Thursday, April 30, 2015

April 30, 1904: Gaines Hall

Today we learn about a lynching in Alabama through the pages of The Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia) dated May 2, 1904:


Gaines Hall Tied to Tree and Shot to Death.

Prattville, Ala., May 1.—News reached this city this morning that Gaines Hall, the negro who assaulted Mrs. Josiah Owens yesterday morning, was caught at Kingston late yesterday afternoon by a posse, who took him to the scene of the crime and tied him to a tree. The body was then riddled with bullets. Several persons have visited the place and report the lifeless body still there. It is said the negroes refuse to take the body down and bury it. It is also reported today that he accomplished his purpose yesterday, and that Mrs. Owens is in very critical condition. The town is quiet, but it is said excitement ran high last night.

An article from four months later concerning this and other lynchings comes to us from The Houston Post (Houston, Texas) dated August 29, 1904:



Will Insist on the Sheriffs Making Reports—Determined in His Course.

(Houston Post Special.)

Montgomery, Ala., August 28.—Governor Cunningham has begun a thorough investigation of the lynching of negroes in Alabama. Since April 6 negroes have been put to death in six counties of the State. They were Gaines Hall, Autauga county; Rufus Lesuere, Marengo county; Reuben Sims, Baldwin county; Ed Avery, Walker county; Will Robertson, Pickens county, and Edward Bell, Dallas county.

A letter addressed by the governor to the sheriffs of these counties demanding a complete report of the violence, with their efforts to apprehend the guilty ones, brought today replies from all of them except the sheriffs of Dallas and Pickens counties. The four sheriffs who answered declare they have been diligent in thei rinvestigation [sic], but have not been able to secure any information. Only two of the negroes were in charge of officers when they were seized bythe [sic] mob. Ed Avery was taken from the village prison at Cardova and put to death in the absence of the guard. Edward Bell way [sic] lynched while en route to jail in Selma in charge of three white constables. These constables are in jail. They claim Bell was lynched by a mob of negroes.

Governor Cunningham declares that he will exhaust all of the authority of the executive department to apprehend the members of the mobs.

We end with an article featuring the sheriffs responses to the governor, found in The Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia) dated August 28, 1904:


Declare Their Deputies Were Not Implicated in Lynchings,

Alabama's Governor Determined to Investigate Fully the Reported Illegal Execution in Five of the Counties of the State.

Montgomery, Ala., August 27.—(Special.)
The governor has received replies from three sheriffs to letters sent out on August 23 concerning the investigation of lynchings in Autauga, Baldwin, Walker, Pickens and Marengo counties. In this letter the acting governor propounded the following questions, which action is authorized by section 121 of the new constitution:

1.  Has any one made affidavit charging any persons as participating in the lynching of ----------- on   ----- day, 1904, and have warrants under such affidavits been placed in your hands for execution and have the same been executed?

2.  Have you endeavored to ascertain the names of any participants in such lynching, and have you proceeded, under sections 5211 and 5212 of the code, to arrest such person?

3.  Was any deputy of yours in charge of the persons lynched, and, if so, has said deputy reported to you the names of those participating in the lynching, and is said deputy still in your employ or retained by you?

This letter was signed by R. M. Cunningham, lieutenant and acting governor. To it he has received the following replies:

Marengo Sheriff.

From A. H. Hasty, sheriff of Marengo county, Linden:  "I have the honor to reply to your official inquiry of the 23rd instant relative to the killing of Rufus Lesuere on August 16 and submit the following:  1. No affidavits have been made by any one charging any person or persons with participating in the above named crime, and no arrests have been made, either with or without warrants. @.  Since the commission of said offense I have constantly endeavored to ascertain the participants therein, but suspicion has pointed to no particular person to such extent as would, in my opinion, justify arrest. 3.  No deputy of mine was in charge of Lesuere, and none of my official force were on the ground at the time, nor have I received any notification, as sheriff or otherwise, that Lesuere had been apprehended. I did not, in fact, have any intimation of said arrest having been made until I learned of the killing of Lesuere under the circumstances mentioned in my previous report to you. With every assurance that I shall endeavor to execute the law as prescribed in the schedule of my official duties, and as called to my attention by your excellency, I beg to remain."

Baldwin Sheriff.

From J. M. Armstrong, sheriff of Baldwin county, Bay Minette:  "I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 23d, and in reply thereto beg to say:  1. No one, to my knowledge, has made any affidavits in case of lynching of Reuben Sims, and no warrants have been placed in my hands for execution. 2.  I have endeavored to ascertain names of guilty parties, but have not been able to  get any evidence, though I have reason to believe that I know some of the parties who composed the mob. The people in that vicinity are like clams to me on that subject. I have not made any effort to arrest any one. 3.  I had no deputy in charge of the prisoner, the lynching had been over several hours before I heard of the lynching. C. H. Driesbach, justice of the peace, said to me that he appointed a constable to bring a prisoner to jail, but admitted he gave no mittimus nor did he take down any of the evidence. It is my opinion that it will take a detective to get up a sufficient amount of evidence to convict, as these people are ke[e]ping very mum on the subject."

Autauga Sheriff.

G. A. McWilliams, sheriff of Autauga county, Prattville:  "In accordance with your letter of August 23, 1904, I hereby make answers to the questions contained therein:  1. No one has made affidavits charging any person as participating in the lynching of Gaines Hall., on April 30, 1904, and no warrants have been placed in my hands for execution therefor. 2.  I have endeavored to ascertain the names of the participants in such lynching by inquiries of such persons presumed to have been in the neighborhood of such lynching, notable S. H. Gibbons, the justice of the peace who held an inquest over the body of the said Gaines Hall, on the Monday following, the alleged lynching, but I have been unable to ascertain the names of any participants in such lynching, and therefore have made no arrests of such persons. 3.  No deputy of mine was in charge of said Gaines Hall at the time of said lynching or at any other time I am aware of." This letter is sworn to and subscribed on August 24, 1904, before the Hon. G. S. Livingston, judge of probate of Autauga county.

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

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

April 29, 1897: Fayette Rhone,Will Gates, Lewis Thomas, Aaron Thomas, Jim Thomas, Benny Thomas and Will Williams

Today we learn about a Texas lynching through the pages of The Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia) dated May 1, 1897:


Horrible Triple Murder Is Followed by Wholesale Vengeance,


Quick Work by Angered Men To Pay for a Desperate Deed,


Six Bodies Were Found Dangling at Hemp's End in the Morning Breeze—Sunnyside, Texas, Was the Scene of the Activity.

Houston, Tex., April 30.—For the murder of an old man, a child and a woman, the assaulting of two girls, the burning of the home of the victims, two of the bodies being consumed in the flames, six young negroes were last night hanged by an infuriated mob of negroes, at Sunnyside, Walter county.

The list of the lynched follows:

WILL GATES, aged 35.
LOUIS THOMAS, aged 20.
AARON THOMAS, aged 13.
JIM THOMAS, aged 14.

Last fall a German from Brenham was robbed of $65. Suspicion pointed to the four Thomas boys and they confessed to having committed the theft, saying they had given $30 of the money to Henry Daniels.

Daniels spent the money and on Sunday evening last, the four Thomas boys, according to their confession, decided to either collect their $30 or kill Daniels.

They carried out the latter part of the programme. Henry Daniels, an old negro, lived there in a little hut with his step-daughter, Marie, and a seven year old child. Wednesday night the house was broken open. Marie Daniels and the child were killed and old man Daniels clubbed to death while trying to protect those in his charge.

