Tuesday, March 31, 2015

March 31, 1892: John Mullins and Joseph Little

Another Alabama lynching brought to us from The Iola Register (Iola, Kansas) dated April 8, 1892:

ON the night of the 29th ult. Thomas Edwards, a well to do farmer living alone near Madison crossroads, Alabama, was murdered and his house burned over him. Two citizens of that community, Peter Martin and John Mullins, have mysteriously disappeared and are claimed to be the guilty parties.

IT is positively asserted in dispatched from north Alabama that a mob of seventy-five men caught and lynched John Mullins, one of the Madison Cross roads murderers.

The same paper reports another lynching, this time in Ohio:

JOSEPH LITTLE, who brutally crushed the skulls of his wife and two daughters was lynched by a mob at Findlay, O., on the 31st ult.

We learn more about the lynching of Joseph Little from The Parsons Daily Sun (Parsons, Kansas) dated April 1, 1892:


The Victim Had Crushed the Skulls of His Wife and Two Daughters.

FINDLAY, O., March 31.—Joseph Little, a veteran from the soldiers' home at Dayton, crushed the skulls of his wife and two daughters yesterday, and last night was lynched by a mob 1,000 men. The rope was cut by a bullet the first time and the wretch was dragged 200 feet and again hanged.

Little secured leave of absence from the home and returned to his wife and family. Yesterday morning he secured a hatchet and, without warning, struck his daughter Belle with the head of the hatchet, crushing her skull. Then he struck at his daughter Emma, but she dodged and was not badly wounded.

The wretch rushed at his wife and the two engaged in a mad struggle. Blow after blow was aimed and warded off. Six times was her head struck but the blows were lessened by her struggles. One finger of the right hand was cut off. When the woman was exhausted the fiend crushed her skull.

Then the mad man chopped the piano, the pictures and the furniture to pieces and gave himself up.

The victims are still alive, but the death of Mrs. Little and one daughter are hourly expected.

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

Monday, March 30, 2015

March 30, 1885: George Rouse

Today we learn about a lynching in Georgia found in The Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia) dated March 31, 1885:

A Dooly Tragedy.


MACON, Ga., March 30.—[Special.]—On Saturday morning last, while Jesse Dales, a young farmer living seven miles from Vienna, Dooly county, was plowing, George Rouse (colored) an ex-convict, entered his dwelling, assaulted his wife, then cut her throat. She was soon afterwards found by her husband. He assembled his neighbors, and they began to search for Rouse. He was captured on Sunday morning. That evening the mob took him, and after hearing his confession, stripped and mutilated his body, and hung him to a tree on the public road where he yet hangs. The negroes also took part in the lynching, and could, with difficulty, be restrained from burning Rouse at the stake.

We have a tidbit from the Edgefield Advertiser (Edgefield, S. C.) dated March 30, 1893 for our article of interest:

Human nature in its savage state, is very much the same the world over. Lee Watson, a colored planter near Memphis, was assaulted and robbed by a negro. He was arrested. A large mob soon collected and overpowered the sheriff and lynched the would-be murderer. They are all negroes and acted just like white folks.

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

Sunday, March 29, 2015

March 29, 1891: Elrod Hudson and Jefferson Dinsmore

Today we learn about another lynching in Alabama through the pages of The Record-Union (Sacramento, California) dated March 30, 1891:

Two Negroes Lynched.

BIRMINGHAM (Ala.), March 29.—Elrod Hudson and Jeff. Dinsmore, two negroes, who burned a portion of Russellville last Tuesday night, were taken from the jail this morning by a mob, who hung them to a tree, and riddled their bodies with bullets. The negroes confessed. The others connected with the affair were women, and their lives were spared.

Today's article of interest comes to us from The New York Age (New York, N. Y.) dated April 27, 1905:

Mobs and Sheriffs.

The demons of mob-violence is best exorcised by a faithful and resolute sheriffry. From nearly every locality in which a sheriff has successfully opposed a mob the lynching spirit has fled. A still severer blow is dealt the evil if he happens to be slain in the performance of his duty.

A case in point is that of Sheriff Poag of Tate County, Mississippi, who was fatally shot while protecting an Afro-American criminal from a mob of lynchers. So horror-struck were those seeking to spill the soul of a black man when they found they had killed the white sheriff, that they slunk away without molesting the prisoner. The death of the white man has brought the community and the South to an appalled realization of the disgrace and peril of mob-law. Whose ox is gored always makes a difference. If the black man had been lynched, the Southern papers would have manifested merely a decent regret, tempered in most cases with palliations of the mob's crime; but as it was a white man who was killed, they are clamoring for the blood of "the ring-leaders of this cowardly mob." This gives us much hope that brave Sheriff Poag has not died in vain.

To launch a human soul into eternity is an awful thing. Its awfulness is too superlative to be lessened or aggravated by the color of the victim's skin. Why, then, does Southern public opinion place such different valuations on the lives of white and of black men?

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

Saturday, March 28, 2015

March 28, 1890: Frank Griffin

Today we learn about a lynching in Alabama through the pages of The Wilmington Messenger (Wilmington, N. C.) dated March 30, 1890:

A Rape Fiend Lynched.

BIRMINGHAM, Ala., March 29.—A special to the Age-Herald from Stanton, Ala., tells how Frank Griffin, a negro, raped two little girls, one 9 and the other 4 years old. He was caught and hung to a dogwood tree. The smallest girl will die of her injuries.

Today's article of interest comes to us from The New York Age (New York, N. Y.) dated February 16, 1935:

Lynching Art Exhibit, Scheduled to Open Saturday, Cancelled

Action Is Said To Have Come Because Of Flood Of Outside Protests

As as result of protests from unidentified sources, the "Art Commentary on Lynching," an exhibition of paintings and sculpture, scheduled to be opened Saturday at the Jacques Seligman Galleries, 3 East 51st St., was cancelled Monday. Although declining to reveal the source of the objections, Mr. Seligman merely stated that the exhibition had been cancelled, adding "I took over the show merely on the artists merit. Some of the exhibiting artists are well-known. However, I was faced with an outburst of opposition. Since I want to keep the galleries free of political or racial manifestations, I thought it better to cancel the show."

The show had been arranged by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, it was understood, although no public announcement of this fact had been made. Several announcements of the exhibition had been made by the galleries and paintings, drawings,  prints and a few pieces of sculpture had already arrived. An invitational opening had been planned for Friday, the day before the public opening.

The exhibits to be shown were the work of contemporaries, some of them well-known. Among the exhibits to be included was the famous print by George Bellows, "The Law Is Too Slow," showing a Negro being burned by a mob. Another was a large oil painting by Thomas H. Benton, mural artist, depicting a Negro being hanged on s telegraph pole while members of a mob replenished the fire beneath him. One of the most sensational was Reginald Marsh's portrayal in black and white called, "This is Her First Lynching." This showed a young girl being held by her mother above the heads of a mob so that the child could get a better view of the lynching.

In almost every picture a Negro is portrayed as the victim of a vengeful mob although the treatment of the case varied. The work is said to have been selected with an eye not only to its subject matter but also to artistic merit, much of it being considered very effective.

According to Walter White, executive secretary of the NAACP, the idea of holding the show had originated with his organization six or eight weeks ago and, to dismiss any idea on the part of the public that it was mere propaganda rather than the real exhibition of distinguished art with social message, it had been decided to open the show under the auspices of a large committee of well known persons rather than as an activity of the association. Artists had cooperated willingly, said Mr. White, and some had even produced work especially for the exhibition.

George Bellows "The Law Is Too Slow"

I could not find the Thomas H. Benton. Thank you for joining me and as always, I hope I leave you with something to ponder.


