Wednesday, December 30, 2015

September 15, 1880: Joe Ramsey, Archibald Jameson and Jack Bell

Today I thought it worthwhile to learn about the lynching that proceeded yesterday's lynching. We learn about this lynching through the pages of The New York Times (New York, N. Y.) dated September 16, 1880:




NASHVILLE, Tenn., September 15.—A Springfield special to the Banner states that at 12:45 o'clock this morning 70 men, armed with rifles, shot-guns and pistols, and disguised by white handkerchiefs fastened across their faces, entered the town by way of the Cedar Hill road, and, riding quietly to the jail halted in front of that institution and dismounted. The mob demanded the keys of the jail, and as Sheriff Batts could not be found, they at once proceeded to break open the doors, sledge hammers procured from a neighboring blacksmith's shop being used for that purpose. Thorough search was made for the Sheriff, all rooms connected with the jail being examined, but nothing was seen of him until after the departure of the mob. At 1 o'clock entrance was effected to the jail, and a rush was at once made for the cell occupied by Ramsey, who two months ago shot Miss Holt, residing 17 miles from Springfield, because she declined to marry him. Ramsey hid beside the door, where it was almost impossible to obtain access to him, and, being armed with the leg of a chair, struck at every person who tried to reach him. Finding they could not easily break into the cell, and thereby reach the prisoner, members of the mob threw pieces of burning paper into it, and aided by the light obtained therefrom, fired at the trembling and desperate man. Becoming enraged at the obstinacy of Ramsey, who declared he would never be taken alive, the mob tried to burn him out with coal-oil, but without success. Every opportunity offered of shooting at the prisoner was taken advantage of, and shot after shot was fired. One bullet struck him in the left leg, severing the femoral artery. This rendered him so weak that he soon fell to the floor, and was dragged outside, when one or two more shots finished him.

All this time Jack Bell and Archie Jameson, colored, who were arrested a few days ago on the charge of having murdered L. S. Leprade, residing 17 miles from Springfield, and brought to the jail for safe keeping, having been taken from their cells by the mob, were held near Ramsey's cell. As soon as Ramsey was pronounced dead, the mob placed Bell and Jameson on horses, and at 3 o'clock left Springfield, returning by the same road they came. After riding seven miles, the mob stopped near the residence of Mr. Cross and hanged the two terrified prisoners to dog-wood trees, one being suspended 75 yards from the other. The crowd seemed to have started from Springfield with the intention of reaching Saddlersville in time to hang Bell and Jameson with James Higgins, William Murphy, Lark Mallory, Thomas Small, Chess Mallory, and Andrew Duffy, all colored men, accused of complicity in the murder of Laprade, but were deterred from their purpose by the resistance given at the jail by Ramsey, who fought the mob for an hour and a half. It appears that approaching daylight warned them that they could not reach Saddlersville in time, so they determined to lynch the suspected murderers without further delay. As soon as the halt was made near Cross's place, the negroes were told to prepare for death, and were asked if they had anything to say. They confessed that they were guilty, and said that the six prisoners at Saddlersville were their accomplices. They were swung up without ceremony, and met death calmly. While this was in progress a horse belonging to one of the lynchers ran away, and while attempting to cross the railroad before a passenger train, fell and broke his neck. A piece of crape was placed over the face of Jameson before he was hanged. Contrary to usual custom, no shots were fired at the victims while they were being elevated between heaven and earth. After concluding their work the mob rode quietly away. At 7 o'clock this morning a lady passing along the road observed the corpses swinging, and at once informed the neighbors. The news soon reached Springfield, and a Coroner, accompanied by several citizens, proceeded to the spot, cut the bodies down, held an inquest, placed the corpses in a two-horse wagon, and drove back to town, reaching it at 1 o'clock this afternoon. The arrival of the bodies caused great excitement, and the undertaking establishment was visited by a large number of persons until late this afternoon, when the bodies were taken away. Bell and Jameson leave widows and families, together with unsavory reputations. An examination of the body of Ramsey showed that he received three bullets in the left leg, one in the breast, one in the shoulder, one in the face, one in the left hand, and two in other portions of the body.

The murder of Laprade was one of the most brutal ever committed in Tennessee. He was a wealthy bachelor, and lived near Saddlersville. The negroes went to his house and called him to the door. When he opened it they threw a rope over his neck and choked him so that he was unable to give any alarm. Then they hanged him twice, demanding his money all the time. He only had $5, and this he gave them. After they found that hanging would not accomplish their purpose, they took knives and mutilated his person, and caught hold of the rope and dragged him about his yard. After this they took an axe and broke his skull. They then threw his body into a sink-hole, where it was found a few days later. The way the body was found was through a negro's dream. He dreamed he was robbed, hanged, his person mutilated with a knife, and his body then thrown into a sink-hole.

Ramsey, who shot Miss Holt, got another man to call her to the gate, and while she was near it shot her in the breast with large shot. Both men fled. Ramsey was found in the woods and compelled to surrender at the points of pistols. His accomplice is still at large. Miss Holt, who was engaged to be married when she was wounded, was united in marriage to the lover of her choice a few days after the deed was committed. It is believed that she cannot recover.

The six negroes confined at Saddlersville were to have been tried to-day, but the authorities deemed it prudent to postpone the examination, and accordingly removed them to Springfield for safe keeping this evening. One of them, Higgins, was taken out by a mob several nights ago and forced to confess by having his feet horribly burned. The excitement is running high at Saddlersville and Springfield, and it is generally believed that the prisoners will be lynched before morning.

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

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

February 18, 1881: Loch Mallory, Lou Thweat (Lun Stell), Robert Thweat, James Elder and James Higgins

Today we learn about a Tennessee lynching through the pages of The Times (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) dated February 20, 1881:


Five Prisoners Taken from a Tennessee Court House and Promptly Lynched.


Nine Men in All Made to Suffer Death for Their Inhuman Crime.

Special Dispatch to THE TIMES.

NASHVILLE, February 19.

