - Valley Falls, Kansas
May 31, 2001
By Joline Clare
Taken from "Valley Falls New Era" Jan & Feb, 1883
"Our citizens were terribly shocked on the afternoon of Saturday
last by the intelligence that Constable Daniel Weiser had been
shot and almost instantly killed, and his son Robert seriously
injured, while attempting to arrest a you man named Charles Cobb
at the house of the latter's father, about four and half miles
southeast of town. The particulars of the affair are about as
follows: On the evening previous to the shooting, Cobb had
attended a lyceum at the Pacific Schoolhouse. After the program
was over, Cobb engaged in a dispute with a young man named Henry
McClenny (20 years old). The dispute soon ended with Cobb
threatening to shoot McClenny and firing several shots from his
revolver. No one knows as to whether the shots were aimed at
someone or if they were randomly fired.
The next morning, Cobb reportedly came to Valley Falls and bought
a large amount of cartridges for a Winchester rifle. While in
town, he visited a saloon and as he left made threats as to what
he would do if someone tried to arrest him.
Soon after, McClenny came into town and procured a warrant for
the arrest of Cobb on the charge of disturbing the peace. The
warrant was given to Weiser to be served to Cobb. Not being able
to find any other assistance, Weiser took his son, Robert, with
him. Weiser and his son arrived at the residence of Louis Cobb,
who was the father of Charles Cobb, a little after noon not
knowing about the threats Cobb had made earlier that morning.
Once there, Dan and Robert went to the north door of the house,
while Dan stood on the south side of the house. When Robert
entered the house he saw Cobb standing in the house with a
Winchester rifle thrown to his shoulder. Louis along with other
members of the Cobb family, tried to pacify him, then shut the
door between the two rooms. As he left the house to meet his
father he heard Cobb vow to members of his family that he would
not be taken to Valley Falls and while the Weisers were taking
him he "would get one of them".
Louis soon came out of the house to see what the charge was.
While Dan was trying to explain it to him, Charles came out of
the house with a rifle in his hands. Louis and other members of
the Cobb family were standing around Charles, trying to keep him
from shooting. Dan drew his revolver and shot at Cobb missing
him and hitting a younger Cobb child. He told Robert that Cobb
was going around the house, Robert proceeded to go the other way.
Shortly after he saw Cobb rise from behind the well and before he
could do anything, Cobb shot him in the arm. The Weisers then
started to run toward a fence on the Cobb property. Just as Dan
had gotten through the fence on the south side of the house, Cobb
fired another shot that struck him. He proceeded to walk
approximately another 50 yards, climbed a stone fence, and sat
down on a stone where he died about five minutes later.
D. B. Northrup was summoned to dress the wound of the younger
Cobb child. Before another officer could get to the scene to
arrest Cobb, he escaped.
According to the Valley Falls New Era, the Cobb family was very
well known and highly respected. They had also lived in the
county for a long period of time. It was said that Cobb however
had the reputation for being a bad, reckless boy from the time of
his childhood, in spite of all of his parents' efforts to
A little over three years before the shooting, Cobb had run away
to Texas and his friends and family had known very little of him
until he moved back to the town two or three months before the
Shortly after the death of Weiser, Jefferson County sent out
notices to various counties throughout Kansas, to be on the look
out for Cobb. One of the counties that received the notice was
Cowley County. Upon hearing that Cobb might be in the vicinity,
Cowley County Sheriff Albert Shenneman issued poster, dated Jan
12, 1883 on which he described the fugitive and offered a reward
for any information on his whereabouts. Three days later a young
man came to the residence of Walter Jacobus, a wealthy farmer
residing in the Maple township, near Udall. The man told Jacobus
that he had come from Texas to Dodge City with a cattle drive.
He said he was on his way home to Pennsylvania and he had run out
of money. The man then asked Jacobus if he could give him a job
and a place to stay until spring. Jacobus told him that he did
not have any work for him but he could stay with them and maybe
find a job with another farmer.
A week later Jacobus hired him and soon after noticed that he
always carried a gun. Jacobus then became convinced that he must
be a criminal, so he wrote to Sheriff Shenneman giving him a
description of the man. After reading the description of the
suspect, Shenneman decided that it was the fugitive they were
looking for. Shenneman went to the Jacobus residence and saw the
suspect out in the field working. Shenneman and Jacobus decided
to introduce the sheriff as "Doctor James of Udall". While
observing the suspect during dinner Shenneman became certain that
he was the fugitive they were looking for. After dinner, he
attempted to arrest him by pinning his arms behind him. There
was a long and hard struggle that ended with the suspect throwing
Shenneman to the ground and shooting him twice with a revolver,
one of which was later fatal. Not long after being shot
Shenneman grabbed hold of the suspect until he sure Jacobus had
secured him. Then Jacobus along with the help of his wife put a
rope around the man's neck and choked him until he quit
struggling. After the Jacobuses had him securely tied up, they
gave Sheriff Shenneman first aid and put him to bed. Two days
later the sheriff died of the gunshot wounds.
The killer was taken to the Winfield jail, but it was
considered unsafe for him, so they moved him to the Wichita jail.
While there, the sheriff from Jefferson County went to the jail
and identified the suspect as Charles Cobb. Three days later
they decided to move Cobb back to the Winfield jail. However,
once again they decided that the jail was still unsafe for him
and Cobb would be lynched if he stayed, so they moved him again.
After moving Cobb a few more times, they finally decided to move
him back to the Winfield jail. Early the next morning, after he
was moved to Winfield, several masked men went into the jail and
took Cobb at gunpoint to a nearby railroad bridge and strung him
up on a crosstie.
About six hours later, the body was cut down and taken to the
courthouse. A jury was impaneled, witnesses were sworn in, and
evidence was recorded. However, there was no proof as to who the
lynchers were, so the verdict was returned which read: 'The said
jurors upon their oath do say that said Charles Cobb came to his
death on Feb. l, 1883, by being hung by the neck from the
crosstie of a railroad bridge."
Oskaloosa Independent Feb 10, 1883
"The body of Charles Cobb was bro't to Valley Falls last
Saturday, his father having telegraphed to the coroner of Cowley
county to forward it. Mr. Cobb opened the coffin at the depot
and immediately recognized his son, being greatly affected
thereat. The features, it is said, were composed and regular,
with no indication of the violent death. The remains were
interred at the Spring Grove cemetery: and so ends one of the
most terrible occurrences that has ever been known in the
history of this county or state. Think of it, young men! Three
bloody murders and three families left with lifetime sorrow - all
the result of disorderly conduct at a spelling school!"