"Idaho semi-weekly world." (Idaho City, Idaho Territory) 1875-1908, July 27, 1888, Chronicling America

Williams, the Slayer of Winn and Reed, Pays the Full Penalty.

Pocatello Reporter
BLACKFOOT July 21, 2:30—Frank Williams was hung in the jail yard at 2:12 p. m. His neck was broken by the fall, and he died without a struggle. He made a rather short and incoherant speech, re-affirming his former statements in regard to the murder.

He came under the gallows smoking a cigar, calm and self-possessed, and asked to put the noose on his own neck. He said he would rather die than be imprisoned for life, and said that he had no ill feeling toward anyone. His last words were, "Let her go." He was cut down at 2:57.


The crime for which he paid the last penalty to-day, was one of the most shocking and revolting which has ever occurred in the Territory. It occurred in December, 1886, on Snake river, twenty-five miles below the mining camp of Caribou. Two prospectors, Capt. Winn and Charles Reed were murdered in their lonely cabin. Reed was shot in the head with a 50-calibre needle gun, and Winn's head was split open with an ax. Williams acknowledged the crime, but claimed that he did it in self-defense. His story of the killing, however, did not agree with the situation of the wounds on Reed's head, and he was convicted of murder in the first degree at the May, 1887, term of the District Court and sentenced to be hanged July 22, 1887. An appeal was taken to the Supreme Court of the Territory, where the findings of the lower court were confirmed. He was re-sentenced last June by Judge Broderick. He made an escape from the jail with Fickorson and Harrington, the Teton horse thieves, in July, 1887, but they were all recaptured after a three-days' enjoyment of liberty. He again escaped a few weeks ago, just a year and a week from his first escape—but was recaptured almost immediately. Woods, the Pocatello murderer, who assisted him in the last break, is still at large.


Frank Williams was born in South Portsmouth, Rhode Island. He is 28 years old and his true name is William L. Reynold's. He does not know where his parents reside now, but when last heard from they were there. His life has been a checkered one. He was a sailor for three years. He has worked as a railroader, canal man, cowboy, and a common farm hand. He joined the regular army in 1882 and served in the 7th infantry for two years, finally deserting at Fort Laramie, Wyoming. He then returned to Boston and from thence made his way west, again joining the army in 1886 at Fort Douglas, Utah. He served in Co. H., 6th Infantry, from which he again deserted and came into Idaho. He became a chum of that notorious western bandit and horse thief, Yellowstone Jack, and together they stole a band of horses near Camas and ran them into Montana. In Montana the two men fell out and, after a bloodless quarrel, separated. Williams returned to Idaho and worked for a month for the Potter Cattle Company as a cowboy and then went over into the Cariboo country, where his awful and culminating crime was committed.

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