Saturday, January 31, 2015

January 31, 1893: Jerry Brown

The World (New York, N. Y.) dated February 2, 1893:


A Quadruple Lynching of Negroes Follows a Crime at Richlands, Va.


RICHLANDS, Va., Feb. 1.—All four of the negroes who butchered Alex. Ratcliffe and Bob Shortridge Monday have been lynched. Jerry Brown was taken from the jail between 10 and 11 o'clock last night and strung from an oak tree 500 yards from the scene of Monday's crime. To-day Sam McDonald, Spencer Branch and John Johnson were removed from jail and lynched from the same tree. The negroes not only confessed the crime of this week, but also the murder of Joe Hunt a year ago.

Nearly eight hundred people were present at the triple lynching to-day, the crowd including many women and children. Those who were prominent in the proceedings were friends of Ratcliffe and Shortridge. No masks were worn, and there was no interference by the officers of the law.

Other negroes are believed to be implicated in the crime of Monday, and members of to-day's lynching party are trying to run the criminals down. If they catch them the four negroes now swinging from the oak tree will have company.

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

Friday, January 30, 2015

January 30, 1886: Ebenezer Fowler

The Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia) dated February 1, 1886:


The Deserved Punishment of a Black Rascal in Mississippi.

VICKSBURG, January 31.—In response to a telegram from Mayorsville, Issaquenna county, for instance, Captain Zarles with 22 men, left there at 2 p. m., and arrived at Mayorsville at ten o'clock, when the cause of this requisition for troops was ascertained to be apprehensions that certain colored citizens of that vicinity would seek to avenge the killing of Ebenezer Fowler, a well known negro barkeeper, on Saturday evening, by the enraged citizens of that place. Fowler, who was married, about 45 years old, of rather ungainly appearance, pushed his attentions upon white females whenever he could make it convenient to do so. On Saturday he wrote a note, which he delivered to a married woman whose husband was absent making indecent proposals, and the lady delivered the note to her husband. A meeting of citizens was called, and the proposition made to tar and feather him, but it was decided to confront him with the lady herself. Fowler was arrested. He made an effort to wrest the pistol from the hands of his guards, when the weapon was discharged, the ball just missing the mayor and burning his hand badly. This inflamed the crowd, who, without mercy, riddled him with bullets. The excitement has now quieted down, and no further apprehension of trouble exists.

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

Thursday, January 29, 2015

January 29, 1919: Sam Smith

The El Paso Herald (El Paso, Texas) reports on the following lynching in its January 30, 1919 edition:


Monroe, La., Jan. 30.—A mob last night lynched Sam Smith, a negro, convicted at Columbia yesterday of the murder of Blanchard Warner, a white man. The jury's verdict had specified that capital punishment should not be inflicted.

The Southern Immigrant from Cullman, Alabama printed an article about the origins of lynch law in its March 7, 1878 edition:

Origin of Lynch Law.

In Campbell county, Va., on the Roanoke river (then called Staunton river,) during the old Revolutionary war, when there were some Tories of obnoxious character still remaining in  the county not reachable by any statutory law, Colonel Charles Lynch, supported by Capt. Robert Adams, his brother-in-law, both farming on adjoining plantations, and — Calloway, determining to rid the country of such dangerous enemies, seized on different occasions, three of the worst of them, tied them to a tree and flogged them so severely as to prompt an unceremonious departure from the State, as they were ordered. This sort of procedure on the part of Lynch and his friends proving so effective in Campbell was quickly followed in other counties, where loyalty to King George sometimes provoked summary punishment, and it was called "Lynch law," and has been to our day.

The snatch of an old song of the time is still repeated in the neighborhood:

Huzza for Captain Bob, Colonel 
Lynch and Calloway,
Never let a Tory rest till he cries
out liberty.

John Lynch, the brother of Charles Lynch, was the founder of Lynchburg; only a few of their descendants are now living—none in Virginia bearing the family name, so far as is known—the last of the males. Charles Henry Lynch, and his brother, John Pleasant, having died in Campbell county since the War of Secession. Their sister, Mrs. Dearing, and her daughter Mrs. Faunt Le Roy, now occupy the old homestead, where still remains the stump of the walnut tree to which the three Tories were tied and whipped. Life was never taken.

Webster, in his unabridged dictionary, says of "Lynch law" that it was the "practice of punishing men for crimes or offenses by private, unauthorized persons, without a legal trial.—The term is said to be derived from a Virginia farmer named Lynch, who thus took the law into his own hands."

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

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

January 28, 1884: John Gray and Frank Williams

We start with a very brief article from the Alton Evening Telegraph (Alton, Illinois) dated January 29, 1884:


Frank Williams and John Gray were lynched, by hanging, for the murder of Orion Kurtz, at Rosita, Colorado, yesterday.

A longer article from the Fitchburg Sentinel (Fitchburg, Massachusetts) dated February 4, 1884 informs us a bit more:

Letter from Colorado.


DENVER, Jan. 28, 1884.

About ten days ago a lynching affair in Ouray was telegraphed over the country, in which it was asserted that a woman had never been lynched before in the United States. The assertion was not correct, California and Kansas having been ahead of Colorado in this matter, and possible other states.

Rose Matthews, the victim of the murder, was a motherless girl ten or eleven years of age, whose father had gone bad and is in the Arapahoe county jail for theft and lewdness. The girl had been placed in a Catholic asylum in Denver and being a source of expense to the managers, she was placed in the family of Michael Cuddigan, a ranchman living near Ourey. It was soon known about the vicinity that the girl was terribly abused, and two weeks ago she suddenly died and was clandestinly [sic] buried on the ranch. The coroner, ascertaining the facts, caused the body to be exhumed, when the fact was developed that the girl had been outraged and death was caused by brutal treatment.

Cuddigan and wife, and a brother of the latter named Carroll, were arrested, but on the night of the 18th the prisoners were taken from the custody of the officers by the vigilantes. Carroll was separated from the other two, and the latter speedily hanged. Carroll was taken in another direction, given one or two brief suspensions with a rope about his neck as a warning, and then told to skip. He skipped. The reason of this was the fact that Carroll was not at home at the time or for several days previous to the murder. There is much excitement among the Catholics over the matter, as the murdered girl was placed with the Cuddigan family, who were Catholics, by the church authorities, and a number of the vigilantes were also Catholics.

A couple more sudden deaths occurred before daylight in Rositoo. About two weeks ago there was a ball in that town at which John Gray and Frank Williams were uninvited guests. The two men were full of whisky and of notoriously bad character. During the ball they created a disturbance and were "fired." Yesterday morning they met Orrin Kurtz and shot him to death. Before daylight this morning they were both hanged.

Many people, particularly in the eastern part of the country, do not fully understand the methods and workings of the average western vigilante committee. It is popularly supposed that lynchings are the passionate outbursts of mobs. In rare instances this may be the case, but when attempted by a mob the affair is usually a failure. Vigilante committees are the outgrowth of the frontier, called into existence originally by the worst element, such as gambling saloon keepers, thieves, thugs and the lawless elements having obtained control of the machinery of government, lax enforcement of the laws, the insecurity of life from murders, and the security of murderers through the law's delays. The sharp practice of lawyers is also an active element to bring about a formidable vigilante committee.

The organization of the latter is thorough and perfect. The accused has a fair trial, although he knows nothing about it, and every particle of evidence is carefully weighed, as well as causes of provocation, if any, and if death be decided upon, they go about it as a matter of business. Each one knows just what he is to do and how to do it. There were no prayers offered, no hymns sang, or time wasted. if the prisoner begs for mercy, he is quietly asked if he had any mercy on his victim. If he prays for pity, he is reminded of the pity he had for his victim. If he appeals for time to prepare for death, he is asked how much time he gave his victim preparation. The desperado knows his doom is sealed and that his last hour has come when the vigilantes have closed in about him.

It is exceedingly rare that one of the murderers meets his death bravely. His knees bend under his weight, and he bawls like a stray calf. Twenty years ago desperadoes did as they pleased in Denver. It is not unusual for a saloon full of them to make a bet how far a man would walk after being shot, and someone walking along on the opposite side of the street would be the victim. A committee of safety was organized, several of the most noted of the desperadoes were promptly hanged, and the others were flying the town in all directions, horse back, on mules and on foot. The committee held its organization for ten years and it is thought by many that it ought to be repeated.

Yesterday was the heathen Chinese New Year's, but out of respect to the Christian Sabbath and the orders of the police, they were . . .