Friday, March 27, 2015

March 27, 1900: Will Edwards (Wing Smith)

March of 1900 seemed to be a popular time for lynching. We learn today from The Public Ledger (Maysville, Kentucky) dated March 28, 1900 about a lynching in Mississippi:


Will Edwards, Alias "Wing" Smith, Was Hanged By a Mob Near Greenville, Miss.

Greenville, Miss., March 28.—The Negro, Will Edwards, alias "Wing" Smith, who murdered Edward B. Johnson at Dulaney's levee camp last Thursday, was hanged by a mob to a Yazoo & Mississippi Valley railroad bridge between Greenville and Leland, early Tuesday morning. Deputy Sheriff Chilton came after the prisoner to take him to Issaquena county for trial. He boarded the train here to go by way of Leland.

When the train stopped at Deer Creek bridge a crowd of 150 men took possession of it, knocked Sheriff Chilton down and threw a blanket over his head. Then they took his prisoner to the bridge, tied a rope around his neck, fastened the end to the bridge and pushed him off. After riddling the Negro's body with bullets the crowd dispersed.

Our article of interest is actually another article I found for yesterday's lynching. I didn't think to check the name Lewis until I found this article while searching for an article for today's lynching. The article comes to us through the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) dated March 28, 1900:



Lewis Harris, Colored, Was Taken From the Belair, Md., Jail After a Struggle, Hanged Twice and Shot. Left Hanging Till Morning.

BELAIR, MD., March 27.—Lewis Harris, the negro who was arrested here day before yesterday, charged with assault upon Miss Anne McIlvaine, was taken from the jail last night and lynched after a brief struggle between the sheriff and the mob, in which two men were slightly wounded, as reported this morning. It had been expected that an attempt would be made to hang Harris yesterday, when he was to be brought up for a hearing, but this was postponed until today, and everything seemed so quiet last night that the suspicions of the sheriff were allayed. He continued, however, to keep a close watch.

Shortly before midnight it was announced that a mob was on its way from Aberdeen, a neighboring village, and a general movement toward the jail took place. About 20 men soon appeared, some of whom were masked, and an attack upon the jail began. A fusilade [sic] of shots was exchanged between the sheriff and his deputies on the one hand, and the mob on the other, resulting in the wounding of Robert L. Bull, of this place, and one of the crowd from Aberdeen, whose name could not be learned.

Bull was shot in the shoulder and the other man in the hand, neither wound being serious.

The jail door was finally forced, and Harris was taken out. While in the hands of the mob he exclaimed:  "If I did it, I was drunk and did not know  what I was about. I have no recollection of it."

The mob hustled him to a neighboring dooryard, in which stood a large poplar tree, and placing a noose around his neck, flung the other end of the rope over a limb. As he was hoisted from the ground, the limb upon which the unfortunate wretch was suspended snapped short and Harris fell to the ground. He was lifted up again, moaning and groaning, and quickly hanged a second time, this time effectively. Several shots were fired into the body, the loose end of the rope was tied to a gatepost, a the corpse left hanging until this morning, when it was taken down.

Miss McIlvaine, Harris' victim, is an unmarried woman, about 54 years of age, who lives alone near the railroad station. She was called to her door at midnight Saturday, and attacked by a negro whom she afterward identified as Harris. The indignation aroused by the crime was more intense because of the fact that it is the second of the kind within a month, William Black, a negro, being now confined in the Baltimore jail, awaiting trial for assault upon Miss Jessie Bradford, a young woman residing in Aberdeen, from which place last night's mob is said to have come.

It is asserted that Miss McIlvaine, Harris' victim, was with the mob when the jail was attacked last night, but this cannot be confirmed, and it is certain that she was not present at the hanging.

I am willing to suggest that Lewis Harris was the correct name and spelling since I found over 50 articles about the lynching. I usually am very good about trying multiple spellings, but for some reason it slipped my mind yesterday.  Thank you for joining me and as always, I hope I leave you with something to ponder.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

March 26, 1900: Louis (Terry) Harris

Today we learn about a lynching in Maryland starting with the Daily Capital Journal (Salem, Oregon) dated March 27, 1900:


BELAIR, Md., March 27.—Louis Harris, a negro, charged with a criminal assault upon Miss Annie McIllvain was taken from jail last night and lynched by a mob.

Our next article comes from the Eau Claire Leader (Eau Claire, Wisconsin) dated March 28, 1900:


Maryland Sheriff Wounds Two Lynchers in Protecting His Prisoner.

BELLAIRE, Md., March 27.—Terry Harris, colored, who was arrested here for committing a felonious assault on Miss Annie McElaine, a recluse, was lynched during the night. Sheriff Kennart and his deputy fought to protect their prisoner and fired on the mob, wounding two of them. They were overpowered.

I found two exact articles for Louis Harris, both dated March 27th and three exact articles for Terry Harris, all dated March 28th.  Thank you for joining me and as always, I hope I leave you with something to ponder.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

March 25, 1902: W. H. Wallace

Today we learn about a lynching of a railroad porter in The Wichita Daily Eagle (Wichita, Kansas) dated March 26, 1902:


Take Negro Porter From a Sheriff and Lynch Him.


He Denied Guilt But His Victim Identified Him.


Peace Party Tried in Vain to Save His Life.

Pueblo, Colo., March 25.—A special to the Chieftain, from La Junta, says:

W. H. Wallace, a negro sleeping car porter, was lynched at 8 o'clock tonight in a corner of the court house square, being hung to an electric light pole by a howling mob of 4,000 people who had been wildly hunting for him all day. After the hanging the body of the negro was riddled with bullets. Wallace had been kept out of town all day by Sheriff Farr, in an attempt to save him from the mob. The prisoner made no resistance to the lynching, and died protesting his innocence.

La Junta, Colo., March 25.—Mrs. Henrietta Miller, a resident of Los Angeles, California, 76 years of age, was assaulted by a negro in the railroad yards here early this morning, and is suffering severely from the injuries received and the shock to her nerves. She asked a Pullman porter to show her to the car which she should take. He started through the railroad yards with her and struck her on the head, she says, with his fist, rendering her insensible. She was then criminally assaulted and left unconscious in the yards. When she regained her senses she dragged herself to the depot and reported the circumstances. The Chicago train had not yet left the depot, and W. H. Wallace, a Pullman porter, was immediately arrested. He had just been washing his clothing. Bloodhounds were put on the trail made in the yard by the man who accompanied Mrs. Miller and they followed it to the car in which Wallace was found. Threats of lynching are uttered by many persons in the crowd surrounding the hotel where Wallace is being held by the officers.

Fearing a lynching, Sheriff Farr decided to take the prisoner to Pueblo. When his intention was made known, however, the railroad employes [sic] declared that he could not travel by rail, as they would refuse to operate the train out of La Junta with Wallace on board. The sheriff placed his prisoner in a carriage and started for Sugar City, on the Missouri Pacific, twenty miles north. At that place he was too late to catch the train for Pueblo, and then decided to drive through. Meantime an armed party had left La Junta to overtake the sheriff and prisoner. The carriage was finally overtaken at Patterson Hollow, midway between Rock Ford and Manzalona. Sheriff Farr made no resistance and Wallace did not ask for mercy. The carriage was turned back toward La Junta. Passing through Rocky Ford the mob was joined by 300 men of that town. La Junta was reached about 7 o'clock, where thousands of men, women and children, many from the surrounding country, awaited them. A peace element endeavored to stop the proposed lynching and a committee consisting of Robert Patterson, banker; Dr. Fleming, Charles Dearborne, county treasurer, and other prominent citizens, asked the privilege of trying to get from Wallace a confession. This was granted, and the negro was taken into the court house. After half an hour or so the word went out that the court house doors were locked, and that the committee would try to prevent a lynching. Immediately pandemonium reigned. Stones were hurled at the building until every window was broken. Then, with a telegraph pole for a battering ram, the crowd broke in the doors and Wallace was taken out. Mayor Fred A. Sabin made a speech to the crowd counselling them to lat the law take its course. He was listened to, but as soon as he finished the crowd moved down the street, dragging the negro by a rope.