Never in the history of Tennessee has a murder been followed by such sure and bloody vengeance as that of farmer Laprade, near Springfield a few months ago. The circumstances of the crime were briefly these:  Laprade, who was a well-to-do and influential farmer and a miser, living near Springfield, sold his farm and received part of the purchase money. A gang of roughs in the neighborhood hearing that he had the money, joined in a plot to kill him. The murder was one of peculiar atrocity, and aroused the neighborhood to a great pitch of excitement. Two men, Jack Bell and Arch Jamieson, the latter colored, were believed guilty and promptly lynched September 15. Before their death they made sworn statements, which were written down by the mob. These statements implicated seven others, nearly all negroes. One of them, named James Higgins, was taken, and after torturing him by burning his feet horribly to make him disclose the story a confession was secured, which agreed with that of the others.


Higgins said that the party of nine went to Laprade's house on the night of September 8. Going in the rear of his dwelling, one of them knocked at the door, and imitating the voice of Laprade's brother asking admission, Laprade opened the door without thought of harm. The nine black fiends rushed in upon him, knocked him down and then demanded all his money. He gave them $5, saying that was all he had. this but enraged his assailants. Throwing a rope around his neck they dragged him around his grounds, hanged him to the limb of a tree repeatedly until he was almost unconscious, singed his body with torches and lacerated and mutilated him with knives in the endeavor to compel him to admit that he had concealed money, but always with the same result. Finally, made desperate by their repeated failures to extort from him the place of concealment of his supposed wealth, the demons proceeded to still more inhuman tortures. With the rope he was dragged about the yard and nameless outrages were committed upon his person. Finally his legs were cut and hacked and the tendons torn from their places from the knee down. Then his skull was crushed with an axe, after which the body was hidden under some bushes in a neighboring thicket and subsequently thrown into a sink-hole. Higgins in his confession gave the names of James Elder, Loch Mallory, Lou and Robert Thweat, Andrew Duffy and Bill Murphy. They were all arrested and thrust into jail. There was some talk of lynching them, but it quieted down as the time for their trial approached. on the 14th of the present month, however, about half-past ten at night, twenty-five mounted men rode into town, coming from the west, and proceeded to the jail. They came armed with guns, pistols, etc., and were evidently bent on taking the prisoners. They were addressed by Judge Stark and Attorney General Bell, who both urged the mob to desist, assuring them that the prisoners should have a fair and impartial trial, and if found guilty should be punished to the full extent of the law. They went off apparently satisfied, but to guard against accidents the troops were called out and placed on guard at the Court house. The trial began and the greatest interest was manifested. Murphy and Duffy turned State's evidence and were released last Thursday to return to their old haunts. This evidently excited the crowd, who feared that there might be some hitch by which the others might escape.


The trial of the remaining five prisoners—Loch Mallory, Lou and Robert Thweat, James Elder and James Higgins—was in progress all yesterday. Late last night it came to an end and Judge Stark delivered his charge to the jury. The prisoners were given to the Sheriff, who had got as far as the door with them when two hundred men, at a signal, sprang upon him, yelling like demons and firing pistols in the air. Taking the prisoners, the mob hurried to the second story of the Court House, put nooses, which were already prepared, around their necks and swung them out of the windows. They died without a struggle, except Jim Elder, who had to be thrown heavily to the floor, tied and then hanged. The crowd in the court room, which had been listening to the argument of the counsel, jumped from the windows to the ground and rushed in every direction. Hundreds of shots were fired, but none at the prisoners. The bodies were guarded by the mob until they were sure they were dead, when the leader gave orders to disperse. "My men, to your homes," said he, and they immediately departed, going in three directions. They came in on horses, but went to the Court House on foot and were not discovered until they met the prisoners at the door. No outsider was allowed to approach the scene until all were pronounced dead, and then it was announced that the man who cut them down did so at his peril.Higgins and Elder in their death struggle got their ropes twisted, and in the morning were found hanging as if by one rope.Citizens say the cause of the lynching was the release of Murphy and Duffy the night before. The latter returned to the scene of the crime, which greatly excited the neighborhood, where they were believed guilty.


After the lynching it was freely predicted that Duffy and Murphy would also be hanged before many hours. The mob divided and went in search of them. The predictions were not unwarranted. It now appears that one party rode off last night in the direction of the neighborhood where Laprade was murdered and came across Duffy. His body was found to-day, near Guthrie's, showing that he had shared the fate of his wretched accomplices at the Court House. It is also reported that Murphy, the other witness, and the last of the gang of black murderers, was caught and lynched. This makes nine men who have been lynched for the killing of Farmer Laprade. Twelve men have been lynched in Springfield in the last two years, two of whom—Sadler and Pierson—it is believed, were innocent. Ramsay was killed for shooting a young lady who is now alive, but the last nine it is thought, were guilty and deserved their fate. There is great excitement at Winchester also over the determination of a mob to lynch two prisoners charged with murder, and several companies of militia have been called out to protect the accused.

The State Senate this  morning unanimously adopted a resolution condemning the action of the mob at Springfield in taking prisoners from the custody of the court and putting them to death, and declaring that mobs must be suppressed if it takes the whole power of the State. The resolution calls upon the Governor to use all means for the arrest and punishment of the perpetrators of this crime, and promises the active co-operation of the Legislature.

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


Monday, December 28, 2015

July 12, 1880: Prentiss Nelms and Tom Konkey

Today we learn about a double lynching in Mississippi through the pages of The Saint Paul Globe (St. Paul, Minnesota) dated July 15, 1880:


MEMPHIS, Tenn., July 14.—About two months ago Rufus Armstead was assassinated near Horn Lake, Mississippi, by Nelms, colored, because Armstead's brother, when deputy sheriff of Desota county, Mississippi, a year ago killed Ned Nelms brother, who resisted arrest, having been charged with horse stealing. The assassination created indignation. Nelms, the murderer, was pursued to Tunica county bottoms, and together with his brother Prentiss Nelms and Tom Konkey, as accomplices, arrested. Ed. Nelms, the assassin, was conveyed to jail at Hernando. Prentiss Nelms and Tom Konkey were lodged in the Tunica county jail. Last Saturday morning, while the two latter prisoners were being conveyed to Hernando, a body of masked men stopped the officers having the prisoners in charge and took possession of the two men. The officers returned to Austin for assistance. On returning they found the two prisoners dead, with their throats cut from ear to ear, their bowels protruding from numberless wounds inflicted with knives, and a rope around each of their necks. An indignation meeting was held at Austin, Monday, at which resolutions condemning the act were passed, and committees were appointed composed of whites and blacks to ferret out the murderers.

