Posey County, Ind. (WEHT) It is a not-so-secret part of tri-state history that many would like to forget. 

144 years ago, four people were lynched on the Posey County Courthouse Lawn. The men had been accused in a robbery and were taken jail.

While sitting in their cells, a large group of white men came into the jail, dragged the men out and hanged them.

Fast forward to now, Sophie Kloppenburg is a student at Mt. Vernon High School.  She heard about the fateful event through a school project, and she was shocked..

“Their bodies just hung there and then they were cut down and God knows what happened to the bodies afterward,” she said.

Word of the event motivated Kloppenburg to do mounds of research.  Along the way she met someone to help her with the project, Ben Uchitelle.

“My great grandfather actually saw the bodies hanging. What crimes may or may not have been allegedly committed, they received no trial, no rights, no nothing, and that is what we are concentrating on,” he said.

Kloppenburg discovered there is no marker or monument in Mount Vernon to remember the event, so she decided to change that.  She asked the county for permission to install a marker, and the county said “yes.”

Kloppenburg hopes the monument gives the men a voice and gives their deaths a meaning.

“Racism wasn’t just bad words in the hallway or making fun of people. It was hanging people from trees and killing them in gruesome ways. And so, I just wanted to give those people a voice and a proper memorial for what happened to them because there wasn’t anything else for them,” she said.

Her goal is to have it on the courthouse campus- near the area where the lynching took place.

“Have a bench with a historical marker talking about what happened and how the county moved forward from that and put them together, People can sit on the bench and read what happened, with flowers to match the landscape.

She is working on what the historical marker will say, and she is working on a fundraiser for the project. She hopes to have it completed by October.

Photos Courtesy: Becky Boggs; “Judge Lynch” by Jim and Peg Redwine