Joe "Hooch" Simpson
From Kook Science
|Joe "Hooch" Simpson|
|Died||22 April 1908 (33)|
Skidoo, Inyo Co., California
|Workplace(s)||Gold Seal Saloon|
|Affiliations||Hootch Fighters’ League No. 4[W]|
Joseph L. Simpson (September 1874 - April 22, 1908), also known as Joe "Hooch" (or "Hootch") Simpson, was an American miner and saloon owner who was lynched by a vigilante mob at Skidoo, California and hung from a telegraph pole after being arrested for the murder of James Arnold, and was re-hanged either for the media who arrived after the fact or by local physician Reginald E. McDonald for the purpose of photographic record. Following the staged second hanging, the head of Joe Simpson was said to have been removed and kept by McDonald as a medical curiosity, while the body itself was reburied (or dumped down an abandoned mine shift), and, purportedly, later recovered by friends of Simpson who planned to have him given a proper burial in another town but were overcome by the smell of the rotting remains while in transit and abandoned them somewhere in the Mojave Desert.
- "MURDER AT SKIDDOO", Sacramento Bee (Sacramento, Cal.): 2, 20 Apr. 1908, https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/616490899, "A special to the Express from Rhyolite, Nev., received this morning, says: Joe Simpson, a saloon keeper, shot and killed James Arnold, a butcher, at Skiddoo, Cal., yesterday. Simpson entered Arnold's store, told him his time had come and shot him under the heart. Citizens talk of lynching Simpson."
- "SKIDOO BAD MAN LYNCHED. JOE SIMPSON, WHO MURDERED JAMES ARNOLD, STRUNG UP. Armed Citizens Take Prisoner from Deputy Sheriff and Hang Him To Telephone Pole on Eve or Preliminary Hearing for Cold-blooded Murder", Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles, Cal.): 5, 24 Apr. 1908, https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/380166687
- "GAMBLER GETS '23' AT SKIDOO - Joe Simpson Hanged to Telegraph Pole in New Mining Camp", Journal (Logan, Utah): 7, 25 Apr. 1908, https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/597255195
- "VICTIM OF LYNCHIG LEFT SMALL FORTUNE - Search Being Made for Widow of Joe Simpson, Who Shot a Man at Skidoo", Fresno Morning Republican: 1, 2 June 1908, https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/606880117, "The friends of the late Joe Simpson, who was lynched by being hanged to a telegraph pole at Skidoo, for shooting a saloon man of that place, are now trying to find his wife. It is stated that he left over $25,000, and that his wife will receive the entire estate if she will only apply for it."
- "Mrs. Joe Simpson Comes in Search of Fortune", Reno Gazette-Journal (Reno, Nev.): 5, 17 June 1908, https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/146993029
- "WIDOW OF MAN WHO WAS LYNCHED AT SKIDOO TO FIGHT FOR SHARE OF PROPERTY", Reno Gazette-Journal (Reno, Nev.): 5, 30 July 1908, https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/147029901
- "Ghouls Anger Miners Near Death Valley", The Times (San Mateo, Cal.): 26, 18 Apr. 1958, https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/51905102, "Three of the graves were molested in last week's raid [on Skidoo] and remains believed to be those of James Arnold, a prospector who was murdered in 1908, were disinterred. The skeleton was left, without the skull."
- "George Pipkin of Trona and 'Old Hootch's Skull'", San Bernardino County Sun (San Bernardino, Cal.), 14 Aug. 1960, https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/53970638, "[Pipkin] received the skull [of Old Hootch] from Dr. Homer Evans, who practiced medicine in Trona for several year, coming there in 1914."
- "Harold Weight and the Noose That Hung 'Hootch'", San Bernardino County Sun (San Bernardino, Cal.): 15, 21 Aug. 1960, https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/53971161
- "Witnesses Tell About Skidoo Slayer Lynching", San Bernardino County Sun (San Bernardino, Cal.): 63, 20 Nov. 1960, https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/51555043
- Belden, L. Burr (18 Dec. 1967), "An Unprintable Photograph: How the 'Hanging Town' Got Its Name", San Bernardino County Sun (San Bernardino, Cal.): 11, https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/62937024, "One of the 'Old' West's most graphic news photographs, believed lost for more than 20 years, has been rediscovered, this time in the collection of a former desert resort manager, Earl Driskill of San Bernardino. The photograph, showing the vigilante hanging of Joe (Hooch) Simpson in Skidoo on Easter Sunday of 1908, first appeared on page one of the Los Angeles Herald. It was taken by a Herald reporter who rode horseback 50 miles to obtain the 'shot.' [...] For years the only known Simpson print was displayed at the Panamint Springs resort where it achieved almost as much notoriety as the fabled alcohol-immersed head of the bandit, Joaquin, displayed in San Francisco before the fire. In the mid-1940s Panamint Springs burned and with it the Simpson photograph."
- Lambert, Brian (28 Dec. 1991), "DEATH VALLEY - Area's past filled with shameless scoundrels, dreamy eyes", Calgary Herald (Calgary, Alt.): 40, https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/484229956, "Simpson would have remained in his grave if the media — and a chance for Skidoo to achieve a little international notoriety — hadn't appeared a few days later in the form of a reporter from the Los Angeles Herald. Obliging townspeople gladly dug up Simpson's body, ran a noose back around its neck and hung it from the pole one more time so the newspaperman could have a photograph to go with his story."
- Wright, David, The Arnold-Simpson Affair, deathvalley.com, https://www.deathvalley.com/index.php/stories/death-valley-gold/93-by-david-wright?showall=1
- Feller, Walter (29 June 2015), The Man Who Was Hanged Twice, desertgazette.com, https://desertgazette.com/blog/?p=1102