Then old man Daniels and his step-daughter were thrown into the house and the child cast into the well. The house was set on fire and the negroes left, thinking that they had covered their inhuman deed from the sight of the world. The fire had not attracted much attention, but when Daniels and his people did not show up, the charred remains of the house was searched.

Search for the Negroes.

The local officers were assisted by the best citizens of the neighborhood. The bloodhounds from Steele's plantation were secured and they were not long in finding the right track.

Before night they went straight into the place where the Thomas boys resided, and one by one they were secured. Fayette Rhone, twenty-one years old; Will Gates, thirty-five years old; Louis Thomas, twenty years old; Aaron Thomas, thirteen years old; Jim Thomas, fourteen years old; and Benny Thomas, fifteen years old, were placed under arrest. The last four are brothers. Later on William Williams was captured.

The bloodhounds worked splendidly; and after the boys were confronted with the evidence, they confessed to committing the crime and laid the killing to Louis, the eldest.

Mob Gets in Its Work.

All seven of the prisoners were under guard and last night about 12 o'clock the guards were overpowered by a strong body of men and the prisoners taken toward the Brazos bottom, north of here. A little later forty or fifty shots were fired and then all was quiet. This morning, dangling from the limbs of a large tree, were found the bodies of six negroes, limp and lifeless.

Hundreds of negroes from all over the country are surging back and forth with the tree as the center of attraction. All of them are still there except Williams, and he is not to be found, but the shots probably explain his absence.

As far as can be learned, the mob was composed of both white and black men, with the colored element largely predominating.

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

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

April 28, 1900: Mindee Chowggoe

Today we learn about another lynching in Missouri. The Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia) April 29, 1900 edition in the source for the following article:

Negro-Indian Is Lynched.

Marshall, Mo., April 28.—Mindee Chowggoe, the negro-Indian who escaped from jail here on Thursday night after assaulting Sheriff Joseph Wilson and his little son and shooting the sheriff's wife in the arm when she came to their assistance, was lynched at midnight tonight by a mob of angry citizens. The lynchers forced an entrance to the jail, meeting with slight resistance at the hands of the officers, and dragged the prisoner out into the jailyard, where he was strung up to a tree.

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

April 27, 1886: George Graham

Today we have a Missouri lynching that will take a while to get the whole picture. First we'll start with the earliest mention I found about George Graham in an article from the Fort Wayne Daily News (Fort Wayne, Indiana) dated May 25, 1885:

It Can't Be True.

The following is from the Elkhart Review, and the NEWS has no hesitation in pronouncing the charges contained therein untrue. The business relations between George Graham and Mrs. Malloy have been intimate, but nobody who knows wither of them will believe them capable of anything wrong:  "Mrs. Emma Malloy, who will be remembered as one of the editors of the Observer, formerly published in this city, and later well-known as a temperance lecturer, according to the Atchison Globe, has become involved in a scandal. It is charged that she and one George Graham, with whom she is traveling on a temperance tour, were registered as occupying the same room somewhere in Kansas. The hotel clerk says they represented themselves as brother and sister, and that there were two beds in the room, he thought it was all right. The Globe suggests that Me. Graham and Mrs. Malloy need reform, and thinks that a constitutional amendment would be about the correct method.

The next article is from the Fort Wayne Daily News (Fort Wayne, Indiana) dated January 22, 1886:


Further Particulars Concerning the Mysterious Disappearance of His Wife.

A Letter Received From His Son This Morning Corroborates the Statement in Last Evening's "News."

"We Have Never Heard of Mother Since Father Brought Us Here."

Last evening's NEWS created a profound sensation by the publication of certain facts concerning the disappearance of Mrs. George E. Graham, and other facts which seemed to convict him of bigamy. This morning, Mrs. Abbie Breese, of the Nickel Plate, and sister of the missing woman, received a letter from Graham's little boy, aged about 12 years, which corroborates the statements made in last evening's paper, and strengthens the probability that Mrs. Graham has been foully dealt with. Here is the lad's letter, which is written on the office letter-head of John Potter, the postmaster at Brookline, Mo., near which station is situated the farm of Mrs. Emma Malloy:

BROOKLINE, STATION, MO., Jan. 20, '86.

DEAR AUNT:—I seat myself to write you a few lines to let you know that me and Roy is well at present, and hope this may find you the same. Mother came to St. Louis, Missouri, with us, and pap left her there and brought us to Brookline, Mo. We have never heard of mother since. Pap married Cora Lee, July 18, 1885. Please write soon; direct in care of John Potter.


It seems from the above that we were in error in stating that the children had been left in Missouri when Mrs. Graham was here. The children were with her when she went to join her husband at St. Louis; but he had then been married to Cora Lee for two months. At St. Louis, Mrs. Graham disappeared and has not since been heard from. With the children, but without the mother, George continued on to Brookline.

For many weeks, the family of Mrs. Graham, in Fort Wayne, have been striving to gain information concerning the lost one. They have written to the authorities and everybody at Brookline from whom they had any hopes of getting word of the absent; but without avail. The following letter, received from George by Mrs. Breese last week, shows the brutal manner with which he treated her earnest pleading for news of her sister:

PAOLA, Kansas, Jan. 14th, 1886.

DEAR ABBIE:—Since writing you a few days since, I have concluded that I am about tired of your folks writing about the country about me, and we have decided to "take a walk" and go far enough this time so that we will not be disturbed by your heathenish letter writing. As you didn't seem inclined to give me any information about our goods, I will send an officer after them when we want them. When you hear of us again, you will be civilized enough not to act so cranky. Now, go ahead, and write to all the people in Brookline or Springfield, if you want to.

Yours in disgust,


In this brutal reply to a sister's appeal, to know that whereabouts of a missing sister, it will be noted that the heartless husband gives her letter writing as the cause of his "taking a walk." The following correspondence, however, seems much more likely to contain the true inwardness of his going "far enough" not to be "disturbed."

BROOKLINE, MO., Jan. 16th, 1886

Mrs. Abbie Breese, Fort Wayne, Ind.

You will find enclosed an account of a check forger, which was published this morning in our country paper, I sent Mr. O'Neal, a constable, of our town to the farm last Tuesday, and Mrs. Graham No. 2, told him to call on Monday, Jan. 18th, as Mr. G. was gone to Indiana, and would return Monday morning; but by the enclosed you can see what is the matter. There are several ladies at the Malloy farm and I think if we had your sister's picture it would be a help to us, as we can get no information whatever, not even from the children, the little boys.


Following is the newspaper clipping referred to, and it gives reason enough why George wanted to get far enough away not to be disturbed.


About a week ago a man named Graham, presented a check on the Home National Bank, of Elgin, Ill., signed Cook & Co., and endorsed to himself, to the Exchange Bank. Mr. Timmons identified Graham and endorsed the check. The money, amounting to $23.15, was paid, and the check forwarded for collection Wednesday a telegram was received stating that the check was a forgery, and yesterday the protest arrived. It was then learned that the Green County National and the First National Banks had also been victimized to the extent of $40.00 and $36.00 respectively.

On investigation, it was learned, that Graham had shaken the dust of this vicinity from his feet and flown. All the checks were signed Cook & Co. Graham lived on the old Cooper farm a few miles from the city, and was married to a foster daughter of Mrs. Malloy, the well-known temperance lecturer. Mrs. Malloy has signified her intention of making the losses of the banks good. Graham's whereabout are unknown."

