Saturday, August 29, 2015

January 18, 1899: George Call and John Shaw

Today we learn about a Tennessee lynching through the pages of The Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia) dated January 19, 1899:


Lynching of Two Negroes at Lynchburg, Tenn.

Nashville, Tenn., January 18.—George Call, alias Toney, and John Shaw, alias Piglit, negroes, both of bad reputation in the community, were shot and killed by unknown persons at Lynchburg last night. Their bodies were found at an early hour on Poplar street. Call was shot twice through the heart, and Shaw five times through the head and body. both had served terms in the penitentiary for robbery, and some time ago they were whipped by whitecaps and run out of town, but returned. Each was about eighteen years old. A cotton rope was found around the neck of each.

A more in depth article comes to us through the January 19, 1899 edition of The Times (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania):


A Mob of Tennessee Farmers Hanged Desperadoes.

Special Telegram to THE TIMES.

Chattanooga, Tenn., January 18.

News Reached Chattanooga this afternoon of a double lynching which occurred early this morning at Lynchburg, Tenn. Some two years ago George Call, alias Gill Toney, and John Shaw, alias Wright, colored were convicted of robbery and attempted murder. They were given terms in the Penitentiary, but after serving a few months were pardoned. Both were desperate men and upon their return to Lynchburg terrorized the neighborhood to such an extent that ladies were afraid to venture out after nightfall. During the past month numerous robberies have been committed in and about Lynchburg. Several days ago two negroes entered and robbed the homes of several farmers residing near the town. The negroes were suspected and were taken out and severely thrashed by Whitecaps. Monday night another house was broken into and a lady struck on the head by one of the robbers. The negroes entered their hut and defied the officers of the law. The lady is now in a precarious condition.

This morning about 1 o'clock a mob of one hundred masked farmers rode up to the negroes' cabin. They surrounded the house and, after firing a few shots, made Call and Shaw prisoners. The leader of the band told the negroes to prepare for death, at the same time exhibiting a rops. The cowering culprits screamed and pleaded for mercy. They were dragged at the end of ropes to poplar street, in the centre of town,where speedy preparations were made to hang them to a lamp-post.

During this time the negroes were struggling for their lives, praying and appealing to the mob to spare them. While the men were being hoisted to the top of the lamp-post Shaw fought desperately. Securing a knife from his pocket he cut the rope above his neck and as he fell the mob fired a volley, killing both men instantly. An inquest was held over the remains to-day. The verdict was that they came to their death at hands of unknown parties.

The first article I read came from The Indianapolis News and the body of the article read exactly the same as did The Atlanta Constitution's article. The headlines, however, never used the word lynched. This is why I do not rely on the articles wording to decide if I should feature a lynching, but instead if I find it on  the lynching lists and it meets the definition of lynching. Thank you for joining me and as always, I hope I leave you with something to ponder.

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