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

Sunday, December 27, 2015

April 11, 1879: John Shinefelt

Today we learn about a lynching in Illinois through the pages of The Daily Milwaukee News (Milwaukee, Wisconsin) dated April 13, 1879:


FLORA, Ill., April 12.—Last evening the body of John Shinefe[l]t was found hanging to a road-crossing sign, on the Illinois Central road, one mile north of Odin, a small place thirty miles west of here. The particulars, as near as can be gathered, are, that on April 8 a horse was stolen from a resident of Odin. Shinefelt was suspected, from his known bad character, and, having been connected with the same business two years since, he was shadowed by officers and seen to go down into the Okaw bottoms today near Collins, fifteen miles west of Odin, where he was found with the missing horse. He was taken to Collins, and there was taken from the officers by a mob, who took him to within one mile of his home, where he was lynched. His parents are respectable farmers, and have reared a family of intelligent sons and daughters, with this exception, but this son for several years has borne an unenviable reputation in the neighborhood, and few will mourn his departure.

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

Saturday, December 26, 2015

March 6, 1878: Charlotte Harris

I hope everyone's holiday was good and now after a two day break we are back to the ugly subject of lynchings. Today we learn about a Virginia lynching beginning with an article from the pages of The Times (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) dated March 11, 1878:


Swung Upon a Sapling on Suspicion of Incendiarism.

Richmond (Va.) Telegram in New York Herald.

On Tuesday last a negro boy named Jim Arbegast was committed to the jail of Rockingham county upon the charge of having burned the barn of Henry E. Sipe on Thursday, the 28th ultimo. By the destruction of the barn Sipe lost two horses, two head of cattle, thirteen ploughs, several harrows and all the agricultural implements on the farm, together with all the saddles, harness and all the products of grain, hay and other articles. Subsequent investigation disclosed the fact that the incendiary torch was applied at the instigation and by the inducement of a colored woman named Charlotte Harris, who is said to have had some grudge against the Sipe family.

A warrant was procured for the arrest of the woman, and on Wednesday evening last N. H. and J. M. Talb and John Sipe, who had gone in pursuit of Charlotte Harris, arrested her and returned with her in custody. They overtook her as she was attempting to escape at the house of Henry Banks, colored, about two miles east of Earlysville, in Albemarle county,. The evidence being very strong against the accused, her commitment to jail was ordered. Over one hundred persons were present at the examination, during which the excitement was intense. No threats were made nor were there any indications visible that the woman's life would shortly pay the terrible penalty for her crime.

At the conclusion of the examination, the hour being late, the woman was placed under a strong guard, to keep her safe and secure until the following morning, when she was to be taken to the county jail at Harrisburg. This guard was composed of four persons. The utmost quiet prevailed until about the hour of 11 P. M., when suddenly two men, who in color were black, made their appearance in front of the building in which the the prisoner was confined. They then rushed into the house, with drawn and cocked revolvers, and demanded the peaceable surrender of the woman. They informed the guard in a determined manner that if they gave her into their hands quietly it would be well for them, but if not the result would be serious and bad. While this parley was going on and before the guard were allowed time to make any resistance, there was a rush of armed men, all blackened, into the building; they seized the woman, and at once dragged her outside and up the road toward David Gilmore's, a distance of about four hundred yards. Here a peculiar sort of tree known as a Black Jack, because of its toughness, was bent and a rope attached thereto. The tree was held in its bent position until the other end of the rope was fastened to the unfortunate woman's neck. In another instant the tree was let go and the victim was jerked into mid-air, where in a few moments she expired and the disguised lynchers dispersed. It was an awful penalty for the crime of which she had been accused, the like of which has hardly ever been heard of in a civilized community.

The next article is found in the March 15, 1878 edition of The Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia):

The Lynching of a Woman.

Special to the Globe-Democrat.

RICHMOND, March 11.—The lynching of Charlotte Harris, the colored woman, in Rockingham county, in this state, has called for the denunciation of all law-abiding citizens. Rockingham county is one of the wildest and most uncivilized in Virginia, and many of its inhabitants are almost barbarians. The Globe-Democrat correspondent called upon Governor Holliday this afternoon, and asked him what action he would take in regard to the outrage. The governor said that when the officers of the county officially notified him of the outrage, he would offer a liberal reward for the arrest of the perpetrators of the outrage. Later intelligence from Rockingham gives some inside facts as to the cause of the lynching of the unfortunate woman.

In this county, about a year ago, the horrible Lawson murder was committed, and it was proved that Louisa Lawson, a voluptuous but virtueless wife, had instigated the murder of her husband. For this crime her paramour, Anderson, was hanged, and Louisa Lawson was sentenced to death, but the governor commuted the sentence to penitentiary for life. The lynching of Charlotte Harris is but another leaf in the calendar of lust and lawlessness of the God-defying and law-breaking denizens of the rocky crags of the Alleghenies, many of whom live in the caves and huts, beyond the reach of the law's hands. They thirsted for blood. Some of their ring-leaders were the cast-off paramours of Louis Lawson, and were enraged and disappointed when the governor's commutation saved her life. This terrible deed of laawlessness, it is said by the people of the county, was done in the spirit of revenge. The outlaws could not get the blood of one woman, and they determined to have the blood of another. it is believed that the murder was done by the bloody hands of these outlaws, some hundreds in number. It will take some to gather the law officers together in this wild country, but efforts will be made to capture them. It will be almost impossible, as they will screen each other, and the only hope of detection is that someone will be tempted bp [sic] the large reward to betray their companions.

Further particulars state that it took five men to bend down the blackjack tree, and, after they had attached the rope to the neck of their victim, they suddenly let go, and the shrieking female was jerked up into the air with frightful velocity.