I couldn't read the rest of the article, but it was the last paragraph. I have to say, the reasoning of vigilante committees sounded the same as the reasoning for all other lynchings. Thank you for joining me and as always, I hope I leave you with something to ponder.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

January 27, 1914: Ben Dickerson, Jim Wilson and Wilmer T. Potts

Today I am presenting three different lynchings all on the same day. The first lynching takes place in Oklahoma and we learn about it through the pages of The Scranton Republican (Scranton, Pennsylvania) dated January 28, 1914:


OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla., Jan. 27.—Ben Dickerson, negro, who robbed and murdered W. A. Chaffin, traveling salesman here Sunday evening, was lynched near Noble, twenty-five miles south, at daylight today.

The next two take place in North Carolina and Pennsylvania. They are both found in the pages of the Reading Times (Reading, Pennsylvania) dated January 28, 1914:


Raleigh, N. C., Jan. 27.—Jim Wilson, a negro, charged with the murder of Mrs. W. M. Lynch, at Wendell, N. C., today was lynched by a mob near that place.


West Chester, Pa., Jan. 27.—Wilmer T. Potts, colored, aged 19 years, was hanged here today for the murder of his wife in Coatsville more than a year ago. Twice Potts received a respite and commutation of sentence was hoped for up to the last moment.

This was the last hanging to take place in this county.

I believe the last sentence meant to say it was the first. It doesn't seem important to comment that it is the last hanging when only a day had passed. Thank you for joining me and as always, I hope I leave you with something to ponder.

Monday, January 26, 2015

January 26, 1900: Thomas Reynolds

Greensboro Telegram (Greensboro, N. C.) dated January 27, 1900:


Two Others Recaptured and Brought Back to Penitentiary.

By Wire to The Telegram.

Canton, City,Col., Jan. 27.—Thomas Reynolds was lynched last night. He was captured near Florence and immediately brought to this city. At the edge of town he was met by a large mob, taken from the officers and strung to a telephone pole, in full view of the penitentiary.

Reynolds and three other prisoners murdered Capt. Rooney, the guard, and escaped from the penitentiary Monday night. The murder was cold blooded, as it was unnecessary to help them make their escape.

The posse is close on the trail of Wagner. This fourth murderer, if taken will share Reynold's fate. Anthony Wood and Kid Wallace were captured yesterday and are safe within penitentiary walls.

Denver, Jan. 27—A rumor reached here this morning that Wagner had been captured and lynched.

The Morning Times (Washington, D. C.) dated January 27, 1900:


A Colorado Convict Summarily Dealt With by a Mob.

CANON CITY, Col., Jan. 26.—Thomas Reynolds was lynched here tonight. Reynolds was captured near Florence and immediately brought to this city. At the edge of town he was met by a mob, taken from the officers, and strung up to a telephone pole, in full view of the penitentiary. Reynolds and three other convicts murdered a guard and escaped from the penitentiary Monday night.

The murder was cold blooded and unnecessary in making the escape. Capital punishment has been abolished in Colorado and this undoubtedly led to the lynching.

I included the second article because of the last sentence. This is the second time I've seen this as reasoning for lynching and thought it was worth making note. Thank you for joining me and as always, I hope I leave you with something to ponder.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

January 25, 1886: Clement Simpson

The Chicago Tribune (Chicago, Illinois) dated: January 25, 1886:


Clement Simpson Lynched at Henderson, Ky., for Killing Mrs. Graves.

He Says "The Old Woman Would Not Pray to God," So He Killed Her.

A Mob Takes Him from Jail Early This Morning and Ushers Him Into Eternity.

EVANSVILLE, Ind., Jan. 25.—3:30 a. m.—[Special.]—About 9 o'clock last night a plan was perfected to take the negro Simpson from the Henderson, Ky., jail and hang him. nothing was seen or heard that would indicate trouble until a few minutes after midnight.

Fully 100 determined men went to the jail and demanded the keys, which were refused, when the doors were battered down.

Two of the men took the prisoner between them, and the balance formed on either side and also in front and behind. The negro was walked to a spot about a mile from the jail, where he was strung up and his body left hanging.

The following, received last night before the lynching, will show Simpson's crime:

EVANSVILLE, Ind., Jan. 24.—[Special.]—The citizens of Henderson were thrown into an intense state of excitement this morning by news being received that a white woman, residing in the county about two miles from town, had been brutally murdered by a negro. Officers Hicks and Kohl were detailed to go to the scene of the tragedy. The officers proceeded out on the Corydon road to a hamlet known as White Bridge. Here their attention was attracted by a large crowd about a cottage, a short distance off from the road. On reaching the house they saw the form of a woman about 65 years of age lying on the front porch with her head beaten into a jelly and with her brains oozing out of the ghastly wounds. Mr. Graves, a son of the murdered woman, made the following statement to the officers:

"About 2 o'clock this morning my mother, my two sisters, and myself were awakened by a loud rapping at the door, and in answer to the question, 'Who is that?' a negro, whom my sisters afterwards recognized as Clement Simpson, a mulatto about 26 years of age, answered, 'Open the door and pray.' I replied, 'You had better go away.' He continued knocking, saying he was going to come in. I then arose, put on my clothes, and started for assistance, and when I returned I found my mother lying on the floor with her brains beaten out and the negro gone. My sisters say he broke the door in shortly after I left for help and struck my mother on the head with a heavy club, and followed it up by several other blows. After being satisfied that his victim was dead he left the house, but not before he had compelled my sisters to kneel and pray. He did not offer to injure my sisters.'

The officers after hearing the statement of Mr. Graves, left the house to look after the murderer, whom they found in a shanty about a mile from the scene of the murder. On seeing the officers approaching the murderer took up a hatchet and started to attack them, when Officer Kohl drew his revolver and told him to drop his hatchet or he would put a bullet through his heart. Upon this threat the negro dropped his weapon and gave himself up. On the way to Henderson the prisoner was asked why he killed Mrs. Graves, to which he replied that the old woman would not pray and that God had told him to kill her, and the reason that he did not murder the young women was because they prayed. He informed the officers that he was crazy on the subject of religion. Arrived at the jail the handcuffs were removed, and while being searched he attacked the jailer, but was promptly subdued and placed in a cell. 

The murderer is nearly white and though short in stature is heavily built and very muscular. He has resided in the neighborhood but a short time and is comparatively a stranger to persons living in the vicinity of the murder. 

Mrs. Graves, the murdered woman, is a widow, and has resided in that neighborhood for a number of years with her son and two daughters, all of whom are most estimable people. The officers, after arresting Simpson, started for the jail in a roundabout way, taking the most obscure roads for fear they would not reach their destination. After learning that the murderer was behind the bars the excitement greatly increased, and tonight the prospects are that Judge Lynch will dispose of Simpson. 

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

Saturday, January 24, 2015

January 24, 1901: Larkington

The Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia) dated January 25, 1901:


Negro Shot for Attempting Assault on White Woman.

Minden, La., January 24.—Yesterday at Doylins, a station on the Vicksburg, Shreveport and Pacific railroad, about ten miles from here, a young negro named Larkington attempted to outrage the wife of a young farmer named Eldon Walker. He was unsuccessful and became frightened and ran off. Today he was identified by the lady and in charge of several citizens was being brought to the Minden jail, when he was overtaken and shot to pieces by a crowd of men. This happened in the same neighborhood where a negro was burned for the same crime about two years ago.

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

Friday, January 23, 2015

January 23, 1913: Richard Stanley

After searching for several hours and not finding collaborating articles for several dates, I've settled on this one to report. It comes to us from the Chicago Daily Tribune (Chicago, Illinois) dated December 13, 1913:

January 23—Richard Stanley, colored, rape, Fulbright, Tex.

The Laurens Advertiser (Laurens, S. C.) dated January 25, 1888 had this to say:

Just think of it, 122 people lynched in this county last year.

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

Thursday, January 22, 2015

January 22, 1885: Patrick Woods

The Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia) dated January 23, 1885:

Taken Out and Hanged.

MAGNOLIA, Miss., January 22.—A few days ago Patrick Woods, colored, killed Constable Michael Brown, at McComb City, and escaped. Woods was arrested Tuesday, and lodged in jail here. This morning a mob of masked men broke open the jail, took Woods out and hanged him.

Today we have an article of interest from The Indianapolis News (Indianapolis, Indiana) dated August 31, 1882:

There were serious threats of lynching Jeter made on Monday night. There are threats of lynching the men who outraged Miss Bond in Christian county, Illinois. There are threats of lynching the murderer of Mrs. Caplin at Weathersfield, Illinois. An unknown murderer was lynched at Deming, New Mexico, on Sunday. These are a single day's gathering, in one issue of a daily paper, and a scant one at that. A cruel murder or a brutal outrage occurs nowhere, apparently, without the instant accompaniment of a lynching or threat of it. Probably half of the bloody or beastly crimes of the day are avenged on the spot, without law, or caution, or decorum. The avenging power is as lawless and riotous as its victim. And the evil grows. It is worse now than it was a year ago than it was two years ago. That far away lynching was confined to "niggers" in the south, usually atrocious murders in the north, and horse thieves and "road agents" in the west. Now the mob rises to almost any crime of blood or brutality, and demands to displace the law and replace it with "sudden death." And this in a land where the mob that displaces the law makes the law. Vengeance can not wait the slow process of inquiry and proof. It must punish on the instant, and to punish is to kill. The law of the mob is the law of Draco—kill for every offence worth punishing. If this is not a turn of the path of progress toward anarchy, what is it? May not anarchy come as calamitously by insidious steps that never turn our attention to the end toward which they move, as by a cataclysm that sweeps away all authority and order at a blow?

