Saturday, May 2, 2015

May 1, 1888: Henry Pope

Today's lynching is one that is special to me. It is a lynching I came across in a newspaper snippet while volunteering at a museum in Cherokee County, Alabama. I found the small article interesting and looked for more information. As I read more, with people involved that I was familiar with through the museum, I was truly shocked by the atrocity of the lynching. Of course now I am very used to the horrors of lynchings. It was a desire to make sure Henry Pope was never forgotten that gave me the idea to start this blog. I know nothing about him but his death, but I still feel very connected to him. 

Most of the articles, if not all, about this lynching will come from The Atlanta Constitution. I found that the Constitution did a very good job following this case. We start with the first mention I find of the crime in the Constituiton's February 7, 1887 edition:



A Young White Girl Caught in the Woods and Outraged by a Negro—The Woods Scoured for Him—The Report of His Lynching Reaches Cartersville.

SUMMERVILLE, Ga., February 6.—[Special}.—Meagre details of a most heinous crime committed in the north eastern part of this county, reached your correspondent yesterday afternoon. The victim in the fifteen year old daughter of Mr. T. A. Kendrick, a highly esteemed citizen. Late in the afternoon the young lady walked out into the woods near her home, for the purpose of gathering up some pine, and she states that before she was aware of the presence of any one she was


who told her if she made the least noise he would murder her. Being so terribly frightened, the villian [sic], by the use of a handkerchief succeeded in gagging her, thereby preventing any possibility of an alarm. The mother becoming alarmed at the prolonged absence of her daughter, started out to look for her, and met Mr. Kendrick returning from the field. She expressed to him her uneasiness. He became alarmed, and started hurriedly in the direction in which his daughter had gone, calling her frequently as he went. The negro, hearing him approach, fled. The young lady described the vile wretch to be a jinger [sic] cake color, medium statue, rather heavy set, with light mustache. She says that she has never seen him before but could identify him anywhere. Never before was the excitement so high in the community in which this vile outrage was perpetrated. The country is being


around and should the object of the search be found, summary justice will be meted out him, and the ---ts of the country will not be troubled. The latest report is that the pursuers are only a -------- behind and determined ----- ------- of the negro stays on -- ---------.

- ---- ------ -----

Ca------- ----- --- February 6.—[Special.]— A ------ has --- --- here that a strange negro ---.  Chattooga county, who had outraged the daughter of  T. A. Kendrick, was seized by a crowd of men and hanged.

The next mention of the crime is found a month later in the March 7, 1887 edition:


The Probable Arrest of a Villainous Negro.

SUMMERVILLE, Ga., March 6.—[Special.]—A petition is being circulated here asking the governor to offer a reward for the negro who some days since committed a rape in this county. A number of persons have been on the lookout for him, but thus far he has eluded his pursuers. The petition is being extensively signed.

A later dispatch says Jerry Garner, colored, of Walker county, was arrested and placed in jail in Chattooga county, Friday, as the person who committed the rape upon the person of Miss Kendrick some weeks since. The young lady has been sent for, and if she identifies the party a lynching will certainly be the result. Detective Brownfield is certain he is the right man. The town and community are very indignant, and much excitement prevails. The leading parties, however, are careful.

March 8, 1887:

REWARD OFFERED.—Governor Gordon yesterday offered a reward of $500 for the arrest and delivery to the sheriff of Chattooga county of the unknown negro who, on the 3d of February last, committed a fiendish outrage upon the person of Mrs. Minnie Kendrick.

March 11, 1887:


Otherwise a Rope Might Have Tightened Around His Neck. 

SUMMERVILLE, Ga., March 10.—[Special.]—The negro Jerry Garner, arrested in Walker county and placed in jail here Friday night for the offense of rape, proved to be innocent. Miss Kendrick, the lady who was assaulted, reached town about 12 m. Saturday, and the negro was brought before her in the Henry house. She looked at him for about a minute, and said, "That is not the negro." Garner was naturally embarrassed, and many were ready to accept this as an indication of guilt, but the lady was perfectly collected and prompt in pronouncing him innocent of the crime. A large crowd had gathered, and had she stated that he was the guilty party, there is no question but what the gallows would have been cheated of its victim, notwithstanding the care and precaution of the attorneys for Garner, who had spent the entire morning circulating among the crowd and reading to them affidavits of various parties sustaining an alibi. A number of persons have been carried in front of Miss Kendrick, but the guilty wretch has not yet been found. It is believed that the governor will offer a reward sufficient to make sure of his capture, as the women of our county must be protected.

May 13, 1887:

They Want a Requisition.

SUMMERVILLE, Ga., May 12.—[Special.]—The necessary papers were forwarded Governor Gordon this week asking a requisition for the delivery of Henry Pope in Gadsden, Ala. jail to the authorities of this state. He was indicted for simple larceny.

