Friday, May 22, 2015

May 22, 1898: Joe Mitchell and May 22, 1901: John Williamson and Milton Calvert

Our first lynching is brought to us by The Paducah Evening Sun (Paducah, Kentucky) dated May 23, 1898:


Joe Mitchell Hung by a Mob at Rives, Tenn.—Accused of Shoving Henry Garner Off a Train.

Caught at Newbern and Seized While En Route to Union City, Claimed He Was Not the Guilty Man.

Joe Mitchell, a well known colored brakeman on the Illinois Central, was lynched at Rives, Tenn., last night by a mob. Mitchell lived on North Twelfth street, in this city, and leaves a wife.

It was for the alleged death of a young, white tramp, who was run over by a train near Dyersburg, Tenn., and had both legs cut off, dying a short time after the amputation of the members. It is said that the lynching was a cold-blooded murder, as Mitchell had nothing to do with throwing the tramp off the train, which the tramp, in an antemortem statement, claimed he did. The conductor substantiates the negro, and the train men say Mitchell was not where he could have thrown the man off.

He was arrested and was being taken to Union City, the county seat, when a mob took charge of him at Rives, and quickly strung him up. The news soon reached this city, and the man's wife was notified of his death.

The name of the tramp was Henry Gardner, of Dyersburg. He had climbed aboard the train to ride home and was on top of the car when shoved off, or he fell off, whichever it was. The horrible accident occurred near the depot, and when picked up his right leg was cut off below the knee and the other above the knee. He soon died, but when found was conscious and told the manner of his death, and claimed that Mitchell pushed him off the train. A telegram was sent to Newbern to intercept the head brakeman, Mitchell, and he was caught there. He was en route to Union City in charge of officers  to be jailed and tried, when a small mob appeared at the depot at Rives, where the officers and prisoner were seated, and demanded custody of him to be dealt with as he should be for his crime. The officers declined to give him up at first, but the mob threatened to fire the depot and then riddled the man with bullets as he escaped. It was then that they wrested him from the officers and started outside with him. A rope was ready, and without giving him time to pray, they swung him up to a tree near the depot, and he was still hanging there at daylight.

The mob is said to have been composed largely of Dyersburg men or men from Dyer county. Little noise was made during the whole proceeding. The time of lynching was about 11:30 last night.

Mitchell's remains arrived in the city this afternoon at 2 o'clock, and will be buried here tomorrow. He had been with the railroad company for a number of years.

Our next article found in The Iola Register (Iola, Kansas) dated May 23, 1901 features two lynchings:


Two Negroes Are Strung Up in Mississippi Last Night. 

By Scripps-McRae Press Association.

Memphis, Tenn., May 23.—News has reached here that Milton Calvert, colored, was lynched near Griffith and the John Williamson was lynched near Pheba, Mississippi because he refused to quit living with a white woman.

Milton Calvert was lynched for rape, in case you were wondering. Thank you for joining me and as always, I hope I leave you with something to ponder. 

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