In August of 1903, an elderly couple, Mr. and Mrs. Simon Bucher, were brutally murdered in their home in Franklin, near Winchester, Tennessee. According to the Lewisburg (TN) Tribune News, Mr. Bucker (Booker) was shot down in a potato patch and lived long enough to tell neighbors who found him who committed the crime. After shooting Mr. Bucher, the murderers burned his house with Mrs. Bucher inside.
Henry Judge, John Evans and Joe Delp were quickly arrested for the murder. Judge apparently hired Evans (his brother-in-law) and Delp to commit the crime. I found several articles from across the country reporting on their execution; one said that Judge wanted the Buchers killed in order to gain access to the timber on their land. According to a another article, a mob of 300 to 400 men came to Winchester determined to lynch the three men, who were hurriedly put aboard a train for Nashville; as the train moved out of Winchester, it ran directly through the mob. Judge, Evans and Delp were returned to Winchester soon after to stand trial. They were tried and sentenced within a month of the crime, and on May 5, 1904, the three men were hanged.
The Fayetteville Observer, 12 May, p.1
A Triple Hanging The Sequel to a Horrible Murder
Winchester, Tenn. May 5- Just as the sun began to creep over the eastern horizon of the historic town of Winchester today, the lives of three human beings were ushered into the presence of their Maker pursuant to the stern dictates of the laws of the great commonwealth of Tennessee. Prepared though they said they were for the hereafter, yet the crime for which they paid the penalty was so brutal and atrocious in its nature and was so cold bloodied in its premeditation that the judgement of the courts of justice met with general public approval, and the citizenship of Franklin county feels as if justice has not miscarried.
Robert Judge, Jo Delph and John Evans were hanged this morning until they were dead. Sheriff Stewart pulled the trap in the county jailyard, and within a few minutes attending physicians pronounced the three men dead.
The crime for which the three above mentioned men went to their death was the killing of old man Simon Bucher and his wife on the evening of Monday, Aug. 3. The murder occurred about six miles from Winchester on the side of the mountain. It was Delph and Evans who were directly responsible for the assassination, but subsequent developments showed that they had been hired to commit the bloody deed by Judge, who was a brother-in-law of Evans. He, too, was tried for murder and was convicted. Afterwards he was sentenced to death.
Joe Delp, when the cap was brought forth and the sheriff asked if he had anything to say, stepped slightly forward and said: "Gentlemen, if I hadn't been ready I never would have been here. I was led into this. All that I have to say is I have a better home to go to."
John Evans, when asked to make his last dying statement, said: "I just want to tell you all that I am ready and prepared to go. Of course, we all hate to leave here, which is natural. I hope you all will be ready to go when your time comes. The sheriff has been very kind to me in every way and I am glad to be able to say that for him. I hope if you can ever be of any help to my family you will do it. I am willing to go and am prepared."
Judge when called upon for a statement said: "For the sake of my family I want to say this. If I am guilty, I am just where I ought to be. There is but one way to go to heaven and that is with a pure, clean and honest conscience. I hope to meet all citizen of Franklin County in heaven. I ask that you remember my dear children and my poor wife and help them to forget the black record which I leave them. Two reasons why I hate to die are, the black record I leave for my family and on account of my wife and children."
The three men were the last people hanged in Winchester, Tennessee.
|John Evans picture as it appeared in the Winchester Truth before his hanging|