Special to the New York Herald.

RICHMOND, Va., March 11.—A telegram from Harrisonburg, where the colored woman was lynched to death on Wednesday night last, as reported in the Herald yesterday, says that public sentiment in East Rockingham, where the crime was committed, justifies the atrocious deed. Nine-tenths of the crime perpetrated in that county occurs in that section, and, strange to say, while this unfortunate woman was only accused of instigating the burning of a barn where no human life was at stake, the popular verdict appears to be that she deserved her fate. The telegram corroborates the report, previously published in the Herald, that the woman, Charlotte Harris, instigated the burning of the barn; that she fled to Albemarle county to evade punishment; that she was pursued by officers, brought back and had a hearing before a bench of magistrates, who committed her to jail to await the action of the grand jury; she was then placed in the custody of a guard, prior to being sent to jail the following day; that during the night she was forcibly taken from the guard by a crowd of disguised persons, who hung her to a blackjack tree.


It is said it took the combined strength of five men to bend the sapling down, which being accomplished, a rope suspended from the tree was fastened to the woman's neck and the tree allowed to go up again. The woman was tossed in the air, and landed on the opposite side of the tree, which was propped up with a fence rail, and there left hanging. This occurred on Wednesday night last, but my information is that the body was not cut down until the following Friday at noon.


The people in that section seem to justify the lynching, as they deemed summary punishment necessary to check lawlessness. As far as I can learn no action has been taken by the county authorities to arrest, nor it there any likelihood that any action will be taken in that direction. Gov. Holliday has no official information up to the present time. When he shall be informed of it it is expected he will adopt such measures as the urgency of this barbarous deed requires.

Rockingham county is the home of Dr. Moffatt, inventor of the celebrated liquor register or bell punch. He is one of the leading readjustors in the legislature; and the county, though one of the wealthiest in the state, seems to be in favor of the repudiation of the law as well as of the public debt.

Our final article comes from the Harrisburg Daily Independent (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania) dated April 18, 1878:

Lynched, But Now Known to be Innocent.

RICHMOND, Va., April 18.—The barbarous lynching of an unfortunate colored woman named Charlotte Harris, who was accused of being the instigator of a barn burning had a fitting sequel yesterday in the acquittal of the boy Jim Ergenbright, who was imprisoned at the time for setting fire to the barn. It is now fully established in the acquittal of Jim, who was accused of burning the barn and of being instigated by Charlotte Harris, that the woman was equally guiltless.


In case anyone was wondering, here is information on the blackjack tree, which happens to be an oak. Thank you for joining me and as always, I hope I leave you with something to ponder.


Wednesday, December 23, 2015

April 17, 1878: Ben Evans, Eph Hall and Mike White

Today we learn about an Alabama lynching through the pages of The Inter Ocean (Chicago, Illinois) dated April 18, 1878:


Two Negroes and a White Man Lynched at Huntsville, Ala., in Presence of an Immense Crowd.


NASHVILLE, Tenn., April 17.—A special to the American says Ben Evans and Eph Hall (colored), who assassinated George Shoenberger at Huntsville, Ala., last Friday, at the instigation of Mike White, a white man, and White himself, were publicly lynched at that place to-day before an immense assemblage, the jail having been forced. Both negroes confessed the crime, and told White before the execution to see what he had brought them to. White proclaimed his innocence.

A more in depth article comes to us through the pages of the Fayetteville Observer (Fayetteville, Tennessee) dated April 25, 1978:

The People's Law!

HUNTSVILLE, ALA, April 18.—Lynch law has been rampant in Huntsville. Scarcely anything has been talked of on our streets since Friday last but the dastardly and villainous assassination of George Shoenberger, one of our best citizens, by two negroes, Ben Evans and Eph Hall, instigated by Mike White, a white man of bad and dangerous character, who has been quite a bulldozer in Huntsville for many years. He was a butcher, and the cattle and hogs slaughtered by him for a long time have been furnished to a great extent by the two negroes mentioned. They


and many of the facts connected with the thieving were known to Mr. Shoenberger, who was upon the eve of having them arrested. Hence the murder. White hired the negroes to do the fiendish deed, which was committed at 3 o'clock on Friday morning, by waylaying and shooting Mr. S. as he was starting from his home to market, he also being engaged in the butchering business.

Circumstances immediately led to the detection and arrest of the negroes, who


and told all about it, giving White as the instigator and planner of the dastardly act. White was arrested, and in his confession told so many tales that he at once convicted himself.

The parties were all lodged in jail, and the feeling among the the [sic] citizens has been growing more intense ever since, until to-day, when it culminated in


of them to the same limb.

It was rumored on the street, early this morning, that Judge Lynch had held his court in the country—the northern part of the county, and over across the border in Tennessee, a portion of the country where Mr. Shoenberger had many friends and connections—and that the decision was to hang them.

The people came in from every direction in droves, and by 12 o'clock the streets of Huntsville, especially in the neighborhood of the jail, were literally packed. All was expectation and anxiety and thousands of eyes were turned down the Meridianville road, in momentary expectation of the army known to be coming to


of Judge Lynch. There was much excitement. The sheriff was busy summoning guards to protect the jail, but none could be found willing to take the position. There being some twenty or thirty United States prisoners in the jail, the United States marshal was also busy summoning guards to keep them safe.

At half-past 1 o'clock the cry was raised,


and sure enough they were coming. It reminded one of the days of the late civil war. The cavalry, armed with double-barrel shot guns, came in with perfect order and formed around the jailer. The[re] were hundreds of them. The citizens and the non participating country people, thousands of whom were crowding the streets, fell back and gave place to the armed horseman. A demand was made for the keys, but they could not be found; neither could the sheriff. Being armed with sledge-hammers, crowbars, etc., they


and it was the work of a few minutes to make an entrance into the jailyard, and then into the cells occupied by the trembling murderers. They were at once bound, and carried down the spring branch about half a mile from the jail, the thousands of curious spectators following, and there the three were hung to the same tree and to the same limb.

