CoCo Bed Justice – Chapter 26: Goodbye Captain John Winston

A fictional story by Junior Johnson

Junior Johnson-Cattle


The next morning Judge Porter sent a messenger to the hotel where Levy and Abslom were staying to ask if they could join him in the swearing in of the new Sheriff.  There was some unfinished business that Sheriff Jones wanted to discuss before taking his new office and it involved Levy’s daughter Rita, along with his and Abslom’s grandchildren Aiden, Dylan, and Pete.

When his Deputies gave Sheriff Jones the gold that was taken from Captain John at Robber’s Roost he already knew that all the property and money that Winston possessed in Mississippi would be distributed to the poor families and survivors that he had harmed and swindled back home.

Sheriff Jones knew of the heartache and anguish that Mrs. Johnson had gone through when Aiden was falsely incarcerated and almost hung for a crime that he did not commit.  He knew of Dylan’s heroic efforts to get his brother freed, as well as them being forced to leave their home in fear of the murderer John Winston.

The emotional toll on the family did not end there but carried over to CoCo Bed with Pete being kidnapped and his brave efforts to escape.

He wanted to present the sizable amount of gold that had been confiscated and given to him by his Deputies to Rita Johnson and her two boys.  They deserved it and he had already heard that they were going to build a home on CoCo Bed next to her family.  It was only fitting that she gave this money, and there were  no objections when Judge Porter presented this generous offer to Mrs. Johnson.

With tears of joy in their eyes, Rita and her boys thanked Sheriff Jones and Judge Porter as they all departed on their journey back to CoCo Bed.

With the gold from Captain John Winston’s money belt there was enough to build a beautiful home for Rita and her boys, and enough for Aiden to purchase a nice herd of cattle to begin the dream he and his Dad had always talked about.  The money generated from the railroad lease would help the family for years to come.

The two days on CoCo Bed passed quickly and on a beautiful Saturday morning both the Lodrigue and Johnson families all loaded their carriages for the trip to Natchitoches to witness the punishment of John Winston and his thugs.  The hanging was to take place in front of the court house at high noon.  They would make the journey in plenty of time to see Captain John Winston finally pay the price for his evil deeds.

There was discussion the night before with Abslom and Martha, Levy and Lucille, Rita and her boys Aiden and Dylan, and Abslom’s grandson Pete, as to the prudence of allowing the boys to witness the hanging.  After discussing it with the boys they decided no harm would fall on them.  Dylan was in his early teens and both Aiden and Pete in their late teens; however, all three boys were mature beyond their years, and the fact that Winston had caused them and their family so much heartache, it was only fitting that they should see justice done.

The structure standing in front of the court house had been constructed with five trap doors on the top platform and a hangman’s rope with noose secured above each door.

As the Johnson’s and Lodrigue’s seated themselves in front of the structure, everyone else took their places and became quiet as the new Sheriff Jones escorted the doomed prisoners to their respective slots.

Because he was unable to walk due to his missing leg, Captain John was carried up the stairs strapped in a chair and it placed over one of the trap doors.

Once all five prisoners were in place and the noose secured around their necks, Reverend Cryer was helped up on the platform.  All men were moaning and crying as a black hood was secured over their heads.  Winston was unbound from the chair though his arms were secured behind his back.

Reverend Cryer asked for silence from the assembled crowd and said a prayer for the lost souls before him.  He prayed for the Good Lord to have mercy on their souls, something they showed no one in their entire miserable lives.

When he had finished with his prayer, Reverend Cryer stepped back to allow the Executioner to do his job.  On the order of Judge Robert Porter, the newly appointed Sheriff Jones read the charges imposed by the Judge.  Death by hanging for their murderous deeds.

Sheriff Jones stepped back and nodded to the Executioner, who then pulled the lever opening the trap door beneath the convicted murderers.  With a jolt all five dropped through the hatch without a sound, except from the chair that Captain John Winston was seated in, as it clattered on the ground about 10 feet from where his one leg was swaying.

CoCo Bed Justice was served.

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