Famous Hanging Death of Census Worker Proved to Be Suicide

Drew buzz from folks believing anti-federal zealots had lynched him


The road to Hoskins Cemetery snakes deep into the Daniel Boone National Forest, a 700,000-acre swath of rugged wilderness in southeastern Kentucky.

The cemetery isn't easy to find; it lies hidden about 100 yards off Arnetts Fork Road, a narrow, winding stretch of pavement that ends abruptly at a grassy clearing, about a mile farther on. Hunkered down along its final half mile are about 15 weathered ranch houses and ramshackle trailers. Most of the families living along the road have been doing so for generations, eking out a hardscrabble existence driving tow trucks or repairing cars or digging up and selling wild ginseng and other herbal roots. Jagged ridges wall off this tiny community, making it a lot like many other places in Clay County—remote, clannish, and foreboding, even to Kentuckians from the next county over.

To reach Arnetts Fork, you must drive two miles into the forest on Big Double Creek Road. In late spring and summer, the thick brush lining the road and a canopy of leaves overhead form a sort of cocoon. Cellphone service is spotty. Outsiders say that if you stumble across any people in these woods, chances are they're up to no good. It's the kind of place you don't go without a gun.

NEXT: Former National Labor Relations Board Chairman: "Time to Pull Plug on National Labor Relations Board"

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  1. I remember when this story broke in 2009. There was a Movie/Music/TV discussion board I had belonged to for almost 10 years. In 2008, they opened up a “Politics” discussion, and I quickly learned that everyone posting there was a sterotypical Reflex Liberal. Everyone’s Signature turned into an Obama campaign slogan. When Bill Clinton went to North Korea to get some hikers set free, everyone came out to declare how sexy he is, what a hero he is, and how they have fantasized about him for years. When a tax on couples earning over $150,000 was proposed, everyone declared that any couple earning that much was evil anyway, so screw them. Et cetera.

    When this story broke, the reaction was typical. Insult Kentucky, blame it on Fox News and the Tea Party. When I expressed doubt that this case was what it seemed, I was quickly banned from the forum.

    Ha ha, motherfuckers!!

    1. They’ll just blame it on the climate of hate created by the rise of the Tea Party and the backassward reactionaries in Kentuky driving the man to take such desperate measures. He was just trying to warn people of the terrors (the 2010 Republicans retaking the house) to come. A hero, and a martyr who sacrificed himself for the greater good.

  2. Actually I’m horribly disappointed. Believing that some citizen had finally had enough and strung up a bureaucrat gave me some sense of hope.

    1. Call me a Statist, but as a tool to proportion representatives in a democracy with divided powers between federal, state, and local jurisdictions a limited Census makes sense. The Founders had a conecpt that I don’t abhore in principle. A hapless head counter is hardly the evil arm of the State when used for the limited purpose of apportionment. And I don’t think this guy deserves any scorn, certainly not scorn in the way deserving of the Obama Administration desiring and claiming execution powers over US Citizens.

      The monstrosity of taxation and entitlement distribution that are now based on the census is evil I see baked into the Census and making it a tool for limiting civil liberties. I see the US Census as one more example of a simple democratic founding principle with an intended limited scope being reshaped into a hammer against it’s citizens. But it didn’t seem to be a hammer when created.

      1. However…. if/when it becomes said hammer….and you promote, enable, permit and participate in the use of said hammer…. may the Sons of Liberty find you wanting.

  3. Nobody will know, the ‘truth’ was already too widely deciminated for any correction – right wing christian extremist with a few tea party friends hung him in the scary Kentucky back country. Not the kind of thing that would happen in say the more tolerant California.

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