Jake Tobler and Joe Tobler

Fran Cass and A.P. Goodykountz were prominent cattle merchants from Vinita, Cherokee Nation, traveling west on business. En route, they stopped in the Sac & Fox Agency in the Indian Territory.

Brothers Jake and Joe Tobler were staying in the same area. Recognizing Cass and Goodykountz as affluent, the Tobler brothers, who were Black, shot and killed the two men on August 16, 1885. They then stole their horses, wagons, and possessions.

Three days later, a posse captured and arrested the Toblers, who promptly confessed. The men were jailed at Fort Smith, Arkansas.

Chetopa (Kansas) Advance, September 10, 1885

After being transferred to Topeka, Kansas for trial, they were tried separately in federal court in Topeka in September 1888. The reason for the lengthy delay is not clear.

After being found guilty and sentenced to death, Jake and Joe Tobler were hanged in Topeka on November 21, 1888.

Author: Bill Lofquist

I am a sociologist and death penalty scholar at the State University of New York at Geneseo. I am also a Pittsburgh native. My present research focuses on the history of the death penalty in Allegheny County (Pittsburgh), Pa. This website is dedicated to collecting, analyzing, and sharing information about all Allegheny County cases in which a death sentence was imposed. Please share any questions or comments, errors or omissions, or other matters of interest related to these cases or to the broader history of the death penalty in Allegheny County.

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