To commemorate the April 19, 1909, infamous lynching of four men in Ada, a monument was put in place in 2005 near the site where the event took place. The men were accused of murdering a local rancher and former lawman, Gus Bobbitt.
Following a fire in November 2009 that destroyed the building, the monument no longer marks the spot where one of Ada’s most historic events took place.
What has happened to the monument?
According to Randy McFarland, director of parks and recreation for the city of Ada, the monument was removed from where it stood and put in a safe place following the fire.
“We have it stored at the armory until they [owner of the private land the monument stood on] decides what to do with it,” McFarland said.
Bill C. James of Texas, author of Jim Miller: The Untold Story of a Texas Badman, donated the black polished marble slab monument as a memorial to the end of lawlessness in the old west. Inscribed on the monument is a photo of the four dead men - Jesse West, Joe Allen, Jim Miller and BB. Burrell - swinging at the end of ropes tied to the rafters of the livery stable. A message engraved in the stone gave a short history of the event that continues to spark debates on the guilt or innocence of the men involved.
George Rhodes, owner of the building that was located at the southwest corner of 10th and Townsend where the monument once stood, had given permission for the monument to be placed on his property. Motorists driving by the building used for storage by Rhynes and Rhodes Furniture could easily see the memorial marker. It sat alone on the property surrounded by a small wooden fence with four wooden crosses to mark the spot where vigilantes took the law into their own hands.
Until an agreement of all parties involved in resetting the monument is reached, it will remain in city storage, according to McFarland. At this point there is no indication that the monument will be put back in place any time soon.