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. 

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