Wednesday, July 23, 2014

July 23, 1899: Louis Sammins

Today's article comes from The Wilmington Morning Star (Wilmington, N. C.) dated July 25, 1899:


Perpetrators of the Ogletree Outrage Pay the Penalty of Their Crime.


Two More Captured and Will be Lynched Early This Morning—Posse in Pursuit of Another Negro Concerned in the Affair at Saffold.

BAINBRIDGE, Ga., July 23.—One negro lynched by hanging after being tortured, two found dead, who were possibly lynched, and an excited mob chasing five other negroes is the situation regarding the Ogletree outrage to-day.  There is the wildest excitement throughout this section of the State, and it is feared by the law-abiding citizens that others will be put to death by those who are searching for the negroes implicated in the assault of Mrs. Ogletree at Saffold, Ga. Thursday night.

Late last night Louis Sammins, a big, yellow negro, who answered to the description of one of the men who committed the assault, was captured near Brinson, Ga., and at midnight he was taken to Saffold, and Mrs. Ogletree positively identified him.  He then made a full confession, swearing that he belonged to a band of seven other negroes who recently broke jail at Augusta, Ga., and who had been in hiding in the Chattahoochee river bottoms near Saffold for several weeks.

Intended to Rob.

He said that he and another of the gang were selected to rob Ogletree's store and divide the spoils with their pals in the swamp.  No assault on the woman was contemplated until the two negroes saw her.  Sammins gave the name of his companions in the crime and described them.

This morning at sunrise Sammins was taken to an oak tree near the Ogletree house.  He was chained to the tree and parts of his body were cut off.  A stout rope was tied around his neck and he was told that he could pray if he wanted to before being hanged.

"Oh, Lord, have mercy on my soul," was all that he could say.  While a great shout arose from 200 men, 50 of them pulled away on the rope and up shot Sammins' body through the air.  He kicked and swayed for ten minutes and then life became extinct.  his body was riddled with bullets by the mob as it dispersed.  The body was left hanging to the limb to-day as an object lesson to the negroes of the community.

Unknown Bodies Found.

Early this morning the bodies of two unknown negroes were found on the railroad embankment near Bainbridge.  A big crowd examined the bodies.  It was believed by some that the men had been accidentally killed by a train, but others asserted that they had been hanged by a mob, and their bodies placed on the tracks to be run over by a train.  The heads of both had been neatly scalped.

The officers of the law are powerless to check the fury of the people.  The man who was with Sammins has not yet been captured.  He is regarded as the more guilty of the two, as he proposed the assault on the woman and first committed the crime.  Several negroes have been captured and taken before Mr. and Mrs. Ogletree, who have declared them innocent.

Two More of the Gang Captured.

BAINBRIDGE, Ga., July 24.—There will be a double lynching in Bainbridge early to-morrow morning unless something unforeseen occurs.  Two more members of the band of robbers, murderers and rapists are in the hands of a determined posse of whites.

One of the captives is Charles Mack, the companion in crime of Louis Sammins, who was lynched yesterday.  It was Sammins and Mack who outraged Mrs. Ogletree in the presence of her husband at Saffold, one holding a pistol at the head of the husband to prevent his interference.

Mack was captured at Iron City by a white man named Cardell.  Cardell tried to get his prisoner through to the jail and secreted him.  A mob of several hundred country people met Cardell and asked the whereabouts of his prisoner.  He declined to say.  A rope was quickly put about his neck and he was given ten minutes in which to give up the rapist or his life.  He then told where the negro was.  In a short while the crowd had Mack.  While arrangements were in progress for the lynching a telegram was received from Iron City that another member of the gang had been captured.

Will be Hanged To-day.

It would require several hours to get the new prisoner to the scene, so it was determined to postpone the execution of Mack until to-morrow, at which time it is proposed to have a double hanging for the purpose of impressing other possible members of the gang who are not yet known.

