Sunday, June 15, 2014

June 15, 1920: Isaac McGhie, Elmer Jackson, Nate Green (or Elias Clayton)

Here is an article on a triple lynching from the Santa Ana Register (Santa Ana, California) dated June 16, 1920:


DULUTH, Minn., June 16.— The lynching spirit flared here in the Far North last night; exacted the lives of three negroes and today died away.

The three negroes were in a party of six circus roustabouts accused of assaulting a 17-year-old whit girl here. They were "tried" by a mob which battered in the jail doors, dragged the negroes a half block and hanged them to an electric light pole at intervals of eight minutes.

Issac McGhie, 22, was the first victim.

At intervals of eight minutes, Elmer Jackson and Nate Green were jerked into the air, the mob quietly watching the last struggles, one group of men clinging to the free end of the rope, looped over a cross bar of the pole.

The mob dispersed quickly. Today when state troops arrived from Fort Snelling there was quiet in the city and officials believed the soldiers would be sent home at once. It was believed there would be no trouble at Virginia, Minn., where the circus showed today. 

Officials here said it was the first manifestation of mob spirit in Duluth in years. 

The storm last night broke slowly. Reports of the attack on the white girl were spread about town by afternoon newspapers. Groups collected in the streets. 

"All of a sudden," Police Lieutenant Barber said, "the groups melted into one huge mass which came tearing down the street toward the jail.

"We refused to give up the prisoners, of course. Then they got timbers and began wrecking things. We couldn't stand them off. When they got inside, the men quickly determined that three of the black prisoners were guilty, hauled them out and hanged them.

"I think they killed one that was not guilty.

"As soon as the three were dead the crowd dispersed and all was quiet. It happened so quickly it didn't look real." 

The bodies were cut down shortly after midnight and given to an undertaker. 


DULUTH, Minn., June 16.— State guards, due here early today, were expected to prevent further race troubles, following a night in which a mob of 5000 lynched three negroes held in connection with an attack on a seventeen-year old white girl. 

The mob stormed the city jail, capturing six negroes held for the offense. Three of the accused were found "not guilty" at a mock trial before the lynchings.

Not a shot was fired in the mob demonstration.

Four negroes held in Virginia, Minn., in connection with the attack on the white girl were believed safe. Reports, however, said part of the mob started in automobiles early today for Virginia. 

The negroes hanged here were Issac McGhie, Elmer Jackson and Nate Green. They were circus roustabouts. All were about 22 years old. They were hanged at intervals of eight minutes. 

Father J. Howard climbed fifteen feet up a telegraph pole and under the dim glare of an arc light prayed for the crowd to release the negroes. He was hooted. 

Rope Breaks Twice

McGhie was jerked into the air three times. The rope broke on the first two attempts. He begged for mercy until an impassioned speech was cut short by his third ascent. 

Jackman was the next victim, followed by Green. Both declared themselves innocent.

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