Saturday, January 16, 2016

February 12, 1879: Alexander McGill

Today we learn about a lynching in Tennessee through the pages of The Tennessean (Nashville, Tennessee) dated February 15, 1879:


Particulars of Wednesday Night's Lynching in Bedford County.

From Our Regular Correspondent

SHELBYVILLE, Feb. 14, 1879.—Nothing has, as yet, transpired to throw any light upon the motive of the masked men in hanging the negro, Alex. McGill, Wednesday night. As they were going to the house where McGill was, they aroused two or three of the nearest neighbors along the road and told each of them that they were going to take McGill out and whip him. In an hour or two the masked parties returned along the road and told the same citizens whom they had aroused as they went to their dark work, that they had hung the negro, and his body could be found at a certain place swinging to a limb. The citizens found the body of a negro hanging to a tree in a strip of woods on the top of the ridge near Clay's store, about 2 1/2 miles southeast from Flat creek village. His body was not molested until the arrival of Coroner James S. Miller in the afternoon, who summoned a jury, and cut the body down.

The facts brought out at the inquest are, in substance, the following:  About the time of corn-shucking fight at James Farrar's, last October, which caused the death of a young white man named Holt, and the negro Sydney Frazier, the negro Alex. McGill, who met a tragic death night before last, was accused of threatening to burn the village of Flat creek, and of indulging in threats against the Ku-Klux in particular. At the same time a number of negroes were accused of similar threats. This caused considerable excitement in the vicinity of Flat Creek village, and counter-threats were made against the negroes. nothing was known against Alex. McGill, but for fear of trouble with the whites he left the neighborhood and went to Coffee county, leaving his wife at her father's, near Flat Creek. A few days ago he returned for his wife, and it was from her father's house that he was taken by the twelve or fifteen masked men, on Wednesday night, carried about a mile and hanged to death as stated. McGill had a bad reputation.

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

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