We come now to the inquisitorial part of this subject. How can Mrs. Emma Malloy, who has posed before the country as a martyr to the cause of temperance, explain her connection with this affair? Mrs. Malloy knew that George Graham had a wife living at Fort Wayne, on the 18th of July, when he married her daughter. She knew, for he must have furnished him the money, that he was coming to St. Louis to meet his own wife two months after he had married another. How can Mrs. Malloy explain the lingering absence of the poor girl from Fort Wayne, who had been, with her children, an inmate of her home at Elgin and in Kansas? Does Mrs. Malloy expect the public forever to excuse the strange incidents that ever and anon mark her career? What strange infatuation is that which makes this lady write effusive love-letters to an ex convict and then permits him to marry her daughter with a wife still living? And what has become of poor Sarah Gorham? Why is there no investigation of her disappearance? What might not the waters of the Mississippi, at St. Louis, tell of this mystery? Mrs. Graham went to St. Louis to meet her husband. She did meet him; but who, alas, can tell of the parting? That she ever left St. Louis, is not known to her friends in this city. Why are not Mrs. Malloy and the alleged Mrs. Graham put upon the stand and asked to tell what they know about George E. Graham to a grand jury? Is human life of such little value that a wife may disappear from among her friends and no questions be asked as to her whereabouts? Even at the risk of "disturbing" Geo. E. Graham and Mrs. Malloy, the great temperance reformer, the NEWS asks these people to tell what they know of Sarah Graham's mysterious disappearance.

Next is a quick mention in the January 31, 1886 edition of the Fort Wayne Daily (Fort Wayne, Indiana):

A telegram from Mr. Lee Breese, dated Springfield, Mo., Jan., 29th, says that George Graham, is under arrest there, for bigamy. Some damaging proof will be sent on from here.

We continue with another Fort Wayne Daily News article from the February 9, 1886 edition:

It Won't Do.

George Graham, in his letter published in yesterday's NEWS, poses in the attitude of a much injured individual. He says that he was seeking to retrieve "a place among men," and that the action of the NEWS in seeking to gain for her friends in this city some tidings of the missing Sarah Graham, has torn this from him, and left him in an unpleasant predicament. We respectfully submit that this won't do. Mr. Graham must permit us to look at the case from a different standpoint than one which only contemplates his peace of mind. What the public is interested to know is, what has become of Sarah Graham? The records here show that George was married to her a second time, by Rev. McKaig in 1878. Since that time she lived with him as his wife, part of the time both being inmates of Mrs. Malloy's family. How does it happen, then, that he marries Cora Lee in July of last year and two months subsequently sends money for Sarah to join him in St. Louis? Isa it consistent to believe that Sarah Graham, knowing him to be married to another woman, took children to St. Louis to hand them  over freely to one who had usurped her place? Is this human nature? Does the the [sic] history of the human family teach us that mother's deal thus by their offspring? Does George Graham ask us to believe his unsubstantiated statement that his wife was guilty of this iniquity? It is preposterous. The fact still remains that Graham met his wife  at St. Louis; that he parted with her there. Will he tell us what were her intentions when they parted? Did she bid good-bye to the little ones as one who never expected or intended to see them again? Did she have any plans for the future? Graham's cold narrative leaves too much to the imagination. Sarah's friend would like to know if she be living or dead. Their entreaties to her husband have been unavailing. For a time after her disappearance, George wrote letters home, telling her sister that Sarah had a sore hand and was unable to write.These letters are still in her possession. Will he please tell the NEWS the object of writing these letters? If she had unaccountably disappeared and he was agonized over her absence as he now insists, to the extent that he had a detective at St. Louis striving to learn her whereabouts, if he was seeking to retrieve his place among men, as he now assures us, why did not he act the man and acquaint her friends with his fears that she was lost to them? We say to Mr. George E. Graham that his statements are too thin. They are inconsistent and unreasonable. He seems unable to confine himself to the subject at issue, and rather seeks to draw attention to himself as the unfortunate party in the case. But it won't do. Turn the question in any light we may, we can only see the character of Graham in a hideous aspect. Taking his own statements and he confesses to having cast off the woman who bore his children and who, if she is all that he intimates, was sublime in the womanly quality of supreme devotion to a convicted criminal. we have tried hard to pity George Graham; but sympathy for such an ingrate as he refuses to come at our bidding. We join with her friends in this city in demanding what has become of Sarah Graham?

We get closer to the lynching in this article from the Lawrence Daily Journal (Lawrence, Kansas) dated February 26, 1886:


Horse Thief and Bigamist Graham Adds Wife Murder to His List.

The Horrible Discovery Made at the Bottom of an Unused Well.

The Assassin in Limbo and a Hemp Pulling Hourly Expected.

Details of the Terrible Crime—Graham's Previous History, Etc.

A Bigamist's Damnable Crime.

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., February 25.—Aftert he arrest of George Graham on a charge of bigamy some weeks ago, and his incarceration in jail here, a strong desire was at once developed in the public mind to know something of the whereabouts of wife No.1.

For some time it was generally believed that Mrs. Graham No. 1


in St. Louis, after meeting her husband. The investigation, which was begun and has been carried on by detectives Davis, Erskin, White and others, soon developed the fact that she came and passed through North Springfield.

From there all trace of her disappeared, and for a time it seemed that every effort to discover


would be baffled. While the hunt was going on, a brother came from Indiana and spent several days at a Mrs. Malley's farm, during which he searched every where for some trace of his sister.

Finding nothing, he left instructions with the officers at Brooklyn to


which he had discovered, but had no means at hand to explore, and he would pay the expenses.

Mr. Potter, of Brooklyn, employed a man to make a windlass and to-day was the time appointed to set it up and make the descent.

About twenty men went to the well and one man was lowered to the bottom, a distance of fifty-seven feet, where it opens into a sort of cave. Arrived at the bottom


met his gaze. There before him lay the naked body of a woman in an advanced state of decomposition. Not a thread of clothing was left on her body, but it had all been thrown in after her and lay near by.

Her chemise had caught on a rock and lodged and was in a good state of preservation. There was a 


near the heart, and a bullet hole through her corset and chemise in a corresponding part of each.

The body was brought to the city by the coroner and the inquest will proceed to-morrow.

The is no doubt but that the body found is that of the lost Mrs. Graham, nor is there any doubt that


The clothing found corresponds exactly with that described by Mrs. Brieze as worn by her sister when she left her home in Indiana, and there are other facts equally as strong.

It is altogether the most fiendish and diabolic crime that has been committed for years.

Graham is now in jail, and there is little doubt as to his guilt.

It is among the most horrible revelations in the annals of crime, and the community is thoroughly excited.

Another Account. 

MEMPHIS, Tenn., February 25.—An Avalanche special from Springfield, Mo., says the greatest excitement prevails over the discovery of a foul murder committed last September. George Graham is the suspected party. His victim was his wife who came from Fort Wayne, Ind., via St. Louis to meet him at Springfield. He left Springfield with her and his two children on September 29, but returned two days afterwards alone. Nothing more was seen of Mrs. Graham. The children, however, were taken to his farm, near Brooklyn, seven miles distant from here. He told a lady with whom his wife stopped that she was not the mother of the children, but their aunt. Graham had been divorced from his wife owing to his imprisonment in the penitentiary in Indiana for horse stealing. On his release he again wedded her and moved to Kansas. Treating her badly caused a separation and she went home to her people in Indiana. Graham then went to Springfield and married the niece of Malley, the great temperance lecturer. He lived with Mrs. Graham No. 2 for a year, when his whereabouts became known to Mrs. Graham No. 1, and he met her in St. Louis before bringing her to Springfield. The long absence from her home at Ft. Wayne, of Mrs. Graham No. 1 caused uneasiness among her relatives, and her brother-in-law, Mr. Brieze, after writing many letters to this city, came to Springfield, and though failing to find her, had Graham arrested for bigamy, and he is now in jail. This was in the early part of last month, here matters rested, but detectives East of St. Louis and Davis and White, of Springfield began the search which to-day resulted in finding the body of the missing woman, naked, in a dry well fifty feet deep, near Brooklyn. A bullet hole was found in her right breast which had perforated her corset.

