Friday, September 5, 2014

September 5, 1897: Henry Wall

The Salt Lake Tribune (Salt Lake City, Utah) dated September 7, 1897:


Rapist and Murderer Lynched in North Carolina.


Henry Wall Waylays a Young Girl, Outrages Her, Crushed Her Head with a Stone, Cut Her Throat and Hid Her Body in a Ravine—The Fiend Found Washing the Blood Stains from His Clothing and Arrested—Excited Citizens Took Him from Officers and Lynched Him.

Raleigh, N. C., Sept 6.—A special from Mount Airy, N. C., to the News and Observer says:  Yesterday afternoon near Friend's Mission, Va., Miss Sadie Cook, a young white girl, was outraged by Henry Wall, white, aged about 21. After accomplishing his purpose Wall dealt his victim several blows on the head with a hoe, rendering her unconscious, and then, placing her head on a ledge, crushed it with a stone, which was left lying bloody near by.  Wall then cut the girl's throat, severing the windpipe, and dragged the body some fifty yards up a ravine, throwing it into a branch, where it was afterwards found. Meantime he went to a spring, where he was found washing the stains from his clothing.

The excitement became intense this afternoon and Wall was taken from the officers and lynched near the scene of his crime.

The next chapter of this lynching was published in The Concord Times (Concord, N. C.) on September 16, 1897:

Lynched an Innocent Man.

Richmond Dispatch, 7th.

Henry Wall, a young white man about 22 years old, was lynched by a mob near Friend's Mission on Sunday for an alleged assault upon Miss Sadie Cook on Saturday last. He was probably innocent. Miss Cook was found in an unconscious condition with fourteen gashes on her body and head and her skull fractured. Further investigation proved she had been assaulted. Young Wall was arrested on suspicion and was in charge on [sic] Constable Childress.

Early in the night Sheriff Woolvine went to sleep within half a mile of where Childress was guarding the prisoner. A mob came and took away the prisoner without encountering any resistance on the part of the constable, and the latter did not report the fact to the sheriff until the next day. That was Sunday night. Wall was lynched, simply a suspicion being the ground for this cruelty.

On Monday further investigation was made, and there was practically no evidence to convict Wall of the crime. It is now believed he was innocent. There is much indignation in the neighborhood against the mob.

This next article, printed in The Statesville Record & Landmark (Statesville, N. C.) on September 17, 1897, is a commentary using the lynching of Henry Wall as an example:

A mob near Griffin, Ga., with dogs, caught Henry Stark, accused of assault, and prepared to burn him. He declared his innocence, was taken to Griffin and proved an alibi. It is asserted that Henry Wall, the white man lynched in Patrick county, Va., a few days ago for attempted criminal assault and murder of a woman, was innocent of the crime. These two instances show one of the great dangers of lynch law.

Here lies the final chapter of this lynching, printed in The Standard (Concord, N. C.) on October 7, 1897. Take it as you will:

The Mt. Airy correspondent of the Wilmington Messenger says:  The report going the rounds of the press wrong man had been lynched in Patrick county, Virginia, for the murder of Sadie Cook in untrue. The evidence is positive that Henry Wall, the man lynched, was guilty of the most brutal murder on record in this section of the State and no regret is expressed at the lynching.

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