Sunday, October 11, 2015

April 19, 1888: Isaac and Puss Kirk

Today we learn about a double lynching in Tennessee through the pages of The Daily Democrat (Huntington, Indiana) dated April 20, 1888:


A Man and His Wife Murdered by a Mob.

GALLATIN, Tenn., April 20.—A horrible double lynching took place near this place last night. Isaac kirk and his wife, Puss kirk, both colored, were taken from their cabin about five miles from Gallatin by a mob and murdered. The woman was hanged and the man shot through the brain. Some time ago John Kerley's country residence was burned to the ground, with the entire contents. Suspicion has pointed to Puss Kirk as the perpetrator of the deed. However, this was only suspicion. [Isaac] Kirk was not suspected of having taken any part in the burning. It is thought by many that when the mob visited Kirk's cabin he recognized some of the party, and they killed him because they feared tha5t they would be exposed. The woman was discovered hanging in her night clothes and brought to Gallatin. Near the tree where she was hanging lay the body of her aged husband.

Another article comes to us by way of the Chicago daily Tribune (Chicago, Illinois) dated April 20, 1888:


A Colored Woman Hung by a Mob and Her Husband Shot. 

NASHVILLE, Tenn., April 19.—[Special.]—Isaac Kirk and his wife, Puss kirk, both colored, were taken from their home, six miles from Gallatin, Sumner County, at a late hour last night by a mob and put to death, the husband being shot and the woman hanged. James McCulloch arrived in Gallatin this morning and informed the Coroner that while riding to town he had observed the body of a woman suspended from a tree at an old graveyard. The Coroner at once summoned a number of citizens, who, upon proceeding to the place indicated by Mr. McCulloch, discovered the corpse, which was identified as that of Mrs. Kirk. After a brief search in the vicinity the body of Kirk was found. He had been shot through the head several times and death must have been instantaneous. An inquest was held and the jury returned a verdict that Kirk and his wife had come to their death at the hands of persons unknown. The bodies were removed, and will be given decent burial. Some weeks ago the residence of John Kearley, near Gallatin, was destroyed by fire, and an examination of the premises led to the belief that the fire was the act of an incendiary. Suspicion was directed to Kirk and his wife, and it is supposed that conclusive proof of their guilt was secured. During the last few months there have been several fires in the vicinity of Gallatin, and the people were much aroused in consequence.

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

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