Thursday, October 1, 2015

July 13, 1893: Allen Butler

Today we learn about a lynching in Illinois through the pages of The Cincinnati Enquirer (Cincinnati, Ohio) dated July 15, 1893:


Intended To Lynch Both,

But the Night Was Too Short For the Work.

Allen Butler, a Wealthy Colored Man, Strung Up,

While His Son, the Assailant of a Young White Girl, Barely Escaped the Rope.


VINCENNES, IND., July 14.—Allen Butler, a wealthy colored man of Lawrence County, Illinois, was found hanging by the neck dead at an early hour yesterday morning, and it is believed he was hanged by a mob. He had a white girl about 15 years of age working for him for some time.

His son became intimate with the girl, and when she was found to be in a delicate condition it is alleged that Allen Butler, who was a horse doctor, performed an abortion and gave her money to leave; but she was intercepted at Paris, Ill., Tuesday, and brought back.

She told the story of her downfall, and Butler and his son


They waived examination and were bound over until to-day. The boy could not give bail, and was placed in jail. The feeling against the two was strong from the moment that the terrible charges were made against them. The report spread, and soon there was talk of a mob in Sumner and around the home of Butler.

By night the feeling was so intense that a lynching was expected. Yesterday morning Allen Butler's body was found hanging to a limb of a tree near his home. That he was taken out and lynched by a mob last night is not the least doubted at Larewnceville or Sumner. The belief is strengthened by the fact that a mob of


Was seen within a few miles of Lawrenceville yesterday dawn. When daylight came the crowd dispersed. There is an ominous silence about the matter around Sumner, which gives strength to the belief that the colored man was dragged from his bed and hanged, and that the mob, having avenged themselves upon the father, who performed the operation, they had started to Lawrenceville to take the son, who had seduced the young girl, and hang him, and thus satisfy their wrath upon both men in one night. The night was too short for two such jobs, or the young fellow would have died with a rope around his neck, as did his father. The prisoner was taken out of jail to-day and hustled off to Robinson for safe keeping.

Another article comes to us from the Dixon Evening Telegraph (Dixon, Illinois) dated July 17, 1893:


A Question That Is Interesting People of an Illinois County.

VINCENNES, Ind., July 17.—Lawrence county, Ill., is still excited over the death of Allen Butler, who at first was supposed to have been lynched. It is now believed to be a case of suicide and that Butler was led to self-destruction by remorse over the deed with which he was charged. Allen Butler was one of the most prominent and heretofore respected colored citizens of Lawrence county. He and his son William were arrested for procuring an operation upon the person of Ida Elkins, a young white girl not yet 15 years old.

The time for preliminary examination was set, but the old man, who has for twenty-five years been looked upon as a model man in whom everybody had confidence, could not face the law, and about daylight went out near his barn and taking some binding twine made a rope, throwing one end over a limb of a cottonwood tree and hanged himself. The Elkins girl had been living in his family for three years. Butler confessed to S. C. Lewis, an attorney, that he was guilty as charged; also that he had been having intercourse with the girl for a year past.

There is still a feeling, however, in Lawrence county that Allen Butler was lynched after a confession had been forced from him by the mob. Many disbelieve the suicide story, and declare that it was simply started to cover the disgrace of a lynching. Butler was a farmer, a doctor, a preacher, and was very wealthy.

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

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