The coroner has gone to the scene of the crime. If identification of the remains are satisfactory, Graham will be lynched, and thus will end the career of a horse thief, bigamist and murderer.

Some different information is included in an article from The February 25 1886 edition of The Fort Wayne Sentinel:


Geo. Graham's Ex-Wife Found Dead

Her Sister, Mrs. Breese, Summoned to Springfield, mo., to Recognize Her.

Graham Now in Prison and a Very Bad Case Looms Up Before Him.


George Graham's Wife Found Dead at Springfield.

This telegram, received this afternoon by Lee T. Breese, of the Nickel Plate road, explains itself:

SPRINGFIELD, MO., Feb. 25, 1886:

Mrs. Abbie Breese, Fort Wayne, Ind.:

We have found your sister's body. Come on the first train and identify her. Our state will pay your expenses.

[Signed]             ED. C. DAVIS.

The dead woman is the first wife of Geo. Graham, formerly of this city. Her maiden name is Sarah Gorham. She is the daughter of Marquis Gorham, the tin roofer and saw man who lives across the canal from Hoffman Bro.'s factory.

George Graham first married Miss Gorham here in 1871. He was divorced from her in 1873, and again married her April 17, 1878. They went out west with their two children and were lost sight of for a time.

Graham next turned up as the husband of the daughter of Mrs. Emma Malloy, the famous hoosier temperance evangelist. Whether he was divorced from his first wife or not, is not known, but he met her afterward and finally she disappeared altogether, leaving her children with Mrs. Malloy. Graham was arrested for bigamy in the mean-time and placed in prison, notwithstanding his boasted innocence.

Mrs. Lee T. Breese continued to search for her sister and the telegram above has the sequel. 

Whether Mrs. Graham No. 1. was murdered or committed suicide does not appear to be in the telegram from Detective Davis, but Graham and his paramours were suspected of knowledge of her disappearance and whereabouts.

George Graham is the son of the late Engineer James Graham and his mother still lives at the corner of Clinton and Wayne streets.

George Graham served two terms in the prison north, one for horse stealing and another for forgery. He stole a horse from William Vaughn May 29, 1873, and got a term of five years. He then forged a check on Shurick & Olds December 19, 1879, and served two years.

The Lawrence Daily Journal (Lawrence, Kansas) dated February 27, 1886:

The Remains Proven Beyond a Doubt to be Mrs. Graham's. 

The Community Convinced that Graham is the Murderer. 

Excitement Runs High and Tragical Ending Expected. 

Springfields Sensation.

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., February 26.—The coroner's inquest held to-day over the nude body of the woman found yesterday in an abandoned well on the Malley farm, and which all supposed be the remains of Mrs. Sarah Graham, has thus far elected startling developements.[sic] Over two thousand people crowded the court house, and the testimony was listened to with great attention. The examination of witnesses was conducted by Prosecuting Attorney John A. Patterson, the first witness being Charlie Graham, a thirteen-year-old son of George and Sarah Graham. It will be remembered that upon the examination of George Graham a few weeks ago upon the charge of bigamy, this lad swore that the last he saw of his mother (Sarah Graham) was on the depot platform in St. Louis on the 30th of last September; that she bade himself, his younger brother and his father good by there, as the train moved off. 

At the inquest to-day the little fellow swore that his mother came out on the train with them; that when they arrived at the city, the father took the boys from the train and left them at a boarding house where he had made provision in advance for them, and telling them he was going to Brooklyn with the mother, from there to the Malley farm, a few miles distant, and he would return for them the next morning. His father did come for them the next day and drove them to the Malley farm, and since then he has seen nothing of his mother. When asked why he swore at the examination of his father for bigamy, that his mother was not on the train but had remained in St. Louis, he answered that he had been instructed by his father to swear. 

He described the clothes worn by his mother on the day of the trip from St. Louis, and when shown the articles of wearing apparel found in the abandoned well on the Malley farm in company with the denuded female form, he identified each and every one. This was the senational [sic] feature of the examination at the inquest thus far, and tears came into the eyes of many in the vast throng as the little fellow recognized article after article of the apparel worn by his murdered mother on that fatal day. 

This testimony, with that already adduced by the detectives, proves conclusively that Mrs. Sarah Graham left St. Louis on the morning of the 30th of last September in company with her husband and two little boys; that Mr. Graham put the boys off at Springfield and continued on the train with his wife. They got off the train at Dorchester with the intention of walking to the Malley farm house two or three mile distant; that from that time nothing was seen or heard of Mrs. Graham. All trace was lost of her until the horrible discovery of the nude body and clothing at the bottom of the well on the Malley place and within a few hundred yards of the house; and a bullet hole through the chemise and corset, prove conclusively that she was shot in the right breast, the body was stripped stark naked and thrown into the well, and it is supposed it was the intention of the murderer to burn the clothes, but he became alarmed and threw them into the well hurriedly and then determined to trust to luck for concealment. The remains were decomposed past identification, but that it will be proven to be the body of Sarah Graham, by the clothing, there is no doubt. 

The testimony of Chas. Graham to-day and his recognition of the apparel as that of his mother is conclusive evidence to the community as to the guilt of Graham. 

The sister of the murdered woman, Mrs. Abbie Breese, of Corwin, Ind., will reach the city in the morning and the inquest was adjourned to await her arrival. The testimony in identification of the clothing will be of importance and if she recognizes it was the worn by the deceased when she left home, it will be conclusive evidence of the body, and George Graham will occupy no enviable position. 

Already the air is filled with threats of lynching and the most conservative citizens anticipate a tragical ending of this most horrible affair. 

Finally we learn about the lynching from The Fort Wayne Sentinel (Fort Wayne, Indiana) dated April 27, 1886:


George Graham Lynched by a Mob. 

Who Batter the Jail Down and Hang the Cowardly Wife Murderer to a Tree. 

He Completely Exonerates Cora Lee and Emma Molloy to His Determined Executioners. 


He is Lynched by an Armed Mob. 

By Telegraph to THE SENTINEL

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., April 27.—At 1:30 this morning a mob of four hundred armed men surrounded the county jail, battered in the doors and took out Geo. Graham and hung him to a tree. 

At 2 o'clock the mob started out of town on Booneville street, with Graham in their midst. 

It was thought the mob would take Graham to the Molloy farm and hang him, and then throw his body into the well where his wife's body was found. 

But the leaders of the party artfully gave their followers the slip by starting in the direction of the Molloy place, but changed their course as soon as the others turned back, and while yet within the city limits hanged him to a tree within just one hour after the attack was made on the jail. This note was pinned to the body: 

"We heartily welcome all strangers to citizenship, who are pure of purpose and act of good faith, but we give this as a warning to ex-convicts and murderers who may hereafter invade our county, to impose on our credulity. We also give warning that any person or persons of any rank or station, who dare to discover the actors in this tragedy, will be surely and speedily dispatched to hell, where all things are revealed to the curious. In justice to the memory of Sarah Graham, a loving wife, a dear mother, whose life was sacrificed at the altar of Hecate, we subscribe ourselves, 


N.B.—"To Sheriff Donnell: Keep your mouth shut. If you recognize any of us, you will die the death of a dog." 

It is claimed that Graham, before hanging repeated the declaration that neither Mrs. Molloy nor Cora Lee were implicated in the murder. 


ST. LOUIS, April 27.—A special from Springfield, Mo., to the Post-Dispatch, states that the inquest over the body of George E. Graham, resulted in a verdict that the deceased came to his death by strangulation, at the hands of persons unknown. 


