Wednesday, November 5, 2014

November 5, 1918: George Taylor

Join me in a journey to the past near Rolesville, North Carolina. We start our journey among the pages of The Davie Record (Mocksville, N. C.) on November 13, 1918:

Lynching in Wake.

Within six hours after he had been identified by Mrs. L. S. Rogers as the man who criminally assaulted her on the afternoon of October 30, George Taylor, a negro, was lynched in sight of the Rogers' home about two miles southeast of Rolesville. Coroner Separk and deputy sheriffs found the negro's body hanging by its feet from the limb of a tree, the body having been terribly mutilated and riddled with bullets. The lynching, as far as can be remembered, is the first that ever occurred in Wake county.

Our next stop is brought to us by the Creedmoor Times-News (Creedmoor, N. C.) on November 13, 1918. Under the heading PERNELL ITEMS and found after Little May Kerney improving from her appendicitis and before we learn Mr. Ollie Honeycutt called on Miss Lissie Lowry we find the following:

Several of the Pernell people went Sunday to see the place near Rolesville where the negro rapist, George Taylor was lynched the past week. They say there will be signs for quite awhile and it is something to see.

Our final stop brings us to the pages of the News and Observer (Raleigh, N. C.) printed on the 22nd of November, 1918:


Coroner's Jury Says George Taylor Met Death at Hands of "Unknown" Persons


Negro, It Is Alleged, Confessed To Assaulting Mrs. L. S. Rogers, of Rolesville

Completing the examination of thirty witnesses, twenty-one white and nine colored, before Coroner Separk and a jury, the investigation begun two weeks ago to find out who lynched George Taylor, a negro who was strung to a tree, cut to pieces with knives and his body riddled with bullets, near Rolesville, November 5, has ended, and the jury said that the negro came to his death at the hands of persons "unknown" to it.

Seven witnesses, three white and four colored, were examined by Solicitor Norris on the last day of the hearing. None of the seven gave any testimony that would in any manner throw light on the lynching.

The termination of the inquiry, Solicitor Norris said yesterday, does not necessarily imply that continued efforts will not be made to bring about the identification and prosecution of the members of the mob. A Wake county grand jury which will here on Monday may continue the inquiry by the further examination of witnesses.

Jury From Rolesville Section.

In court circles yesterday, the fact that the members of the coroner's jury were all from the Rolesville neighborhood, where the assault was committed was being commented. While the solicitor was frank to say that there was no evidence adduced at the hearing by which he could obtain a verdict from a coroner's jury, placing responsibility for the lynching, he would not indicate that evidence did not come out which may be material in a grand jury investigation.

Another aspect of the case yesterday, to which Solicitor Norris called attention, was that indictments may be brought in this county and the trial of the indicted be held in any county adjoining Wake. In the event of indictments, the hearings would probably be held at Louisburg, in this judicial district. None of the thirty witnesses examined during the hearing gained immunity from prosecution, in the opinion of the officials.

The negro Taylor was taken from deputized citizens, after he had been identified by Mrs. L. S. Rogers, as her assailant, by four men on Tuesday night, November 5. About 7:30 in the evening he was lynched, the body having been found early next morning by Sheriff Sears, who had been informed that a lynching had occurred in the Rolesville neighborhood the night before. Solicitor Norris immediately went to the scene and began an investigation, which was concluded yesterday. 

Thank you for joining me and as always, I hope I leave you with something to ponder.


  1. What are your sources? I am researching this topic and would like to learn more.

    1. The newspapers. They're cited before each excerpt.

      Thanks, Anne Last, for your research about this important topic.