The Bloody Harpe Brothers

History, Mystery, and Hauntings of Southern IllinoisFrom History, Mystery, and Hauntings of Southern Illinois by Bruce Cline.

In the late 1790s, the Harpe brothers, Micajah, known as Big Harpe and his brother, Wiley, known as Little Harpe left a bloody trail of at least 28 people in Tennessee, Kentucky and southern Illinois.

After the especially brutal murders of Major William Love, Moses Stegall’s wife and baby, the Harpes were hunted down by a posse of men lead by Moses Stegall. In the ensuing chase, Little Harpe escaped but Big Harpe was shot and captured. Big Harpe was shot thru the body and was losing a lot of blood. As he was lying helpless on the ground, Moses Stegall took a knife and severed Big Harpes head from his body. Stegall took the head and placed it in the fork of a nearby tree. The location of this revolting, and gruesome head was near Highland Lick in Henderson County, Kentucky. Today it is known as Harpes Head Road.

Little Harpe hid out in an area known as Natchez and took up with another highwayman known as Mason. There was a large reward offered for the head of Mason. One dark night when all the other bandits were away getting drunk, Little Harpe took the opportunity and killed Mason. After killing Mason, Little Harpe cut off his head and placed it in a bag. He took the head to Natchez to claim the reward money, but was recognized for who he was. The sheriff arrested him on the spot. After a quick trial, Little Harpe was condemned to death and then hanged.

Copyright Bruce L. Cline, 2014. You do not have permission to copy this post.


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