Wednesday, September 3, 2014

September 3, 1901: Bill Fourney

The Daily News-Democrat (Huntington, Indiana) dated September 4, 1901:


Assailant of a Young Girl Shot to Death and His Body Burned at Chestnut Grove, Ala.

Troy, Ala., Sept. 4.—Bill Fourney, alias Bill Hilliard, a negro charged with assaulting Miss Wilson at Chestnut Grove, was shot and his body burned by a mob near the scene of his crime Tuesday. Miss Wilson, who is 16 or 17 years of age, and the daughter of Dr. Carroll, about 12 years of age, were on their way to school at Chestnut Grove, just across the line in Coffee county, when they were overtaken by the negro. He seized Miss Wilson and the little girl ran off. As she did so, the negro fired his pistol at her, but missed her. The little girl raised the alarm and soon a posse was in pursuit of the negro. When they reached the scene of the crime they found Miss Wilson unconscious and terribly bruised in the face and about the head.The posse tracked the negro to his home, where he was found in bed , saying he was sick. The little girl identified him and he was taken out and shot and his body burned. Miss Wilson is in a precarious condition. The sheriff with three deputies left for the scene of the crime.

The following article of interest was published in The New York Age (New York, New York) on September 6, 1906:


Personally Knows of Five Victims Who Were Innocent.

MONTGOMERY, Ala., August 30.—Governore Jelks of this State in a recent address uttered the following severe indictment against the crime of lynching:

"About five years ago, when I began my services in the Governor's office, I was confronted with a lynching in one of the counties in this State. It was an unprovoked murder of an absolutely innocent man. A brave judge and a brave solicitor, with the help of some special counsel furnished by the administration, convicted something like a half dozen of the self-constituted guardians of the law, and sent them to the penitentiary. The great mob spirit, in the presence of this triumph of the law, hesitated and halted, and almost went out of business.

"When I had been in the Governor's office three years, I carefully inquired into the facts of every one of the five lynchings that had taken place.  It would astonish y6ou to know that out of the five who had met violent death at the hands of a criminal mob, three of them were without offence before the law.

"In respect to the crime of lynching, we may take heart in the fact that our people are improving. In 1892 there were as many as twenty-one lynchings in Alabama. Last year we got through with one. In five years of this administration there have probably been not exceeding twelve deaths by mobs.

"Are any of the persons lynched by mobs white? Oh, no. They have the blood of Africa in their veins. The lynchers seem to draw the line at white men. All parties agree that we ought not to lynch white people.

"There is more or less contempt felt by some people for the books which record the conclusions of our conventions and legislatures, and even the acts of our own courts. A man who feels so is not a good citizen. Preach the doctrine that without the law we are in chaos, and that only the people that humbly and meekly bow to the statutes and submit to them, can hope to have a land in which peace may permanently dwell. Whip the thief in the high places or low places with the scorn of your contempt. If the penalty for murder is to be capital punishment, let's see to it that men of influence shall suffer as those who are poorer. If theft is a penitentiary crime, let's put the grafters where they belong. If to steal one dollar is an offense against the statutes let's see to it that the theft of fifty thousand is a crime of larger degree."

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