May 19, 1887:


A Negro Against Whom the are Several Grave Charges.

SUMMERVILLE, Ga., May 18.—[Special.]—Deputy Sheriff Knox and O. L. Wyly returned from Gadsden today, bringing with them the negro, Henry Pope, for whom a requisition was granted by Governor Gordon for a few days since. He was indicted by the grand jury at the March term of the superior court for stealing an ox from J. J. P. Henry. He admits that he sold the ox in Chattanooga, but accuses another negro of the stealing. It is believed by many that he is the one wanted for the offense of rape, as he fills the description almost perfectly, and has been traced to and from the neighborhood at the time the offense was committed. Miss Kendrick has been sent for and will reach here tomorrow for the purpose of identifying him. If he is the guilty party, it is thought that she will be able to identify him, wh--- special term of court will be called by Judge Maddox and a trial had as early as practicable. It will take some nice work, however, to keep the prisoner clear of an outraged and determined public. All good citizens are looking forward with much interest to the development of tomorrow.

June 10, 1887:

Henry Pope, who outraged Miss Hendrick, in Chattooga county, will be hanged on the first of July.

The next edition to have an article was the June 29, 1887 edition:


Henry Pope Given Two Months More to Live.  


Time?—The Story of the Dastardly Crime—How Mamie Hendrick's Life Was Ruined—A Mysterious Case.

Henry Pope will not hang next Friday.

Governor Gordon on yesterday respited the Chattooga county rapist until the second day of September, 1887.

The order issuing the respite, directed to the sheriff of Chattooga county, is one of the longest documents of the kind to be found on the "order book." It recites all the circumstances justifying the respite, and deals at length with the condition of public sentiment int he county, the probability of Pope's innocence of the crime, and relates everything connected with the trial and subsequent history of a case that promises to become a cause celebre in Georgia.


Mamie Kendrick is the 16-year-old daughter of poor but respectable and honest parents. Her father is a farmer, and the conditions of their stations are such that there is not an idle hand in that little household in the mountain county of Chattooga. The farm of Mr. Kendrick is a small one, and is situated in a rough portion of the county, about eight miles from the county seat and about ten miles from the line of road being constructed between Rome and Decatur, Alabama. It was not often that people passed the Kendrick farmhouse, but passers-by are more frequent now, because of the proximity of the railroad, the hands employed thereon finding it convenient to go by the place, on their journey to and from the work.

On the afternoon of the 3d day of February, 1887, Mamie Kendrick called to her mother and told her that she and her two little brothers were going into the woods, some three hundred yards away, to gather kindling wood. The girl's mother answered her by telling her not to go, as there was enough kindling in the house to last through the night, and that the children being barefooted, could not walk that distance over the rough ground without hurting their feet. Mamie sent the children to the house, and, in a leisurely sort of way, walked over to the wood where she began gathering the kindling or lightwood, as it is called by the country people.


It was an accident that the crime was committed; that is, it so happened that Mamie Kendrick should be in the woods alone that afternoon when Henry Pope or the real villian [sic] passed along,. The roads meet a short distance from the Kendrick's house, and the theory is that Pope, or whoever the guilty party was, happened to be passing along the road on the way to the railroad work when the presence of the girl became known. What happened when the negro saw the poor girl is best told by her.

She said the first thing she knew was when the negro grasped her about the waist and raised her to his knee. She screamed with terror, and just as she began to utter the second cry, he placed his hand across her mouth smothering the noise, and preventing any further outbreak from being heard. Her position was desperate. There she was in the clutches of the villian [sic], with her home three hundred yards away. The woods were very elevated, and where she was standing at the time the negro seized her she could


of the farm house. Her father was ploughing in a field a few yards away from the house. After being seized by the negro he carried her some seventy-five or hundred yards away, further into the woods, and there, alone and unseen, committed the act that wrecked forever on earth the peace and happiness of an innocent hearted girl. She remembers seeing the negro above her in the act of drawing out his knife, evidently for the purpose of killing her and preventing exposure, when he was arrested by the noise of some one coming. It was her father, who had been warned by the girl's mother of her absence, and who, being alarmed at the unusual length of her stay, had followed to see what was the matter. Had Mr. Kendrick immediately followed the miscreant he could undoubtedly have captured him, but the sad misfortune that had overtaken his daughter so completely upset him that all his efforts were directed to her [sic] getting her home, and procuring the aid of a physician. The neighborhood


but no concerted steps were taken to overtake the villian [sic], and Henry Pope, or whoever the party was, made good his escape.

