22 October 2015

On This Day: Hired killer Horn hung

Tom Horn was a hired killer. His nature was a brutal one. He allegedly killed the 14 year old son of a Wyoming sheep rancher in 1901. The child was Willie Nickell. The murder occurred near Iron Mountain, WY. It was On This Day in 1903 that Horn was hung in Cheyenne, WY for this crime. 

There is some doubt as to whether Horn actually killed young Willie or not. Some think he is innocent of this crime, though he certainly did his share of killing. Others suggest that Willie’s father was the intended target and Horn mistook the boy for his father, Kels Nickell. 

Horn, according to History.com, was born in 1860 in Memphis, Missouri. He moved West in the 1870s. His long list of careers implies he was a restless soul. He had been a cowboy, a miner, an army scout, a deputy sheriff and a packer for the Rough Riders. He worked for the Pinkerton Detective Agency but soon grew bored and took on work as a hired killer for the Wyoming Cattlemen’s Association. 

Desert Evening News, Salt Lake City, UT. 20 November 1903. Photographer was W.G. Walker. 

Tom Horn is hanged in Wyoming for murder of Willie Nickell. 22 October 1903. History.com 


On This Day is a prompt to further explore historical events.

© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2015
Locations listed are located in Pennsylvania (USA), unless otherwise noted in post.