Friday, June 20, 2014
June 20, 1934: John Griggs
This first article is from The Mexia Weekly Herald (Mexia, Texas) dated June 22, 1934
NEGRO LYNCHED AT NEWTON, TEXAS
FORCE DEPUTY SHERIFF GIVE UP PRISONER
Attempt Evade Mob Futile as Armed Mob Gathers
Southeast Texas Is Scene Lynching by Mobsters
NEW TON [SIC], Texas (U.P.)—A 38-year old negro charged with attacking a young white girl here was lynched last night by a mob of 200 armed men who over-powered two deputy sheriffs taking the victim to Orange, Texas, for safe keeping.
The nude body of the negro, John Griggs, was found at 2 a.m. today in front of a box factory where he worked. He had been hanged.
The deputies were halted on the highway 27 miles south of here. The officers were disarmed and a noose was thrown around the negro's neck as he sat in the officer's car.
Jerked From Car
The negro was jerked from the car. The officers were to "get going." They said the[sic] drove away immediately.
Deputy Sheriffs W. D. Smith and W. E. Davison were ordered by Sheriff T. S. Hughes to spirit the negro from the old Newton county jail last night when a howling mob of men and women gathered outside.
"We told the negro the jail was about to be stormed and that we were helpless," Smith said. "We asked him if he wanted to attempt to slip away and go to Orange with us.
"He accepted gladly."
The negro, crying frantically, was given a coat and hastened out the rear door of the jail to an awaiting automobile.
Smith said that about 27 miles from Newton the road was blocked by a mob of men standing in eight men deep.
They were all armed with shotguns, rifles and pistols, Smith said.
As soon as the auto was stopped, Smith said other men came from the side of the road and the car was surrounded.
"I tried to plea with the men not to take the negro," Smith said, "but they jerked me from the car and took my gun. Davison got the same treatment.
"After they took the negro from the car they told us to get moving. There was nothing else for us to do."
Smith said the negro had admitted attacking the white girl, who is 17 years old.
The negro said he had been drinking and did not realize what he was doing, Smith said. The attack occurred Tuesday nihgt [sic].
The girl told officers she thought she had been drugged and did not know what had happened.
Officers found the negro with the girl near the box factory.
This article fleshes out some of the details. It comes from The Fresno Bee The Republican dated June 21, 1934.
Assailant Of Texas White Girl Lynched
(By the United Press)
NEWTON (Texas), June 21.—John Griggs, Negro, 38, charged with attacking a 17-year-old white girl, was taken from two deputy sheriffs last night and lynched.
Griggs was being taken to Orange for safe keeping when a band of 200 men overtook the deputies' car. They overpowered the officers, placed a noose about Griggs' neck and dragged him to the pavement. The scene was near Kirbyville twenty-seven miles south of here.
Deputies Drive Away
D. W. Smith and W. E. Davison were the deputies. As Griggs was jerked to the pavement they were told to "get going." They drove away immediately.
Smith said the decision to take Griggs to Orange was made when a mob gathered outside the old Newton jail.
"We told Griggs we could not protect him when the mob stormed the building and asked him if he wanted to attempt to slip away to Orange," Smith said. "He was glad to make the try. We put an old coat on him and got started."
The men who took Griggs from the officers car were armed with shotguns, rifles and pistols.
Fire Bullets Into Body
They threw a rope around Griggs' neck and hanged him from a tree.
Seventeen shots struck him as he dangled in the air. The crowd cut the body down and dragged it over the country behind an automobile then dumped it, nude and mangled, near the door of a box factory commissary.
I believe this article probably gets to the truth of it. It is from The Eagle (Bryan, Texas) dated June 25, 1934.
No Charges Filed Yet in Lynching of Newton Negro
NEWTON, June 25.—(AP)—No charges have yet been filed here in connection with the lynching last week of John Griggs, negro, who was wrested from officers after being held for vagrancy, keeping a house of disorderly conduct and associating with a white woman.
D. W. Smith, deputy sheriff of Newton county, said Sunday afternoon that District Attorney Hollis Kinard of Orange was continuing investigations, but that filing of any charges appeared unlikely before she was found with the negro is still being held, but no other arrests have been made.