THE CONSTITUTION readers are familiar with the story of the trial and conviction of Pope, who had been arrested in Alabama on the charge of burglary, and, being brought back to Chattooga, had been accused of the greater and more terrible crime of rape. A few days ago the story of his conviction was related, and the indignation of the people, and the effort to secure the negro in order that they might hang him without law or jury, was told. All these circumstances are gone over in the order of the governor, and the additional facts are disclosed that a special term of court was convened to try the case, that it was done to appease the wrath of the people, and that Pope's attorney, after his client had been convicted, was advised by the judge not to make a motion for a new trial, as any attempt to delay the execution of the law would cause


Pope's attorney, in his application for a respite, presents the affidavits of nine men will positively swear as to his whereabouts on the day the crime was committed. These men are all, save one, white, and are men of undoubted character. So positive is their testimony, and so many other circumstances have arisen to corroborate that they swear that it is almost impossible for any one to weigh the situation for a moment and not come to the conclusion that


as to Pope's guilt. The order goes on to says [sic] that no affidavit has since been made to show that Miss Kendrick had no idea of the appearance of her assailant—that she had given different descriptions of him, and that she had heard from members of her family and from others descriptions of Henry Pope, and declarations that he was the guilty party had been made, before and after his capture, in her hearing. Was she then mistaken in her identification? There is no conceivable motive to induce the nine men to perjure themselves, and it is absolutely inconceivable that these white citizens of Alabama should have left their homes and traveled forty and fifty miles to testify falsely to shield a negro in whom


from the consequences of a horrible and dastardly crime. * * * * * * In order, therefore, that further investigation may be made, and time afforded for an extraordinary investigation, as to the guilt of Henry Pope, he is respited until September 2nd, 1887."

Pope will likely remain in the Fulton county jail until the matter is decided, as it will be unsafe to carry him back to Chattooga, as public indignation would undoubtedly cause him to be lynched. Pope was ordered to be removed to Atlanta by Judge Maddox, who will no doubt see to it that he is safely confined until the mystery can be cleared away.

July 1, 1887:


Review of the Case Against Pope in Chattooga County.


The Testimony that Pope was in Alabama on the Same Day—A Hard Case to Decide, Etc., Etc.

SUMMERVILLE, Ga., June 30.—[Special.]—The respite given Henry Pope the convicted rapist, and his removal to Atlanta jail for safe keeping gives satisfaction to many, yet public sentiment is very much divided with regard to the guilt or innocence of Pope. Your correspondent --- yet heard a single man assert ----- ----- him innocent, while there are ----- --- as to his guilt.


Your correspondent was present at the trial, and heard every syllable of the testimony, pro and con, and is now by no means satisfied as to the truth of the matter. Pope may be guilty, he may be innocent. That Miss Kendrick believes he is the man, and was honest in identifying him as the guilty wretch no one doubts. The great nervous shock that the sight of the prisoner produced upon her when he was first brought  into her presence at the jail for identification, was sufficient to convince all present that unquestionably he is the right man; had she not uttered a word, a simple glance at this young lady would have sufficed to carry conviction to the heart of all that Henry Pope, alias Pope Glenn, was guilty of this offense. An indignant public, outraged beyond description, felt that the life of the vile wretch should speedily atone for the crime. If he had been lynched very few would have been surprised, but the prompt action of Judge Maddox in calling a special term of court, and placing a strong guard at the jail, together with a deep sense of regard for law and order by all good citizens, perhaps,


 from a fate that at one time seemed inevitable, but by the time the court convened the people generally were in favor of giving the prisoner a fair and impartial trial. Wesley Shropshire, Jr., was appointed by Judge Maddox to represent the prisoner; Clementz, solicitor general, Judge Bellah and W. M. Henry for the state. An exceptionally good jury was soon made up and the case was prosecuted and defended with that ability and fairness that is characteristic of the members of the Chattooga bar.


Miss Kendrick was the first witness for the state, and affirmed most positively that Pope was the negro that committed the outrage; that she knew him on sight, and that she certainlywas not mistaken. Various other witnesses were introduced, one or two of whom were positive that they saw Pope in the county about the 30th of January; others that they saw a negro that so closely resembled the prisoner that they believed him to be the same man.

