Monday, September 21, 2020

# Guest Posts

A Prairie Monster Tells His Story by Alice Kay Hill #guest



By Alice Kay Hill


In UNDER A FULL MOON The Last Lynching in Kansas the primary victim is Dorothy Eileen Hunter, an eight-year-old child who never came home. But there are other victims as well: the sheriff from whose custody Pleasant Richardson Read, the fifty-three-year-old perpetrator, was forcibly removed by a raging mob; the farmers and ranchers who watched him hang and who carried that image with them into their graves, bound by silence; the entire northwest Kansas area whose very foundations were rocked by this brutal event.

Perhaps the saddest victim of all was Pleasant Richardson Read.

That is the real story behind UNDER A FULL MOON.

This twist on the sensational headlines of April 1932, headlines that spanned the country and were carried into the homes of America, took fire when I received the intake photo of Richard Read from the Colorado State Penitentiary via the Colorado Archives. His eyes begged me to tell his story.

In April of 1916, Richard Read, a bachelor farmer, was living in Eastern Colorado, Kit Carson County, near a German Russian settlement. His neighbors, the Weisshaars, had a daughter, fifteen-year-old Pauline. In that spring month, when the farming community was watching the prairie grasses return to life after a tough winter, while the Great War took hold of Europe, Pleasant Richardson Read viscously raped and nearly killed Pauline. He barely escaped being hung.

In short order, justice being a simpler thing in those days, Richard Read found himself in the Canon City, Colorado penitentiary sentenced to fifteen to twenty years. Through reforms based on prison overcrowding he only served six before being returned to his hometown of Rexford, KS.

What chain of events placed Dorothy in his path ten years later?

What brought the son of a well-respected Kansas farmer to carry the title of PRAIRIE MONSTER, APEMAN, FIEND?

There is the real story behind UNDER A FULL MOON.



Alice Kay Hill is passionate about her Kansas heritage. She has published in Hobby Farms magazine and written an instruction manual title GROW TOPLESS: A Modified High Tunnel Design for Headache Free Extended-Season Gardening which is available on Amazon. UNDER A FULL MOON: The Last Lynching in Kansas is her first narrative non-fiction work.







UNDER A FULL MOON: The Last Lynching in Kansas tells of the tragic abduction and death of an eight-year-old girl at the hands of a repeat offender in 1932. This crime stands apart as the last mob lynching in Kansas. Based on true events, this account takes a deep dive into the psycho-social complexities of pioneer times and their impact on this particular crime and the justice meted out to the perpetrator.

Beginning in the year 1881, and written in a chronological narrative non-fiction format, author Alice Kay Hill vividly weaves the stories of the victims and the families involved. She reveals how mental and physical abuse, social isolation, privations of homesteading, strong dreams and even stronger personalities all factored into the criminal and his crimes.

Spanning the years of settlement to the beginnings of the Dust Bowl, historic events are lived as daily news by the seven families whose lives become intertwined. Historically accurate and written with an intimate knowledge of the area, UNDER A FULL MOON is as personal as a family diary, as vivid as a photo album found in an attic trunk, and will remain with the reader long after the book is closed.

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