Bootlegger Suicides in Ripley Jail in 1920


Transcribed by Norma Knotts Shaffer from microfilm of the Calhoun Chronicle dated 6/17/1920.

Lem Laughlin a Suicide

Lem Laughlin, the noted bootleg bandit of this county, committed suicide by hanging himself Tuesday night.  He was confined in the Jackson county jail at Ripley serving out a sentence for bootlegging.  There were many other indictments against him both in the federal and state courts, some of which were of a very grave nature.  It is presumed that Laughlin, discouraged by the long prison terms most surely confronting him and disheartened by the hopelessness of escape, decided to end it all by taking his own life.

He wrote a note asking his jailer to ship his remains to Spencer and to telephone his wife to come for them.

Laughlin is survived by a wife and several small children.