The defendants council [sic] introduced nine witnesses from Rock Run, Ala., eight whites and one colored. Mr. Rosser, a merchant, exhibited his books, and stated that he sold Pope an ax on Sunday the 30th of January, and charged it in Saturday's sales. Two other witnesses were positive that they saw Pope on Thursday, the 3rd of February, the day the crime was committed in Chattooga, 35 miles away. The other Alabama testimony was to the effect that Pope was at work there about that time. The jury were out for twelve hours, standing on first ballot, nine guilty, and three guilty, with recommendation to mercy. The minority finally succumbed to the majority. When a verdict of guilty was returned, Pope was immediately


on the first day of July, Judge Maddox Fuller, realizing that "short metre" should be observed, otherwise a lynching might be the result. Public sentiment was now changed materially. No one seemed satisfied that Pope was not guilty, and felt that further investigation was necessary, while a great many familiar with the fact that sixteen negroes had been carried before Miss Kendrick, in good faith, for identification, all of whom, without the least hesitancy, exonerated with the words, "he is not the man," were satisfied to stand upon her testimony, with its support of other witnesses. In the face of the world, she instantly identifies him as the bile perpetrator of this infamous, outrage,  and asserts most emphatically that Henry Pope is the man. The fact that under cross-examination the defendant's Alabama witnesses could not state where they were and what they were doing on any date other than the 3d of February, and all remembered Pope in connection with the death of a mule belonging to George Hite, and could only name one or two other being there at that time had a tendency to cause some to regard their testimony with suspicion. Since court adjourned defendant's counsel, accompanied by J. N. Rush, of Summerville, made a trip to Alabama for the purpose of ascertaining the 


and to discover some new facts if possible pertaining to the case. They returned without any new testimony, but with the certificates of the county officers of Cherokee county and several attorneys of the Centre bar, certifying that the standing and credit of the witnesses was good.

Defendant's counsel started at once  for Atlanta, and laid before Governor Gordon all papers with the record of the case, and ask that the prisoner be respited.

Judge Maddox, with his family were at Cumberland Island at this time, when the governor telegraphed him at Brunswick to come to Atlanta at once. The judge had left Brunswick and missed the dispatch, but stopped at the Markham upon his return for the night, where he was found and notified by the governor's private secretary that the governor desired to see him, where he at once repaired to the governor's mansion, at the instance of the governor alone, and not upon his own motion, as the article in Sunday's CONSTITUTION implies.

Pope's admission since his arrest show him to be a very bad negro, but whether he is guilty of the offense of rape, I am unable to say.

July 11, 1887:


The Chattooga Rapist Declares His Innocence.


An Interview with Henry Pope, Accused of Outraging Mamie Kenrick—The Prisoner Now Confined in Fulton Jail.

Henry Pope, the Chattooga county rapist, under sentence of death for outraging 16-year-old Mamie Kendrick, has been confined in Fulton county jail for the past two weeks. The crime of which Pope had been convicted was such a heinous one, that he was only prevented from being lynched by the indignant mob, by the solemn promise of Judge Maddox that a special term of the superior court would be convened to try him.

The court was immediately convened and Pope was placed on trial for his life. The peculiarities of the case were remarkable. The victim of the outrage was placed upon the stand for the purpose of identifying the prisoner which she did without hesitation, and the jury convicted Pope, notwithstanding that eight reputable white men and one negro, testified that he was one hundred miles away, in another state, on the day the crime was alleged to have been committed.

The judge, for prudential reasons, persuaded the man's counsel


though several excellent reasons existed why a new trial should be granted. It was feared that if any delay took place the mob would hang him. Pope was therefore sentenced to hand on July 1.

His counsel and the presiding judge finding out that an error had been committed, and also believing that grave doubts existed as to Pope's guilt, began to importune the governor for a respite. The man had such a strong case, and had not been permitted to exhaust all the legal remedies that could have been used in his behalf, that Governor Gordon could not do other than respite him, and he was accordingly respited until the first Friday in September, 1887.

Pope was brought to Atlanta for safe keeping and has been here since July first. A few days ago a CONSTITUTION reporter went to the county jail for the purpose of talking with the prisoner.

"That's him," said a turnkey in the county jail yesterday afternoon to a reporter who he had piloted through the cells and corridors of that dismal abode.

The "him" referred to was Pope.

Pope was sitting upon a box in his cell. 

When the reporter entered the culprit arose and offered him the seat he had occupied. He did not look like a man soon to expiate a horrible crime upon the gallows; did not appear frightened or perturbed; did not, in fact, look like a criminal.

If Pope is guilty, then he is a consummate actor, for it would tax the art of a Boothe or Irving to so naturally simulate innocence.

The condemned man is a fine specimen physically. He is just six feet tall, well proportioned, and does not possess an ounce of surplus flesh. He is a rather bright mulatto, and evidently is more than usually intelligent. To the reporter he talked volubly. To relate, with minute particularity, his daily and nightly goings-in and comings-out over a period covering several weeks preceding the day upon which the crime was committed, would require too much space. If Pope's story could be proved he would be able to establish an alibi, but, on the trial he tried to do so, backed by six or eight witnesses, and utterly failed.

"The day when the crime was committed," said the prisoner, "I was forty miles from where it happened. How, then," he asked, with emotion, "could I have done it?"

"You persist in your statement that you are innocent?"

