Above & beyond the grave

ACTOR C. J. DeVann portrays William Rose in the documentary about his death and that of Moses Lufkin’s. DeVann is shown here filming a scene for the upcoming production that tells the story about the 1888 murder of Lufkin —a murder Rose was hanged for. Photo / Per Peterson

While standing on the grounds of the Tracy City Cemetery on a warm Tuesday evening in September, paranormal

investigator Adrian Lee recently shared a conversation with the late William Rose, the man hanged for the 1888

murder of rival Moses Lufkin in Gales Township. The results of his investigation are nothing short of haunting.

“… I believe that in time I will be able to establish my innocence before the world.” — William Rose

That time never came for Rose — at least not during his time on Earth.

The statement was part of a letter written in 1891 by Rose to W.R. Merriam, the governor of Minnesota, after Rose had been convicted of murdering Moses Lufkin.

Rose actually was the subject of three trials, the last of which found him guilty of shooting a bullet through the window of Lufkin’s home in Gales Township some time around 8:15 p.m. on a hot August night in 1888.

Rose was arrested at his home in Murray County two days later after a man named Eli Slover told the authorities that the man he saw fleeing the scene that fateful night was, in his opinion, Rose.

Weeks passed and Rose was eventually sent to the gallows in Redwood Falls on Oct. 16, 1891. The rope used to hang Rose broke on the first hanging attempt. Rose’s limp body — he was sent crashing to a hard, wooden floor after the first attempt failed — was raised back up, the noose of the second rope placed around his neck. The trap door was sprung again, sending Rose to his death.


Today, Lufkin and Rose are buried in the Tracy City Cemetery, just a short walk from each other. And it was at that cemetery that Adrian Lee — an author, psychic, paranormal investigator and historian from London — reunited with the two main characters of this all-too-real story. Lee’s purpose was to clear Rose’s name all these years later because from his research, he firmly believes Rose did not commit the heinous crime he was sentenced to death for.

It was a reunion in both body and spirit, as Lee led a paranormal investigation in May 2016 after meeting Patricia Lubeck, the author of Murder in Gales, a Rose Hanged Twice. And on Tuesday, Sept. 24, Lee paid Lufkin and Rose another visit, this time to the cemetery, after Lee had had a previous conversation with him earlier in the day at the site of his death.

See this week’s Headlight Herald for more on this article.