They were mounted on a wagon, the ropes adjusted, and wagon driven from under them. At the hour of 2:50 p. m. the bodies of the three men were


and their spirits had gone to stand a trial at the second bar where nothing is hid from the eye of the great Judge who presides there.

The negroes reiterated, under the gallows, the same tale they had first told, but Mike White maintained his innocence. There is not the shadow of a doubt of his guilt among the people. The men were pronounced dead at fifteen minutes after three, and the bodies were cut down.

While under the gallows the prisoners were asked if they wished to say anything.

White said he had nothing to say, except that he was innocent and ready to meet his God.

Ben said:  "I know I have to die. We were all in it. Eph shot the gun and I shot the pistol." Turning to White he said:  "See, Mr. White, what you have brought me to."

Eph said he had nothing to say further than he had before stated.

Before swinging off White said:  "God be with my wife."

They were asked if they would like to be prayed for. White said no, but the negroes requested Rev. Mr. Gordon to pray for them, which he did in a feeling manner.

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

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

November, 1877: Unnamed Negro

Today we learn about a Texas lynching through the pages of The Elk County Advocate (Ridgway, Pennsylvania) dated December 6, 1877:

Lynched  by a Texas Mob.

Some three weeks ago says the Houston (Texas) Age, Deputy Sheriff Williams, of Walker county, arrested an escaped negro convict, and was carrying him back to Huntsville to place him in the penitentiary. While on the way back, the negro requested permission to stop for some purpose, and the request was granted by Deputy Williams. The handcuffs were removed from the negro, and as quick as lightning he grabbed the officer by the throat, and seized his pistol, with which he shot the officer twice in the breast, and with a knife he then cut the wounded man's throat and left him for dead.

The horse of the officer returned home without his master, which excited the suspicion of friends, and they immediately set out to ascertain what was the matter. They soon found the bleeding victim, who, despite the attempt of the negro, did not die, and from him they learned of the deadly assault.

A posse was quickly organized by the citizens, and after a long search the murderous convict was captured. Preparations were made to make short work of him. He was informed that he had to die, and if he desired to say anything to say it at once, and he then confessed that he had murdered the negro Henry Pearson at Spring Station and fled.

Pearson is the same negro for whose death Hero Dalton was tried before Justice Brashear and virtually acquitted. The negro was then strung up to a tree and hung. His body was left hanging to the tree.

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

Monday, December 21, 2015

January 18, 1902: John Yellow Wolf

Today we learn about a lynching in South Dakota through the pages of The Springfield Republican (Springfield, Missouri) dated January 19, 1902:

Lynched An Indian

John Yellow Wolf Paid Death Penalty for Horse Stealing.

DEADWOOD, S. D., Jan. 18.—John Yellow Wolf, a Sioux Indian, who was released from Deadwood jail two weeks ago, was lynched for horse-stealing while on his way to his home on Rosebud reservation. When Yellow Wolf started for the agency he was given a worthless old horse and saddle. Below Rapid City he turned the old horse loose and caught a young horse out of a pasture on which to complete the journey.

He was overtaken by a number of men and was later found dangling to a cottonwood tree near White river. Yellow Wolf had served several terms in Deadwood jail for various offenses.

It is hard to know the truth with this lynching. It is said he was found dangling from a cottonwood tree, but in early February O. P. Jordon, an Indian trader at the reservation, claimed that Yellow Wolf was alive. If Yellow Wolf was alive, who was dangling from the tree, if anyone? There are several accounts of lynchings where the reports are conflicting or the person reappears later. Without more information it is hard to know if a lynching occurred and the victim was misidentified or if there had never been a lynching in the first place. 

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

Saturday, December 19, 2015

April 25, 1898: Columbus Lewis

Today we learn about a lynching in Louisiana through the pages of The Sedalia Democrat (Sedalia, Missouri) dated April 27, 1898:

Negro Killed by a Mob.

Scripps-McRae Telegram.

NEW ORLEANS, April 27.—Columbus Lewis, a negro living in Lincoln parish, was shot to death by a mob two days ago.

Lewis had quarrelled with a white man who attempted to flog him. The next night a party of twelve men came to Lewis' house and shot him to death. There is great indignation over the crime.

The following is an article published by a Louisiana paper, The Lafayette Advertiser (Lafayette, Louisiana) dated April 30, 1898:


—A young negro named Columbus Lewis, living at the place of G. W. Dye, Jr., in Lincoln parish near Ruston, was most foully murdered, a few nights ago, by a mob of white men.

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

Thursday, December 17, 2015

December, 1887: Unnamed Negro

Today we learn about a lynching in Mississippi through the pages of The Times-Picayune (New Orleans, Louisiana) dated January 3, 1888:

A Negro Taken from His Home and Shot to Death.

SUMMIT, Miss., Jan 2.—[Special.]—A few nights ago in the neighborhood of Tylertown a negro who had previously provoked the wrath of some white men was hailed at a late hour in the night by a body of disguised men who demanded him to "get up" and "come out." This he at first refused to do, but after they threatened to tear his house down he came out and surrendered himself. He was then ordered to march forward to meet his doom. After proceeding about one-half a mile they halted and completely riddled him with bullets.

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

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

May 28, 1893: Hole-in-the-Saddle

Today we learn about a lynching in Minnesota through the pages of The Inter Ocean (Chicago, Illinois) dated May 30, 1893:


Chippewa Chief Is Murdered at Cass Lake, Minn., and the Assassin Is Lynched.

WHITE EARTH, Minn., May 29.—Special Telegram.—A tragedy occurred at Cass Lake reservation SuodaŹˇ [sic] morning, in which two Indians lost their lives. Shoe-wawa-ge-shig, the venerable Chippewa chieftain, was stabbed to the heart and instantly killed by another Indian named Hole-in-the-Saddle. The chief's relatives immediately gave pursuit, captured the assassin and hanged him. The tragedy was the outcome of a feud.

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

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

January 12, 1915: Pedro Mohundro

Today we learn about a Kentucky lynching through the pages of The Hopkinsville Kentuckian (Hopkinsville, Kentucky) dated January 16, 1915:


Pedro Mohundro, Who Had Been Ordered to Leave Neighborhood, Killed.

