Family, Friends & Fellow Officers Remember...

Night Watchman Reuben J. Chappell

Pierce City Police Department, Missouri

End of Watch Monday, December 3, 1900

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Reflections for Night Watchman Reuben J. Chappell

Reuben J. Chappell was a Pierce City night watchman who died Dec. 3, 1900 after being shot through the eye while investigating possible bandits roaming through the rail yards. He was shot while confronting three men. Chappell, a Confederate veteran of the Civil War, joined the Pierce City department as marshal in 1886. Shortly after coming into office, he arrested Ed Clum for the murder of a friend and business partner and the woman both men had fallen in love with. Clum was subsequently hanged after trial in Cassville. Chappell became nightwatchman in 1891 and held the post until he died.

MAJ R.A. Layton USA (Retired)
Relative of his wife & family genealogist

April 9, 2014

Your heroism and service is honored today, the 111th anniversary of your death. Your memory lives and you continue to inspire. Thank you for your service. My cherished son Larry Lasater was a fellow police officer murdered in the line of duty on April 24, 2005 while serving as a Pittsburg, CA police officer.

Rest In Peace

Phyllis Loya
mother of fallen officer Larry Lasater, PPD, eow 4/24/05

December 3, 2011

Rest in Peace Chief Chappell. You have served your country and community with devotion, courage and valor. You will not be forgotten. I know the Lord has said to thee, "Enter faithful servant in whom I am well pleased."

March 2, 2008


ST LOUIS POST DISPATCH - August 25, 1901




Peirce City, the scene of one murder and three lynchings during the week, is a place of 3000 population. Since Thursday, no one bearing a trace of negro blood has been seen in the city. The immediate occasion of this depopulation was the fiendish murder of Miss Griselda Wild last Sunday who the people declare was killed by a negro.
Miss Wild, in the bloom of her womanhood, beloved by all her friends was murdered on her way home from Sunday school and preaching last Sunday a few minutes past noon. It was universally believed that Miss Wild’s slayer was a negro. Two had been arrested on suspicion.
From the surrounding country came hundreds of farmers. Several times other country girls have been frightened by prowling negroes. This murder, in broad daylight, only a half mile from town in plain view of W. W. Roark’s farmhouse north of the railroad track where the crime was committed, aroused the farmers. Since the brother of the victim, but ten minutes behind her, walked down the railroad track and found his sister lying under the culvert with her throat cut, Peirce City had been in a frenzy of righteous rage. Posses had searched the woods and fields day and night for the fiend who did the deed. Members of Company “E,” 2nd Regiment, National Guard Militia, of Peirce City had assisted in the search. During Monday, men came in from other points, swelling the mob to nearly a thousand men.
The hanging of Will Godley in the wooden awning of the Lawrence Hotel was one incident. The shooting of French Godley and Peter Hampton and the cremation of their remains in the ruins of Godley’s home was another. The burning of four other negro homes and the driving out of nearly 200 negroes was still another. Will Godley was hanged not merely because the mob believed him to be concerned in the murder of Miss Wild. He had served a ten-year sentence for attempted assault on Mrs. Filo, an aged German woman living near the city. Godley was strung up largely because of his past record. It was injudicious for Godley to return to Peirce City from Jefferson City.
French Godley, an old man, was a victim of mob frenzy without any particular desire upon the mob’s part to kill him. He simply stood in the doorway and was in the path of bullets while his stepson, Pete Hampton, was firing at the mob from an upper window.
Pete Hampton was also slaughtered on account of his record. He was believed to have been concerned in the murder of City Marshall Chappell last winter. Pete took refuge in the top part of his stepfather’s house and his remains were found in the cellar next day.
First Lieut. Gillen of Company “E” thus describes the midnight battle, which occurred three hours after the hanging of Will Godley:
“It was the wildest mob I ever saw, and I have seen several. I watched the attack on the negro quarters from the veranda of the Windsor Hotel, across the railroad track.
“There was a skirmish line drawn up along the track in front of the negro houses, with a considerable body of men both left and right. The house of old French Godley was in a cross-fire. It was peppered in two directions.
“After the torch was applied, the whole scene was brightly illuminated. Five houses were burning, those of Shack Brinson, Pete Hampton, French Godley, Mrs. Emma Carter the Windsor Hotel cook and another. This made a line of flames half a block long, which lit up Clear creek, in the rear and the wooded ridge beyond.
“The crack of Springfield rifles and revolvers carried by other men with pistols and all sorts of firearms were pumping lead into the burning buildings.
“Old soldiers said it looked like an attack on a fort at night. The members of the mob were yelling and hooting. The negro women and children were crying and screaming. And over all, the lurid flames shot up and the smoke ascended to the clouds.
“Fifty rifles and 800 rounds of ammunition were taken from our armory. Most of the guns have been returned. Two hundred rounds of ammunition have been turned in. I suppose the other 600 rounds were fired at the negroes.”

March 2, 2008

You are remembered today and thank you Sir for your service

Pat Van Den Berghe, Manchester, NH
Neighbors for a Better Manchester, NH

December 3, 2007

To the person who left the bio of Chief Chappell, Thank you.
Had it not been for you we would never know anything about R.J.Chappell.

Chief Chappell,

Thank you for your service. You are a true hero. May you continue to rest in eternal peace.........

Senior Officer D. W. Reichhardt
Waverly (Va.) Police Department

December 3, 2006

I pray that you are still resting peacefully and hope that you are watching down over us.

Cpl. Egendoerfer
Mishawaka PD

December 3, 2006

From History of Missouri Illustrated 1888 – Biographies Section - Newton, Lawrence, Barry and McDonald Counties History; published by the Goodspeed Publishing Co., Chicago.

R. J. CHAPPELL was born in Maury County, Tenn., January 27, 1842, and is a son of Henry and Martha (SMITH) CHAPPELL, who were also born in Tennessee. The Chappell and Smith families came from Virginia and North Carolina, respectively. The subject of this sketch was reared in his native county, and there received a good common-school education. He was engaged in clerking in a mercantile establishment, but upon the breaking out of the war he, in May, 1861, enlisted in the Confederate service, and was a faithful soldier until the close of the Rebellion. He received several severe wounds. In 1868 he located in Springfield, Mo., and followed commercial traveling for two years. He located in Peirce City on November 12, 1870, and for four years was engaged in the mercantile business with J. PERKINS. He then worked with J. H. WOOLRIDGE for two years, and the following two years was with J. W. PATRICK. In 1882 he was elected chief of the Peirce City police force, and has acceptably filled that position ever since. He was married to Annie E., a daughter of Samson LOONEY, Esq. (deceased), and by her is the father of four sons and three daughters. He is a member of the K. of P.

June 18, 2005

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