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William J. Thacker

William Thacker was a white lynching victim, which accounts for the detailed documentary evidence of his life and death.  Thacker was born on May 5th, 1859 in Lawrence, Kentucky. He was raised by Nathaniel and Lucrecia Thacker and was the eldest of 4 children. In 1881 Thacker married Molly Mary Prater. The couple had five children: Noah Lee, Vada Ann, John Preston, William, and Albert. In December of 1886, Thacker enlisted for a single term of service in the United States Army. After he was discharged, Thacker served as the postmaster for the town of Noah in Lewis County in July 1892. He worked there for nine years and was known well around the community.

In 1901, Thacker was convicted of first- degree murder of John Gordon in the town of Foxport. Thacker successfully appealed the conviction twice. He spent two years jail in Flemingsburg awaiting the third trial.  

In the early morning hours of the 14th of July in 1903, a mob broke into the prison. Thacker was dragged out of the prison and was knocked unconscious before being hanged from a tree. The Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer implied that the mob had done the right thing, stating that the mob kidnapped Thacker to prevent a third successful appeal. Thacker is buried in the Oak Ridge Cemetery in Lewis County, KY.

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