Saturday, January 10, 2015

January 10, 1893: Paul Scruggs and Henry Allen

Today we a following a lynching in Arkansas through the pages of The Courier-Journal (Louisville, Kentucky) dated January 12, 1893:


Blacks Help to Hang a Pair of Brutal Murderers in Arkansas.

Brinkley, Ark., Jan. 11.—Paul Scruggs and Henry Allen, who Saturday night murdered, robbed and then burned Rube Atkinson, his housekeeper and her little daughter, two and one-half miles west of Cotton Plant, were taken last night from jail at Cotton Plant by a mob of 200 strong, and after being conducted to the scene of the killing and burning were strung up to the limb of a convenient tree and their bodies pierced with bullets fired into them by the mob.

Allen talked freely before he was strung up, He said Stubbs shot Atkinson and failed to kill him, and that he himself finished him with a poker. They then knocked the woman and her children in the head with an ax, took all their money and set fire to the house. He implicated others, saying William Howlett carried meat out of the burning house and they gave the money they got to Ed Purvell, who was the father-in-law to Paul Scruggs. These persons are under arrest. Scruggs was silent even unto death.

More than half of the mob were colored men, many of whom went without masks. A vigorous prosecution is being made by Mr. Atkinson's two brothers and brother-in-law, who are on the ground and have employed lawyers to conduct the case. The Coroner has taken charge of the bodies of the lynched negroes.

Today we have an article of interest from The New York Age (New York, N. Y.) dated January 5, 1905:

Black Toughs and Lynchers.

Lawlessness breeds lawlessness. Four black toughs went on a holiday jamboree at Plainfield, N. J., last week, and murderously assaulted several police officers. White toughs decided that they should be lynched, and all sorts of efforts were made to do it. The authorities decided to take their prisoners to Somerville. The New York Sun tells what happened in the following report:

The prisoners were handcuffed together, the six marshals who represented the law in North Plainfield formed a cordon and Mayor Smalley went ahead to use moral suasion.

"Lynch them!" yelled the crowd as the police broke through. The marshals drove a path, nevertheless, and the whole party followed on a rapid walk.

The news that they were coming spread through Plainfield. The mob grew with every step. Someone yelled that Klein was dead, and there was a momentary rush. The marshals checked it and hurried their prisoners into a dog trot. Two of the Negroes had lost their nerve by that time. Tunstall was praying wildly and Hunt was laughing hysterically.

As they approached the station, the crowd grew until at least 1,500 men were travelling along on all sides. By that time perhaps one third of the mob was made up of young Negroes.

The attitudes of the Negroes was quiet but watchful. It was noted afterward that whenever a white man made a dash towards the marshals he found a black man in his way. This strategic move caused two or three small fights which clouded the main issue.

A barber ran out in his white jacket.

"Get a rope! String them up!" he yelled.

A big Negro rose up before him.

"Well, white man, why don't you do it yourself?" he said.

The barber ceased from troubling.

These men who stood between the white toughs and the black toughs showed the proper spirit. It is highly probable that they had no sympathy whatever with the rowdy rascals who had got into the clutches of the law; they wanted fair play; they wanted the law to take its course, as it usually does in the case of white toughs; and the chances are that if the white mob had "got busy" there would have been a "heap doing" it had not calculated upon. That is as it should be.

When white mobs in the North or in the South find that they must cope with black mobs in order to get at alleged lawbreakers, the lynching business will perceptibly lose its horrible fascination.

Let the law take its regular course. The mob must be made to respect the law.

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

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