Cora Lee had been informed that an attempt to lynch him would be made, but she failed to notify the sheriff or make any attempt to save her lover's life. 


The Associated Press correspondent interviewed Sheriff Donnell, who said: "I have heard so much talk of mobs that gave up the idea of one. The first thing knew was about 1 o'clock, when masked men broke into the room and said, ' We are friends; don't be scared,' overpowered me, and then requested the keys of Mrs. D. Getting tired of refusal, the leader said; 'Well boys, bring the tools.' One of the party, who evidently knew where they were, walked straight to the drawer where the keys were kept and forced it open. I know nothing of how Graham took it. I was kept close in the room." 

Mrs. Donnell said: "They were cool and collected. When they unlocked Graham's cell he said: 'You can hang me, but, by G—d you can't scare me." They 


behind him and marched him through the hall with a rope around his neck. He was as white as a sheet, but otherwise never flinched. 

The mob is various estimated at 150 to 400. The correspondent saw them leave town, and would say they were at least 200 strong. 

Graham's cell mate said it was the quietest piece of business he ever saw. Graham never flinched, but said: "By G—d, I ain't scared." 

Graham made no entreaties for them to spare him, but went to his death cooly, and died apparently without any struggle. The mob dispersed in all directions.  

I would have really liked to continue with the aftermath, but it will have to wait for a later date. Thank you for joining me and as always, I hope I leave you with something to ponder. 


Sunday, April 26, 2015

April 26, 1892: Negro

Today we learn about a Texas lynching from the Murfreesboro Index (Murfreesboro, N. C.) dated April 29, 1892:

Searchers for the two negroes who assassinated postmaster Kaufman, of Reisil, Texas, found one of them near Limestone county line. After satisfying themselves of his guilt, the mob strung the fellow up, and left the body dangling from the tree limb.

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

Saturday, April 25, 2015

April 25, 1909: John Thomas

Today we learn about an Alabama lynching through the pages of the Salisbury Evening Post (Salisbury, N. C.) dated April 27, 1909:


Victim and Her Children Positively Identified Him Beforehand.

Birmingham, Ala., April 25.—John Thomas, negro, was quietly lynched by a small crowd of men about one mile below Bessemer tonight, at 9 o'clock. The negro was being taken to jail in Bessemer, when he was overtaken by citizens, who made short work of the prisoner by hanging him to a tree in the woods. After the hanging the crowd quietly went back to their homes.

Thomas committed a criminal assault upon a lady named Mrs. Patterson, near Parkwood, about noon today. The news spread rapidly and citizens began the pursuit. The negro was found near the scene of the crime late this afternoon at the home of a farmer for whom he worked. He was taken before a justice of the peace and a warrant was sworn out for him. The citizens, numbering probably not more than a dozen, took the negro before Mrs. Patterson, who positively identified him. Her two children also identified the negro. There had, up to this time, been no open evidence of violence and a well known farmer, named Andy Roy started with the negro for Bessemer.

All went well until Roy and his prisoner got within about a mile of Bessemer. Here they were overtaken by the citizens.

Thomas finally confessed to the crime and said he did not mind going to jail, but did not want them to hang him. He told the posse that he had just gotten out of jail, where he had served several years, and that he did not mind going back. He only asked them to spare his life. The response was a rope and he was swinging to a tree the next moment.

The body is still swinging in the high wind at midnight and the coroner states that he will make an investigation tomorrow.

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

Friday, April 24, 2015

April 24, 1893: John Peterson

Today we learn about an unfortunate lynching in South Carolina. The Charlotte Observer of Charlotte, N. C. April 27, 1893 edition is our source of information about this lynching:



A Graphic, Succinct and Accurate Statement of the Evidence in the Case.

Greenville, S. C., News.

John Peterson, a poor and friendless negro, evidently shrewd and apparently a wandering and rather shiftless fellow, heard that he was suspected of being the man who had attempted a criminal assault on a young white woman at Denmark, Barnwell county. He made his way to Columbia, surrendered himself to the officers of the law and sought and obtained a personal interview with the Governor.

The negro put himself in the Governor's hands and under his protection. Asked if he was willing to return to Barnwell and face the furious, blood-thirsty mob which had already with difficulty been prevented from hanging one innocent man, he replied that he would go. He was sure he could prove his innocence and only asked that certain witnesses whom he named should be collected for him.

The Governor sent a newspaper reporter to the scene to gather in the negro's witnesses. Then he sent the negro there unprotected and helpless.

Peterson bore himself well. He was sent to meet a furious, hostile, unreasoning crowd. Alone and friendless, he undertook to prove his innocence. The State newspaper prints a full stenographic report of the testimony taken before a committee. One or two of Peterson's witnesses of his own color disappointed him. Their evidence went to show that his account of his movements during five or six days before and after the crime at Denmark was untrue and that he was near Denmark on the day the crime was committed. He said he had other witnesses who could corroborate his story. Standing in the very presence of death, examined and cross examined by a score of men each eager to prove him guilty, the story he told was wonderfully straight and consistent and his slips were wonderfully few. His absent witnesses were not sent for—men who he claimed were with him at the very time the crime was done and who knew it would have been impossible for him to do it.

Then he was taken before the young woman who was the victim of the assault and her little brother who was present with her when it was committed. Peterson faced the girl without flinching, spoke so that she could hear his voice, arranged and rearranged his hat so as to give her every opportunity to observe him closely. Ex-Senator Sojourner then questioned her. Here is her statement:

"I don't know him, sir; that don't look like him at all. He is the same color, that's all. He don't talk like the man; he is thinner in the face, and as dark as this man, but his eyes don't look like him."

Mr. Mayfield—"Does this look like the right man?"

"No, sir."

"Could you tell him if you ever saw him?"

"Yes, sir, I could. If the right man was here I would know him."

The little boy who was with his sister at the time of the crime, and was nearly choked to death, was asked what he thought. He said "the other man looked more like him than this one. I would know him if I saw him."

"The other man" is the other negro who was arrested and whom the girl and boy had declared was not the guilty man.

Here was clear evidence that Peterson was not the guilty man. The only two eye witnesses of the crime acquitted him.

He was taken back where the mob awaited him and locked in the town calaboose—a frail building only strong enough to keep him until it was time for him to be butchered. He was left there an hour or two, alone, friendless, helpless. Then four or five hundred men took him out and murdered him—hanged and shot him—after jeering and insulting him and making frightful jokes  upon the one poor, ragged, ignorant, helpless man who could nothing but beg every now and then for "one more chance to see  Harve," the witness he had relied upon to prove his alibi. Just one more chance—just a few short hours of delay—just a little time to make plainer the evidence of his innocence of the crime he was to die for. He was answered with boisterous laughter and hurried on to die.

The Goth butchered in the arena to make sport for the depraved mobs of Rome, the victims whose heads dropped by scores under the guillotine blade before the jeering rabble of Paris; the prisoners bound, tortured and burned by the Apache and Sioux in the West, were not more brutally, cruelly or horribly murdered than this man was. He was hanged because a crime had been committed and he had been delivered over by the Governor of the State ready to be hanged.


Columbia People, in Mass Meeting, Pass Resolutions on the Denmark Lynching.

Columbia Special, 25th, to the Greenville News.

An arousing mass meeting was held here to-night to condemn the action of Governor Tillman in sending the negro, John Peterson, who was lynched last night for a crime of which he was probably not guilty, before the frenzied mob at Denmark to have his case adjudicated by Judge Lynch's court.

