Monday, June 8, 2015

March 15, 1901: Ballie Crutchfield

Today we learn about a lynching of a woman for the crimes of her brother in Tennessee through the pages of The Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia) dated March 17, 1901:


Her Brother Was Chased Down but Managed to Escape.

Nashville, Tenn., March 16.—(Special.)—Ballie Crutchfield, a negro woman, was lynched by unknown men last night, the only cause being that she was suspected of having taken the money out of a pocketbook which was lost recently by a neighbor.

The pocketbook had come into the possession of the woman's brother and a mob undertook to lynch him several nights ago, but he broke away and escaped in the darkness. Last night the men visited the woman's home and after tying her hands behind her back, took her to the bridge over Lick creek. Here she was shot through the head and her lifeless body thrown into the stream, from which it was recovered today.

The coroner returned the usual verdict. The amount of money in the pocketbook was $120.

The tale is a bit more fleshed out by an article in The Scranton Republican (Scranton, Pennsylvania) dated March 18, 1901:


Horrible Crime Perpetrated by a Mob Enraged Over the Theft of a Pocketbook.

NASHVILLE, Tenn., March 16.—Much excitement prevails at Rome over the lynching last night of a negro woman named Ballie Crutchfield. A mob visited the home of William Vanderpool, where the woman was living and took her to the bridge over Round Lick creek a short district [sic] from the town. The woman's hands were tied behind her and after being shot through the head, her body was thrown into the creek. The body was recovered at 10 o'clock this morning and the coroner's jury returned a verdict to the effect that she met her death at the hands of unknown parties.

The lynching was the result of suspicion that she was in some way connected with the theft of a pocketbook containing $120, which was lost by Walton Sampson, a week ago. The purse was found on the ground by a negro boy who was on his way to return it to the owner when he was met by William Crutchfield, brother of the dead woman who induced the boy to give him the pocketbook upon the representation that the papers and other contents were of no value. Mr. Sampson had Crutchfield arrested and he was taken to the home of Squire Bains for safe keeping. About 9 o'clock that night a mob visited the residence of Squire Bains, and forcibly took Crutchfield from the custody of the sheriff.

The mob started with the negro to the place of execution when he succeeded in effecting his escape. This so enraged the members of the mob that they suspected Crutchfield's sister Ballie of being implicated in the theft, and last night's work was the culmination of that suspicion. The lynching took place between 11 o'clock and midnight.

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

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