"Yes sir, I do; for know I am as innocent as a new-born babe. When I was arrested I did not know what I was charged with."

"How about your trial?"

"Well, I suppose I was fairly tried, but I was


The young lady was the only witness against me. She swore that I was the one that outraged her, and she stuck to it. Nothing could make her change. She said she was certain of it. That's what convicted me. The jury thought she could not be mistaken in identifying me as the man that outraged her."

Pope talked cheerfully and seemed to expect that in some way he would be saved.

It is understood that his lawyers are now making an effort to get a new trial. they will have nearly two months in which to work, for the governor has respited Pope until 2d day of September.

July 24, 1887:

A motion for a new trial for Henry Pope who was convicted in Chattooga county, for raping Miss Kendrick, will be argued before Judge Maddox on August 9th, at Cedartown. If a new trial is granted, he will be tried at the September term of Chattooga court.

August 2, 1887:

Henry Pope's Case.

From the Chattooga, Ga., News.

Some of the lawyers in town say that Judge Maddox has no authority to hear a motion for a new trial in the Pope case, except during a regular term of court held at this place. If this is true, Pope will have to be respited again if he is to have a chance for a new trial, as he is only respited until September 2d, and court does not commence here until after that date. This is the opinion of one of our leading lawyers, but the court and the lawyers sometimes disagree.

August 19, 1887:


Another Man Arrested for the Crime Charged Against Him.


Was to Have Been Hanged on July 8—A Respite Granted Until September—Probability that He is Innocent.

. . .


Now comes the sequel.

In Thursday's CONSTITUTION the arrest of a negro in Kentucky was announced. This negro is now believed to be Miss Kendrick's assailant, and indeed, it is said, has confessed the crime.

The latest find was formerly a resident of Chattooga county. Immediately after the assault upon Miss Kendrick this man left for parts unknown, first confessing his crime to his wife. A few days ago he was found in Kentucky and now lies in the jail at Somerset, awaiting a requisition. People in Chattooga firmly believe that they have now got the right man.

If this is true, the horrid visions of the gallows will be swept from before Henry Pope's eyes, and he will soon be a free man.

Had Governor Gordon failed to grant the respite, an innocent man would have been hung.

October 29, 1887:


What Was Done In The Departments Yesterday.


The News Gathered from State and Custom House Yesterday—Cremation of Georgia State Bonds.

. . .

THE RESPITE HERETOFORE granted to Henry Pope, who was convicted of rape in Chattooga county and sentenced to be hung, has been extended for a period of ninety days, the previous respite expiring on the second of November. The prisoner is confined in Fulton county jail and was granted a new trial at the last term of the superior court of Chattooga county and will thus have another opportunity for proving his innocence,

. . .

April 30, 1888:


Granted in the Famous Henry Pope Case.

Additional Affidavits Going to Prove That the Negro Was in Alabama at the Time of the Crime.

The negro Henry Pope, who is now in jail in Chattooga county under a sentence of death for criminal assault upon Minnie Kendrick, a sixteen-year-old white girl of the county, will not be hanged next Wednesday as announced.

Governor Gordon has, it is understood, respited him.

It will be remembered that at his trial about a year ago, eight white men swore that Henry Pope was in Alabama at the time the crime is alleged to have been committed. Minnie Kendrick, however, testified that Henry Pope was the man who outraged her. He was convicted.

Threats were made during the trial that Pope would be lynched if he was not convicted. The prisoner was brought to Fulton county jail for safe keeping. A string petition signed by the judge and jury was sent to Governor Gordon asking for a commutation of the sentence of death. The governor did not commute the sentence, but respited Pope from time to time. Last night strong pressure was brought to bear upon Governor Gordon in the form of a number of additional affidavits, accompanied by powerful proof of the reliability and disinterestedness of the affidavits, going to prove an alibi in Pope's case, and asking that he be respited. Upon this strong showing Governor Gordon granted the respite. It is understood that Pope will be brought to Atlanta for safe keeping.

May 2, 1888:


The Terrible Fate of the Chattooga County Negro 

To Whom Governor Gordon Granted a Respite on Saturday—Hanged From the Courthouse.

Henry Pope, the Chattooga county negro who was to have been hanged today, but who was granted a respite by Governor Gordon, was lynched by a mob at Summerville.

The first intimation of the terrible fate of the condemned man reached the city about nine o'clock yesterday. It came int he shape of a telegram to Governor Gordon from Colonel Towers, principal keeper of the penitentiary, in which the mere fact that Pope had been lynched was recited.

The telegram created intense excitement.

It was known that the feeling in Chattooga county was intense against Pope. He had been twice tried and twice convicted of a terrible crime, and although there was strong proof of an alibi, the people generally thought him guilty.

