Sunday, August 24, 2014

August 24, 1891: Andy Ford

The Salt Lake Tribune (Salt Lake City, Utah) contributes the following article dated August 26, 1891:

A Hard Character Lynched.

GAINESVILLE, Fla., Aug. 25.—Yesterday Andy Ford, a partner of the famous Alvin Murray, had a preliminary examination, and it was proven that he was the man who had assisted Murray in various evil doings in this neighborhood.  Late last night a mob overcame the jailer, took Ford out and hanged him to a tree.

The following articles are to give a little background information.  Only the above article uses the name Alvin Murray, all others give the name as Harmon Murray.  The first article is from The New York Times (New York, N. Y.) dated June 1, 1891:



STARKE, Fla., May 31.—The negro desperado Harmon Murray has again been heard from.  Late last night he killed D. L. Alvarez, City Marshal of this place, and a negro guide named Prince Albert.  The tragedy occurred about four miles from here, on the line of the Florida Central and Peninsula Railroad, and not far from Hampton station.

An eye-witness says that Prince Albert came into town last evening.  He found the Marshal and informed him that he had just shaved a darky near his house who he was confident was the man who killed the Deputy Sheriff of Nassau County in Fernandina a short time ago.  The Marshal with Deputy Sheriff Wainwright, collected a posse of five men armed with rifles, and, guided by Prince Albert, they proceeded to the place of Frank Adams, on the railroad between Starke and Hampton.

The police reached the house, surrounded it, and Prince Albert entered and found the man for whom he was searching.  He shook hands with him and remarked as he did so, 'You are my prisoner.' The man tried to push Prince off, but Prince clung to him until, finally securing his rifle, Murray shot Albert in the body.  The posse outside the house then began firing at the negro and he at them.  Alvarez, running short of cartridges, directed his son Scott to return to town for more ammunition and more men, and Scott says the entire party went away about the same time, leaving his father there alone.

When the posse returned they found the negro gone.  Prince Albert was dying about fifty miles from the house, and the Marshal was found dead in a corner of the fence, with a bullet hole over his right eye.  A large party of armed men went out this morning to search for Murray, and if found he will be lynched.

The Olean Democrat (Olean, N. Y.)  dated August 13, 1891:



Harmon Murray, a Desperate Negro Murderer, Makes Life a Burden for the Inhabitants of a Flourishing Town in Southwest Florida—The Desperado Guilty of Several Murders and Anxious to Add More to His List.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla., Aug. 12.—The people about Archer, a flourishing town in the fruit section of Southwest Florida, are in a state of terror. Harmon Murray, the negro desperado and murderer, is there, and his threats to kill and burn have driven the people wild.

Murray killed the marshal and a policeman at Fernandina over a month ago, and despite all efforts escaped and went to Stark, where he killed a man who informed on him and then fled to the recesses of the Arredondo forest and swamp, near Archer.  This is an almost impenetrable wilderness, and as he lived here years ago the prospects of his capture, unless by surprise, are slight.


He has committed many depredations hereabouts already.  All the country people go armed with rifles, and many farms have been forsaken, their owners moving into town for safety.

Murray has already assaulted several colored women and has shot at six or eight people.  Over a hundred well armed men are now hunting the outlaw, but it is a hard chase.  He has been shot at scores of times, but seems to bear a charmed life, and this increases the terror of the superstitious negroes, who imagine he has "a spell" that protects him from their bullets.


Public opinion in Gainesville is fearfully set against Judge Bell, a prominent Republican, and he dare not return to that city at present.  Murray paid Judge Bell a visit last week and stayed with him some time.  It was a splendid opportunity to capture him, but Judge Bell never said a word about it until several hours after and just as he, Bell, was leaving on a train.  The people are highly indignant, and Bell will not be likely to return soon.

The Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia) dated August 17, 1891:


That Was Killed in Florida Last Saturday.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla., August 16.—A special to The Times-Union from Gainesville, Fla., says that the man shot near Bronson yesterday, and supposed to be Harmon Murray, the negro desperado, has turned out to be Jesse Burton, the negro who shot Deputy Sheriff Carson, at Branford, Fla., about six months ago.  He was a desperate character, only second to Murray in crime and bloodshed.  it is reported that another negro was killed last night at Micanopy, Fla., who was a confederate of Murray's and one of his trusted allies.

The Times (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) dated August 24, 1891:


Harmon Murray, Who Was Reported Dead, at His Old Tricks Again.

Special Telegram to The Times.


Florida's desperado, Harmon Murray, who was reported dead some days ago, is at his old tricks again and robbing left and right.  His latest exploit is taking up a collection in a negro church in Putnam county, holding up minister and congregation with cocked revolvers and bidding them "Farewell, brethren, God bless you," as he left with the money.

He has left notices in several towns giving names of those he intended killing and warning others not to take such decided steps against him or he would serve them the same.  He travels all through the country, appearing at unexpected places and times, thus terrorizing the negroes so that they will not dare to tell on him.

He threatened to rob passenger trains on the Florida Central and Peninsula Road, and armed men patrol the track.  The country is all up in arms and yet he is so bold and fearless that all are wild with fright and terror, as no one knows who may be the next victim.  Large rewards have been offered and over 200 men have searched for him day after day without success.  The State is to be asked to aid in capturing him, as this state of public mind cannot be endured long by people of those sections.

The final article is from The Times (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) dated September 5, 1891:



West and South Florida Rejoices Over the Death of the Man Who Had Long Terrorized It.

Special Telegram to The Times.

GAINESVILLE, Fla., September 4.

Western and Southern Florida breathes freer to-night, for one of its terrors no longer exists.  Harmon Murray, the noted desperado of this section, was killed near Archer early this morning by a young negro named Hardy Early.

Murray went to the house of Early some time after midnight and requested him to go with him to Archer, where he was going to kill some "Crackers" and leave the country.  Hardy said he had no gun, but Murray said he could get him one and went to the house of Hardy's brother-in-law, Tucker Barnes, and commanded him to loan him his gun.  After some parleying Hardy went into the house and got the weapon, telling his brother-in-law he would kill Murray if he got the chance.


Hardy asked if the gun was loaded and on being told that it was he asked for more ammunition and put fifteen more buckshot in each barrel.He and Murray then started off on their mission.  They had gone not more than a quarter of a mile when Hardy said he did not know the route and suggested that Murray take the lead.  Murray did so, and when he stopped in front of Hardy, pointing his gun at Murray's head, fired both barrels into it.

Hardy then went back to the house of his brother-in-law and the two proceeded to Archer and informed the authorities.  The body was brought to this city accompanied by Hardy, his brother-in-law and several citizens of Archer, who knew Murray.  An immense crowd awaited the train, and when the body was taken off and placed in a wagon the crush around the vehicle was terrible.  Finally the wagon started up town and following it was the largest crowd ever seen in the city.


The body was placed in the Court House yard for a short time, where it was viewed by thousands.  Hardy was placed on a platform and he related about the killing, which was frequently interrupted by shouts of joy from the excited throngs of whites and negroes.  Hardy is the hero of the hour and is the proudest negro of the State.  The city today is given over to rejoicing.  The body will likely be embalmed and placed on exhibition for a few days.

Hardy has been working for Captain Murray ever since the killing of McPherson many months ago.  The reward will probably be paid him in a few days and amounts to about $1,200.  Murray has the credit of killing some fifteen persons, besides numerous murderous assaults, and was a regular blood-thirsty daredevil, caring for nothing.  He threatened to kill the Mayor and other public officers of this city for following him.

According to The Indiana Progress (Indiana, Pennsylvania) in an article dated September 2, 1891, Andy Ford "was proved that he was the man who had assisted Murray in his evil deeds in the neighborhood, and for three days was his constant companion."  Also, reading through other articles I found that Hardy Early was a 19 year old mulatto or a colored lad of 17 or according to one article a 70 year old, in case you were wondering how old is a lad.  I also found no other reference to Captain Murray, so I have no idea who he was or if he even existed.

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