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Episode 38: The Spencer Family Massacre, Part 2

The murder of the Spencer family was one of the worst crimes to ever take place in Clark County, Missouri. Justice had to be done, but no one knew what lengths people would go to in order to make that happen.



Dunn, Steve. Group takes another look at 125-year-old murder case. Daily Gate City, 7/17/2002

Dunn, Steve. Spencer murders present classic case of ‘who dun it.’ Daily Gate City, 7/18/2002

Dunn, Steve. Gone but not forgotten. Daily Gate City, 8/5/2002

Hart, Rodney. Group relives infamous event in history of Clark County. Herald-Whig, 10/24/2004

Wood, Larry. Lynching of Bill Young., 5/20/2018

Maples, Rajah. Spencer family brutally murdered in Clark County in 1877.

Bill and His Bride. St. Louis Daily Globe-Democrat, 10/26/1879

The Dead Desperado. St. Louis Globe-Democrat, 10/31/1879

Hanged At His Home. St. Louis Globe-Democrat, 10/30/1879

The Last Link in the Chain. St. Louis Globe-Democrat, 3/6/1879

Laura Sprouse Leaves the Stand. St. Louis Daily Globe-Democrat, 3/23/1879

The Slaughtered Spencers. St. Louis Daily Globe-Democrat, 3/22/1879

History of Lewis, Clark, Knox, and Scotland Counties, Missouri. St. Louis and Chicago; The Goodspeed Publishing Co., 1887

U.S. Census Records

U.S. Marriage Records


  1. Steve Dunn
    Steve Dunn January 26, 2020

    Thanks for the using my article from the Keokuk newspaper as a source. I enjoyed listening to Part 1 and your take on the event. It’s similar to an unsolved axe murder in Villisca, Iowa, in about 1912. Maybe you could check that out, too.

    • The Kitchen Table Historian
      The Kitchen Table Historian January 26, 2020

      I’m so glad to hear that you enjoyed Part 1, sir! And thank you for writing those articles. I not only enjoyed your work, but found them to be an immense help. I’ll be sure to check out Villisca. Thank you!

  2. Rick Fischer
    Rick Fischer April 15, 2020

    I’ve very much enjoyed your take on the Spencer family murders. Having been the News/Programming director for KMEM 100.5 FM radio in Memphis, MO for around 25 years, I did a number of stories and features on this topic. I am well acquainted with.descendants of the Young family, whom all proclaim his innocence.

    • Thank you, Rick! I’m glad that you enjoyed it, sir. This whole event was tragic, and the lynching made it even more so. Thank you again for reaching out – I really appreciate your feedback.

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