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

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

January 21, 1886: Sidney Brown

I found a longer article on the lynching featured today, unfortunately the copy was not good and it is hard to make out a lot of it. Instead I will present this article from The Somerset Herald (Somerset, Pennsylvania) dated January 27, 1886:

A Negro Fiend Lynched.

ROCHDALE, Texas, Jan. 22.—Wednesday night Sidney Brown, a negro, waylaid Samuel Ford, a farmer against whom he had a grudge, beat him into insensibility and threw him on the railroad track to be mangled by the cars. Ford recovered consciousness and dragged himself home, two miles distant, with one eye knocked out and his skull fractured. The negro was captured, and was yesterday hanged by a mob. He was surposed [sic] to be connected with the mysterious Austin murder.

I will try to copy as much of the longer article as I can read. It comes to us through the pages of The Galveston Daily (Galveston, Texas) dated January 22, 1886:



A Negro Lynched for Highway Robbery and Attempted Murder—He Makes a Confession.

Special to The News.

ROCKDALE, January 21,—At an early hour this morning the peace officers were informed that Mr. Sam Ford had been robbed and left for dead, last night, about two miles west of the city, on the line of the International and Great Northern road. It was also learned that a negro man did the deed and afterward came back to town, stayed all night and started off early this morning, walking down the railroad toward Mil---.


and one or two other gentlemen started in pursuit about 9 o'clock, and easily tracked him to within a short distance of Milano (?), where he turned off and made for the Santa Fe, where he was caught, after going about two miles up the road. The negro had in his possession several bundles of goods which Mr. Ford had bought from F. S. Bl-ck, a merchant here, the evening before, and several other smaller articles taken from Ford's person including about $10 in money. The attack was made about dark, the negro striking Ford with some iron weight, and shooting at him three times. Supposing his victim dead, the culprit dragged the body across the railroad track, covering up the blood in the sand and left, expecting a train would come by and


so as to cover up the murder. Ford came to consciousness after a while and managed to get off the track and spent the balance of the night trying to get home, a distance of two miles, which he reached about daylight, being terribly bruised and -----ated, and having one eye entirely knocked out. After being arrested and placed in jail, the negro


saying that he took Ford's clothes and things because he made him mad. Mr. Bl--k identified the goods in the negro's possession as those sold Ford. The negro says that he is from Austin and it is thought by some that he may possibly know something of the late terrible crime at this place. At this hour it is reported on the streets that Ford is dead, and it is confidently expected that the negro will be given his just dues to-night.

LATER—At -:20 p. m. an infuriated mob attacked the --li----- and demanded the negro who so brutally beat and left for dead the man Sam Ford. Notwithstanding the efforts of Constable J. H. C--- and those whom he had summoned, the mob forced their way into the --l------ and ---k the negro a distance of about --- ---- from town where they


The negro acknowledged all and tried to make peace with his God. The negro gave his name as Sidney Brown, who claims he was raised in ---l---- county, but had recently lived at Austin.

I think I copied that article correctly. It was slow going and I assumed a decent amount of words based on my experience in reading articles from the time period. The time above was either 8:20 or 9:20. Thank you for joining me and as always, I hope I leave you with something to ponder.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

January 20, 1900: George and Edward Smith (Meeks)

We learn about a lynching in Kansas through the pages of the Chicago Daily Tribune (Chicago, Illinois) dated January 21, 1900:


Business-Men of Fort Scott Meet and Deliberately Plan the Execution of Brothers.


Prisoners Then Hanged to Trees in Courthouse Yard, Preserving Defiance to the Last.


Fort Scott, Kas., Jan. 20.—[Special.]—"Ed" and George Smith, alias Meeks, were hanged in the county jail yard tonight by a mob. The men died "game," one of them putting the noose around his own neck. The men were half-brothers. They had been convicted of murder, and a short time ago were sentenced to life imprisonment.

The immediate cause of the mob's wrath was an effort to escape by the prisoners. They sawed their way to the jail corridor and for half an hour gave fight to the officers who were besieging them. One officer was injured.

The men were hanged to two trees, thirty feet apart.

Amos Phillips of Bates County, Mo., who was convicted of the same crime, was only saved from the frenzied crowd by a desperate effort on the part of the Sheriff and his deputies.

George Smith went to the tree to which he was hanged smoking a cigaret [sic]. His last words were:  "It takes nerve to live in this world." His brother started to make a confession, but the mob would not hear him through.

Battle in the Jail.

At about 6 o'clock this evening a guard at the jail heard the clanging of a steel door within and called the Sheriff. Investigation revealed that the murderers had sawed the bars upon which swung the doors of five cells in the cage. This admitted them to the corridor.

Eight officers were soon in the jail, but the prisoners had extinguished the lights, so that the cage was in darkness. The officers resorted to every inducement to get the murderers to come out and surrender, but they refused.

Finally former Sheriff Allen volunteered to take the lead in a rush after them. He had not reached the cage when a blow from a heavy steel rod in the hands of George Meeks struck him on the head and felled him. He dropped into the arms of the next officer, whose club warded off a second blow.

At this instant the third officer fired and the three prisoners, who had rushed into the corridor, dodged into a cell. They were all armed with steel bars and the officers stood for thirty minutes taking occasional shots at them as they darted out in the dark corridor, attempting to use their weapons.

Finally George Smith was shot in the leg and then the murderers gave up.

The crowd that gathered around the jail during the battle did not leave until the men were dead, though it waited several hours for a leader.

Organize in Courthouse.

The mob organized at 9:30 o'clock on the second floor of the courthouse, while the crowd stood below making a demonstration that drove the residents of the neighborhood from their homes. 

The leaders of the lynching were among the prominent and wealthy men of the city. They thoroughly planned the hanging, even to the details of selecting the place and testing the trees.

The crowd down-stairs had already procured three ropes which were dangling from trees beside the jail, but the leaders were business-men and wanted the assurance that the right kind of rope should be provided, so they sent for hemp from their own selection.

The nooses were tied by hands that had performed such work before, and then the door of the room was unlocked and the mob marched in twos out of the courthouse to the jail.

Cheers for the Mob.

A mob of several hundred greeted the lynchers with cheers. They went directly to the gate  of the barricade and with a single stroke opened it. The barricade was then torn down to make easy passage to the trees in the street park in front of the jail, which had been selected as the place of execution.

A heavy sledge, crowbars, and steel saws were called into requisition, but a half hour's time was consumed in making a way through the two doors.

While this was being accomplished Phillips was on his knees in his cell praying. The Smiths lay shackled in their cells, stolidly indifferent to the atack [sic] on the jail, the meaning of which they realized from the cries of the mob.

The Sheriff and his Deputies were permitted to enter the jail to avert any possibility of the wrong men being taken.  When the inner cells were finally reached it was found that George Smith had just rolled a cigaret [sic] and was smoking it.

The two were carried out in their shackles without a struggle or without a plea for their lives.  The crowd that rushed to the prison door was ordered to stand back, and the murderers were brought out on a run.   

 Victim Adjusts the Noose.

George Smith, the older of the two brothers, defied his captors until the last.  He placed the noose around his own neck and died cursing the crowd. Just as he was jerked in the air he turned to his brother with an oath and commanded him to "die game." The brother obeyed.

Before this George Smith had shouted to the mob in defiant tones that he himself shot their victim, and that Phillips struck him on the head with an ax. He insisted that his brother "Ed" had no part in the crime. "Be sure and get Phillips," the doomed man urged. Then, with a curse, he invited the mob to string him up.

"Ed" Smith was equally fearless in the hands of the mob, but he did not manifest the spirit of bravado shown by his brother. His last words were"

"Hang me if you will, but I did not help kill Edlinger. George shot him and Phillips struck him with an ax. I did —"

He got no further in his statement, for four or five men had him by the feet, others drew the noose around his neck, throwing the loose end over a limb, and in a moment he was strangling to death.

When the lynchers had finished with the Smiths the boisterous element of the crowd yelled: "Now for the old man—bring out Phillips!" And a rush was made for the jail door, but the more conservative leaders of the mob had anticipated this and had organized to assist the Sheriff in protecting his prisoner, whose sanity is in question. A posse was lined up in front of the jail to reinforce the Sheriff and his men, and the lynchers were told Phillips had been hurried away. The lynchers seemed satisfied with the explanation and dispersed. Phillips will probably be taken out of the city.

