During the first two decades of the century, The Post frequently reported incidents of mob vigilantism on the front page -- usually against blacks and from all across the country. The tone in which these horrifying stories were written was always the same: flatly neutral, with no suggestion that the law was being hideously subverted. An excerpt from The Post of Nov. 17, 1900:
Limon, Col., Nov. 16 --
Chained to a railroad rail set firmly in the ground on the exact spot where his fiendish crime was committed, Preston Porter, jr., or as he was familiarly known, John Porter, from Lawrence, Kans., this evening paid a terrible penalty for his deed. It was 6:23 o'clock when the father of the murdered girl touched the match to the fuel which had been piled around the negro, and twenty minutes later a convulsive shudder told that life was extinct. What agony the doomed boy suffered could only be guessed from the terrible contortions of his face, and the cries he gave from time to time.
The executioners, who numbered about 300 citizens of Lincoln County, had not the least semblance of the ordinary mob. Their every act was deliberate, and during all the preparations, as well as throughout the sufferings of the negro, hardly an unnecessary word was spoken. Grimly they stood in a circle about the fire until the body was entirely consumed, and then quietly they took their way back to Limon, whence they departed for their homes shortly afterward.
Preston Porter did not seem to realize the awful punishment that he was destined to undergo. As he had exhibited indifference to the enormity of his crime, so he seemed to lack all understanding of its terrible consequences. For more than an hour, while preparations for his execution were in progress, he stood mute and sullen among the avengers.
When everything was ready he walked to the stake with a firm step, pausing as he reached the circle of broken boards to kneel in prayer. He was allowed to take his time. He arose and placed his back to the iron stake, and a half dozen men wound chains about his body and limbs. Kerosene oil was applied to the wood, and after a brief pause Richard W. Frost, the father of little Louise Frost, whose cruelly mutilated body was found one week ago on that very spot, applied a match. For a moment but a little flickering flame arose. Then the oil blazed up, sparks flew into the air, and the wood began to crackle. Almost instantly the negro's trousers caught fire. Even though the flesh must have been scorched, he did not utter a sound. ...
Boards were carried and a large pile made over the prostrate body. They soon were ignited, and the terrible heat and lack of air quickly rendered the victim unconscious, bringing death a few minutes later. This terrible ceremony, out upon the rolling prairie, concluded the second tragedy upon that spot, the terrible avenging of the first. ...
The train bearing the negro, in custody of Sheriff Freeman and his deputies, arrived in Limon from the county jail at Denver at 3:45 p.m. ... When the train stopped sixteen men who had been selected by the vigilance committee entered the train and demanded the prisoner from the sheriff. ... The officer protested in the name of the law, and asked the men to allow him to take his prisoner to the county jail at Hugo, but his protests were disregarded.