Friday, November 21, 2014

November 21, 1895: Charles Hurd

Today we learn about a lynching that occured in Tennessee 119 years ago. The details are contained in the following article found in The Scranton Republican (Scranton, Pennsylvania) on November 22, 1895:


They Lynch a Murderer in Morgan County, Tenn.

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn., Nov. 21.—A determined mob of from 100 to 200 armed men from the vicinity of Joynerville took the negro Charles Hurd, the slayer of the white boy James Kelley, by striking him on the head with a whiffle tree, from the Wartburg jail at midnight last night and hanged him to a tree about half a mile away. Wartburg is the county seat of Morgan county, in the northern part of the state, and some miles from a railroad, consequently reports of the affair conflict. The lynchers were a grim, determined set of men and dressed in homemade jeans and mountain garb, without disguise of any kind. They marched in an orderly body across the mountains to Wartburg, returning the same way after the deed.

The jailor refused to give up the negro, whereupon they battered in the outer doors with sledge hammers, over-powered the guards and forced the jailor, at the point of revolvers, to surrender the keys to the inner door and cells. The murderer was conducted to a tree a short distance off and given a minute to talk. He admitted his guilt, saying that he intended to kill the boy. He asked not to be shot and his request was complied with.

Our article of interest today is connected to the lynching and comes to us from The Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia) dated December 2, 1895:


Because the Canine Did Not Locate the Negro They Wanted.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn., December 1.—[Special-Sergeant Perry Fipps [sic], of the Chattanooga police force, was until two weeks ago the possessor of three fine bloodhounds, one of which had become quite famous, having run down a number of criminals, but now his famous dog "Bud" is no more and about this comes an interesting story.

About two weeks ago Phipps took his dogs to Morgan county to run down a negro named Hurd, who had killed a young white man. The dog was put on the trail and led about a hundred men a chase of about two hundred miles, consuming two days and nights, but it seems the old dog deceived them, for while they were gone the negro was caught and lynched. This so frustrated the party which had followed the dog that they in some way got her away from Phipps and kept her until he had gone home and then lynched her. Phipps spent two days looking for her and does not yet know what became of her.  

In case you are wondering what a whiffle tree is, you can read about it here. Thank you for joining me and as always, I hope I leave you with something to ponder.

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