Members of Robber Band.

The murder of Leopold Edlinger on Dec. 2 last was planned for the purpose of robbery a week before it was consummated, by a band of at least six stock and grain thieves, who maintained two rendezvouses—one in Cedar County, Mo., six miles from Stockton, and the other in Bates County, Mo., fifteen miles from Rich Hill.

Three members of this band were the men in jail here for the Edlinger murder. They were Edward and George Smith, alias Meeks, of Kansas City and Amos Phillips, an old farmer of Bates County, Mo., who confessed the crime and took the officers over the road traveled by them in following Edlinger.

Both the rendezvouses of this gang were in wild, almost uninhabited sections of the country. According to Phillips' confession, they had operated all over southwest Missouri and southeast Kansas for more than a year.

The Edlinger murder was planned at the Bates County rendezvous one night after "Red" or Edward Smith's return from Butler. He reported that a "Dutch boy" had been in Butler that day buying an outfit to go to Oklahoma by wagon. Four members of the game drove to the neighborhood six miles from Butler, where Edlinger had lived for many years. It was understood that he had several hundred dollars in cash.

Follow Their Victim.

A few days later the young German left for his new home, and for three days the murderers followed him, crossing two Missouri and two Kansas counties and arriving at a point thirteen miles northwest of this city, where Edlinger camped for the night.

After he had gone to sleep in his wagon, according to Phillips' confession, they stole upon him. "Ed" Smith shot him in the head and Phillips dealt him three blows on the head with an ax. "Ed" Smith and Phillips, after the body had been loaded into the wagon, started west to dispose of it, and George Smith and the fourth man, who has not been caught, took Edlinger's money, team, and effects and returned to the Bates County rendezvous.

The body was brought to within six miles from this city after having been hauled twenty miles, weighted down, and thrown into the river. The men were two days and a night on the road with the body.

Every scrap of paper or anything that might make identification possible was taken from the murdered man's pockets, except a piece of a letter bearing his signature, which was wadded in the inside vest pocket and was overlooked.

Three weeks after the identification of the body a Bates County man went to Cedar County, and while there bought a horse from the Smiths. This was at once identified as the animal which Edlinger led behind his wagon. This led to the identification of the team and the arrest of the murderers.

Phillips is 45 years old and is an ex-convict of Illinois, having been sent up from Carthage fifteen years ago for burglary.

The men executed tonight had no attorney at their trial and would not permit one who was appointed by the court to enter into the case. They simply pleaded not guilty. 

Monday, January 19, 2015

January 19, 1908: Cleveland Franklin

Today on MLK, Jr. Day we have an unusual lynching brought to us through the pages of The Topeka Daily Capital (Topeka, Kansas) dated January 20, 1908:


Had Shot White Man—Mob Hanged Him Then Riddled Body With Bullets.

Dothan, Ala., Jan. 19.—Cleveland Franklin, a negro employed by a cotton oil company, was lynched here early tonight by a masked mob of 200 angry citizens. The negro's body was riddled with bullets after it had been swung from the limb of a tree. It is said Franklin shot and seriously wounded A. C. Faulk, secretary and treasurer of the oil company, here last night, after he had been caught in the act of robbing the cash drawer at the mill. The sheriff was notified immediately after the shooting and a posse was organized. This morning the sheriff learned that the negro was at Webb, Ala., and later he was captured there. Franklin was brought back to Dothan by private conveyance. After putting the team up at the stable and just as the start was made for the jail, a mob of 200 men, all masked, swooped down on the sheriff and his posse and forcibly took the prisoner. The negro was taken a short distance away, hanged to a limb and his body riddled with bullets.

Keeping in mind that lynching does not always mean death, we read a little more through the pages of The Scranton Republican (Scranton, Pennsylvania) January 21, 1908:


Negro Was Taken From Sheriff by Mob and Hanged to a Tree.

DOTHAN, Ala., Jan. 20.—Cleveland Franklin, a negro, knows what it is to have been lynched and remain alive. Last night Franklin, who had shot and wounded A. C. Faulk, a prominent business man, was taken from the sheriff by a mob, strung to a tree in the heart of town and at least 200 shots fired at him. Everybody supposed the negro was dead and the body was left hanging.

When the negroe's body was cut down today by the sheriff it was discovered he was living. Examination showed  that only five shots took effect and caused no dangerous wounds. The noose about the negroe's neck was not properly adjusted and failed to strangle him. Under the care of a physician the negro soon revived and, barring a terrible fright, is in fair condition. There is no disposition to relynch the negro. The whites think he is entitled to live.

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

Sunday, January 18, 2015

January 18, 1894: Williams

The Inter Ocean (Chicago, Illinois) dated January 20, 1894:


Louisiana Negro Defends Himself and Is Captured and Strung Up.

NEW ORLEANS, La., Jan. 19.—Special Telegram.—A negro by the last name of Williams was lynched last night at the Greenwood plantation in West Feliciana Parish. Williams was charged with robbing the corn-crib of the plantation and firing it and burning it down. He was arrested and tried for larceny. The case resulted in a mistrial, and Williams was released on bonds. This failure of justice provoked the regulators, and a number of them, headed by Joe Roberts and other white men, determined to give Williams a severe lesson by inflicting a whipping and ordering him out of the parish. The party went there at night for the purpose of administering the whipping. As they approached the house Williams, who had been warned of their coming, opened fire, killing Joe Roberts, the leader of the regulators, and seriously if not fatally wounding Charles Reed, Jr., son of the owner of the Greenwood plantation, he being shot in the eyes. The negro then jumped out of the rear of the house and fled. The mob opened fire on him and wounded him in the leg, but not sufficiently to prevent him still running. He was pursued, captured, and strung up to a tree, where his body was found in the morning. Roberts, who was killed in the attacking party, leaves a wife and five children.

I tried, but could not find the full name for Williams. I only found one other article and it gave no name, whatsoever for the victim of the lynching, only the names of the men shot. Thank you for joining me and as always, I hope I leave you with something to ponder.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

January 17, 1894: John Buchner

Today our article comes from The Newark Advocate (Newark, Ohio) dated January 18, 1894:



One Victim a Colored Lady and the Other a White Girl.

The Wretch Taken Out of a Missouri Jail—Identified by Mrs. Mungo—Hanged by the Mob on a Railroad Bridge Wednesday Morning.

St. Louis, Mo., Jan. 18.—The handsome little suburban town of Valley Park, fifteen miles west of this city, is in a state of frenzy over two fearful crimes committed by a negro Tuesday afternoon and his swift punishment at the hand of a mob at daylight this morning.

At 4 o'clock Tuesday afternoon John Buchner, a desperate and worthless negro, who had been recently released from the state penitentiary, where he had served three years for a criminal assault on a young colored school teacher, shouldered a double barreled shot-gun and left home. He had not gone far before he met Mrs. Albert Mungo , the middle-aged wife of a respectable colored farmer. The woman was hurrying along the highway, and in response to a salutation from Buchner, replied that she could not stop as she was hurrying home to care for her sick baby. Buchner made an indecent proposal and she started to run away. Buchner struck her with his clubbed gun and after knocking her down, dragged her some fifty yards into a clump of underbrush where he outraged her person. He left the poor woman more dead than alive and started on down the road. He soon came to the farm house of William R. Harrison, where, after an inquiry for some thing to eat, he learned that none of the family was at home except Miss Alice, the beautiful nineteen-year-old daughter of Mr. Harrison. The negro concealed himself on the premises and waited until Miss Alice went on an errand to an outbuilding. He followed her and the frightened girl on hearing him approaching locked the door. This did not bar his entrance, for, with a tremendous kick of his heavy boot, he burst open the door, and grasped his trembling victim. The young woman struggled desperately to resist the negro brute, but her strength was of no avail against his iron muscles, and, although in the struggle her clothing, hair and flesh were torn, she was finally beaten into insensibility. The girl's parents deny that the negro accomplished his purpose, but the appearance of the room shows that a terrible struggle took place. After the assault on his second victim the negro was so exhausted he could barely reach his home, half a mile away. Miss Harrison, bruised and bleeding, managed to crawl to the home of a neighbor, where she related her horrible experience.

