Dark Lanterns: 160th Anniversary of the George DeBar Tragedy

By on August 7, 2015

160 years ago today the brutal events detailed in the book Dark Lanterns: An American Lynching took place in West Bend, WI.
Dark Lanterns book about murder in West Bend, WI

Today, August 7th, 2015 marks 160 years since a series of disturbing events took place here in West Bend, Wisconsin, the hometown of Cult of Weird HQ. In 1855, George DeBar was accused of murdering a teenage farmhand and attacking two adults before setting their home ablaze. But before he could stand trial, an angry mob hanged him from a nearby bridge.

Jack H. Anderson wrote Dark Lanterns: An American Lynching about the incident and the political turmoil surrounding it. The Washington County Historical Society recently published a new edition of the book, for which I had the opportunity to provide the new cover design.

Here’s the description:

“One of the most diabolical murders in the history of this State.” In early August 1855, the murder of a teenage boy and the lynching of his suspected murder put the small town of West Bend, Wisconsin in national news. What happened during seven hot August days summarizes the growing tension between European immigrants and Anglo-Americans in the United States. Many questions remain today but one looms largest over the rest, did he do it? Award-winning journalist Jack H. Anderson pieces early 19th Century southeastern Wisconsin and national political and social events together to create an astounding tale of fear, mistrust, violence, and mystery.

Dark Lanterns is available right here.

Dark Lanterns: An American Lynching by Jack H. Anderson

The historical society is also hosting a walking tour of the events on September 15th. Details for that can be found here.

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