The testimony tending to prove an alibi was very strong—strong enough to warrant Governor Gordon in granting another respite. The formal order granting the respite was issued Saturday evening and was placed in the hands of the principal keeper of the penitentiary.

Colonel Towers was expected in Atlanta, on Monday night, but he did not come. Fears were expressed for his safety and the safety of his prisoner, and so far as the latter is concerned the fears were well founded.

Yesterday morning shortly after midnight, Henry Pope was taken from the Chattooga county jail, and was hanged from the banisters of the courthouse.

The story of the lynching comes from Sheriff Moore, of Floyd county.

Story of the Lynching.

ROME, Ga., May 1,—[Special.]—Henry Pope, who outraged Miss Kendrick, in Chattooga county, who has been twice tried and found guilty, and has been twice respited by Governor Gordon, was lynched at Summerville a little before 2 o'clock this morning.

Armed with the governor's respite, Colonel Towers, principal keeper of the penitentiary, arrived in Rome yesterday morning. He at once sought Sheriff Jake C. Moore, and appointed him his agent to go to Summerville and bring Pope to Rome, where Colonel Towers would take charge of him.

Sheriff Moore, who, by the way, is young, full of grit and courage, yet cautious and prudent, and is considered the best sheriff in north Georgia, did not hesitate a moment. He selected Mr. Charlie Randall, a young man of fine courage, yet very discreet, to accompany him, and with a colored driver the two entered a hack at 2 o'clock yesterday evening, and at once started for Summerville. I will give the rest of the story in


in an interview after his return. He said:

"We arrived at Summerville about half-past eight. The night was very dark, and it was raining. Travel was difficult, and immediately upon arriving at Summerville, leaving Mr. Randall and the colored driver in the hack, I went to Judge Maddox's house to consult with him in accordance with my instructions. Let me state here that news of Governor Gordon's action in respiting Pope had reached Summerville two hours ahead of us, parties in Rome having read an account of it in THE CONSTITUTION. However, Judge Maddox had not heard of it, and seemed very much surprised when I informed him. Judge Maddox was very anxious that there should be no trouble, and was eager to assist me in every possible way. In fact, Sheriff Worham and his deputy and all the officers were anxious to aid me, and to prevent any disturbance.

"Judge Maddox said he thought it best that no attempt be made to take Pope away that night; that it would be almost impossible to do so with safety. The night being so dark we would necessarily be compelled to travel very slowly. He thought no one would interfere with us in broad daylight and advised us to


He said he would meet me at the jail at sunrise with two guards to accompany us, and would himself go with us as far as Taylor's ridge, five miles from Summerville.

"Having told our driver to take the hack to the livery stable and state that it was a drummer's turnout, I sent for Sheriff Worsham, and he agreed with Judge Maddox that it was best to wait until morning. We then went to the hotel and ate supper. At about 11 o'clock Randall and I retired.

"We had observed no undue excitement.

"We didn't then know that news of the respite had reached Chattooga county ahead of us and we apprehended no trouble.

"At about 2 o'clock we were awakened by Sheriff Worsham, who was very much excited. He said a mob had


He said a crowd of about fifty masked or disguised men had come to the jail a short while before. He was sleeping in a room in the jail building, when he was awakened by a noise. He found the door fastened and guarded from without, and ten or fifteen men were in the jail and demanded of the jailer the keys, and also the rope that had been purchased a few days before for the purpose of hanging Pope.

"There was no alternative but to comply. Everybody was ordered to keep quiet, an injunction which was quickly obeyed. The rope was placed about Pope's neck, lights in the jail were extinguished, and he was taken to the courthouse, about forty yards distant. Here he was carried up the steps in front of the building, and when the party arrived, and landing at the head of the steps, one end of the rope was fastened to the banisters, and it is supposed, Pope was thrown from the landing.

"Sheriff Worsham further stated that


were standing at every corner. He asked what we had better do, and I said send for Judge Maddox. We soon afterwards went to the courthouse where we found Judge Maddox, a doctor and a crowd of citizens, who had in the meantime assembled. The body had been cut down as soon as Judge Maddox arrived, he and Sheriff Worsham assisting. Pope's neck was not broken.

"At this time there was little excitement on the streets, although numbers of men were walking in all directions. We left Summerville at 5 o'clock this morning and arrived in Rome at 10 o'clock."