The alarm was quickly given and a man mounted a swift horse and rode to Manchester, four miles away, where a warrant for the arrest of Buchner was secured. A posse of twenty-five men was organized, and they surrounded the home of Buchner's parents. The door was opened by his sister, and Constable Shumacher saw his man sitting at the supper table. The rapist made a rush for a rear room where his gun was hanging, but the officer was too quick for him, and putting the muzzle of his revolver at his temple, ordered Buchner to throw up his hands. The negro sullenly complied and was quickly handcuffed. The officer fearing that the posse would lynch Buchner, placed him in a wagon and whipping up his horse, soon landed him in jail at Manchester. He was placed under $1,000 bond by Judge Hofstetter and ordered locked up in Clayton jail. The constable knowing that a mob was outside and would surely lynch Buchner if he attempted to take him to Clayton, decided to remain at Manchester until Wednesday morning. The news of the double crime and the arrest of the negro had spread throughout the surrounding suburban towns and at midnight a mob of 200 people had formed with the intention of lynching Buchner. Some of the conservative citizens urged the mob to desist and apparently succeeded. The mob slowly dispersed, but the word had evidently been passed around a number, for in less than an hour another mob was organized and marched to the jail. Among the mob were many colored people and they were wildly clamoring for Buchner's life. The jail was soon reached and  the solitary guard was overpowered and Buchner was dragged from his cell. A rope was placed about his neck and he was seated in a wagon and taken back to Valley Park, reaching there about five 0'clock Wednesday morning. He was identified by Mrs. Mungo and then taken to the Frisco railroad bridge. He was strung up and after the mab [sic] was satisfied that life was extinct the body was left hanging in the gloom of the thick fog which overspread the valley. When the sun's rays dispelled the fog Wednesday morning the body was yet hanging before the gaze of the villagers and in full view of passengers on the Frisco road.

The coroner, however, cut down the body at 8 o'clock and summoned a jury for the opparently [sic] unnecessary work of holding an inquest.

The article is dated Thursday the 18th making the lynching occur on Wednesday the 17th. Thank you for joining me and as always, I hope I leave you with something to ponder.  

Friday, January 16, 2015

January 16, 1900: Anderson Gause

Today's article is short and sweet. It comes to us from the pages of The Wilmington Messenger (Wilmington, N. C.) dated January 17, 1900:


Memphis, Tenn., January 16.—A negro named Anderson Gause was found hanging to the limb of a tree near Henning, Tenn., this morning. It is supposed he was lynched for aiding in the escape of the Ginerly brothers, colored, who recently murdered two officers near Ripley, Tenn.

Next we have an article of interest from The Pittsburgh Courier (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) dated March 25, 1911:




Negroes Show Their Hatred For One of the Race by Adopting Resolutions.

Spartanburg, S. C.—(Special.)—Deploring the occurrence here when a Negro attempted to commit criminal assault upon the person of a well known and prominent white woman of this city, and realizing the fact that such a crime not only reflected on the guilty Negro, but upon the entire race as well, and desiring to publicly denounce the savage criminal, the pastor and congregation of Trinity African Methodist church, a Negro church of this city, has passed resolutions and requested that they be given the same publicity that the crime itself was.

Calling the criminal an ignorant and depraved one of the lowest and basest type and not in anywise like the intelligent, industrious and lawabiding [sic] Negroes the resolutions "depreciate such an attempt gravely."

The efforts of the Negroes to show their hatred for such a member of their race close as follows:

Whereas, the city and county acted with so much coolness and respect for law and order under such trying circumstances as those of Saturday last.

Whereas we believe ourselves to be voicing the sentiments of many lawabiding [sic] Negroes throughout Christendom, be it.

Resolved:  That we tender our thanks to the sheriff, officers and citizens of Spartanburg for their regard for law and order under such a reprehensible and blood stirring occurrence as that of last Saturday and further be it.

Resolved that we tender our sincere sympathy to the attacked parties and wish for them a speedy recovery, and be it.

Resolved that we hope for a speedy trial of the guilty party and that justice be meted him by the strong arm of the law.

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

Thursday, January 15, 2015

January 15, 1901: Frederick Alexander

Today we'll start with a hint at what follows through an article in The Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, N. Y.) dated January 13, 1901:


He Is in Leavenworth Jail for Assaulting a Woman.

Leavenworth, Kan., January 12—Miss Eva Roth was assaulted to-night by Frederick Alexander, a negro. Alexander was arrested and a mob is trying to get him out of jail. The town is wildly excited.

The same man was suspected of the Pearl Forbes murder.

We follow with the earliest article I could find about the lynching. It comes to us by way of the Alexandria Gazette (Alexandria, Virginia) dated January 16, 1901:


Frederick Alexander, a negro, who, it is charged, attempted to assault Miss Eva Roth at Leavenworth, Kan., last Saturday evening, and who was also accused of having assaulted and murdered Miss Pearl Forbes on the night of November 6, was burned at the stake there yesterday afternoon. The fire was kindled by John Forbes, father of the girl whose dead body was found two months ago. The burning took place in a little ravine near a well traveled street, the stake being set on the spot where the body was found. Eight thousand persons witnessed the burning, many of them being women and children, as well as business men, whose offices and stores were closed so that they could see what they believed to be a just retribution for the crime. He wrs [sic] taken from the jail and paraded through the city at the head of a procession. The man, after being chained to the stake and his clothing saturated with oil, swore his innocence to the father. Crowds of people gloated over the horrible spectacle and grabbed relics. Gov. Stanley is indignant over the lynching. He says it will result in the establishment of the death penalty in Kansas. The Governor condemns Sheriff Everhardt, of Leavenworth, in unmeasured terms. He said the sheriff should be forced to make suitable retribution, if such a thing is possible.

Our next article is the beginning of the aftermath and we find it in The New York Times (New York, N. Y.) dated January 20, 1901:


Seattle Negroes Offer $500 for Conviction of Each Man Implicated.

SEATTLE, Washington, Jan. 19.—The Seattle Branch of the International Council of the World, an organization of colored citizens, has decided to offer a reward of $500 for the apprehension and conviction of each and every person implicated in the death at the stake of Frederick Alexander at Leavenworth, Kan., on Thursday night.

Copies of the resolutions passed at the meeting will be forwarded to the Governor of Kansas, the Sheriff of Leavenworth County, and the Chief of Police of Leavenworth. The other councils throughout the country are asked to co-operate in the work.

I found two exact copies of this next article. I state that because of the way the article ends. I looked to find one with a different ending, but I failed. This copy comes from The Daily Notes (Canonsburg, Pennsylvania) dated January 22, 1901:


Gov. Stanley, of Kansas, Says it Would Be Useless to Offer it.

Governor Stanley, of Kansas, says he will not offer a reward for the arrest of anyone concerned in the burning of Frederick Alexander, the negro, at the stake in Leavenworth. "It would be of absolutely no use to issue the offer," said the governor. "If the guilty persons were arrested they would necessarily have to undergo the first trial in Leavenworth county, and on account of the present condition of public sentiment there it would be useless to attempt to prosecute anybody there for the crime."

A joint resolution has been passed by the Legislature condemning the Leavenworth lynching. It favors rigid investigation and demands that the per-

There the article ends. The same paper did have some other details about the lynching and I will include them in the following:


. . . The negro was taken from his cell at the State penitentiary Tuesday afternoon and taken to the Leavenworth jail, where he was locked in a cell. Hardly had the task been completed when the mob reached the jail and demanded the prisoner. The crowd first attempted to gain admission to the jail by peaceful means, but Sheriff Everhardy [sic] refused to grant their demands. In a trice heavy sledge hammers and cold chisels were brought into action and after a few minutes work the doors were forced open, and with an exultant cry the infuriated mob espied the negro crouching in his cell.

In a short time the doomed man was in the jail yard, surrounded by an immense throng, which clamored for revenge. Still protesting his innocence, Alexander was taken to the scene of the murder of Pearl Forbes. The first thing done was to plant a railroad iron upright in the mud. This was made fast to cross irons firmly bound to the upright iron with wire. Around the improvised stake wood and boards were piled. To this the man was dragged and chained in a standing position to the upright railroad iron. Chains and irons were wrapped about him, and, with his hands still shackled, he was made fast to the post. Coal oil was then poured over him.

Coal oil was applied for the second time, and while it was being done Alexander called to acquaintances in the crowd, and said goodby [sic] to them.

. . . Again Alexander was asked to make a confession, but he replied that he had nothing to say. In five minutes the negro was hanging limp and lifeless by the chains that bound him. . .

I have two more articles both published on the same day. The first article comes from The Indianapolis News (Indianapolis, Indiana) dated April 15, 1901:

LEAVENWORTH, Kas.—Alfred Alexander, father of Frederick Alexander, the negro who was burned at the stake for the alleged assault and murder of Miss Carrie Forbes and for the assault of Miss Roth, has filed information with the county attorney against a number of those participating in the burning, and asks for a warrant for their arrest on the charge of murder.

The second article comes from the Lawrence Daily World  (Lawrence, Kansas):


Warrants Demanded for the Arrest of Those Concerned in the Burning at the Stake of a Negro at Leavenworth.

