The “Blacklegs” existed in Noble and surrounding counties. They were involved with horse thievery, murderers and counterfeiting. Gregory McDougal was one of the “Blacklegs;” on Sunday, January 17, 1858, a posse of fifteen or twenty members from Ligonier Regulators proceeded to Rome City, then headquarters for several of the criminals, and arrested nine of them, including Gregory McDougal, all of whom were taken to Ligonier and placed in confinement and held for investigation.
From the time of the arrests until the 25th of the month, thousands of people from all over the country came to Ligonier to see the imprisoned rascals, and watch the proceedings of the Regulators. Each day brought people whose property had been stolen, seeking information and trying to recover their property. The career of McDougal had been much more infamous than the others, breaking jail twice, robbing four stores and two tanneries, robbing peddlers, stealing horses and passing large amounts of counterfeit money. He boasted that no jail would hold him and he feared neither God, man nor the devil.
He was accused of murder. Witnesses testified that he had killed a jailer’s wife in order to free his brother from confinement. That he had robbed and murdered a school teacher in Canada, and that he had tortured persons by fire to compel them to reveal the hiding places of their valuables, and many other crimes. His own confessions and the evidence of witnesses convinced the Regulators of his guilt and on January 25, 1858 at 2 p.m. all companies of regulators in Noble and surrounding counties were summoned to meet at noon on Jan. 26, 1858, at Ligonier. They met and the evidence of guilt and the report recommending the execution of McDougal were submitted and approved and adopted. He was hung at Diamond Lake hill and buried in Rome City.