Many prominent citizens were present and the hall was filled with persons of all classes. Among the speakers was ex-Governor Richardson, who said that he had always believed the doctrines enunciated by the Tillman administration were of such a character as must eventually lead to the disregard of law. He charged Governor Tillman with recognizing the validity of lynch law and concluded by saying:  "God grant that such rulers shall cease to be in South Carolina." (Loud applause)

Solicitor Jervey said that if he had presided over the Denmark circuit he would indict the lynchers and would name B. R. Tillman as accessory before the fact. (Applause.) "And in my argument before the jury," said he, "I am very much mistaken if I did not show that he was more responsible than any of them." (Applause.)

Speeches were also made by Colonel John C. Haskell and W. A. Clark. The following resolutions were unanimously adopted:

"We, the citizens of Columbia, in mass meeting assembled, do adopt the following resolutions:

"Resolved, That in the lynching of John Peterson at Denmark, not only has the 'peace and dignity of the State' been offended, but a human life has been taken without even satisfactory evidence of his guilt. We therefore denounce the act as meriting the unmeasured condemnation of all good citizens."

The second resolution denounces Gov. Tillman as particeps criminis in the murder.

An explanation from Gov. Tillman comes to us from the Keowee Courier (Pickens, S. C.) dated May 4, 1893:

Gov. Tillman's Defence of the Lynching of John Peterson.

[Columbia Register.]

Gov. Tillman while feeling perfectly confident that everything he did in connection with the Peterson case was right, yet he evinces every desire to let the public know why he acted as he did, as he has been so severely criticised.

Much interest has been taken in what Peterson had to say to the Governor, and with a view of making it all public the Governor yesterday addressed the following letter:

"COLUMBIA, April 26th, 1893.

"Messrs. W. A. Neal and A. W. Clayton:

"GENTLEMEN:  Please give me a statement of what you know in regard to my conversation with John Peterson at the Executive Mansion on Saturday afternoon last.

"I ask it for publication, to give the public the whole truth and leave people at home and abroad judge the case fairly. Respectfully,

"B. R. TILLMAN, Governor."

In response to the above Mr. Clayton, who is a reporter for the Journal, makes the following statement:

John Peterson, accompanied by another negro, Wade Wylie, approached me last Saturday afternoon to know where Mr. Tillman (meaning the Governor) was. A few questions elicited the fact that I was being addressed by John Peterson, whom I knew to be wanted at Denmark as a suspect of the outrage upon Miss Mamie Baxter. I accompanied him to the Executive Mansion and told the Governor who he was and what he wanted.

Gov. Tillman, addressing Peterson, asked him if he was John Peterson, and he replied that he was, and that he wanted to surrender himself to him for protection, as he had heard they were hunting him for the crime committed upon Miss Baxter, and he feared that if he was caught he would be lynched.

The Governor:  "Are you guilty?"
Peterson:  "No, sir."
The Governor:  "Where were you on Friday a week ago?"
Peterson:  "I was at North's."
The Governor:  "Can you prove that and by white people?"
Peterson:  "Yes, sir."
The Governor:  Are you willing to go back there and let the young lady see you?"
Peterson:  "Yes, sir."

The Governor then turned to me and said that he had no right to hold a man who was simply suspected of a crime, but that if Peterson wanted protection I had better take him to the Chief of Police and get him to investigate the case. This I did. After having him locked up by his own request, i started out to find Mr. L. B. Jenkins and Constable Lambert, the latter of whom, I knew, was then looking for Peterson with a warrant for his arrest, to see if they would identify him, as he did not appear to suit the description given me of him.

They were found and Mr. Jenkins began the questioning of Peterson, which has already been mentioned, believing at the start, that Peterson was guilty of the crime, but at the finish that he was innocent. Peterson was then locked up, and after being returned to his cell, Mr. Jenkins asked him if he would be willing to return to Denmark and let the young lady look at him. He replied promptly that he would. He said that he was innocent and did not fear any recognition by her.

Upon leaving the guard house Mr. Jenkins and I determined that there was at least grave doubt of his guilt and that if he was taken back there by Mr. Lambert on Sunday morning, believing as we did that he would be lynched, we determined to go to Gov. Tillman and ask him to have him held here until he could get his witnesses together to prove his alibi, which he confidently claimed that he could do. We went, and after hearing us Gov. Tillman agreed to hold him under condition that I would go and try to get his witnesses together for him, which I did. He then wrote an order to Sheriff Cathcart, which I delivered to him, ordering him to take Peterson from the guard house and lodge him in jail until further orders.

I went to North's the next day and worked all day hunting up his witnesses for him. That evening I wired the Governor that they would all be on hand on Monday, and that they corroborated his statement.


"I heard the conversation between Gov. Tillman and John Peterson at the Governor's Mansion last Saturday afternoon as stated above.

"W. A. NEAL,

"Superintendent Penitentiary."

It will thus be seen that the negro expressed perfect confidence in being able to prove his innocence and that under the circumstances there is no blame to be attached to the Governor. The blame, if any, rests with the crowd that lynched him.

I call this lynching unfortunate for lack of a better adjective. There are many other words I could have used, but unfortunate seemed the closest to the point, though there is no denying that it was indeed tragic. Thank you for joining me and as always, I hope I leave you with something to ponder.  

Thursday, April 23, 2015

April 23, 1930: Dave Harris

Today's lynching occurred in Mississippi as we learn from The Anniston Star (Anniston, Alabama) dated April 23, 1930:


Black Caught and Lynched by Posse of 200 Mississippi Men

ROSEDALE, Miss., Apr. 23. (UP)—Dave Harris, 40, negro, slayer of a white boy, was caught and lynched by a posse of more than 200 men near here today.

The negro who late yesterday shot Clayton Funderberg, 17-year-old farm boy, to death, was surrounded and captured in the Mississippi River swamps after an all-night search.

According to reports to officers here he was marched to a tree and executed before a firing squad of possemen. Officers leading the posse were powerless to prevent the execution.

Harris shot young Funderberg to death with a shotgun after the boy, his brother, Cliff, and Fred Ayers, had gone to the negro's cabin and accused him of stealing groceries from the Funderberg house.

He fired at the other boys but they fled and escaped uninjured. Bloodhounds, followed by a posse of between 200 and 300 men and boys, lost the trail in the swamps last night.

Today the search was resumed and Harris was captured about three miles from the scene of the shooting late yesterday. Deputy Sheriff A. S. Day, leading the posse, reported he was unable to persuade the mob to turn the negro over to him.

A second article is found in The Pittsburgh Courier (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) dated May 3, 1930:


Dave Harris Handcuffed To Tree as Bloodthirsty Mob Acts—No Effort Made To Halt Disgrace

ROSEDALE, Miss., May 1—(ANP)—Handcuffed to a tree and pleading for his life, Dave Harris, forty-year-old tenant farmer, was shot to death by a mob of more than 150 whites here Tuesday morning.

Harris was charged with the slaying of Clayton Funderberg, a white youth, during an argument over some groceries which the white youth declared Harris had stolen. The killing occurred near the Harris home, where Funderberg had gone to "get his man" or the groceries.

Following the fatal shooting Harris made his escape and for some ten hours eluded a mob of 300 angry whites, armed with shotguns and revolvers and rifles and aided by bloodhounds. A complete cordon was thrown around the swamp in which Harris was supposed to have been hiding, but despite the close vigil of his pursuers Harris made his escape and went to the house of a friend, George Williams.

Denied aid there, he again made his way to another hiding place and told Williams where he was going. Harris had not got out of sight before Williams was on his way to the sheriff's office to inform them of Harris' whereabouts. He led the officers to the spot and Harris was placed under arrest.