A boy was sent up a telegraph pole with a rope. It was thrown over the crossbar and the end dropped into the crowd. A hundred hands grasped it and in an instant the negro was in the air. Hardly had the boy climbed down out of danger when scores of pistols were drawn, and before the negro's body reached the top of the pole it was riddled with bullets and the man was dead.

At a late hour tonight the body had not been taken down. The coroner lives at Rocky Ford.

Sheriff Farr said tonight that Wallace steadfastly maintained his innocence, but the police declare that when they arrested him in his car there was blood and gray hairs on his clothing and other evidences which satisfied them that he was the guilty man.

Wallace lived with his wife at 2157 Lawrence street, Denver. They have no children. He is said to have come here from Sedalia, Mo., and had been employed by the railroad company for several years.

The Denver police declare that he has no police record so far as they know.

A little more background on Wallace comes to us through the Albuquerque Citizen (Albuquerque, N. M.) dated April 2, 1902:

Wallace Was Dangerous Man.

Evidence in correspondence, received at La Junta from Missouri, makes it positive that W. H. Wallace, who was lynched last week, entered a plea of guilty for assault and was sentenced to two years' imprisonment in the penitentiary at Jefferson City, Mo., January 9, 1899. He had been arrested twice before that on similar charges.

On the evening of January 19 last Wallace came to the Santa Fe hospital at La Junta and asked to have his face dressed, stating that he had fallen from the train while coming into La Junta and cut his face severely. Upon looking up the date it was found that a house had been broken into that night and that the burglar had been shot at. The discharge being so close to him and coming through a window, it is thought the cut on his face came from flying glass. His wounds were dressed at the hospital.

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

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

March 24, 1902: Bill Zeigler

Today we learn about an Alabama lynching through the pages of the Santa Cruz Sentinel (Santa Cruz, California) dated March 25, 1902:


TROY, Ala., March 24.—Bill Zeigler, a negro charged with an assault on a little girl, was lynched seven miles below this place. At the preliminary hearing the negro was bound over to the grand jury, the sheriff started to town with the prisoner, but was overpowered by the mob. The coroner's jury rendered a verdict that the negro came to his death at the hands of unknown persons.

Today's article of interest comes to us from The Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, N. Y.) dated February 7, 1937:

Put a Stop to Lynching!

by Martha Gruening 

LINCOLN'S BIRTHDAY this year will be made the occasion of a nationwide demonstration against lynching by youth groups connected with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Protest mass meetings will be held throughout the country on this day at which "Stop Lynching" buttons will be sold and mourning arm bands worn for the victims of the lynchers. The National Association's campaign will be focused this year chiefly on the attempt to pass a Federal anti-lynching bill.

The idea behind such a bill is not new. The association has on two previous occasions sponsored such bills, the Dyer anti-lynching bill in 1926 and the Wagner-Costigan bill in 1935. Both of these bills were killed by filibusters in the Senate, but in spite of such setbacks the champions of Federal action have felt that even agitation for such action has resulted in an immediate decrease in the number of lynchings. The principal reasons for championing Federal legislation is the belief that it will be more effective than State action which has been notoriously inadequate in punishing lynching mobs , and the county officers who have failed to resist such mobs. The figures in the case give strong support to such a view. In an analysis of lynchings for 1931 - 1935 published last year by the Southern Commission on Interracial Co-operation, the following statement is made:  "In the five years under review arrests were made in only 13 of the 84 lynchings. Indictments were returned in only seven cases and convictions were secured in only three." Dr. Arthur Reaper, research secretary of the Commission, stated in "The Tragedy of Lynching," published in 1933, that of all the hundreds of thousands who had been participants or spectators in lynchings in the years 1889 - 1930, only 49 had even been convicted and sentenced. The number of those lynched for the same period was 3,724. In the last six years there have been at least 97 additional cases.

Federal anti-lynching legislation is opposed by some on the ground that it will be little more effective than already existing State legislation. Particular bills have been criticized, especially from the left, as being too restricted in scope, insufficiently drastic in the punishments suggested and as open to misuse in labor troubles. The chief argument of Southern opponents, however, is that such legislation is unconstitutional and an infringement of States' rights. To this its champions reply with considerable logic that a Federal anti-lynching law is no more infringement of States' rights than the Lindbergh Law against kidnapers [sic], which was not opposed on such grounds. This argument derives a special cogency from such recent instances as the spectacular arrest by G-men in New York of Henry Brunette, the New Jersey kidnaper, and the interest shown by Federal authorities, from the President down, in the arrest of the Mattson kidnaper [sic], although as far as is known no State line was crossed in the commission of this crime. Negroes, seeking adequate Federal anti-lynching legislation, point with an understandable bitterness to the contrast between the interest shown by Federal authorities in the above-named cases and their indifference in the atrocious kidnap-lynching of the Negro, Claude Neal, in October, 1934. In this case the victim was taken from the jail in Brewton, Ala., transported across a State line to Marianna, Fla., and lynched there after being subjected to hideous torture and mutilation. The members of the mob were not unknown—they rarely are—but they are still unpunished. If you would like to read more about this lynching, you can find it here.

And this crime, atrocious as it was, is by no means exceptional. It has not been exceptional for men, sometimes innocent men, to be tortured, mutilated and even burned alive by sadistic lynching mobs. And Southern States, though it has occurred there more frequently than elsewhere. That no section of the country is immune from such occurrences was shown the other day, when Queens housewives declared in favor of lynching Major Green, the alleged slayer of Mary Robinson Case. In 1911 a Negro, Zack Walker, was burned alive by a mob in Coatsville, Pa. Walker, a steel mill hand, had killed John Rice, a private police officer employed by the mill, in a quarrel. His story, on being captured, was that he had shot in self-defense, and as he was shot himself this may have been true. Rice was dead and there were no witnesses. Walker was taken to the Coatsville Hospital. Here he was seized and dragged , still chained to the iron bedstead, half a mile along the ground, thrown upon a pile of wood, drenched with kerosene and burned. "Other human beings to the number of several hundred," wrote Albert Jay Nock, "looked on in approval. When Walker, with superhuman strength, broke his bonds they drove him back into the flames with pitchforks and fence rails and held him there until he was burned to ashes." No one connected with the crime was ever punished. The armed police officer guarding Walker at the hospital, who allowed the mob to take him, was not removed from the force; he was merely suspended for a few days and the town's Chief of Police was reappointed while under an indictment for manslaughter growing out of the case.

The Coatesville case, however, was an exceptionally atrocious one in Northern annals ans caused widespread consternation. Because of it the late John Jay Chapman went to Coatsville and held a public prayer meeting for its citizens and Albert Jay Nock wrote "What We All Stand For." Similarly horrible lynchings have not infrequently occurred in Southern States, particularly in Mississippi, Texas, Louisiana and Georgia. In Sherman, Texas, George Hughes, a Negro farmhand, was arrested in 1930 on the charge of assaulting a white woman. On May 9, 1930, a mob of white men, women and children fired the Sherman courthouse where his trial was being held, dispersing county officials, Texas Rangers and two small units of the National Guard. Eventually this mob succeeded in blasting a two-story fireproof vault in which Hughes was confined but accidentally killed him in doing so. They then dragged his body through the streets (while white officers directed traffic) hung it to a tree in the Negro section and burned it. They then set fire to the Negro business district and slashed the fire hose. Fourteen members of the mob were indicted, and two were convicted of arson and received prison sentences of two years each. This punishment was unusually severe.