Having given Sheriff Moore's statement, it is but proper to add that he was ready, willing and anxious to bring Pope back alive and carry out the governor's orders, but no bravery and no foresight could have prevented the lynching. The sheriff and other officers of Chattooga county were anxious to prevent this lynching and no blame rest on them. To Judge Maddox belong the highest meed of praise. For more than a year he has stood between Pope and mob violence at great personal risk and at the expense of his popularity with some of the people of his country he has heroically protected Pope against those who clamored for his blood. The lynching this morning is a source of keen regret to him. The people of Chattooga were almost unanimous in believing Pope guilty. The crime with which he was charged was a heinous and terrible one, and while a great many good people of the county regret the triumph of mob law, yet nearly all feel that Henry Pope deserved his fate. At the same time it is conceded that Governor Gordon's action was based on what to him seemed sufficient grounds and that he acted with the best of motives.

Sheriff Moore says that Pope was one of the finest specimens of man he ever saw. He was six feet  three inches tall, weighed 100 pounds, was a bright mulatto with a roman nose and features like a white man—a face once seen readily remembered.


Henry Pope was twice convicted of a criminal assault upon the person of Miss Minnie Kendrick, a sixteen year old white girl who lives near Summerville, in Chattooga county. The crime was committed on Saturday, February 3, 1887.

Miss Kendrick was at the time on her way from her home to the home of a neighbor, and on the way had to pass through some woods. This was the scene of the assault. As soon as the girl escaped she told the story of the terrible crime and the country was searched for miles around. At different times several negroes were arrested, but although several seemed to answer to the girl's description, she declared that none of these were her assailant.

On May 4th of the same year Henry Pope was arrested in Cherokee county, Alabama, and on the 17th of the same month he was brought to Georgia upon a requisition. He was taken to Summerville, and was at once pointed out by Miss Kendrick as the man who had outraged her. She selected Pope out of a crowd of forty or fifty negroes, and has upon all the different trials been positive in her declarations that he was the man.

The indignation of the people of the county was so great that a special guard was detailed to watch over Pope. Judge Maddox, who then and since has stood between the prisoner and the mob, appeased the indignation by calling a special session of the superior court to try the case. this court met on May 9th, 1887. pope was convicted and was sentenced to be executed on the first of July.

Colonel Wesley Shropshire was attorney for the defendant, and upon the advice of the court did not move a new trial; but arming himself with affidavits from Alabama citizens who swore that Pope was, on the day the assault was committed, in Cherokee county, Alabama, about thirty miles from the scene of the assault, the attorney applied to the governor for a stay of execution. On June 28th the governor granted a respite until September 2d, and on August 29th this was extended until November 4th.

Pending this respite a new trial was granted Pope. This trial was held in the first week of March this year, and Pope was again convicted. This time he was sentenced to hang on the second of May, today.

A further respite was petitioned for. this was backed by strong affidavits tending to prove an alibi, and on Saturday evening last this third respite was granted.


The governor acted upon the testimony involved int he affidavits five gentlemen—Robert L. Bedwell, I. P. Rosser, Calvin Kite, George F, Morrison and Marion Downey.

Mr. Bedwell swears, in his affidavit, that from January 26, 1887, to February 2, 1887, Sundays excepted, Pope worked continuously for him (Bedwell,) and that during that time chopped fifty-two cords of wood.

Mr. Rosser swears that at his store, forty miles from the place where the crime was committed, he sold Pope an ax on the 30th of January, 1887.

Calvin Kite swears that he saw Pope at his home in Cherokee county on January 31, February 1, February 2 and February 3, the latter being the day upon which the crime was committed, and further, that he (Kite) was with Pope at least an hour in the morning and evening of the 3d of February.

Mr. Morrison swears that at 10 or 11 a.m., on the 2d of February, he saw Pope one and a half miles northeast of Coloma, in Cherokee county, about fifty-three miles from the place where the crime was committed.

Mr. Downey swears that he was chopping wood near Pope, and saw him in the coaling on the 2d and 3d of February, 1887, fifty miles from the place where the crime was committed.

Accompanying these affidavits was the certificate of the clerk of the court, chancellor, county superintendent of education, postmaster at Centre, county treasurer, probate judge, and four respectable merchants. This certificate states that all these men knew the five gentlemen—Bedwell, Rosser, Kite, Morrison and Downey; that they knew them to be "men of the very best character, who stand high as citizens of worth and respectability. and whose statements can be implicitly relied upon."


Pope occupied a cell in Fulton county jail several months. On several occasions he was visited by reporters of THE CONSTITUTION and he talked to them freely about the crime for which he was convicted. He asserted his innocence upon all occasions. He declared that he was in Alabama when the crime was committed, some thirty miles from the scene of the assault upon the young lady. He told his narrative in a straight forward way which convinced all who heard it that it was true. Jailer Poole said that he never had in the jail a prisoner who gave him less trouble than Pope.


There was a confession—but it did not come from Pope.

A negro named Henry Taylor was arrested in Kentucky for some minor crime and startled the people of Chattooga county by confessing to the crime of which Pope had been convicted. But Taylor proved to be a fraud. He was brought to Georgia and was taken to Summerville. He did not repeat his confession, and, as there was absolutely no testimony implicating him with the crime, he was set free.

