Murder, Lynching & Witching

“The Lynching of Hiram Wilson” written by Iowa author Buzz Malone is based on the true events of July 6, 1870. According to newspaper accounts from 1870, Sheriff Gaylord Lyman led Hiram Wilson out the door of the saloon in the rear of the building and walked him toward the courthouse; Hiram turned and pulled a pistol. The older sheriff was apparently unmoved by the young man though and he stepped toward him to take him back into custody. It was then that the young Hiram Wilson pulled the trigger, shooting Sheriff Lyman in the belly. “You have killed me,” he said to the young man. Citizens took the law into their own hands and young Hiram was lynched.

Douglas Cemetery is the final resting place of Hiram Wilson. A short distance from town on the historical Blue Grass road, you will find the restored original pinoeer cemetery. Don’t both looking for Hiram’s stone because he was buried in an unmarked grave somewhere on the hill in Potter’s Field. Douglas Cemetery is also the final resting place of Oliver W Coffman, a First Iowa Cavalry soldier distinctive because he is amoung the few Civil War fatalities buried in Iowa.

Tour Agenda

Morning coffee
at Get Mugged and possibly a treat.
Meet & Greet with the author of “The Lynching of Hiram Wilson Chariton Iowa 1870”, Buzz Malone.

Visit the Genealogy area of Chariton’s Dale Carnegie Public Library
The Genealogy collection pertains not only to family history, but to local, state and national history and statistics as well. A lot of information is in print with every name indexed.

Trip to Douglas Cemetery
with civil war information. You might even see Oliver Coffman in uniform!


Then on to the Chariton Cemetery
You will visit the final resting place of Sheriff Gaylord Lyman.

Water witchery was very popular in finding underground water but have you heard of grave witching? Our guides will take you to marked and unmarked stones and let you experience the amazing gift of witching graves. You will find men, women and children’s graves.

On the Chariton Square you will find plenty of thing to occupy your day. We have the Lucas County Courthouse the highest point of elevation in the whole town and is located on the Missouri/Mississippi River divide. The Civil War memorial is a part of the court house lawn, however, our Civil War cannon cannot be found. During the construction of the court house the cannon stood in the way of progress so they simply buried it to get the thing out of the way and after hundreds of years no one remembers where!

Pipers, founded in 1903, was a trading store for local producers and delivered groceries and goods to surrounding mining areas via train. The tradition of candy making started in 1947 and these traditions have continued throughout the years with the same recipes and handmade canides.

Hy-Vee is an employee-owned chain of supermarkets in the Midwestern states. Chariton has been known as the headquarters since 1945 until 1995 where it moved to West Des Moines. One of the main distribution centers still located here in Chariton is open for tours.

The outdoor beauty of Lucas County is our greatest treasure. Red Haw State Park, Stephens Forest, 9.5 mile Cinder Path, Pin Oak Marsh, Broad Head Woods, Williamson Pond and Chariton River Greenbelt offer an abundance of outdoor activities and scenery.

Lucas County Historical Museum, John L Lewis Museum and the Russell Historical Museum are all must sees.

This tour Muder, Lynching & Witching can be booked through the Chariton Area Chamber/Main Street office at 641.774.4059. We can make arrangements for your group at anytime. Please feel free to email us also at or visit our website