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The Tale of Charles Reed

by Dawn Graves


In its early days, Sidney was said to be a mean town, full of desperadoes and gunslingers that often frequented frontier towns.

Often, vigilantes would take matters into their own hands to rid the town of some particularly unsavory character. 

One story goes that in 1879 Henry Loomis, who was generally well-respected, and some friends were walking down the street one night in Sidney. They passed the house of a woman said to be the mistress of Charles Reed, who had been charged with murder in Texas. She was standing outside her door when Loomis addressed her, and she took offense, calling to Reed for protection.

Reed immediately drew his gun and shot Loomis, hitting him in the thigh, which required his leg be amputated. Loomis died the next day.

Reed took off and hid in the bluffs north of town, where the sheriff found him and brought him back to be thrown in jail.

Meanwhile, a large armed crowd had been assembling during the day with the intent of lynching Reed if Loomis died.

The crowd then went to the jail, quietly removed Reed and strung him up to a telegraph pole. They then gave him a choice: did he prefer to be pulled up by the neck, or to climb up a ladder and jump off?

Reed's last words were “Goodbye, gentlemen,” as he jumped off the ladder to his death.