Sunday, April 12, 2015

April 12, 1883: William Crockett and April 12, 1895: Nelson Calhoun

Today we learn about a Virginia lynching from The Fort Wayne Sentinel (Fort Wayne, Indiana) dated April 12, 1883:

CROCKETT CHOKED.

The Virginia Murderer Taken from Jail, Lynched and Riddled With Bullets.

A Clever Case of Lynching.

LYNCHBURG, Va., April 12.—Early this morning 100 disguised persons attacked the Wytheville jail, forced the sheriff to surrender the keys, took William Crockett from his cell and hung him from the beam of a mill, on the outskirts of town. Crockett was awaiting trial for the murder of Joseph F. Heirt, in Wythe county. The murder was cold blooded and Crockett would have been lynched at the time had he not escaped. He was captured two months ago and brought back for trial. After hanging him the mob riddled his body with bullets to insure death. None of the lynchers were identified. Intense excitement prevails at Wytheville.



Our second lynching occurs in Texas and we first learn about it from The Times-Picayune (New Orleans, Louisiana) dated April 13, 1895:

A Ravisher Lynched.

Corsicana, Ark., April 12.—Nelson Calhoun, colored, was taken from the authorities, carried to the scene where Mrs. Hughes was ravished some days ago and shot. A dozen bullets entered his body. Before the lynching the negro was taken to Mrs. Hughes' residence, where she is still confined to her room. On entering the room she exclaimed:  "Oh, you wretch! where is my brother?" and fell back, unconscious. The lynchers numbered 100, and were unmasked.


A more detailed account comes to us through the pages of the Lawrence Daily Journal (Lawrence, Kansas) dated April 15, 1895:

A NEGRO LYNCHED.

A Black Fiend Is Riddled with Bullets by Determined Men.

CORSICANA, Tex., April 15.—A day or two ago Mrs. Hughes, one of the most respected ladies, was assaulted by a negro near this city. Report was made at once. Hundreds of men went to the scene. Bloodhounds were brought out, but no capture was made. Since the then [sic] greatest excitement has prevailed. Posses in all directions went searching for the culprit. A dozen arrests were made, but to no purpose until last night, when Nelson Calhoun was arrested by friends of the injured lady. A chain of evidence had been formed around him that was conclusive. This morning he was carried before the lady and fully identified. The officers were at once overcome by friends and relatives of Mrs. Hughes. The negro was then placed in a carriage, and accompanied by fifty men, was driven rapidly to the scene of the crime.

When the party arrived there the negro broke from the four men holding him in the hack and sprang out of the carriage. He ran through a barbed  wire fence, fearfully lacerating his flesh, and then through a field, but was riddled with bullets about 100 yards from where he started.

The coroner was summoned, but by the time he arrived 2,000 people had arrived on the scene. He ordered that the negro be brought to the city for an inquest. The body was brought in on floats and driven through the principal streets of the city. Both white and colored citizens approve of the action of the determined, but quiet crowd.


A small excerpt from an article a year before comes to us the Fort Worth Gazette (Fort Worth, Texas) dated April 16, 1894:

ARRESTED FOR RAPE.

Much Talk of Lynching—Prisoner Carried North. 

By Associated Press.

Corsicana, Tex., April 15.—. . .Later—John Watts and Nelson Calhoun, both charged with rape, were sent north this evening to prevent lynching.


Everything else in the article was about John Watts.  The verdict rendered at the inquest for the lynching was as follows:

"Was carried where his hellish crime was committed and there received wounds that caused his death—a punishment certain, speedy and deserved."


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

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