Paducah, Ky., Jan. 15.—The mysterious murder of Pedro Mohundro, a negro tenant on a farm owned by Herbert Rudolph, about four miles from Lovelaceville, in Ballard county, Tuesday night, is being investigated by the authorities of that county. Mohundro was poking a fire in the grate at his home when shot from the attic. Several shots followed in rapid succession and the negro staggered to a bed, across which he fell and died. Mohundro's wife was asleep in the same room, but said she did not see anybody and did not know who fired the shots. All surrounding telephone wires had been cut.

Several persons are believed to have been implicated in the crime. Bloodhounds were secured from Cairo, Ill., but they failed to get the trail. Mohundro had been warned twice in notes to leave the section in which he was living, but was advised by his landlord to remain. The negro had been a resident on Randolph's farm since the latter part of last December and was said to have been a peaceful citizen. He is survived by his wife and nine children.

According to other articles Pedro Mohundro was lynched by night riders. He was the second to be lynched by night riders in western Kentucky with Henry Allen being hanged earlier. Thank you for joining me and as always, I hope I leave you with something to ponder.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

July 10, 1913 : "Kid" Tempers

Today we learn about a lynching in Florida through the pages of The Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia) dated July 11, 1913:


Crime of "Kid" Tempers Consisted in Assisting Slayer of Officer to Escape.

Pensacola, Fla., July 10.—A negro known as "Kid" Tempers, was taken from the jail at Blountstown, Fla. shortly after midnight last night by a mob of citizens and lynched. The mob overpowered the jailer and carried Tempers to the river bank, where he was strung up to a limb, his body later being riddled with bullets.

The negro assisted another negro, who had killed a deputy sheriff of the neighborhood to escape by giving him money and keeping him in hiding. His lodgings consisted of a veritable arsenal. The mill town where the lynching occurred is quiet. The coroner's verdict was "death caused at hands of unknown parties."

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

Friday, December 11, 2015

May 3, 1912: Ernest Allums

Today we learn about a Louisiana lynching through the pages of The Daily Free Press (Carbondale, Illinois) dated May 4, 1912:

Minden, La., May 4.—After alarming the whole countryside by insulting telephone messages to young women, Ernest Allums, a 19-year-old negro, was hanged by a mob at Yellow Pine, near here.

After he was drawn up, his body was riddled with bullets. Then the mob, in grim irony, tied about the feet of the body the telephone over which he had sent the messages and scribbled thereon a few words of warning to possible like offenders.

The negro called up probably a dozen young women, several of them daughters of well-to-do planters, and used insulting language.

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

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

June 18, 1911: Charles Sellers

Today we learn about a lynching in Nebraska through the pages of the Belvidere Daily Republican (Belvidere, Illinois) dated June 20, 1911:


Charles Sellers Is Taken From His Home Near Cody, Neb., and Hanged to Telephone Pole.

Charles Sellers, a young ranchman, living near Cody, was taken from his home by four young men and hanged to a telephone pole. The four perpetrators, who made no attempt at concealment, were arrested. The lynching was caused by trouble between Sellers and a sister of one of the lynchers. Sellers was called to the door of his home, covered by revolvers and the hanging followed. Fearing a rescue, officers took the hangers in an automobile to Valentine, where they were placed in jail.

A final note on the lynching can be found in an article under the headline "News Briefly Told" can be found in The Red Cloud Chief (Red Cloud, Nebraska) dated October 19, 1911:




The News of Many Climes Told in Short and Pithy Paragraphs, Written Expressly for the Busy Man's Perusal.

. . . Harry Heath, Kenneth Murphy, Alma Weed and George Reed, accused of lynching Charles Sellers, June 18, on a ranch near Valentine, Neb., were sentenced to life imprisonment. . .

Get a Life Sentence.

Valentine, Neb.—Harry Heath, Kenneth Murphy, Alma Weed and George Weed, accused of lynching Charles Sellers, June 18, on a ranch here, were sentenced to life imprisonment by Judge Westover in district court Monday. Eunice Murphy, the girl accused of being an accessory before the fact was ordered released. They received their sentences calmly. The four were arraigned on charge of murder in the first degree, but the court allowed them to ignore their charge upon their petition to plead guilty to the second degree crime.

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

Monday, December 7, 2015

June 15, 1910: William Hunter

Today we learn about a lynching in Arkansas through the pages of The Washington Times (Washington, D. C.) dated June 15, 1910:


Authorities Overpowered at Star City—Crowd Works Quietly.

LITTLE ROCK,  Ark., June 15.—A mob today lynched William Hunter, a negro, at Star City, and riddled his body with bullets. The mob overpowered the authorities who had the negro in custody after his arrest in company with a white woman at Garnett. Without any uproar the negro was strung up.

No one in the town knew of the affair, save the authorities and the mob members, until the body was found.

Our next article comes from The Appeal (Saint Paul, Minnesota) dated June 18, 1910:

"Without any uproar the Negro was strung up." That's the way the headlines appeared in the daily press. It is so common nowadays that such items are scarcely noticed. In this particular case the victim was not even charged with a crime. William Hunter, of Star City, Arkansas, was lynched for being in company with a white woman who was with him willingly.

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

Saturday, December 5, 2015

September, 1905: Will James

Today we learn about a lynching in Mississippi through the pages of The North Carolinian (Raleigh, N. C.) dated September 14, 1905:


Fate of a Negro Who Bought Whiskey From Moonshiners Then Informed on Them.

(By the Associated Press.)

Jackson, Miss., Sept 12.—Governor Vardaman today received a letter from District Attorney Brewer, of the eleventh district, notifying him that a negro named Will James, living in the interior of Tallahatchie county, was taken to the woods by three white men and shot to death, after which his body was burned.

The negro, it was said, had bought some whiskey from one of the white men and afterwards informed on him. The district attorney asked the Governor to take action in the case.

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

Thursday, December 3, 2015

August 15, 1904: Will Cato and Paul Reed

As promised today we learn about the Georgia lynching of Cato and Reed. Our article comes to us through the pages of The Scranton Republican (Scranton, Pennsylvania) dated August 17, 1904:


Murderers of White Man and Family Met a Horrible End at Hands of Mob.