On July 4, 1933, Norris Dendy was lynched in Clinton, S. C. His crime was striking a white man in a quarrel after both of them had apparently been drinking. Dendy left the scene of the quarrel in his automobile truck, was arrested on a charge of "reckless driving" and placed in the Clinton jail. That night a mob, which eye-witnesses have sworn included three members of the town's police force, broke into the jail, dragged him out and into a waiting automobile which drove away at high speed. Next day Dendy's body was found some miles away. He had been beaten, shot and strangled to death. After years of persistent effort on the part of the dead man's brother, a South Carolina grand jury facetiously returned indictments against the rope and gun through which he came to his death and which could not, of course, be prosecuted. At last report no member of the mob had been indicted and at least two of the police officers named in eye-witness affidavits as participants were still on the town's police force. At Tampa, Fla., in December, 1935, three white men alleged to be "Reds" were kidnaped by a mob, which included several of the town's police officers, and flogged so severely that one of them, Joseph Shoemaker, died of his injuries. No one has to date been punished for Shoemaker's murder. For the lesser crime of kidnaping [sic] his companion, Poulnot, a number of the police officers were tried largely because of the threat made by William Green, president of the American Federation of Labor, to cancel the Federation's Tampa convention this Fall if they were not. Five of these police officers were found guilty of this lesser crime and sentenced to serve four years each. They appealed the conviction and are at the moment but on bail awaiting the decision of the Florida Supreme Court on their appeal.

And there are on record even worse cases than these, cases where the victims were plainly innocent of any crime, or not even accused of any. Sometimes an innocent victim had been lynched because no crime had in fact been committed, and sometimes because the mob got the wrong man. Sometimes it even got the wrong woman—for, despite the allegation sometimes heard that lynching is necessary to protect Southern womanhood (an allegation which is indignantly repudiated by the Association of Southern Women to Prevent Lynching), women and children have also on occasion been among the victims. In the particularly horrible lynchings in Brooks  and Lowes Counties, Georgia, in 1918 Mary Turner, a Negro woman in an advanced stage of pregnancy, was burned to death. Her offense was asesrting [sic] the inocence [sic] of her husband—who was in fact innocent—of the murder for which he was lynched. The details of this lynching are too gruesome to repeat, but the case, like so many, is an overwhelming refutation of the statement still sometimes heard that lynchings may be necessary and even, under some circumstances, wholesome; that they are due primarily to the failure of courts to punish criminals and that the remedy lies less in anti-lynching agitation and legislation than in a stricter enforcement of criminal law. No less a person than the late Governor Rolfe of California sought to excuse in this way a lynching which had disgraced his State. As the Southern Commission recently pointed out in its pamphlet "The Mob Still Rides," an increasingly large number of the lynched are Negroes. No one familiar with Southern justice will seriously contend that that the enforcement of criminal law against Negroes in the South is lax and that greater severity is needed in dealing with them. 

This is so far from being the case that, as the records show, Negroes have sometimes been lynched after receiving death sentences merely to satisfy the sadistic frenzy of the mob. They have also been lynched sometimes after being acquitted, not because the law was lax in their cases but because the preponderance of evidence pointed to their innocence. Such was the fact in the Aiken cases in 1926, in which the victims included a Negro woman and a 15-year-old Negro boy. They were taken to be lynched from the jail where they were awaiting a second trial after having successfully appealed from a conviction for "conspiracy to murder." This was true also in the case of Cordie Cheek, the Negro boy lynched in December, 1933. Cheek was accused of attempted rape but was discharged because the grand jury investigating the case found no ground for indicting him. He was kidnaped [sic] and lynched within an hour of his release from the Nashville jail where he had been held for safekeeping.

But it is still said, and sometimes, no doubt believed just because it has been repeated so often, that lynching of Negroes is almost always for crimes against women. Here again the facts collected by the National Association and the Southern Commission fail to support such a statement. The study "Thirty Years of Lynching," published by the association in 1919, covered the years 1889 - 1918. It showed that only a fourth of the Negroes lynched were even accused of such crimes. The Southern Commission's analysis of the 84 lynchings committed from 1930 to 1935 shows that scarcely one-fourth of those lynched were accused of rape and attempted rape combined. Eleven percent of the mob victims, the report goes on, were not accused of any crime. An additional 30 percent were accused only of minor offenses. Of the remaining 59 percent many were not guilty of the crimes with which they were charged. By way of illustration they state further:  "There is reason to suspect that the Negro lynched in Caledonia, Miss., accused of insulting white women, had been falsely accused by persons desiring his good cotton crop. Perhaps the most preposterous accusation of the whole five years that was against Dennis Cross, , helpless Negro paralytic who was lynched in Tuscaloosa, Ala., in September, 1933, on the charge of attempted rape." One might also appropriately recall in this connection the case of Lacy Mitchell. Mitchell, a Thomas County, Georgia, Negro, was shot to death by a group of white men in September, 1930, because he was the State's star witness against two white men accused of raping a Negro woman.

But the Commission's findings go further and deeper than this. They have not only compiled data correcting popular misconceptions about lynching. They have drawn significant social conclusions from this material. While the members of the Commission are on record as favoring Federal legislation, they know that for the causes of lynching more fundamental remedies are needed. Thus the publications of the Commission, based on many years of intensive study by trained investigators, show not only that lynchings occur most frequently in sparsely settled rural counties in the South; that is, in its poorest and most backward sections. "The bases of lynch law," Arthur Raper has written, "reside in these same attitudes which find expression in the cultural, political and economic exploitation of the Negro." It is not surprising, therefore, that lynching occurs most frequently in those Southern States where, according to this authority, "from three to sixty times as much public money is spent on the education of the white child as of the Negro child"; where the Negro cannot vote, hold office, sit on a jury or have a voice in the disposal of public funds, and where the underprivileged poor white's only and jealously guarded superiority lies in his whiteness. Lynching, the Commission's report recognizes, is an economic as well as an ethical and a legal problem. The frenzied sadism and lawlessness of lynching mobs are merely the extreme outward signs of the attitudes Mr. Raper mentions. Legislation intelligently devised and honestly administered may curb these excesses. It may even considerably reduce the number of lynchings, but lynching, in the words of the Commission's conclusion, "will be eliminated in proportion as all elements in the population are given opportunity for development and are accorded fundamental human rights."

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

Monday, March 23, 2015

March 23, 1900: Lewis Rice

Today we learn about a Tennessee lynching found in The Indianapolis News (Indianapolis, Indiana) dated March 23, 1900:


Lewis Rice, a Negro, was Hanged by a Mob.

RIPLEY, Tenn., March 23.—This morning in the heart of the town the body of the negro, Lewis Rice, was found dangling from the limb of a tree. The lynching grew out of a trial in the Circuit Court of Lauderville county, during the course of which Rice testified in favor of one of his color, who was charged with the murder of a white man named Goodrich.

Our article of interest comes from The New York Age (New York, N. Y.) dated December 7, 1905:


Mississippi Mob Slaughtered the Wrong Person.

MEMPHIS, Tenn., December 1.—A dispatch to The Commercial-Appeal from Kosciusko, Miss., says that posses of armed citizens are searching the woods for Rufus Ousley, an Afro-American, who shot and killed Lucius Love, a prominent planter of Sprocks, yesterday, while Mr. Love and several other men were endeavoring to place him under arrest. Ousley was charged with having written an insulting letter to a white woman.

