Friday, January 1, 2016

August 17, 1882: Jack Turner

Happy New Year everyone.  Today's we learn about a lynching in Alabama that I first found in multiple papers with the same small article. The following article from the Burlington Republican (Burlington, Kansas) dated August 30, 1882 is where we find this small article:


A number of negroes of Choctaw county, Alabama, formed a plot to murder the white residents of that county. Documents relating to the plot were found and the discovery lead to the arrest of the ringleaders, the chief of whom was lynched.

After a bit of searching I found some articles that shared some more information. The Arizona Weekly Citizen's August 27, 1882 edition carried the following article:

MOBILE, Ala., August 22.—In Choctaw county, Alabama, on the 15th instant, a bundle of papers disclosing a well organized plot among the negroes to kill the entire white population of that county was found. on the 16th a quiet meeting of the citizens was called to consider the best mode of suppressing the intended outbreak and massacre. After discussion it was agreed that the ringleaders, Jack Turner, F. D. Barney, Jessey Wilson, Peter Hill, Willis Lyman, Aaron Scott and Range West, to whom had been assigned the duties of leading their respective squads to Butler, Mount Sterling, Desotoville and other places and killing all the whites at each place, should be arrested and lodged in jail. Their arrest was effected on the 17th instant without disturbance or bloodshed. On the same day a mass meeting of citizens of all classes was called to decide the fate of the prisoners.

The plot has been in existence since 1878 and the conspirators now number 400. They had powder, shot and guns to accomplish their fiendish design. Sunday night, the seventeenth of September, had been appointed for the day to make the move. The meeting brought together about 700 men, among whom were 150 negroes who, after hearing the papers read, by an almost unanimous vote resolved that Jack Turner was a turbulent and dangerous character; a regular fire brand in the community and public good demanded his immediate removal. He was accordingly hanged at a quarter past one the same afternoon in the presence of the assembled multitude. The crowd then dispersed. The other prisoners are still in jail to await further developments.

The next article is found in the pages of the Tombstone Weekly Epitaph (Tombstone, Arizona) dated August 26, 1882:

That Nigger Story Denied.

NEW YORK, August 23.—The Tribune's Washington special says:  Conviction prevails that the remarkable story telegraphed from Alabama about the alleged conspiracy among the blacks to murder all of the whites in Choctaw county, is an invention of bulldozers, and that hanging Jack Turner, without trial, is only the beginning of another season of political terrorism.

Our final article comes to us through The Osage County Chronicle (Burlingame, Kansas) dated September 14, 1882:

The Latest Southern "Outrage" Story.

Edgefield County, South Carolina, has hitherto enjoyed the reputation of being the "scariest" county in the whole South on the subject of the security of whites against blacks. Henceforth Choctaw County, Alabama, is entitled to the palm. The population of Choctaw County, by the census of 1880, consists of whites and blacks in nearly equal numbers, 7,387 of one, and only 8,344 of the others, including Indians and half-breeds. But according to the astonishing story reported in the press dispatches this morning, these 7,387 whites have barely escaped "total extermination" by their black neighbors. The general massacre, however, has been providentially averted by the finding of "a bundle of papers" by "two men," and by the lawless lynching of an unfortunate negro named Jack Turner. The 7,387 white inhabitants of Choctaw County make too large a demand upon the credulity of the people of the United States in this story.—N. Y. Herald.

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

1 comment:

  1. Hi. I heard of this story from my daughter, as she is doing research for our family tree. I was, amazed first, at the similarities of the Nat Turner story. Next, I wanted to know, where and when, did the other men, get tried for their so-called, crimes. It seems, as if Mr. Turner, was stepping on some toes, and not staying in his corner. I am glad, someone, is telling this story. It needs to be told. Thank you. We have more information, hidden from us, through all areas. So, Thank you again.