Taken From Military Guard to Cornfield in Suburbs of Statesboro Where Pyre Awaited.

AUGUSTA, Ga., Aug. 16.—In the smoke of a funeral pyre, rapidly constructed by members of the mob who had taken them from the military guard at Statesboro yesterday, the souls of Will Cato and Paul Reed went up to face their maker, and answer the charge of cruelly murdering Frank Hodges, his defenseless wife and three helpless children. The attack on the military, the taking of the prisoners from their guards in the very shadow of the court house and the final burning at the stake were the results of long restrained, pent-up, thoroughly outraged feelings and the bursting forth of indignation that could no longer be restrained.

It is possible to image the tense strain under which the people of this settlement have been since the finding of the charred bodies of Frank Hodges and his family among the blazing timbers of their home and the subsequent revelations that this most foul of murders was committed at the instigation of a negro secret order, the Before Day club, and that many of the best, the bravest and fairest people of this section were also marked for slaughter by the same nefarious society and for no other reason than that by thrift and enterprise they had accumulated a goodly store of this world's goods, which were coveted by the band of shiftless, criminal negroes.

There was also an element of fanaticism in the crime of Cato, Reed and their companions which no one can explain, but which Southern people know to exist. It was that desire on the part of certain elements of the negro race to take leading parts in shadowy enterprises and to shine among their fellows as men not afraid of letting the blood of white men.


Will Cato had already been tried and convicted of the murder of Frank Hodges yesterday and this morning Paul Reed was put on trial and convicted. All the time the trial was in progress the Oglethorpe infantry of Savannah and the local military company were on guard over the prisoners, but there have been murmurings and threats on the part of the people all the time since the murder of the Hodges family and the bloodhounds led the searchers for the perpetrators of the crime to the home of Will Cato. But the feeling of the people did not find vent until this afternoon. Just after Reed had been found guilty and Judge Daly had in the court room just finished a speech of congratulations to the people of Statesboro on their splendid regard for the law under very trying conditions a shout went up from a crowd outside.


The cause was soon learned. A mob had charged an outpost of the soldiers, composed of several men, and had overpowered them.

The guns were wrested from the soldiers and were found to contain no ammunition.

This discovery, emboldened the mob and as the prisoner[s] were brought out of the court house to the jail by a strong guard of soldiers the mob, composed of three thousand men, charged on them.

Two or three times the soldiers with fixed bayonets drove the citizens back, inflicting slight wounds on many of the men who had attacked them but the military was soon overwhelmed, and the prisoners taken from them.

As soon as the mob got possession of the murderers the march toward the stake began.

The negroes were carried just out of the city limits, where a halt was made to decide how death should be meted out. The leaders consulted for about forty minutes.

Everything was conducted orderly.


The negroes knew their time had come and asked for time to pray.

This was granted. Both knelt and began to pray in the usual sing song manner of their race.

A rope was thrown around Reed's neck while he was on his knees.

They continued to pray for ten minutes, when they were made to get up and were carried across a corn field about three hundred yards and chained to an old lightwood stump about ten feet high.

Kerosene was then poured over their bodies and pine knots and lightwood rails piled around them.


The heap was fired and in an instant the blaze spread over the entire pyre. The countenance of the negroes assumed an expression of intense pain and horror. The hair began to singe, the skin to roll up and the bodies to writhe with pain. The flames soon hid the bodies from view. A hush fell on the crowd and the murder of the Hodges family was avenged according to the ethics of the sparsely settled rural districts.

Both negroes made statements before they died. Will Cato reiterated the statement made a few days ago that he was only a guard in the cane patch while the murder of the Hodges was being committed.

Paul Reed said that he did all the killing, and that Will Cato told the truth; he watched in the cane patch. He said he did not kill the children; that they were burned to death when he fired the house. He told how he found the little girl Kittie behind a trunk and pulled her out. She asked him what he wanted and he told her money. She offered him five cents, all she had and he told her he would not hurt her. She fell back behind the trunk. He said he then piled the bodies of Mr. and Mrs. Hodges together and poured kerosene oil on them, and then fired the house. He added:

"Gentlemen, this is the last talk I will have and I am telling the truth."


He further said that Preacher Gaines, Preacher Tolbert and S. Bill Golden planned the crime and several others were in it.

That Gaines and Tolbert were the ringleaders and that the lot fell on him to do the job.

He asserted that if there was any money secured he never saw any of it.

After the fire around the bodies had begun to subside, a cry was made:

"Let's go back and get the others, and finish the job while we are at it," but it was overruled, some of the men saying they had done enough for one day.

Many of the leading citizens of the community headed by Judge Daly used every endeavor to stop the mob, but their efforts were futile.


The Hodges murder was perhaps one of the most brutal that has ever been committed in the south, a whole family was butchered, and their bodies and home cremated. Robbery was the supposed instigation of the crime. Reports had been circulated that Hodges had money hoarded. It was even said that Hodges had a pot of gold hidden in his front yard.

On Friday, July 29, the whole community was shocked by the story of the crime. Shortly after midnight neighbors discovered the home of Mr. Hodges in flames.

The members of the family were no where to be seen. An investigation of the ruins the following day revealed a horrible scene.

Mr. Hodges was found with his skull crushed in as though from the blow of an axe. Mr. Hodges' head and body had been beaten with some blunt instrument. The body of a little girl was horribly mangled.

The two other children's bodies did not show any signs of violence, and it is supposed they were victims of the flames and not the murderous blows of their assailants.

On pieces of timber in the yard were found many bloody stains and bloody finger prints.

It developed that Hodges went to a neighbor's about 8 o'clock the same night to bring his little child back, who had been spending the day.

It is believed that he was met at the gate by his assailants and murdered.

As soon as the crime was made known, a large posse was found and bloodhounds put on the trail.

As reported at the trial, the bloodhounds followed the trail during the day to a picnic, at which several hundred negroes were assembled. Without warning the dogs pounced on two negroes. The officers ran to the dogs, and in attempting to arrest the two negroes they were immediately surrounded by the crowd.