As the officer and his prisoner approached the city limits they were met by the mob. The deputy sheriff tried to reason with the bloodthirsty whites and to urge them to let the law take its course in the case. The group, however, could not be persuaded and the terrified prisoner was turned over to them.

The news of his capture had circulated and a sizeable addition to the mob arrived before the lynching ceremonies got under way. The manacled man was handcuffed to a tree and amid the shouts of joy of the lynchers his body was riddled with bullets. The coroner stated that more than 150 bullets were fired into the victim's body, while exponents of "white supremacy" exulted in their savagery and satiated their thirst for blood.

The victim has paid with his life for killing a white man; the white man had been avenged and the law broken, so the mob dispersed. No inquest was necessary, as the verdict would be the same old decision usually handed down, "killed by unknown parties," although the members of the mob were not masked nor were they strangers in this section of the country. Just another Negro has been lynched.

According to beliefs expressed here following the brutal lynching, not even the perfunctory investigation of the lynching will be conducted until the next session of court, which convenes in about six months. The good and law-abiding citizens are "deploring the action of the mob, which has placed a blot on the good name of the state of Mississippi."

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

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

April 22, 1900: John Hughly and Ed Ames

Today we learn about a lynching in Louisiana through the pages of The San Francisco Call (San Francisco, California) dated April 23, 1900:


First Assassination Is Followed by the Suicide of the Criminal.

Plans of the Blacks Are Discovered and Two of the Conspirators Are Summarily Lynched.

Special Dispatch to The Call.

ALLENTOWN, La., April 22.—A plot for the extermination of the whites, a cowardly assassination as the first act of the bloody drama, followed by the suicide of the terror-stricken murderer, the discovery of the plot and the prompt lynching of two of the negro conspirators is a record of the most exciting day in the history of Allentown.

W. T. White, foreman of Allen Bros. & Wadley's sawmill, was shot and instantly killed by Jeff Riston, a negro lumber grader. The murderer escaped to his cabin, but realizing that capture was inevitable, sent a bullet through his own head. Investigation developed the fact that there was a conspiracy among the negroes to massacre the whites. Enough evidence was found to implicate John Hughly and Ed Ames, two negroes, employes [sic] of the mill, as the ringleaders in the plot. Others were probably concerned, but the evidence was not conclusive and they were not molested. Hughly and Ames were led to a spot 200 yards distant from the mill.

White men numbering thirty placed the prisoners in position against a tree, thirty revolvers were simultaneously drawn and at a word all rang out  with but one report. The bullet-riddled corpses were left where they had fallen.

The inception of the trouble dates back about a week. One of the negroes executed to-day engaged in a quarrel with a white boy. The dispute was over a piece of work. The negro assaulted the boy, hurling him backward on a moving belt. Prompt action of the employes [sic]alone saved the boy from an awful death in the wheels of the machinery.

Foreman White ordered the negro whipped. The punishment was administered and the negro left the mill, but returned within several days and resumed work as if nothing had happened. White permitted the man to resume his former position, and did not imagine that revengeful negroes were concocting a plot which would result in his death.

White had occasion to reprove Riston for some slight dereliction, which brought the matter to a climax. At about 8:30 he left his place at the machine and crept up behind Foreman White, who was at the desk. Drawing his revolver he fired at close range, the bullet entering his back at a vital point. Riston fired again, the second shot taking effect in the breast. The unfortunate man fell to the floor, and the third bullet from the desperate criminal's revolver missed the falling body, imbedding itself in the wall of the mill.

White expired immediately. The murderer escaped in the confusion that followed and ran into a near-by cabin and killed himself. Whites gathered and upon consultation decided to rid the community of the bad negroes and the double lynching alluded to above followed. It is not believed there will be any further trouble.

Ont thing I don't understand is why they believed they were out to exterminate an entire race instead of killing White. Only one man was killed in this attempt and his name is White, I can't help but think that was the goal all along. Thank you for joining me and as always, I hope I leave you with something to ponder.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

April 21, 1895: John Rattler, Zeb Calley, Martha Greene, Alice Green and Mary Deane

Today we learn about an Alabama lynching from the pages of The Sedalia Democrat (Sedalia, Missouri) dated April 22, 1895:


Three Women and Two Men Hanged By a Mob.


A Popular Young White Man Murdered and His Body Burned—The Crime Confessed.

GREENVILLE, Ala, April 22.—Two men and three women were lynched near here early yesterday morning. The five were arrested Saturday near Butler Springs, charged with the murder of Watts Murphy, a splendid young man of prominence, and the nephew of ex Governor Tom Watts.

They were John Rattler, Zeb Calley, Martha Greene, Alice Greene and Mary Deane. Another negro man, who was also implicated, made his escape.

The murder of young Murphy was most brutal. After he had been killed his body was placed in a brush heap and cremated. One of the negroes implicated confessed, and an examination of the place revealed the teeth, liver and heart, which, the reports say, for some unknown reason, failed to burn.

The confession was made by Rattler, who implicated the others. Butler Springs is sixteen miles from here. A posse of men, who had charge of the five prisoners, left there about 11 o'clock Saturday night to bring them to jail here for safekeeping. The route was a lonely one, and the trip was necessarily slow.

At about 3 o'clock yesterday morning at a lonely part of the road the party was suddenly surrounded by armed men who seemed to spring from both sides of the road. The posse was covered with Winchesters, and under pain of instant death were halted. Reports say that there were about 100 men in the attacking party, all heavily armed and all cool and brave.

They made short work of it. Taking the five negroes, they tied their hands and then took them one at a time and hanged them to limbs of trees that lined the road. The five bodies were found hanging there yesterday by churchgoers.

The affair has created a great deal of excitement here, but it is claimed there was no doubt whatever of the guilt of all of the victims of lynch law.

The crime for which these five people were lynched was an exceedingly brutal one and there is no disguising the fact that a majority of the people of the county believe that the fate the negroes met was a deserved one.

The is considerable mystery as to the cause of the murder of Watts Murphy; in fact, no two stories from the scene agree. The story is that the negro who made his escape concocted the plot and that he planned the murder as revenge for an imaginary wrong of a trivial nature. The confession which implicated the other men and women was full and explicit.

It was reported here last night that the set of lynchers was made up of the most prominent farmers and merchants, resident near the scene of the murder, but it is believed this is an exaggerated statement of the situation. There is little doubt, however, but the prominent citizens condone the affair.

There is also some talk about the negroes being highly wrought up over the affair. They were especially indignant over the hanging of the woman [sic]. Whether the women had a hand in the actual killing or were only in the plot as the negroes now claim, is not definitely known. There may, however, be trouble for them.  

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

Monday, April 20, 2015

April 20, 1900: John Peters

Today we learn about a lynching in West Virginia through the pages of The Waterloo Press (Waterloo, Indiana) dated April 26, 1900:

Lynched a Rapist.

John Peters (colored), who assaulted Kate Richie, a 16-year-old white girl, near Taszwell, W. Va., on Wednesday, was lynched Friday night. Peters had been captured with the aid of bloodhounds and placed in jail at Taszwell. At midnight masked men broke open the door with axes. A rope was placed around Peters' neck and he was dragged 200 yards down the railroad track toward the woods. Hundreds of shots were fired into his body as he was being dragged, and before the woods were reached he was dead. The rope was then thrown over a tree and he was drawn up.

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

Sunday, April 19, 2015

April 19, 1894: Dock Bishop and Frank Latham

Today we learn about a lynching in Oklahoma from The Kansas City Gazette (Kansas City, Kansas) dated April 20, 1894:


Two Members of a Gang Hanged at Woodward, Ok.

