The Bingham Whitecapping Case

This is taken from a Van Buren Township history by Mabel Pofford Hornaker, p 38&39.



(Whitecaps are vigilantes who wore white hoods or capes to maintain anonymity)

At one time Edmond Bingham owned land in Van Buren Twp, part of the Southwest quarter of section 33. In all probability resided in the township about 1850. The school inumeration of 1853 shows Edmund Bingham having 2 sons between the ages of 13 & 21 in school district #6 (now the Stanford School district) & in 1853 the township records show Ed Bingham in Road District #7. Just when he moved to the house across the township line is not definitely known. It was while living at the place more commonly known as the Frank Koons place (sec 4 Indian Creek Twp that this whitecapping affair was executed.

It seems that William Treadway was building a house during the month of May 1857. It has been said that Edmund Bingham was a man of unusual strength and courage, & considered quite a bully by some of the neighbors. No doubt he had made several enemies in performing his duties as “constable”. Reports were that Bingham had been selling liquor to the men working on the dwelling of Treadway.

One day Ed Bingham went to the William Treadway to arrest one Cob Van Sycle (cause of asset unknown to the writer). The men had been drinking freely & resented the arrest of Van Sycle.

There was a company of men known as the Regulators visted the Bingham home. There were about 200 men, 40 of whom where said to be from Harrodsburg.

Bingham, having been warned by Henry Koons, a neighbor living about ½ mile distant, armed himself with an ax and a corn knife. He was no coward & insisted on remaining on the premises; how ever the wife & children were sent to the Koons house for safety. When the men arrived, many were drinking, they attact (sic) Bingham. They over powered him but not until he had injured 2 or 3 men & perhaps killed one.

Bingham was taken from his house (into Van Buren Township) where he was tied to a tree and severely whipped.

In the meanwhile Mrs Bingham having been advised about conditions of her home, returned immediately. The mob apparently satisfied with their nights work, carried Bingham home. One of the leaders, tossing the body of Bingham to the ground exclaimed, “Take your d--- man!” It was then that some of the leaders wanted to whip Mrs Bingham. One who had been prominent in the whipping of Bingham could not stand for the whipping of his wife, saying, “she was good to me when I was a child without a home, so over my dead body will you whip her.”

A friend of the Binghams assisted Mrs B in carrying her husband to his bed. She tried to make him comfortable, it in vain. He ask (sic) for water, when questioned about the affair he managed to say, “The Morgans”.

The death of Bingham created quite a sensation in this community. The grand jury investigated the case & about seven men were indicted, two of whom served time in the state prison, later being paroled by Governor Morton. (Monroe Co Records)

It was never known for certain who participated in this affair. No doubt the murder of Bingham was never intended, so it is thought that they only wanted to frighten the man.

A few weeks later, so we have been told, Mike Thrasher when riding along that road stopped at the tree where Bingham was whipped, pulled out some blood stained clothing from a hollow in the tree trunk & said, “Anybody connected with such a cowardly affair should publish it to the world.” He hanged the clothes on a branch of the tree so we are told.

This article refers to Edmond Bingham II, son of Edmund I & Lucy (Bays) Bingham. He was born in 1805 in Pittsylvania Co, VA & died 5/8/1857 in Van Buren Township, Monroe Co, IN. He married Nancy Keller Mar 8, 1825 & Ester Workman 4/16/1842. Edmond & Nancy Children were Mary Ann (m. Richard Shipman), Adeline (m. Wiley Burch), Wiliam (m. Martha Burch), Lucy Jane (m. Abe Anderson) Edmund III, and George W Bingham. The two younger sons went to Clark Co, IL then to Kansas.


This account of Frederick Bingham was taken from “Biographical Memories, Green Co, IN, Vol 1, p105. It is written by W D Ritter

Frederick Bingham was born in VA Feb 22, 1792. In 1812, the British forces were operating in the waters & vicinity of Chesapeake Bay & the city of Washington was captured & burned & Baltimore attacked.

It was supposed that Norfolk would be captured, & being considered the “key” of the bay. Of a regiment of infantry that marched to defend Norfolk, part of them were from VA & part from N Carolina. Mr Bingham was fife major. In making up of that regiment father heard him play the fife. Father said his uniform was red as blood & had round shiny brass buttons on it the size of musket balls. And the very sight of him, together with his stirring music, sent a thrill through the people like an electric shock. No real attack was made on Norfolk, so Mr Bingham was in no battle.

After the danger was passed & the war over, Mr B’s regiment was discharged & he returned home. Under the United States militia law, which continued in force on or until about 1840, he was still a very active & efficient fifer, both in Virginia & Indiana. Virginia was his home until about 1830, when he moved to IN, first on White River, then to Center Twp, Greene Co of which he was fife major until the militia system ceased. To all the people of the county “Frederick, the Fifer, as he was lovingly called, was well & favorably known.

One of the very first things I remember was the big muster days in Bloomfield, with Frederick the fifer & his little boy, Hiram, the drummer. The fife’s keen notes I shall never forget, even one of his tunes I still remember that he played in Bloomfield long ago in 1831. While on parade Mr Bingham carried himself with spirit and bearing that was inspiring. The very breath of his nostrils seemed to be patriotism coupled with high resolve. A militia muster was a “high day” in those times of long ago.

In Virginia he was married to Obediance “Biddy” Farmer (Powell) & to them were born Hiram; Eliza Ann, no wife of Elsbery Anderson of Center Township, from whom these facts are obtained; Alfred & Edmund.

Mr Bingham owned land & pursued the occupation of farmer in Section 12, Township 7 North, Range 4 West.

He took a premium on a hogshead of tobacco at Todd’s Warehouse in Louisville, KY in the year 1836, it being the best one there that year. Here in Greene Co, when a tobacco warhouse was established at Point Commerce, he was appointed tobacco warehouse inspector, which office he held for many years.

In March 1859, he went to the house appointed for all the living & is buried in the Bingham Cemetery, Center Township, near Solsbery.

Frederick born 21/22/1792 at Pittsylvania Co, VA. Married Obedience (Biddy) Farmer (Powell) Aug 7, 1812, Halifax Co, VA


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