Leavenworth, Kan., April 15.—John Alexander and about a dozen others, relatives and friends of Frederick Alexander, the negro burned at the stake in Leavenworth in January, appeared before the county attorney, Harry E. Michael, Saturday and demanded that warrants be issued charging William G. Forbes and others with murder. Mr. Michael secured a notary and stenographer and began questioning the witnesses.

Acting under the provisions of the new state law giving county attorneys the right to question witnesses before instituting proceedings, Mr. Michael brought the witnesses against the mob leaders into his office one at a time. It is reported that a number of witnesses swore that they saw William G. Forbes apply the match to the wood pile around the negro. The examination of all the witnesses was not concluded Saturday evening and it will be resumed today. No warrant will be issued for any of the alleged mob leaders until the preliminary examination of all the witnesses for the state is completed.

That is the last I could find about the incident. It seems to be the norm for things to lead toward prosecution and then nothing. Maybe the newspapers lost interest, but more than likely only a subterfuge of prosecution is all that happened. Thank you for joining me and as always, i hope I leave you with something to ponder.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

January 14, 1920: Jack Waters

The Monroe News-Star (Monroe, Louisiana) informs us of a lynching of a veteran in their January 15, 1920 edition:


Florida, Ala., Jan. 15.—Jack Waters, who is said to have been in service overseas, was lynched last night following an alleged attack on a white woman, He was captured a few hours afterwards and is said to have confessed. His body was found this morning hanging to a telephone pole riddled with bullets. The town is quiet.

Today we have an article of interest brought to us through the pages of The Dallas Express (Dallas, Texas) dated January 11, 1919:


Tuskegee, Ala., Jan.10, 1918.

Bravely denouncing not only the action of the mob which lynched a Colored man at Sheffield, Ala., but naming some of the participants and demanding that they be brought to justice, young Booker T. Washington was compelled to flee the South.

He was serving as claims adjuster for the Colored employees at the Mussel (sic) Shoals plant, which is engaged in war work for the Government, and has been highly commended for his splendid work. The plant employed nine thousand men.

Young Washington openly announced the violation of the President's proclamation against mob violence, and then described some of the perpetrators of the offense. The hatred against him was so pronounced, that he was forced to flee for his life, and taking his wife and children, he made his way, with the aid of white friends, through several states and into Ohio.

He escaped injury and death in his travels from Mussel Shoals only by providential interference. Telephones were busy and small bands were holding up vehicles and searching the trains in every direction.

After several days of quiet in Ohio, young Washington, against the advice of friends, made his way back to Tuskegee and his own home, but no sooner had he arrived than he was waited upon by friendly whites, who warned him of the conspiracy and plots to wreak vengeance upon him for his stand against the Sheffield outrage. His friends acknowledged their pain at the necessity imposed upon them by the mob and its lack of regard for justice and right, but felt that they would be powerless to protect young Booker, and possibly the institution, if he remained there.

Acting upon the spirit of sacrifice of self, and his duty to the great work of his father, young Washington, under cover of darkness, again made his way to a distant point and entrained for St. Louis, where he now is with his little family of wife and two young children.

Thus the criminal-minded minority in Alabama again blots the fair name of the State and the rest of the justice-loving people there, in spite of the incomparable work of the father of young Booker Washington gave international reputation to Alabama and placed Tuskegee in the vocabulary of the world as well as proved himself a constructive educational reformer.

A correspondent interviewed young Washington, and finds him undaunted by this concrete illustration of race hate in the South. He is a very competent young man and has the reputation of carrying through to successful conclusion anything which he undertakes.

Washington Eagle, Dec. 23, 1918.

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

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

January 13, 1921: William Beard

The Daily Advance (Elizabeth City, N. C.) dated January 13, 1921:

Mob Storms Jail And Lynches Miner

Jasper, Ala., Jan. 13.—A mob stormed Walker County jail here at three o'clock this morning and lynched William Beard, a miner held in connection with the killing of James Morris, National Guardsman, last month.

Beard was taken from jail and shot to death three miles from here. It was at first believed that friends had effected his release, but later a mail carrier found the body riddled with bullets.

The Daily Free Press (Kinston, N. C.) dated January 17, 1921:

Seven Arrested

Guardsmen Charged With Lynching Beard.

(By the United Press)

Birmingham, Jan. 17.—Four non-commissioned officers and three privates of a company of national guardsmen are under arrest following the confession of another member of the company that guardsmen lynched William Beard, a miner, at Jasper Thursday.

The La Plata Republican (La Plata, Missouri) dated January 28, 1921:

Ten members of Company M, Alabama National Guard, are held in the Jefferson county jail at Birmingham in connection with the death of William Beard, who was taken from the Walker county jail and lynched.

I could not find anything about a trial for the men arrested in connection with the lynching. Thank you for joining me and as always, I hope I leave you with something to ponder.

Monday, January 12, 2015

January 12, 1886: Wenzel Lapour

Chicago Daily Tribune (Chicago, Illinois) dated January 14, 1886:


A Nebraska Murderer of a Sheriff Lynched by a Masked Mob—A Brutal Deed in Indiana.

SCHUYLER, Neb., Jan. 13.—[Special.]—Two black crimes were placed to the credit of Schuyler yesterday. The first was the murder of the Sheriff of Colfax County and the second was the lynching of the murderer last night. The murderer who received such swift justice was named Wenzel Lapour, and the murdered man was John S. Degman. Sheriff Degman went into Lapour's cell at 7 o'clock yesterday morning with Lapour's breakfast. He carried with the breakfast a billet of wood about four feet long to be used as kindling in making a fire in the cell. Lapour was asleep or pretending to sleep when the Sheriff entered. Degman roused him and ordered him to carry his slop-bucket from the cell and also to build a fire. Lapour replied with a curse, but crawled out of his cot as though to obey. Degman placed the wood on the floor and turned to leave the cell, expecting Lapour to follow him with the bucket. Quicker than a cat and without uttering a word Lapour leaped from his crouching position. He seized the club of firewood and dealt Degman two terrific blows on the head. The Sheriff fell like a slaughtered ox across the threshold of the cell.Lapour leaped across the body, dashed through the jail corridors and out the front door. As he reached the gate of the jail-yard he was seen and recognized by ex-Sheriff McCurdy. McCurdy seized the fugitive and, after a desperate tussle, brought him to the ground. At this instant one of the assistants in the jail rushed out, crying:  "Hold him, hold him, he has killed Degman." Lapour was taken back to the jail and again locked up. Investigation showed that Degman's skull had been crushed in two places. He was dead when picked up.

Degman was a universally popular man, and the news fairly turned the town upside down with excitement. This increased as the day wore on, and business was practically suspended. A Coroner's jury, hastily called, returned a verdict declaring Lapour guilty of murder in the first degree almost without deliberation. The excitement was increased two-fold by this. Merchants began to gather at prominent places in groups. The news spread into the country, and by dark several delegations had arrived from the neighboring towns. At 10:45 the purport of these signs was manifested. A crowd of 200 men, wearing masks, suddenly gathered at the jail. Ten minutes later the door of the jail was forced and the two Deputy Sheriffs in charge easily overpowered. Six of the masked men walked quickly to Lapour's cell, battered in the door with bludgeons and axes, and dragged out the prisoner. He was in his night clothes, and howled for mercy. Without heeding his cries the crowd dragged him outdoors into the snow and half-way across the yard. A rope was placed around his neck and the other end thrown across a high limb. Some one in the crowd said:  "Pull." Lapour was jerked fifteen feet into the air. He uttered a horrible shriek, which was cut short into a ghastly gurgle by the sudden jerk of the rope. The end of the rope in the hands of the vigilantes was fastened to the ground and the murdered murderer was left hanging. This morning at daylight he was cut down by the authorities. His body was nearly frozen through. Hardly a word was spoken by the mob during their work of vengeance, and so quiet was the whole operation that nothing was known of it two blocks from the jail. The identity of none of the lynchers is known. There are said, however, to have been men from Benton and North Bend in the party. Lapour was a low and vicious Bohemian, aged 50. He had been confined in the asylum for the insane, but was believed to be brutally malicious rather than of unsound mind. He was in jail on a charge of a unnatural crime, and his wife had applied for divorce.

Sheriff John S. Degman, the murdered man, was 35 and a native of Kentucky. He was elected Sheriff last fall after serving as deputy two years. He was sworn in only Thursday last. The Masonic society, of which he was a member, will bury him. His brother has been appointed to fill the vacancy.

The McCook Tribune (McCook, Nebraska) dated February 4, 1886:

The body of Wenzel Lapour, lynched at Schuler [sic], according to Coroner Miles and Mr. Cannon, was interred in the Schuyler cemetery, and not shipped to the Omaha medical institute as reported. The Herald of that place says it was strange that some medical man did not claim the body for dissecting purposes, as no trouble would have been experienced in getting it.

