Wednesday, October 21, 2015

September 30, 1885: Sampson Harris

Today we learn about a Louisiana lynching through the pages of the Reading Times (Reading, Pennsylvania) dated October 12, 1885:

LOUISIANA LYNCHERS

Four of Them Taken Into Custody for the Murder of a Negro—They Will Be Tried at New Orleans.

NEW ORLEANS, Oct. 11.—A special from Arcadia, La., says:  On the 30th of September, at a point 82 miles south of this place, near the line of Winn Parish, four masked and unknown men entered the house of Sampson Harris, colored, on the pretense of looking for another man, but it is reported on entering the house one of the four men seized Harris, saying, "You are the man we want," and shot him twice, inflicting wounds from which he died. It is reported that Harris was killed because he had threatened to expose certain persons for whipping some negroes in that neighborhood. This affair of whipping the negroes caused great indignation on the part of many white people in the neighborhood.

The whipping of the negroes and the murder were reported to the Governor, who instructed Judge Drew to cause the arrest of the persons under suspicion and the warrants were issued here last week. H. R. Ferguson, deputy sheriff, with 3 other men arrested the four men alleged to have been concerned in the murder of Harris and brought them here to-day. Their trial will take place here on Monday before Judge Drew. The prisoners were kept in lockup here until this evening when they were taken to Minden for safety. It appears from reports that about ten men in all were concerned in the affair of the whipping and murder of Harris.


The New York times (New York, N. Y.) dated October 15, 1885:

ASSAULTS ON NEGROES.

OUTRAGES COMMITTED BY MASKED MEN IN LOUISIANA.

NEW ORLEANS, Oct. 14.—Some weeks ago, as has already been reported, a series of outrages were perpetrated in the southern part of Bienville Parish and the northern part of Winn Parish, in this State, by a gang of masked men. Negroes were the victims, Sampson Harris having been killed by the gang and many others cruelly beaten. Harris was shot down in the presence of his family and at his own fireside. The Governor wrote to Judge Drew of that district to look into the matter, and as a result W. E. Pratt, B. F. Ratcliff, A Stringer, and J. W. Lucky were arrested. The accused had the most distinguished counsel in that section of the State, and to-day one was discharged and the three others released on a five-hundred-dollar peace bond to answer to charges of assault and battery. This was on account of inability on the part of the prosecution to find any one willing to testify against them.

Prominent citizens of that section deprecate these outrages, but they are afraid to take any active steps to prevent them and keep silent. No reason is assigned for this outbreak of bulldozing, as there is no political campaign now in progress, but it has been said that the negroes favored the prohibition movement, which is attracting attention in some parts of the State.


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

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