He had confessed to the crime simply to be brought back to Georgia.


The fate of Pope cast a gloom about the capitol yesterday.

Governor Gordon had done all that could be done to save the man's life—had taken every precaution. The testimony in support of an alibi, augmented as it was by additional affidavits, was so strong that it was generally believed that Pope was an innocent man.

The lynching was a subject much discussed. The advices received from Rome during the day were very meager, and the fact that no particulars could be learned added to the anxiety and excitement.

Colonel Towers was expected in the city last night, but he did not get here. He left Rome during the afternoon, and doubtless stopped at his home in Marietta.

May 3, 1888:

COLONEL John R. Towers was in the city yesterday morning. He said that a battery could not have gotten Henry Pope out of Chattooga county.

This is the article that piqued my interest in this case. It comes from the May 11, 1888 edition of the Coosa River News:

Was He Innocent?

From the evidence developed just before and since the lynching and hanging of Henry Pope, by a mob, in Summerville, on the 27th ultimo, we are forced to the belief that this hanging can in no way be justified; on the contrary, that Pope was perfectly innocent of the heinous crime of which he was charged and consequently, the hanging was murder by a lawless mob.

Many distinguished and altogether reliable citizens of Cherokee county, Alabama, made affidavits before Judge R. R. Savage testifying to Pope's being in Cherokee county at the time of the commission of the crime. One of these, a Mr. I. P. Rosser, of Rock Run, Ala., wrote to Mr. John T. Stocks, one of Atlanta's best known business men, asking him to go at once to the governor "and tell him he can positively rely on our testimony; that you know us and we can't be mistaken about the date. Assure him that we have no interest in the matter, further than the interest of humanity goes; we know he is innocent. Tell about us; and I think you may be an important factor in saving an innocent man's life."

These men petitioned the governor to pardon Pope, and it was upon that petition the Governor was acting when the unfortunate man was forcibly taken from the custody of the officers of law and ruthlessly hanged by a lawless mob. Had Pope been guilty, hanging would have been to good for him, but he was innocent, as has been proven by the testimony of these reliable men, but, as we are informed, by the recent confessions of another negro.

This is another strong evidence that men should "think before they act." These lynchings are becoming too frequently and should be put a stop to. The laws should be rigorously enforced against all such violators and condign punishment meted out to them. . .

January 23, 1889:


The Reward for the Capture of Henry Pope is Variously Claimed.

The case of Henry Pope, colored, who was twice convicted, once respited, and finally lynched at Summerville for assaulting a little white girl in Chattooga county about two years ago is well remembered.

The case has long since become a criminal chestnut.

But the reward of $500 which was offered by the governor for the arrest of Pope with proof to convict is still a lively issue.

It seems that there is a small army of claimants for this reward, some of whom would like to have it all, and all of whom would like to have at least some of it.

Governor Gordon heard argument[s] by several attorneys yesterday in behalf of these claimants.

Judge Branham of Rome, and Hon. Hubert Culberson appeared before Judge J. M. Bellah and the Garners, the Summerville claimants. Messrs. W. C. Miller and C. B. Means, railroad contractors, were represented by Spiers and McAfee, and Bigby and Dorsey looked after the interest of Mr. W. J. Allen.

The Garners arrested Henry Pope in the vicinity of Gadsden, Ala., but found some trouble in handling the big mulatto desperado, and called Mr. W. J. Allen to assist them in tying him up. They turned Pope over to the sheriff of Chattooga county and Allen took a receipt for the prisoner.

Miller and Means, the contractors, claim that the Garners were working for them—that they armed them and gave them the time from their daily labors to capture Pope, and Judge Bellah, who was the solicitor at that time, says that he furnished the evidence upon which Pope was convicted.

There are just six men who claim the reward.

Governor Gordon listened patiently to the claims and counter claims and took the matter under advisement.

He will thoroughly consider the complex question and render his decision probably today.

January 25, 1889:

Yesterday Governor Gordon announced his decision in reference to the reward offered for Henry Pope.

At the time the crime was committed the name of the perpetrator was unknown.

The reward of $500 was offered for the apprehension of the person who committed the outrage upon Miss Kendrick and his delivery to the sheriff of Chattooga county with proof to convict.

The reward was apportioned as follows:  To W. C. Miller and C. B. Means, jointly $212; to the negroes John and A. J. Garner, jointly $70; to W. J. Allen, who assisted at the arrest, $70; and to Judge J. C. Bellah, who furnished the proof to convict, $148.

The Garners were employes of Miller and Means, railroad contractors, who sent them to search for the guilty man.

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


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