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

Sunday, January 11, 2015

January 11, 1896: Patrick and Charlotte Morris

The lynching covered today was a case of lynching for miscegenation. If you are not familiar with the term, defines it with the following: 

1. marriage or cohabitation between two people from different racial groups, especially, in the U.S.,between a black person and a white person:
In 1968 the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that state laws prohibiting miscegenation were unconstitutional.
2. sexual relations between two people from different racial backgrounds that results in the conception of a mixed-race child.

We learn about this case through the pages of The Times-Picayune (New Orleans, Louisiana) dated January 14, 1896:


And Condemns the Outrage Perpetrated at Westwego,

Several Unprovoked Assaults Add to the Feeling,

And Citizens Declare Themselve Ready to Use Force

To Compel the Lawless Element to Preserve Order.

Judge Rost Delivers a Charge to the Grand Jury,

And a Mass Meeting is Held in the Evening.

True Story of the Double Murder—Parties Accused by the Boy Prove Alibis,

"I think it is the sentiment and purpose of this meeting to pledge ourselves right here and now to put down lawlessness peaceably if we can, forcibly if we must."—John Herbert, chairman of last night's Gretna mass meeting.

Yesterday the curious multitude ceased to crowd the little ferry at Westwego; there was less excitement over the happenings of Saturday night, and, to all appearances, the murder and cremation of Patrick Morris and his colored domestic partner had even been forgotten in Jefferson parish.

This apparent forgetfulness was merely the surface, for the people of the parish have been thoroughly aroused. They are accustomed, to a certain extent, to acts of violence, but there has always been some fairly good reason when mob law was invoked. When the Julian brothers were lynched after the murder of Judge Estopinal and the public could, in a measure, understand why such steps were taken.

When Frey was hurried on to a sudden and horrible end for the many acts of lawlessness committed by the firebugs the public could again furnish a reason for the people's vengeance. But the killing of Patrick Morris and his wife, Charlotte, has very little defense among the citizens of the parish. They understood the character of the woman and the worthlessness of the man, and even the reputation of the establishment they conducted, but why these two people should have been shot to pieces and their bodies burned they were at a loss to fathom.

Many of the prominent residents of the parish, and especially those residing in the neighborhood of the Westwago elevator and the Company canal, condemn the act, and express the desire to see the criminals captured and punished. They denounce the mob's act, and express the desire to see the criminals captured and punished. They denounce the mob's act the most brutal and disgusting ever committed within the district.

The little pile of smoldering debris still remains intact. The grave near the ashes has been trampled down almost even with the smooth surroundings. The little red store next to the canal, which was about 100 feet from the location of the flatboat, had its usual crowd of visitors yesterday, but the lynching was never discussed. Farther up toward the St. Charles line the residents were only beginning to learn the disgusting details. At Waggaman the first real news of the crime was received on Sunday morning, but the details were secured from the morning papers.


proper as published by the Picayune yesterday was, in the main, correct. Morris and his wife had for some time back become the mark for the more respectable residents of the parish. Their establishment became notorious and was looked upon as one of the most filthy dens in that section. While it is not believed that the crime was committed by the prominent people of the district, still it is understood that these had made protests against the condition of affairs at the flatboat long before the fire.

On the night of the killing, it is understood from reliable authorities, that Morris and his wife and home were brought up for discussion. It was a unanimous desire that he should be made to leave the land, and with this object in view a committee was named to see that the desired result was reached.

About 11 o'clock some one or two members of this body climbed over the edge of the levee, down to the batture, and reaching the front of the house, set fire to the beams.

The crackling of the flames and the heat attracted the attention of Morris and his wife. The crowd was then clustered about the place, hidden in the willows and behind the levee. As is known, Morris discovered the fire in time to save his house, and after extinguishing the flames. He came to the conclusion that there would be no further attempts made to burn the boat, and he again retired.

It was about midnight when the second and successful attempt was made to burn the place. Then Morris and his wife made their final mad rush for safety.

It was not the intention of the mob to kill the couple, but this followed as a suitable sequel to the first and horrible crime. After the first shot was fired the mob became reckless. They were bloodthirsty and wanted to kill everybody in sight. When the negro woman fell and her white husband followed toward the door, stumbling over the prostrate form, another shot was fired. This bullet struck the man in the leg.

To one of the mob there occurred a desperate plan, born of a cunning imagination. It was his desire, or


by the burning building. The fire had advanced entirely too far beyond the hopes of extinguishment. It is stated that an ax lay near the opening of the dwelling, and this was used in putting an end to the suffering Irishman. Then the bodies were carried back into the bedroom and placed on the bed and left to burn.

When the coroner discovered at the inquest that one of the heads was missing there was an additional feeling of disgust among the good people of the parish. It was thought, from the size of the remnants of the frame, that it was the woman who had been beheaded. This was incorrect. It has been stated by those who are in a position to know that it was the man who lost his head, but what became of this member is a mystery.

When the mob saw that the building would certainly burn to the ground they began using it for a target. Some thirty or forty shots were sent into the burning planks, and these were the empty shells which were found in the morning by Officer Fisher.

One of the most disgraceful details of the entire affair was the firing upon the boy, Pat Morris, Jr., just as he made his escape from the burning building. The mob was naturally stationed around the dwelling, and as the boy rushed out of the back door, with his clothing under his arm, two or three shots were fired at his rapidly moving little figure. Fortunately none of the bullets took effect. He escaped in the darkness, and even the mob itself was glad that the shots had proved ineffective.

The conclusion of the lynching was decidedly different from the original plan. When the party of men went to the house it was with the intention of burning the place and allowing the occupants to escape. They thought by destroying the dwelling the hated couple would be only too glad to find a location for their future home many miles away. The shooting came after, and was purely impromptu.

About the same time during the night Mr. J. W. Roth and two of his watchmen were far back in the rear of the grain elevator searching among the freight cars for thieves. Of late these cars have been robbed very exclusively of the grain consigned to the elevator. He is the superintendent of the elevator and made a search that night. Two men were found in the neighborhood of the main line and some ten or twelve shots were fired at them. These shots, added to the noise near the dwelling, misled the public to a certain extent.


from all accounts, richly deserved the ill-will of the entire neighborhood. Charlotte Morris was known among the neighbors as one of the most insulting women in the parish. She was a mammoth figure, weighing over 200 pounds. Just before the grain elevator was completed in 1892 she and her husband built their hut, which was afterwards known as Catfish Hotel. The building was constructed upon railroad property and was used by the occupants as a general den of vice, so it is claimed. Here Morris and his wife lived, and there were additional rooms which they rented out. The negro woman sold lunch to the negro laborers along the wharf and during the time the elevator was in the course of construction also sold liquor. In this manner the majority of the men were enabled to keep drunk pretty much of the time. It was a long time before the contractors' superintendent discovered the locality of the grogshop, and then he entered a complaint. Several affidavits of trespass were made against the woman and man, but this did not seem to worry them in the least. They were brought up[ for trial before Judge Brunet and sent before the district court under bonds. Then, too, the negro woman and the man frequently became entangled in fights and drunken disturbances, which brought them into the courts in all about a dozen times.

The statement given to the press by the boy on Sunday attracted considerable attention and indignation throughout the parish.

In this statement he claims that once his mother was arrested and brought before Judge Brunet for trial. A fine of $50 was imposed upon the woman, and she was p-laced under $400 bonds.

Yesterday a reporter discussed this matter at length with Judge Brunet and the fact as secured by him, and which the documents filed in the district court will show, the state of affairs was entirely different.


all that statement which referred to him. Some years ago Mr J. W. Roth, superintendent of the elevator, and Mr. Wilkinson, superintendent of the wharf, swore out about a dozen affidavits against the woman, charging her with trespass. The case was brought before the judge for trial and the woman was sent before the district court for final trial. She was placed under several hundred dollars bonds, but this bond was reduced to $100. Morris made affidavit to the fact that he was worth fully the amount of the bond, and he was accepted as bondsman. The case went up for trial twice, and was continued. Wilkinson left the wharf and could not be found.

In April, 1894, the woman was first brought before the district court for trial, but owing to the absence of Wilkinson the case was continued until the December term, and again Wilkinson could not be found. Then the matter was allowed to drop, but the case is still pending.

The statement that Lawyer Thompson compelled him to withdraw a number of charges, the judge stated, was also false. No one could compel him to drop any charge properly made. He thought over the history of the woman for a short time and remarked that in all she and her husband came before him about a dozen times. She and her husband were frequently brought before him on the charge of drunk and disturbing of the peace, and fighting was a common offense. The woman he pronounced one of the most insulting he ever met, while the man was a steady and hard drinker. In one instance the judge was compelled to fine Morris for contempt. He was summoned as a witness and before he was placed on the stand he visited a neighboring barroom frequently and became very drunk. He came into the court under the influence of liquor and was punished and released, and he went outside and started a general fight. He cited this incident to show the character of the man.

