"Cattle Thieves Burned to Death.
Special Dispatch to the New York Times. Omaha, Neb., Dec. 1.-information has been received here today to the effect that two men named Ketchum and Mitchell, in Custer county, suspected of stealing stock, resisted the attempts of four herders to arrest them last Tuesday, and a desperate fight ensued, in which one of the herders was killed. Ketchum and Mitchell were arrested subsequently by the Sheriff of Custer County. That night 25 masked men, well armed, overpowered the Sheriff and his posse, who were taking the prisoners to the county seat for trial, tied the prisoners to a tree and burned them to death."
"Burned to Death by Cattle Men
Special Dispatch to the New York Times. Omaha, Neb., Dec. 19.-later reports from Custer County show that the burning to death of two men recently, reported in previous dispatches, was the result of the determination of the cattle men to keep homesteaders out of that county. Custer, the most extreme northwest county in the State, is almost exclusively given up to cattleranges. The two men burned to death had taken homesteads and resolved to stay, despite the fearful threats made against them. Gov. Garber has offered $200 reward, the highest amount allowed by State law, for the arrest of the men implicated in the terrible crime. He will also recommend to the legislature, which will sit in January, to offer a reward of $10,000 for the arrest and conviction of the guilty men."
Cattle barons accumulated great wealth by grazing their cattle in the West's open ranges. Homesteaders threatened their fortunes by fencing in areas that would otherwise have been available to them.
A reward of $700 was posted for the capture of Ketchum and Mitchell by isom Prentice "Print" Olive, a cattle baron. When the men were delivered to the sheriff, Olive and his men took the prisoners. Collusion between the authorities and the cattle baron is likely.
Torture, such as skinning and burning, was virtually never practiced on Anglo Americans. Mitchell's body was taken to his former home at Central City, Nebraska, and buried in the Central City Cemetery. Ami "Whit" Ketchum's brother claimed his body and buried him in Kearney, Nebraska. A pink marble headstone is inscribed, "Pioneer Ami Ketchum, 18551878, A Victim of the Homesteaders and Cattlemen Conflict of Custer County, Nebraska."
I. P. "Print" Olive was eventually captured and convicted of the murders. legal maneuvering to free him was successful but cost him his fortune. He was killed by Joseph Sparrow at Trail City, Colorado, on April 25, 1892. He is buried in Dodge City, Kansas, next to his wife.