Saturday, July 17, 2021

A Cowardly Lover.

 Lottie Jackson of Greasy Bend, Kansas, was engaged to marry James “Jap” Rainey, but she broke it off in the Fall of 1893. It was probably due to his rowdy ways; Jap Rainey had a reputation as a gambler and “all-around sport.” He argued with Lottie, then left in a fit of jealous rage, vowing to kill her.

On October 28, 1893, Lottie paid a call at the home of Bosworth Morgan in Osawatomie. As she stood by an open window that night, she did not see Jap Rainey sneaking toward the house. He approached the window, then raised his pistol and made good on his promise. He fired into the house, killing Lottie Jackson, then escaped into the darkness.

Everyone knew who did it, and they quickly formed a posse to track him down. Their intentions were clear; when they caught Rainey, they planned to lynch him on the spot. Realizing his position was hopeless, Jap Rainey went to the police station in Paola, Kansas, and gave himself up. This was not enough for the residents of Greasy Bend, who organized a mob of 75 men to travel to Paola, break Rainey out of jail, and lynch him.

Rainey remained safe in the Paola jail until his trial in February 1894. He tried a plea of temporary insanity, but the jury did not buy it. Rainey was found guilty of first-degree murder and sentenced to hang. He moved for a new trial, but the judge overruled the motion. When Rainey asked for mercy, the judge replied that even if such were meted, there was but one sentence possible under the jury’s verdict. He sentenced Rainey to one year in the penitentiary, then, whenever the governor should so will it, to be hanged.

The governor was not in a hanging mood, and as of December 1898, 46 men, including Jap Rainey, were on death row in Kansas, awaiting execution. In October 1913, after serving 19 years at the penitentiary, Jap Rainey met with pardon clerk S.T. Seaton and fell on his knees, pleading for Seaton to bring about his release. Seaton promised to do so, and that is the last we hear of Jap Rainey.

“A Coweredly Lover,” National Police Gazette, November 18, 1893.
“Current Events,” Muskegon Chronicle, October 28, 1893.
“The Death Penalty,” Topeka Weekly Capital, December 30, 1898.
“Gave Himself Up,” Tyrone Daily Herald, October 31, 1893.
“Jealous Rage,” Indianapolis Sun, October 28, 1893.
“Killed his Sweetheart,” Albany Ledger, November 3, 1893.
“March of Avengers,” Pittsburg Daily Headlight, October 31, 1893.
“A Murder At Osowatomie,” Topeka Daily Capital, October 28, 1893.
“Murder in the First Degree,” Topeka Daily Capital, February 17, 1894.
“Murdered his Sweetheart,” St. Joseph Weekly Gazette, March 13, 1894.
“Murderer Rainey Still Safe,” Lawrence Daily Gazette, November 1, 1893.
“Water at Penitentiary,” Topeka state journal, October 25, 1913.


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