He most desired to have flatly contradicted the statement in regard to the fine of $50 collected by him. In regard to the civil suit for $1400 damages brought about by his expulsion from Southport, the judge stated that if such a case had been filed it was thrown out of court and the man lost the suit. However, of late he has heard nothing of the original couple. They have been keeping rather quiet and it was not until a short time ago that the judge became aware of the fact that Morris and his wife were still in the parish.

Mr. G. W. Roth, the present superintendent of the elevator, had a rather


of his connection with the couple. He also pronounced the woman the most insulting he ever had the misfortune to come across. She had even committed trespass after trespass, even after she had been ordered off the place. He found it impossible to keep her away from the elevator and the men without applying to law, and for this reason the affidavits were made against her. Pat Morris had worked for Mr. Roth from time to time for the past three years. Last Saturday he had been discharged, and the company still holds a day's wages, which can be collected by his heir.

When Mr. Roth took charge of the elevator he found Morris and his wife located in their Catfish Hotel. This was in July, 1892, and the elevator was not opened until September of that year. He had taken charge of the plant but a week when he had numerous complaints from the contractors' superintendent that the woman was operating a dive and was selling liquor to the men by the drink or the bottle. He wanted the woman and the man moved away, because his men were kept drunk almost all the time. After the elevator was completed the same state of affairs existed. He then told how Morris and his wife picked up cotton and how the house was burned by the children. Morris and his wife went to live in half of a cottage on the edge of the canal for three days pending a search for permanent quarters. At the end of the three days they refused to move and the occupants of the other half of the house were compelled to purchase the entire building before they could force Morris and his wife to leave. Then they took possession of the flatboat. On the night of the mobbing Mr. Roth stated that he had crossed the river to the elevator at about 9:30 o'clock took two of his watchmen and started back into the switch yards.

Of late the cars have the appearance of having been robbed and as Saturday was a dark night he decided to make a search. Taking a rifle and arming the two watchmen with guns, he started for the long switch. He had gotten near the main line of the track and then the three separated and began to search for the thieves. Two men were seen some distance away, alongside of a box car, and he told the watchmen to fire upon the men, as they had no business in the yard. They did fire and possibly a dozen shots were discharged. 

One of the watchmen called his attention to the fire on the batture, but as he could easily see that the flames were below the canal, he paid no attention to it. He was so far off and there was so much shooting among his own little party that he did not notice the shots, which were fired along the river bank. It was nearly 1 o'clock when he came back tot he levee, and then he crossed the river and went home. The next morning the cook told him of the mobbing of the couple. This was the first he knew of the affair. When he heard of the trouble he came back to Westwego and then telephoned to Officer Lafrance at Waggaman, and also to Chief Linden and the coroner at Gretna. He had not seen officer Lafrance during the night before, but was told that he had gone up the levee to Waggaman, about 8 miles distant, about 7:30 o'clock.


is the man whom the negro boy positively states was present when the shooting took place and was one of the mob which murdered his mother and father. Officer Lafrance denied this in the most indignant manner possible yesterday and added that it would be easy for him to prove otherwise. During the afternoon he had received a telephone message that the railroad company would pay off the men that evening and as there was a man, Taffy Chism, who owed him money, he decided to come down and collect it and to be present in case of a fight. He remained with Mr. Roth until about 6 o'clock, when he crossed the canal and went over to Roger Valley's store and took a cup of coffee. He remained with Valley about half and hour when he walked up the levee past the elevator and to the barroom kept by John Gassenberger. This is about an eighth of a mile from the store. There he left his horse tied to a fence, as is his custom. He went into the store and talked with John Gassenberger for a few minutes. It was not later than 7:30 o'clock when he mounted his horse and rode up the levee. It took about two hours to reach his home, and after his supper he smoked a few minutes. 

His brother, Michel Lafrance, had been up in St. Charles parish to a dance, and arrived a short time after Officer Lafrance. He then retired with his brother, and never came back to Westwego. The first he know of the affair was the receipt of a telephone message from Westwego, and he took the Texas and Pacific train and came down there, arriving shortly after 8 o'clock. The officer was greatly surprised when the publication of the boy's statement informed him that he was present at the killing and was a member of the mob. He denied completely the statement, and then told of his movements throughout the evening. 

The boy, in his statement, also spoke of John Gessner, who kept a barroom, and, being in opposition to his mother, was, of course, a member of the mob. The Gessner referred to was 


who is the owner of the barroom and lunchhouse directly above the elevator, and on the side of the main road. Gassenberger, like Lafrance was very indignant that his name should be used, when, on that night, he never left his bar. Why he should be connected with the killing of the woman he could not tell. He had induced Mr. Roth to allow her to peddle pies and lunch to the negro laborers. The idea that he was jealous was absurd. He never allowed negroes in his place and only furnished lunch to white men. The negro woman came to him and apologized for having cursed him, and asked for Mr. Gassenberger to aid her in getting permission to sell on the wharf. Having nothing against the woman personally, he spoke to Mr. Roth, and through his influence, the permission was granted. Mr. Roth was also present when this statement was made by Gassenberger and corroborated it. On the evening of the killing, about 4 o'clock, a beer driver stopped at his place, and he accompanied the man down to the Red store, on the bank of the canal, where he could secure some empty kegs. They remained together near the store for possibly half an hour, and then Gassenberger returned to his place. He claims that he never went below the elevator after that time. It being Saturday, there were a number of sailors on liberty and there was a crowd in his place all night. 

It was a rather cool night, and all the doors and windows were closed. There were about five men from the steamship Marina, besides a number of the boys from the neighborhood. The sailors, and in fact, all, were drinking some, and there were songs and dancing until 2 o'clock in the morning. He admitted that there was quite a racket in the place, and he never heard the shooting, or, rather, only one or two shots. Being alone at the bar, he could not leave. One of the firemen on the ship mentioned told him of the fire, but he could not go down to see what it was, and he did not care about it, anyway. 

Jacob Hager, one of the day watchmen on the wharf, was relieved from work at 5:30 o'clock, and after going home for supper returned to the barroom. He was among the merry gathering until the place closed, and he positively stated that Gassenberger never left the bar between 8 o'clock and 2 o'clock in the morning. They were having a good time in the house, and when told of the fire did not care to break up the entertainment for the sake of seeing a building burn. 

Theodore Yeagle, another of the day watchmen, left the wharf at 5:30 o'clock and was at the barroom at about 7:30 o'clock or 8 o'clock. He arrived just after Lafrance had left the barroom on his way home. He remained until a little after 10 o'clock, when he crossed the river and remained until morning. 

J. W. Coffey, one of the check clerks on the wharf, left the place that the same hour as the watchmen. When he arrived at the barroom Lafrance had gone up the road toward Waggaman. He remained in the store until about 10'oclock when he, too, crossed the river. 

All these men express themselves as being opposed to such methods under such circumstances and they seemed greatly surprised that the boy should have, and could have, connected Officer Lafrance and Gassenberger with the crime. 


a Gretna attorney, who was present at last night's mass meeting, told a Picayune reporter that about two years ago he was retained to defend the Morris woman against certain charges of trespass. She was to be tried for trespassing upon the railroad property at Westwego, where she sold coffee and sandwiches to the employees. When he arrived on the scene he found the court sitting, in the person of Justice of the Peace Brunet, in Gassenburgers saloon, which is near the Westwego railroad property. The Morris woman was in the custody of the officers, and in trying to find what charge was placed at her door he first discovered that there was nothing actionable against her. His presence, as attorney for the defense, was the first thing to call to the attention of the court that before one could be restrained of his or her liberty there must be some charge against the person of violating law. It was then that the prosecution bethought themselves of the charge of trespass.Attorney Thompson further stated that the woman was operating in competition with Gassenburger, in the selling of hot coffee and lunches. It was in these sales that the woman first worked up sentiment against her, the attorney says. The couple were an industrious lot, and the Irishman was undoubtedly plucky, and demonstrated it on one or two occasions when assailed. They earned their living for the most part in vending lunches to the employes [sic] at the Westwego wharf. They owned two cows, which they pastured near their humble hut. The marriage of a white man to a colored woman, of course, stirred up some resentment, and made their lives at times rather unpleasant, but they were not violators against the state law, prohibiting miscegenation, for they were married in Texas and before the law was passed in this state. 

A following article states that Chief Andrew J. Linden doubted Lafrance's version of events. I would have added the article, but this one is long enough and I am tired. I find it interesting that the beginning of the article condemns the actions of the mob, but then the article proceeds with character assassinations of the victims and tells how local people could not possibly have been involved. Thank you for joining me and as always, I hope I leave you with something to ponder.