Saturday, August 2, 2014
August 2, 1883: Captain D. W. Pressell
This is another article where the date is questionable. He was removed from the jail on the night of the first, but died at 12:30 a.m., morning of the second. This article is from The Inter Ocean (Chicago, Illinois) dated August 4, 1883:
HANGED BY A MOB.
AN INFLUENTIAL MISSISSIPPIAN'S FATE.
Vicksburg, Miss., Aug. 3.—On Tuesday last Captain D. W. Pressell, one of the most influential citizens of Mississippi, was arrested at Mayersville, Miss., charged with outraging the person of Miss Julia Neilson of that place, a girl of 9 years. Yesterday his trial took place before Justice Root, and the young girl having testified to Pressell's guilt, the prisoner was remanded to jail without bail, to await the action of the Grand Jury. As he was about to be taken from the court to his confinement in the County Jail, he exclaimed: "So help me God, I am not guilty of the accusation." The greatest excitement prevailed throughout the town and county, and even though Captain Pressell was guarded in his cell by a special posse of officers, the jail door was battered down, the prisoner taken from its precincts with a rope around his neck, and hanged to the nearest oak, about half a mile from the prison. After having been taken from the jail he was placed ion the cart and surrounded with about 500 infuriated citizens. While going to his doom he pleaded most piteously for his life, and in vain did he attempt to bring his once powerful influence to intercede for his protection, but all to no purpose. About a mile and a half from the County Jail he was driven under a monster oak and a rope attached to his neck. This was thrown across the nearest and stoutest limb, and he was hoisted in mid-air. He breathed his last amid the most sickening convulsions at 12:30 last night. Captain Pressell was 65 years of age and brother-in-law to Judge Gifford, Congressman-elect of the Sixth District. This makes the second case of lynching in Isaquena County in the past six weeks.
WAS IT A POLITICAL MURDER?
KEOKUK, Iowa, Aug. 3.—Captain D. W. Pressell, lynched in Myersville, Miss., for alleged outrage upon a child, was long a resident of this city. The Gate City says editorially: "We have not the remotest belief—not the shadow of a belief—that D. W. Pressell, whom we have known for years, was guilty of the alleged crime. We do not believe the crowd that hung him thought he was, but he was a Republican, an intelligent, active Republican, and that Mississippi crowd of cutthroats hung him [for] that and nothing else. The accusation is absurd. The solemn statement was made by him—"So help me God I am not guilty of the accusation"—was as true words as were ever spoken in this world: but he was a Republican, and he helped Republicans to win in his part of Mississippi. This was his offense, and for that he was hanged, and if ever the truth is known as to this matter that will be found to be the truth."
Just a small, unrelated article from the Altoona Tribune (Altoona, Pennsylvania) dated August 2, 1892:
HOW much truth is in the reported exodus of negroes from the south to Oklahoma we know not, but when the absolute insecurity of the life of the black man in that section is considered it is a wonder that the entire negro population does not leave. The other day a band of white desperadoes took a negro from jail and lynched him. His offense was that he had shot and killed a member of some gang as they were in the act of breaking into his home a few nights before. It is said the better class of citizens are very indignant over this outrage, but so long as they make no effort to bring the lynchers to justice not much stock will be taken in their indignation.