Bob Kennedy, colored, was found dead four miles from the scene of the killing yesterday. Afro-Americans living in the house with Kennedy say he was killed by a crowd of men who came to search the building. Kennedy was running away from the house when shot.

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

Sunday, March 22, 2015

March 22, 1893: William Frazier

Today we learn of a lynching in Iowa from The San Francisco Call (San Francisco, California) dated March 23, 1893:


And Then a Mob Took Him Out and Lynched Him.

DES MOINES, March 22.—A brutal tragedy was committed at Hiteman, a mining town on the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad, in Monroe County, to-day. William Frazier, a miner, whose wife left him a few days ago on account of drunkenness, went to where she was staying and killed her and her sister, Mrs. Smith, who ran to Mrs. Frazier's assistance. Mrs. Frazier had a knife ran through her and died immediately. Mrs. Smith ran into the room where she heard her sister screaming and was instantly stabbed in the breast, dying in a few moments. The brute then made an attack on his child, mutilating it. As soon as the facts of the tragedy became known public indignation was aroused and Frazier was lynched by an angry mob. Great excitement prevails in the mining town, but no further trouble is feared.

The details of the affair show it to have been one of the most horrible crimes ever committed in the West. Frazier went to the house and entered the room where his wife was with her little child.

But few words passed between them when when Frazier drew a large knife and advanced toward the unfortunate woman. It was then that she uttered the scream for help that brought her sister to the room. The word had hardly left her lips when the knife was plunged into her heart and the woman fell to the floor a corpse.

Then, turning on Mrs. Smith, Frazier stabbed her repeatedly in the breast. The infant child was next attacked, and with one sweep of the sharp knife the inhuman monster almost severed one of its limbs. Not satisfied with this he cut it again in the arm before leaving the house.

It can hardly recover. Frazier did not succeed in getting far from the scene of the tragedy and the mob of avengers had little difficulty in finding him.

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

Saturday, March 21, 2015

March 21, 1890: Robert Moseley and March 21, 1914: Charles Young

Today we learn about two different lynchings in Alabama on the same day, but different years. We start with a lynching in 1890 which we learn about through the pages of  the Salina Daily Republican (Salina, Kansas) dated March 23, 1890:


CHATTANOOGA, Tenn., March 23.—News has reached the city of the hanging by a mob near Meridianville, in North Alabama, of Robert Moseley, a young negro. He was lynched by a mob of 500 men, fifty of whom were black, having been captured after a determined pursuit all day. The crime for which he suffered death was in some respects without a parallel. He was a farm hand, whose employer had a handsome sister-in-law, Miss Ellie Austin, a young lady of eighteen years. Half a mile from her home in the edge of a lonely piece of woods Moseley dug a pit  seven feet long, two feet wide and three feet deep, which he partially boarded in and lay in wait for Miss Austin on her way to school at Park Chapel. As she passed the villain sprang out and seized her and a fearful struggle followed. She succeeded in defeating the brute's purposes. He then pushed her into the pit, placed sills and boards over it, nailed them down and then said to her:  "Now, you stay there and I'll come back tomorrow and kill you." He covered the hole with leaves, sticks and rubbish, put an old stovepipe in it to supply air and left his victim in her living grave. As soon as he was gone the brave girl, using her slate frame, pried off the boards and made her escape. Moseley was hanged within a few feet of the pit and buried therein.

Our next lynching occurs in 1914 and we find out about it in The Wilmington Morning Star (Wilmington, N. C.) dated March 22, 1914:


Quick Work Made of Black Who Assaulted White Woman. 

Clanton, Ala., March 21.—Charles Young, a negro, was lynched tonight two miles from town by a mob of enraged citi[z]ens, and several bullets fired into the swinging body as the crowd dispersed. Young was accused of attacking Mrs. Anderson Wilson, a white woman 60 years old, early today. It is charged he afterwards robbed the house, beat the woman and threatened to kill her. The negro escaped. Bloodhounds failed to follow his tracks as he used turpentine to kill the scent.

Young was captured this afternoon near Maplesville, Ala., by a posse of officers. The local people were immediately aroused and threats of lynching were made openly. A call was sent to Governor O'Neal for troops and a company was hurried from Montgomery by special train. Before the posse of officers with the negro could reach Clanton, and before the troops arrived, the mob of citi[z]ens took possession of the negro and lynched him.

Mrs. Wilson is in a critical condition.

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

Friday, March 20, 2015

March 20, 1901: Jerry (Jody) Bell and Charles Hollingworth

Today we learn about a lynching that occurred in Mississippi. Our article comes from The Morning Post (Raleigh, N. C.) dated March 22, 1901:


A Mississippi Mob Takes a Short Cut on Two Negroes

Memphis, March 21.—Jody Bell and Charles Hollingsworth, both negroes, are dead at Terry, Miss., this morning as the result of lynching last night. They were arrested for attempted assault. A double lynching was planned for last night, and within a short time the body of one man was dangling from a limb. The other negro escaped apparently in the darkness amid a fusillade of bullets. This morning the body of the second man was found in the woods.

Early yesterday morning Bell was discovered in the room of a young woman visiting the family of R. C. Terry, the leading citizen of the town. His object was robbery or assault. The young woman had been wearing diamonds and this fact no doubt influenced Bell to attempt robbery. The screams of the girl scared him and he left.

On the alarm all hands turned out to apprehend him. They finally found him at Byron, Miss., ten miles north. Bell was taken before the mayor and placed in jail to await the action of the grand jury. He stoutly denied his guilt at the time. Later developments implicated Charlie Hollingsworth, another negro.

The news of the crime and arrests spread rapidly and last night people for miles around rode into the little town to attack the jail. They made an assault upon the building about 9 o'clock and secured both negroes. Bell was taken to a bridge about a mile north of the town where he was hanged from a beam and his body riddled. Before being strung up he made a full confession, implicating Hollingsworth, who was deeply concerned in the plot. The negro Hollingsworth was to have died with Bell, but he fought his way through the mob and escaped. Fifty shots were sent after him. Hos [sic] body was found in the woods this morning almost riddled with bullets. After his escape he dragged himself to the thicket where he died.

All other articles I read have the name as Jerry Bell, in case you were wondering why I have both Jerry and Jody. Thank you for joining me and as always, I hope I leave you with something to ponder.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

March 19, 1908: Richard Smith and Will McMullen

Today we learn about a lynching of two men in Florida found in the pages of the March 20, 1908 edition of the Belvidere Daily Republican (Belvidere, Illinois):

Two Negroes Are Lynched.

Perry, Fla., March 20.—A mob of armed citizens early Thursday surrounded the county jail and  took Richard Smith and Will McMullen, negroes, from the jail, carried them to a secluded spot on the outskirts of town and after binding them to stakes ,riddled their bodies with bullets. 

Our article of interest comes to us through the pages of The New York Age (New York, N. Y.) dated August 26, 1909:


Louisiana in Sore Need of Missionaries, Says Times.

It is almost incredible that a Negro should have been lynched because he sued for damages a white man who had shot his cow, yet that is a statement made in a dispatch from Louisiana, printed recently. If the story was true, if the Negro really was strung up to the branch of a tree and riddled with bullets simply because he applied to the courts for redress when wrongfully deprived of his property, the affair was in some ways about the worst manifestation of the lynching spirit that has ever disgraced the country. Always in theory, and usually in practice, a mob killing is the infliction of wild justice for crimes so heinous that the slow process of law can be called inadequate. In this case, however, there seems to have been not even the poor excuse that the victim of the lynchers deserved killing. Had he shot the man who shot his cow, his taking off would have been at lease explicable, and, in conceivable conditions, defensible, but to hand him because he went to law for the adjustment of his grievance was a complete abandonment of civilization. If any considerable number of people took part in the murder, that part of Louisiana—Moorehouse Parish—must be in sorer need of missionaries than Darkest Africa or the South Sea Islands.—The New York Times.