The crowd sought to prevent the arrest of the two men, and the officers drew their guns.


Within a short time thirteen negroes were placed under arrest and carried to the Statesboro jail. Prior to the arrests of the thirteen, Paul Reed and his wife and Will Cato, other negroes, were placed in jail. In a confession made later by the wife of Paul Reed she declared her husband and Will Cato committed the murder.

The woman said that her husband and Will Cato were impressed that Mr. Hodges had about three hundred dollars in money and had planned to kill him and rob the house the Saturday night before. They went to the house and called Mr. Hodges out, but their courage failed them.

She said her husband and Will Cato left the house together on the night of the murder, and she thinks there were two or three others with them, but did not now who, as they never came into the house where she was.

They were gone about an hour and a half. When they returned her husband said he had committed an awful crime, and was in trouble about it.

They said they had killed Mr. Hodges and wife and two children, but remembered that the little girl had escaped and would tell who they were.

According to the woman, the negroes then returned to the house and found the little girl hid behind a trunk. She pleaded with them to save her life, but her pleadings were in vain. A blow from an axe ended her life.

The woman then said that the bodies of the five victims were then piled in a heap and the house set on fire.

The town of Statesboro is very quiet tonight. All the prisoners who have been arrested in connection with the Hodges murders were released tonight by the order of Judge Daly and sent out of the city on trains with military escort. None of the negroes implicated in the confession of Reed are even held for trial. it is understood that several negroes on the outskirts of the city have been whipped by white cappers, but it cannot be learned as to why this punishment was given them.

Sheriff Kendry of Bullock county, it is believed, has secured the minute books and a roster of the "Before Day" club, and will begin a thorough investigation of its affairs at once. Gaines, who was implicated by Reed in his confession just before death, is the president of the club, but Judge Daly has put him far out of harm's way by this time.

It has developed here that the deputy sheriffs were in league with the lynchers.

The deputies helped to overpower the soldiers, and, it is said, unlocked the door of the room in which the prisoners were confined.

In the room the deputies pointed out Reed and Cato.

Paul Reed, on left, and Will Cato, on right
Negroes lynched by being burned alive at Statesboro, Georgia.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

August 16, 1904: Albert Rogers and son

Today we learn about a double lynching in Georgia through the pages of the Chicago Daily Tribune (Chicago, Illinois) dated August 18, 1904:


More Colored Men Are Put to Death in the South.


Whites Say They Will Rid the Country of Objectionable Characters.

Statesboro, Ga., Aug. 17.—[Special.]—Two negroes found dead by the roadside, ten miles from town, Albert Rogers and his son, 17 years old, shot in their cabin during the late hours of last night by unknown marauders; half a dozen cases of flogging, which are of nightly occurrence, too frequent to excite more than passing notice—this was the history of the day in this vicinity.

It was thought for a time that one of the negroes found dead today was Handy Bell, who, it was charged, was present when the Hodges were murdered, but it develops that Bell has not been seen since his release.

At Riggs' mill, half a dozen miles from here, several well to do white planters met today and planned how to rid their neighborhood of obnoxious negroes.

More Lashings in Progress.

Individual negroes were marked for lashings, and tonight part of the program is being carried out. Two victims, a black man and a black woman, have been marked for tonight at Register, a railway station ten miles from here. Their offenses are alleged disrespectful protest against the white supremacy here.

Men of property and family make no secrets of their intentions to rid the country of bad blacks. If the lash will not quell the undesirable population, or cause them to leave, sterner measures will follow, so say the leaders.

Many Indorse [sic] Lynching.

A calmer review of yesterday's happenings than was possible last night among the citizens of Statesboro today brings some expression of regret at yesterday's violence, while many say it was "all right."

Judge Daly, presiding officer of the court, said today:  "Capt. Hitch's company had received orders not to load their guns, but to use bayonets alone in repelling the mob. Consequently those on duty about the courthouse were disarmed by the crowd and their guns were not returned to them until after the negroes were at the stake."

Many Militiamen Resign.

Over half the members of the Statesboro guards, one of the two companies that the guards over the prisoners who were lynched, have asked for their discharges. They severely criticise Capt. Hitch, the commanding officer.

The prisoners mentioned in the article are Will Cato and Paul Reed. I will cover their lynching for murder tomorrow. Thank you for joining me and as always, I hope I leave you with something to ponder.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

August 12, 1909: Unnamed Negro

Today we learn about a lynching in Louisiana through the pages of The Alexandria Times-Tribune (Alexandria, Indiana) dated August 16, 1909:


Negro Sues a White Man and Is Lynched For His Temerity.

Monroe, La., Aug 16.—News has been received here of the lynching of a negro near Doss, in Moorehouse parish. The negro was hanged from a tree by the roadside near his home and his body riddled with bullets. Considerable ill feeling is said to have been entertained against him because he brought suit against a white resident of that community who had killed a cow belonging to the negro.

The following article referencing the lynching can be found in the August 17, 1909 edition of The New York Times (New York, N. Y.):

Lynching for a New Offense.

It is almost incredible that a negro should have been lynched because he sued for damages a white man who had shot his cow, yet that is the statement made in  a dispatch from Louisiana, printed yesterday. If the story was true, if the negro really was strung up to the branch of a tree and riddled with bullets simply because he applied to the courts for redress when wrongfully deprived of his property, the affair was in some ways about the worst manifestation of the lynching spirit that has ever disgraced the country.

Always in theory, and usually in practice, a mob killing is the infliction of wild justice for crimes so heinous that the slow process of law can be called inadequate. In this case, however, there seems to have been not even  the poor excuse that the victim of the lynchers deserved killing. Had he shot the man who shot his cow, his taking off would have been at least explicable, and, in conceivable conditions, defensible, but to hang him because he went to law for the adjustment of his grievance was a complete abandonment of civilization. If any considerable number of people took part in the murder, that part of Louisiana—Moorehouse Parish—must be in sorer need of missionaries than Darkest Africa or the South Sea Islands.

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