WICHITA, Kan., April 20.—A special dispatch from Woodward, Ok., says that Dock Bishop and Frank Latham were lynched yesterday morning by the settlers living near Watonga, Ok., for horse stealing. Both men belonged to a gang that was systematically stealing horses from the settlers and driving them into the Pan Handle of Texas. A posse ran Bishop and Latham down and made them surrender, after exchanging twenty shots, one of which broke Latham's arm.

Today's article of interest comes to us from The Anderson Intelligencer (Anderson, S. C.) dated April 29, 1896:


"Thou Shalt do no Murder"—Timely Text for all the Preachers in the State.

Aiken Journal and Review, March 4.

Sunday night at the Baptist Church the Rev. E. E. Bomar preached a sermon on lynching, of which we give below an abstract. The fine audience present listened with close attention to the words of the preacher. His text was from Exodus, one of the Ten Commandments. "Thou shalt do no murder." The preacher said:

Some think that this is not a proper theme for a preacher in his pulpit. Such would divide all the world into men, women and preachers. But a preacher is not a man apart from the world; a hermit is, a priest is, or may be, but a preacher, never. He must be one of the people, and while not of the world, not worldly-minded, he must yet be int he world.

If it is objected that the theme is sensational, the reply is, so is crime. That sentiment is faulty which makes pets of preachers and insists that they should always dress in the latest style, and preach only tender, hortatory sermons. Sin is a dirty thing, and he who really deals with it, meets it and fights it, must throw away his gloves and his dress suit and meet it as it is.

We have precedent for denunciatory sermons. Before Jesus was John the Baptist; before the Gospel Sinai and the law. The apostle Paul in his letter to Titus says:  "Put them in mind to be subject to rulers," and again in writing to the Romans, "Let every soul be subject to the higher powers. For there is no power but of God; the powers that be are ordained of God." And yet again:  "These things speak and exhort and rebuke with all authority."

Therefore I think it my duty to preach on this theme, and I advance as the distinct topic of the discourse this proposition:  Lynching, is never justifiable, not even in the most aggravated cases. I know what it is to feel the indignation which animates a mob against a man guilty of a terrible crime, for I have witnessed (both times by chance) two lynchings. I know that this may be brought home even to me at some time, but for all that I say that lynching is never justifiable in a well governed State like South Carolina. Plausible excuses are given, but none that justifies. Some say there is no use in talking about it, but I say there is use, and I will talk. There is need of enlightening public sentiment, and it is for that I plead, for the sentiment which stands on principle and refuses to justify lynching, no matter how aggravated the crime. I know that lynching is a sort of wild tribute to justice. If men did not care for purity and sobriety they would never lynch men for rape and murder. I know also that the state of our society is different from that of our sister States. I am not here to slander my own State and uncover her shame. I love her too well for that. But certainly she is guilty. Her own people have trampled on her laws and in the name of justice have overturned the throne of justice. The simple truth is that in the name of righteousness they have done unrighteousness; in the name of sobriety they have been guilty of lawlessness; in the name of safety, murder.

The preacher then went on to show why lynching is wrong. He gave five reasons, some low and some as high as heaven, which all can remember and think on. Lynching is wrong because it is a costly thing, a dangerous thing, a foolish thing. It sets at defiance the laws of the country, insults sobriety and, in the eyes of God, is nothing more or less than murder.

1.  This lynching is apt to prove costly. A part of Section 6, Article 6, of the Constitution reads as follows:  "In all cases of lynching when death ensues the county where such lynching takes place shall, without regard to the conduct of the officers, be liable in exemplary damages of not less than two thousand dollars to the legal representative of the person lynched." This is a very practical and sordid consideration, but necessary in view of the assertion sometimes made that lynching is the easiest and cheapest way to get rid of notorious criminals.

2.  It is a dangerous thing. It is not always true that mobs get the right man. Frequently it becomes known in after years that they got the wrong man. How can a frenzied mob do justice? The state of mind which renders lynching possible makes true judgement impossible where there is any doubt. An angry mob is like a pack of bloodhounds let loose. If they do not get the right man, they will seldom rest content until they get somebody.

3.  It is foolish; it is folly; it is useless. For the sense of justice which makes possible lynching and really justifies it will also procure conviction in a legal trial. It is a favorite argument of those who justify lawlessness that our Courts are corrupt and that convictions can not be obtained. I grant all the annoyance of the law's delay, all the influence of legal proceedings, all the one-sidedness of some maxims and principles, and, even all the stupidity of jurors and witnesses, and still I refuse to believe that the average jury in South Carolina would fail to convict a man so clearly guilty of crime that men threaten to arise and sometimes do crime to execute summary judgment on him. What then is the use to take the law into our own hands? Do we not by that act slander that sense of justice which abides in the breast of almost every common farmer in the State? For one I refuse to believe it, that our Courts are so corrupt that a man clearly guilty can get off by the quibble of the law. But we are not left to conjecture; we have a case in point. Some years ago in Spartanburg County a man killed his brother-in-law in which the public thought was cold-blooded murder, brought on by the murderer's own crime. Immediately the slayer was arrested and lodged in jail. Bail was refused him though he was a man of large means. The indignant public in the neighborhood where the crime was committed, could not wait for him to be tried. They attempted to take him from jail to lynch him, but they failed. The officer, the militia and the law-abiding citizens resisted and kept back the mob. Was justice defeated? No. The criminal was in due time tried, and in spite of all that money and the best legal talent in the State could do, he suffered the extreme penalty of the law. This case, well known, and of but recent occurrence, shows that our Courts are not so corrupted as these enemies of law would have us believe.

Again, lynching sets at defiance law and sobriety. It is a great misfortune. I had almost said the greatest, when a generation arises without respect for law and no evidence for justice and its officers. Lynching derides law; it spits in her face, takes from her her crown and tramples her garments under foot. Disregard for law, when it becomes an established sentiment, tends to make people either Ishmaelites or Indians. If our Courts are nothing, and our laws to be set aside for the unrestrained sentiments of every mob, the hand of every man must be against his fellows. Lynching for rape makes possible lynching for murder, and lynching for murder makes possible lynching for minor offenses, and lynching for such things as stealing a Bible from a church makes possible the taking of individual private revenge in the home of law and order. If we tolerate lynching for the worst offence we may be sure that the mob will tolerate it for smaller offences. If we invoke the aid or submit to the patronage of lawlessness we must taste the consequence and not complain when lewd fellows of the baser sort really rule the land. L[y]nching is hypocrisy; it is the devil pretending to look after the public good.

5.  Lastly, lynching is murder. That is all of it and the end of it. If one man takes the law into his hands, or two, or kills another, no one raises a question of guilt in that case. It makes no difference because a mob does the work of one man. Individuality and responsibility are not lost in a crowd. All lynchers are murderers, guilty in the sight of God and by the laws of our country. They are cowardly murderers, assassinators, striking in the dark, working often behind masked faces, no one daring to assert his individuality. They are weak murderers; no one of them would do what together they all do. They lean upon one another in their weakness. They pay no attention to the cries of the guilty. They even add torture, and while they sometimes make a mock of God by giving their victims a chance to pray, they more often add torture of some kind. Yes, lynching is murder; unabashed murder, cowardly murder, pitiless murder. God, the avenger, heard the cries of that man who was taken from the train at Windsor a few nights ago. God saw the end of the victims of Broxton Bridge, and God will avenge.

What concerns us is that his vengeance will fall on all also if we at all justify these acts, and do not do all in our power to bring the guilty ones to justice. Therefore I plead for correct views and a healthy sentiment on this subject; that we shall stand on principles when temptation comes; that we shall always support the law, and especially do I ask that God-fearing people will never countenance lawlessness in silence, look, or word, but remember the law, "Thou shalt not kill."

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