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

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

March 18, 1900: Charles Humphries

To we learn about another lynching in Alabama through the pages of The News (Frederick, Maryland) dated March 19, 1900:

Lynched For Attempted Assault.

Columbus, Ga., March 19.—Charles Humphries, who late Saturday night entered the room of Miss McCoy, daughter of a white farmer living just outside of Phoenix City, Ala., was lynched yesterday by a party of white men. The mob came upon the negro about ten miles from Phoenix City. He confessed the attempt and was shot to death.

Today's article of interest comes to us from The Saint Paul Globe (Saint Paul, Minnesota) dated March 19, 1887:


But Who the Person Was Will Probably Never be Known.

Special to the Globe.

SIBLEY, Ia., March 18. A few days ago while two men of Elk Point were chopping timber near that place they came to a tree measuring about four feet in diameter, and upon looking up one of them saw what  he supposed to be a grape vine dangling from a limb. When the tree was felled, however, the supposed grape vine proved to be a rope. Upon examination it was discovered that the rope was about  ten feet long and tied to the limb with a double half-hitch knot and the opposite end made into a hangman's noose. It was apparent that some unfortunate had paid the penalty of death, as the end of the rope containing the noose was saturated with blood. It was also discovered that an imprint five feet seven inches in length and shaped like a human body lay immediately under where the rope had but a short time before been suspended. A still further examination proved conclusively that a murder had been committed, but as to the crime and its perpetrators probably nothing more will ever be known, as all efforts since the discovery to unravel the mystery have proved unavailing.

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

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

March 17, 1906: Wiliiam Carr

Today we learn of a lynching in Louisiana for an unusual crime through the pages of the Altoona Tribune (Altoona, Pennsylvania) dated March 19, 1906:


He Had Been Arrested on the Charge of Stealing. 

Plaquemine, La., March 18.—William Carr, a negro, was lynched on the Bayou Plaquemine, about one mile below the town last night. Constable Waller Marionneaux and V. M. Patureau, a well known citizen, were on their way to the jail at this place with a negro named William Carr, whom they had ar[r]ested and charged with stealing and killing a yearling, when they were stopped by a crowd of about thirty-five masked men, who overpowered them and taking the prisoner, hanged him to the railroad bridge, which cros[s]ed the plantation canal at this point.

Judge Schwing has called the grand jury together in extra session tomorrow to investigate the affairs. Carr had a bad reputation for stealing and had been before the courts several times, but always managed to get off.

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

Monday, March 16, 2015

March 16, 1879: Peter Klein

The Inter Ocean (Chicago, Illinois) dated March 17, 1879:


Peter Klein Taken from Jail at Newport, Ky., by a Mob and Lynched.


[Special Telegram to The Inter Ocean.]

CINCINNATI, Ohio, March 16.—Our neighboring city of Newport, Ky., just across the river, has been greatly excited all day over the arrest of Peter Klein, the perpetrator of the outrage on Mrs. Truesdale on the Highlands, a few miles back of this city. Klein was arrested in this city last night and taken over so quietly that few knew of the arrest. Early this morning crowds began to collect, and the excitement increased during the day, and mutterings were deep and unmistakable. The Commonwealth's attorney and the Judge came to the city, and told the crowd if they would let the law take its course a Grand Jury would be impaneled, an indictment found, and the man tried at once. They answered that this would not do, as Mrs. Truesdale was too ill to appear at the trial. A little after dark a crowd organized at a saloon, a few squares away, and detailed a company of forty men to do the work. They proceeded to the jail, knocked the Mayor down, forced their way past the officers, broke the doors open, and took him out. They then requested him to walk three miles through a driving snowstorm to Mrs. Truesdalle's [sic] house and took him to her. He pulled his hat off and she asked to have it put on, and looking squarely in his face began to speak, when Klein said, "Wait till daylight," and she immediately screamed "That's the man! Oh I know that voice," and fell back fainting. They then took him to a tree and placed a rope round his neck. As he stood in a buggy, they asked him what he had to say. He said he did not commit the outrage, but it was done by the man who was with him. The crowd told him he better confess. He replied, "this is no law, and no time to talk." The buggy was then driven from under him and he swung off. The crowd rushed up to him, and catching him by the legs, pulled and swung him around, all the while hooting the expression he used to Mrs. Truesdale, "Get loose when you can." The body was still swinging in the air as the crowd left for their homes.

I attempt to give as clear of a picture and as much information as I can find, however today I have a headache and so chose a smaller article.  A much more thorough article can be found in the March 17, 1879 edition of The Cincinnati Enquirer (Cincinnati, Ohio). I may, in the future, transcribe the article here. Thank you for joining me and as always, I hope I leave you with something to ponder.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

March 15, 1885: Thomas Jones and Eliza Taylor

Today we learn of a lynching of a brother and sister in Nebraska. We learn the details from the Alton Evening Telegraph (Alton, Illinois) dated March 17, 1885:

An Unjustifiable Outrage.

OMAHA, NEB., March 17.—About one o'clock Sunday morning fifty masked men went to the house of Thomas Jones, of Clay County, in this State, took out Jones and Mrs. Taylor and hanged them to the railroad bridge near by. Four other occupants of the house were securely bound and guarded till daylight, when they were ordered to leave the country. William and John Jones were also ordered to leave within thirty days.

The bodies of Jones and Mrs. Taylor were left swinging from the bridge until two o'clock Sunday afternoon, when they were cut down and an inquest was held.

The parties were suspected of numerous robberies committed in that vicinity, and also with being implicated in the murder of Edwin Roberts a month ago. Public sentiment is against the lynching.

A small mention of the lynching can be found in The Ottawa Daily Republic (Ottawa, Kansas) dated March 18, 1885:

Mrs. Eliza Taylor and her brother, Thomas Jones, were lynched at Fairfield, Neb., on account of a murder committed by Mrs. Taylor's two sons.

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

Saturday, March 14, 2015

March 14, 1891: Manuel Pol(l)ietz, Pietro Mastero (Monasterio), Aneonio (Antonio) Scoffedi, Joseph P. Macheca (Maceca), Antonio Marchesi, Antonio Bagnetto, Frank Romero, Jim Cruso (Caruso), Rocco Gerachi, Charles Trahina (T. Rahini), and Lorreto Comitez (Gomatez) (Comertiz)

Apparently March is a bad month for Italians in the 1890's.  We learn about eleven Italians lynched in New Orleans from The Topeka Daily Capital (Topeka, Kansas) dated March 15, 1891:


The People of New Orleans Take Summary Vengeance on the Assassins of Hennessey.


Incites the Populace to Desperation and Eleven Italians Are Sent Into Eternity.


Three Thousand Men Repudiate the Finding of the Court and Wipe Out the Cutthroats.


From the Terrorizing Rule of Sicilian Cutthroats and the Lives of Americans Made Secure.


And Three Hanged to Lamp-Posts and Trees as a Warning to Bloodthirsty Foreigners.

Eleven Italians Lynched.

NEW ORLEANS, March 14.—Public indignation ran mountain high in this city yesterday afternoon and last night, when news of the virtual acquittal of the Mafia cutthroats, charged with the murder of Chief of Police Hennessey, spread from the court room. Loud and open threats of summary vengeance were heard on all sides, but it was not until one hundred of the leading citizens attached their names to a call for a mass meeting that the public felt that the administration of justice might come from the enraged people. Anger, already hot, was heated to a white pitch by the sight of bunting streaming in the wind from the masts of all the small Italian crafts in the harbor, each emblem seeming to wave in defiance to law and decency.

