Most everyone who grew up in the Chatt area has heard about the murder of 13-year-old Mary Secaur in June 1872 and of the lynching of the two men who were jailed for her murder, Absalom Kimmel and Alexander McLeod.
Mary Arabelle Secaur was murdered on her way home from church one Sunday, murdered east of Chatt on Tama Road, nearly across the road from where the Farmer’s Picnic is held. Kimmel and McLeod were accused of murdering Mary and were being held in the Mercer County jail when a mob overcame the sheriff, took the prisoners from the jail, and hung two them.
I have read a little about this incident but have never really delved into it.
This past Monday Joe and I attended the program at the Shane’s Crossing Historical Society, to hear the speaker David Kimmel, an English professor at Heidelberg University in Tiffin, Ohio, who is also a descendant of one of the Secaur murder suspects. He spoke about the book he recently wrote and published, Outrage in Ohio: A Rural Murder, Lynching, and Mystery, which was released just a few weeks ago.
A good number of people from the Chatt and Rockford area were also there Monday night to hear Kimmel, some of them Secaur descendants, some of them Kimmel descendants.
Monday evening Kimmel told about the families involved, discussed the murder and the lynching, and told why and how he used some of his own narrative in the book. Afterward, several members of the audience shared their thoughts and theories about the event. It was good program and Kimmel is an interesting speaker.
I purchased a copy of Kimmel’s book Monday evening and started reading it right away. It looks to be very interesting and informative.
Outrage in Ohio is an extensively-researched account of this murder and the events afterward. It appears that he has performed a “reasonably exhaustive search,” as we call it in genealogy research. He has searched through numerous sources in many places, talked to relatives and other individuals, and visited the area several times. There is a long list of end-notes at the back of the book that show his sources of information.
He has tried to learn and tell about the people living near the Secaurs and Kimmels as well. Something we call the FAN Club Principle in genealogy—researching someone’s Friends, Associates, and Neighbors. You can learn a lot by researching these other people.
David Kimmel puts all this information together in his book, with a bit of historical fiction writing, giving you an idea of what the people may have been doing and thinking and feeling at the time.
This may be the only recently-compiled account of this incident. The facts and details are all in one book.
I know that Kimmel was looking for anything related to this incident and the people involved. A couple years ago he contacted me and asked to look through the 1842 Liberty Township Estray Book. He was looking for any information about the families involved and their neighbors. He told me about the book he was writing and I had been looking forward to its publication and reading it ever since.
Out of curiosity I looked up their death records and see that Mercer County Probate Deaths record the deaths of Mary A. Secaur, Absolem Kimmel, and Alex McLeod all on the same page, one after another: 
Columns: Number/Name/Date of Death/Married, Single, Widowed/Age/Place of Death/Place of BirthColumns: Occupation/Father/Mother/White, Colored/Cause of Death/Residence/By Whom Reported
After 146 years, parts and details of the story will likely always remain a mystery. Although there are several theories about what really happened and who was guilty, there are just some things we will never really know for sure. And I think this mystery is one of them.
 “Ohio, County Death Records, 1840-2001,” database with images, FamilySearch
(https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9ZR-K811?i=64&cc=2128172 : viewed 20 Sep 2018), Mary A. Secaur, 23 Jun 1872; Liberty Township, Mercer Co., Vol. 1:42; FHL microfilm 914954.