Saturday, April 25, 2015

April 25, 1909: John Thomas

Today we learn about an Alabama lynching through the pages of the Salisbury Evening Post (Salisbury, N. C.) dated April 27, 1909:


Victim and Her Children Positively Identified Him Beforehand.

Birmingham, Ala., April 25.—John Thomas, negro, was quietly lynched by a small crowd of men about one mile below Bessemer tonight, at 9 o'clock. The negro was being taken to jail in Bessemer, when he was overtaken by citizens, who made short work of the prisoner by hanging him to a tree in the woods. After the hanging the crowd quietly went back to their homes.

Thomas committed a criminal assault upon a lady named Mrs. Patterson, near Parkwood, about noon today. The news spread rapidly and citizens began the pursuit. The negro was found near the scene of the crime late this afternoon at the home of a farmer for whom he worked. He was taken before a justice of the peace and a warrant was sworn out for him. The citizens, numbering probably not more than a dozen, took the negro before Mrs. Patterson, who positively identified him. Her two children also identified the negro. There had, up to this time, been no open evidence of violence and a well known farmer, named Andy Roy started with the negro for Bessemer.

All went well until Roy and his prisoner got within about a mile of Bessemer. Here they were overtaken by the citizens.

Thomas finally confessed to the crime and said he did not mind going to jail, but did not want them to hang him. He told the posse that he had just gotten out of jail, where he had served several years, and that he did not mind going back. He only asked them to spare his life. The response was a rope and he was swinging to a tree the next moment.

The body is still swinging in the high wind at midnight and the coroner states that he will make an investigation tomorrow.

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

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