It became known last night—or was tacitly understood—that those who attended the meeting called by the 100 citizens for this morning at the Clay statue should come prepared to do that which the law had failed.This feeling was heightened in intensity by Chief Hennessey's countrymen who did all in their power to stir the people to the point of desperate action. A feverish excitement prevailed all night and wherever men congregated were to be found those who advocated resort to the plan which justice gained a foothold in Cincinnati eight years ago this month. Determined men waited eagerly for the coming of the hour of meeting. Few declarations of intent were heard; the common purpose was too well understood.


Early this morning thousands of reputable men, unused to scenes of bloodshed, swarmed about the appointed place of meeting. As the minutes passed the crowd grew. Computation as to the size of the crowd was impossible. While decency and good order prevailed, the hum of voices drowned whatever of formality there may have been in the proceedings and soon after the hour for the meeting the crowd, yelling with excitement, started for the parish prison.

What happened there is quickly told. The murderers of Chief Hennessey were disposed of. They are:

Manuel Polietz.
Pietro Mastero.
Aneonio Scaffedi.
Joseph P. Macheca.
Antonio Marchesi.
Antonio Bagnetto.
Frank Romero.
Jim Cruso.
Rocco Gerachi.
Charles Trahine.
— Comietz.

The three other prisoners on trial yesterday for the crime—Incardona, Matranga and the Marchesi boy—were not molested.


The scene at and about the Clay statue this morning brought to mind very forcibly and vividly the popular and ominous uprising of that September day sixteen years ago.

Ten o'clock had not yet struck and a vast multitude was already congregated on Canal street, almost filling up the large space from curb to curb on each side of the boulevard. Just at the stroke of 10 o'clock a shout went up from the people stationed at St. Charles street and a number of gentlemen, among whom were Mr. W. S. Parkerson, Mr. J. C. Wickliffe and others who signed the call, came marching along and began walking round and round the railing of Clay monument.


"Fall in, fall in," was the cry, and amidst the deafening shouts several of the crowd formed the procession, which went around the railing several times.

"Hurrah for Parkerson."
"Hurrah for Wickliffe."
"Get inside the railing and give us a speech."

These and other cries made up a confusion of noises, among which the angry tone was significantly predominant. The space inside the railing was occupied by a dense crowd.

"Come down from those steps," was the request, "and let Mr. Parkerson and Mr. Wickliffe get there."

The crowd complied with alacrity, and soon the speakers held their positions of vantage. A rush was made for the narrow gate, and in a minute there stood a mass of humanity around the statue of the immortal Clay. The view from that altitude was imposing. not a bad word yet escaped the lips of the gentlemen who had mounted the steps. They stood erect, motionless, surveying the surging multitude, from whose serried ranks there gleamed faces full of resolve and determination.

There were fully 3,00 people within ear-shot and more could be seen struggling, pushing and running here and there on neutral ground. Street cars were unable to pass through. Carriages, carts, wagons, cabs and vehicles of all descriptions were halted. Mr. Parkerson spoke first.

. . .


It was simply a sullen, determined body of citizens who took into their own hands what justice had ignominiously failed to do.

 The chief of police was slain October 15, and that very night the evidence began to accumulate showing that his death had been deliberately planned by a secret tribunal and carried out boldly and successfully by the tools of the conspirators.

The trial lasted twenty-five days and though the evidence seemed conclusive, the jury, currently charged with having been tampered with, failed to convict.

Last night a body of cool-headed men, lawyers, doctors, merchants and political leaders, all persons of influence and social standing, quietly met and decided that some action must be taken and that people's justice, swift and sure, must be visited upon those whom the jury had neglected to punish.

This morning a call for a mass meeting at Clay square, on commercial street appeared in the papers which editorially deprecated violence. The significant closing sentence was:  "Come prepared for action."

Down in a large room on Bienville and Royal streets, there was an arsenal which had been provided by the citizens. The call was answered by the populace.

. . .

When the vanguard of armed citizens reached the prison, which is many squares from Canal street, the grim old building was surrounded on all sides.

Sheriff Villere, when he heard that a movement was on foot to take the prisoners, armed his deputies and then started on a hunt for Mayor Shakespere. The counsel and Attorney General Rogers joined in the pursuit, but his honor does not reach his office until noon, and he was not to be found at any of his regular haunts. The governor had not heard of the uprising and had no time to act, and the police force was too small to offer much resistance to the army of avengers. Superintendent Gaster had ordered  one extra detail of officers to be sent to the jail, and this small crowd kept the sidewalks around the old building clear until the great multitude surged around the door and crowded the little band of blue coats away. Captain Davis was on guard at the main entrance with a scant force of deputies. They were swept away like a chaff before the wind and in an instant the little ante-room leading into the prison was jammed with eager, excited men.

Meanwhile the prisoners were stricken with terror, for they could hear distinctly the shouts of people without, guilty alike were frightened out of their senses. Some of the braver among the Mafia  wanted to die fighting for their lives, and they pleaded for weapons with which to defend themselves, and when they could not find these they sought hiding places. The deputies, thinking to deceive the crowd by a ruse, transferred the nineteen men to the female department, and there the miserable Sicilians trembled in terror until the moment when the doors would yield to the angry throng on the outside.

Captain Davis refused the request to open the prison and the crowd began the work of battering in the jail doors. Around on Orleans street there was a heavy wooden door, which had been closely barred in anticipation of the coming of the avenging mass. This the crowd selected as their best chance of getting in. Neighboring houses readily supplied axes and battering rams and willing hands went to work to force an opening. This did not prove a difficult task to the trembling, but determined throng. Soon there was a crash, the door gave way and in an instant many citizens were pouring through a small opening, while a mighty shout went up from 10,000 voices in glad acclaim. There was more resistance for the intruders, however, but it too was soon overcome with the huge billet of wood which a very stout man carried.

Then the turnkey was overpowered and the keys taken from him. By that time the excitement outside was intense, none the less so when a patrol wagon drove up with a detachment of policemen, who were driven away under a fire of mud and stones.

When the leaders inside the prison got possession of the keys the inside gate was promptly unlocked and the deputies in the lobby rapidly got out of harm's way.

The avengers passed into the ward of white prisoners. Peering through the bars of one of the cells was a terror-stricken face, which someone mistook for Scoffdi. A volley was fired at the man but none of the shot struck him, and it was subsequently found that he was not one of the assassins.

The inmates of the jail were ready to direct the way to where to Italians were. "Go to the female department," some one yelled, and thither the men with their Winchesters ran. The koor [sic] was locked. In a moment the key was produced, and then the leader called for some one who knew the right men. A volunteer responded and the door was thrown open. The gallery was deserted save by an old woman who, speaking as fast as she could said the men were upstairs.

A party of seven or eight quickly ascended the staircase and as they reached the landing the assassins fled down the other end. Half a dozen of the attacking party followed. Scarcely a word was spoken. It was time for action. When the pursued and pursuers reached the stone court yard, the former darted towards the New Orleans side of the gallery, and crouched down beside the cells, their faces blanched. Unarmed they were entirely defendless [sic]. In fear and trembling they screamed for mercy.

The avengers were merciless. "Bang, bang, bang, bang," rang out the reports of the murderous weapons and a deadly rain of bullets poured on the crouching figures. There were six of the assassins in the group. Their bodies were litterally [sic] riddled with bullets and they were stone dead before the fusilade [sic]was over.

Gerachi, the closest man, was struck in the back of the head and his body pitched forward and lay immovable on the stone pavement.

Romero fell to his knees with his face in his hands and in that position was shot to death.

