Friday, September 26, 2014

September 26, 1897: Raymond Bushrod

Join me in a look at the past through a column in the Daily News-Democrat printed September 27, 1897:


It Culminates at the End of a Rope at Hawesville, Ky.


Negro Ravisher is Hanged, After Making a Revolting Confession—Women Witness the Act and Cheer for the Lynchers.

Hawesville, Ky., Sept. 27.—at five  a.m. Sunday, in the presence of 800 infuriated people, Raymond Bushrod, a negro, was lynched as a penalty for a hellish assault upon the person of 14-year-old Maggie Roberts on Saturday. He was hanged from a limb of a tree in the courthouse yard. Bushrod was from Rockport, Ind., and had just served a term in the county jail for theft. Saturday afternoon near Petri, three miles from this place, he met the little Roberts girl, and after outraging her beat  and bruised her with an iron coupling pin and left her on the railroad grade to die.

The news of the revolting outrage spread and searching parties were sent in every direction. He was captured in hiding under the waiting station at Falcon, a mining town four miles below the scene of the crime. Bushrod fell in with a fortunate crowd of four who brought him quietly to Hawesville and surrendered him to the jailer while the town was deserted searching for him. In the meantime the officers got wind of a mob and he was secretly guarded in the graveyard on the hill until morning, when he was again locked up. But the people had been determined all day. Early they came, afoot, on horseback, in wagons and in trains. They were impatient for darkness to cover the ground. It was rumored that the militia would arrive at 4:40 from Owensboro for his protection. The angry crowd would not stand this and they placed trusty sentinels on the hill overlooking to give a sign if the train bore such protection. They failed to come, but at this time the officers thought it opportune to play a ruse, and the mob, now already furious, were led to believe that he had escaped from behind and a hot pursuit followed.

The trail was followed only a square when the broad, open attempt to spirit Bushrod over the hills and out of town was discovered. A few well-chosen guards, however, stayed at the jail, and as he was brought out the mob formed in front and the officers were made to yield. The excitement at this time was intense. At five o'clock the march to the court square, but a few steps away, was begun. Halting in front of a great, shady poplar, with limbs and twigs overhanging the most public street in town, a selection was made. Some delay was caused for want of a rope, but directly a bran [sic] new half inch plow line was furnished and everything was in readiness for the first lynching in Hancock county.

A Revolting Confession.

In the meantime Bushrod was given an opportunity for confession and prayer, His confession was complete. He stated that he was guilty and this was the third offenses, one successful effort having been made upon his 60-year-old aunt. After offering up his last supplication, a long and fervent prayer on bended knee, the signal to haul away was given, and, with pinioned arms behind and legs beneath,  he was dangled between brick and tree. The applause as he went up deafening. It only showed the determination of the people. In about four minutes he was pronounced dead and Coroner Mitchell, viewing the body, cut it down and summoned a jury, whose verdict was that Bushrod came to his death at the hands of unknown parties.

Mob Cheered by Women.

After a great deal of idle curiosity was gratified the crowd and mob quietly dispersed, and there not three men in Hancock county that are ready to say that a wrong has been done. No action by the authorities against any member of the mob is likely. During the entire time of the lynching not less than 200 women were on the hill and hillside overlooking the public square, and when his dangling form went up cheers upon top of cheers from them rent the air. In fact, the women gave a double reassurance to the ones engaged that the proper punishment was being meted out.

Thank you for joining me, and always I hope I've given you something to ponder. 

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