Before Sammins was lynched he confessed, and said that he and Mack had robbed the Ogletrees, and that both had outraged the woman.  While they were committing their crimes, he said, six others, whose names he gave, were on watch outside.  Mack is said to have confessed, corroborating Sammins' statement.  The men, he said, were banded together for murder, robbery and rape.  Five of the negroes named, including Sammins, are now dead, and every indication favors the death of two more to-morrow.

The information is that the prisoner from Iron City will arrive at about 2:50 A. M. and the lynching will probably occur shortly thereafter.

MACON, Ga., July 24.—The Telegraph has a special from Leesburg, Gs., saying a negro supposed to be one of the Saffold ravishers was killed by citizens to-night while resisting arrest.

Here is an article that keeps us informed on the story from the Richmond Planet (Richmond, Virginia) dated July 29. 1899:



The Sheriffs are Helpless, the Governors are Impotent and the President of the United States Silent.


A Terrible Scene of Carnage—Some Nation Might Well Interfere "in the Interest of Humanity."

ATLANTA, Ga., July 25.—Governor Candler to-night received the following message from Sheriff Patterson of Decatur county, at Bainbridge, Ga:  "Town in the hands of a mob.  Send aid quick."

Governor Candler at once ordered the State militia stationed at Valdosta and Thomasville to proceed with all haste to Bainbridge.

Savannah, Ga., July 25.—Telegraphic orders were received here to-night from Governor Candler, addressed to Captain Middleton, of the State militia at Valdosta, and Captain Smith of Thomasville, to report to Bainbridge with all your available men at once," and to "act strictly under his orders."


The Governor's message is mandatory.  It says:  "Go at once."  The commercial wires have closed, these messages were transmitted over railroad wires from here, and arrangements were immediately made for special cars on the Plant System to take the troops.  The train will arrive at Bainbridge at 8 a. m.

The troops are wanted to protect the Sheriff and the jail against the attack of a mob that is after John Williams, (colored) who is charged with assault and attempt to rape upon two white girls.  Williams entered their room while they were asleep, and had seized one of the girls when he was frightened away.  A large crowd of country people are in town, and swear they will have Williams if they have to dynamite the jail.  the Decatur jail is one of the strongest in the State.  Should an attack upon it be made before the arrival of the troops, there would probably be bloodshed.


Brinson, Ga., July 25—Charles Mack leader of the gang that has been robbing and raping in this vicinity, was lynched at Saffold to-day, and his body cut into hundreds of pieces.  Mack, after being identified, was taken to the big oak tree near the Ogletree home on which Sammins met his death, and strung up.  As his feet left the ground hundreds of shots from the mob were fired into his body.  After he was dead he was taken down and the body cut into small pieces and distributed among the mob, which numbered from two to five hundred.

Mack and Sammins entered the Ogletree home, and after robbing the house assaulted Mrs. Ogletree in her husband's presence.


Bainbridge, Ga., July 25—The mob which has lynched several Negroes within the last few days for complicity in the Saffold outrage is still abroad looking for the remaining members of the gang.  They located "Kid Jim," one of the culprits, in a house near Pinckard, but he made his escape.  Sam Thompson, an old colored man, who harbored him, was severely whipped.

Leesburg, Ga.; July 25—An unknown colored man, was shot and killed in a remote part of this county yesterday by a posse composed of three men.  There were two colored men in hiding in that vicinity, and they were thought to be members of the Bainbridge gang.


G. A. McDonald, who discovered the colored men, came to town and reported the matter.  Both the Sheriff and his deputy being out of town, Mr. McDonald was advised to get up a posse and arrest the colored men.  He succeeded in getting W. A. Smith and H. D. Sanders to accompany him on the mission.  When the Negroes were approached they showed fight and one of them was killed, the other getting away.

The Coroner's jury has returned a verdict that the man killed, by shots fired by the three men named in self-defense.

Atlanta, Ga., July 25—Will Wright, a colored man, identified by J. E. Ogletree as one of his wife's assaulters, was arrested yesterday at Troy, Ala., and brought to Montgomery for safe keeping.  As a further safeguard Gov. Candler to night ordered that the prisoner be brought to Atlanta on the train leaving Montgomery at 6 o'clock to-morrow morning.

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