Monasterio and James Caruso fell together, each pierced with a dozen bullets.

The executioners did their work well, and beneath the continuing fire Gometez and Trahina, two of the men who had not been tried but who were charged jointly with the others accused, fell together.

When the group of assassins was discovered on the gallery, Macheca, Scoffedi and old man Marchesi separated from the other six and ran upstairs. Thither half a dozen men followed, and as the terror-stricken assassins ran into their cells they were slain.

Joe Macheca, who was charged with being the arch-conspirator, was summarily dealt with. He had his back turned when a shot struck him immediately behind the ear and his death was instantaneous. Scoffedi, one of the most villainous of the assassins, dropped like a log when a bullet hit him in the eye. Old man Marchesi was the only man who was not killed outright. He was struck on the top of the head while he stood beside Macheca, and though he was mortally wounded, he lingered all the evening.Pollietz, the crazy man, was locked up in a cell up stairs. The door was flung open and one of the avengers, taking aim, shot him through the head. He was not killed outright, and in order to satisfy the people on the outside, who were crazy to know what was going on within, he was dragged down stairs and through the doorway by which the crowd had entered.

Half carried, half dragged, he was taken to the corner. A rope was produced and tied around his neck and the people pulled him up to the cross bar of a lamp post. Not satisfied that he wa dead a score of men took aim and poured a volley of shot into his body and for several hours the body was left dangling in the air.

Bagnetto was caught in the first rush upstairs and the first volley of bullets pierced his brain. He was pulled out by a number of stalwart men through the main entrance to the prison and from a limb of a tree his body was suspended, though life was already gone.

As soon as the bloody deed was done. Mr. Parkerson addressed the crowd and asked them to disperse.

This they consented to do with a ringing shut; but first they made a rush for Parkerson, and lifting him bodily supported him on their shoulders while they marched up the street. The avengers came back in a body to Clay statue and then separated.

O'Mally the detective, who would have shared the fate of the assassins if he could have been caught, has disappeared and is not expected to return, and members of the jury are in hiding.

The atmosphere has been considerably purged and although there is a big crowd on Canal street tonight the trouble seems all over.

The Italian counsel declined to say what action, if any, he will take.

The prison was surrounded till dark with a motley multitude, but the police found no difficulty in maintaining good order. The bodies of some of the slain were removed this evening.

Caruso was married, but leaves no children. Romero has a wife and children, and Macheca a wife and family, and Cometiz leaves a wife.


Coroner Lemonier and his clerk, Henry Laberre, reached the parish prison at about 12:30 o'clock. The coroner viewed first the bodies lying in the yard. his jury was empanneled [sic] as follows:  W. B. Stansbury, W. J. Leppert, John Hurley, W. J. Graham and Will Porter.

The body of Rocco Gerachi was viewed. he had only one wound in the chest. he died from hemorrhage.

Peter Monasterio, gunshot wound in the back of the head.

Charles T. Rahini, ten gunshot wounds.

Jim Caruso, thirty-two gunshot wounds.

Lorreto Comertiz, gunshot wounds in chest and head.

Frank Romero, alias "Nine-Fingered Frank," many gunshot wounds in head.

This completed the inquest in the yard.

The coroner, the jury and members of the press next went up stairs and in the gallery of the condemned cells an inquest was held on the bodies there lying.

Antonio Scofeddi had a gunshot wound in the brain.

Joseph P. Maceca had a bullet wound behind the right ear.

Marchesi was found to be still alive. He was just as good as dead, though, as evidenced by a hole as large as a silver quarter in his head. he died this evening.

Outside the coroner found Antonio Bagnetto, hanged on the neutral ground. The coroner found that death was caused by strangulation.

Manuel Pollietz was also strung to a lamp post. His body and that of Bagnettos was removed to the police station.

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


Friday, March 13, 2015

March 13, 1895: Antonio Lorenzo and Francesco Ranchetti

As promised we continue to follow the two day lynching of the Italian miners. We continue with articles from The Leavenworth Times (Leavenworth, Kansas) dated March 14, 1895:  


DENVER, Colo., March 13—Governor McIntyre to-day received simultaneously from Washington and from the Italian Consul at Denver, inquiries concerning the Walsenburg lynchings. The communication from Washington was a telegram from the acting Secretary of State asking for particulars; and that from acting Consul Cuneo at this point was a demand for protection for any Italian citizens who might be in danger in Walsenburg. Immediately steps were taken by the Governor to comply with both requests and telegrams were sent out. To Washington the Governor telegraphed such particulars as he then had, and promised the fullest protection to all. He also stated that it is probable that the Italians lynched are American citizens; that he had directed the sheriff to protect his prisoners and maintain order; and that he had a report from the Colonel commanding the nearest place that he could put troops aboard cars in two hours.


Following is a copy of the communications passing between Governor McIntyre's departments and the acting Italian Consul:

DENVER, March 13.

To His Excellency A. W. McIntyre, Governor of Colorado:

Sir:—I have from reliable authority that, at or near the town of Walsenburg, Colo., between 12 and 2 o'clock, two Italians were taken from the jail by a mob and lynched; and also that there are seven more men, supposed to be Italians, still in the custody of the authorities of Huerfano county, who are threatened to be treated in like manner.

Therefore, I, Joseph Cuneo, Acting Italian Consul, for this district, call on you as Governor of the State to take such steps as may be necessary to insure protection for the life and property of the Italians in custody of the authorities in the said Huerfano county.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant.

[Signed]  J. CUNEO, N. D.
Acting Italian Consul.

DENVER, March 13th, 1895.

SIR:—Replying to your communication of March 13th, 1895, just received, I have the honor to say that I have telegraphed to the sheriff of Huerfano county for information concerning the alleged lynching, and to protect his prisoners and will take such further steps as are necessary and can be taken within the authority conferred on me by law, to insure protection to the life and property of the Italians in custody in the said Huerfano county, the same as if they were American citizens.

I have the further honor to say that it is not yet known to me that the Italians in question are not American citizens.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,


To Dr. J. Cuneo, Acting Italian Consul.

The report of the sheriff to the governor related that one Italian had been killed en route to Walsenburg and that two had escaped. Whether they are dead or not, he did not know. Two others were killed in the jail.

Governor McIntyre immediately sent the following telegram in reply:

Walter O'Malley, Sheriff Huerfano County, Walsenburg, Colo:

"Wire me at once whether you are maintaining order and protecting prisoners and whether you have sufficient to prevent further mob violence and whether excitement has abated. You are expected to prevent recurrence of violence to prisoners. Take every precaution to protect life and property and as soon as possible ascertain who composed the mob doing the lynching and as soon as practicable arrest them."

A. W. MCINTYRE, Governor.


DENVER, Colo., March 13.—Dr. Cuneo, the Italian consul of this city, had not, up to a late hour this afternoon, been officially notified of the affair at Walsenburg. As all the Italians belong to a National Benevolent association, he is expecting full reports from the scene of the affair, from responsible parties. Then he will communicate with the Italian minister at Washington and await instructions.

If the men who were killed by the lynchers are not American citizens, he will take charge of whatever property they may have for the government he represents. The doctor had no information at hand to form any opinion whatever about the affair.

The Springfield Leader (Springfield, Missouri) dated March 16, 1895:

Embarrassing to Uncle Sam

Walsenburg, Col., March 15.—Only one of the Italians lynched for killing Saloonkeeper Hixon was an American citizen. This fact is very embarassing [sic] to the United States, as a demand of the Italian government for reparation is sure to follow and will no doubt be large and emphatic.

According to another paper, two of the men were American citizens. Thank you for joining me and as always, I hope I leave you with something to ponder