Wednesday, January 20, 2016

January 15, 1880: Charles Smith

Today we learn about a lynching in Indiana through the pages of the Harrisburg Telegraph (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania) dated January 14, 1880:


A dispatch from Walton, Ind. says:  "A colored man named Charles Smith, was hanged about 9 o'clock last night by a mob two miles north of that place. Smith was a native of Virginia and an escaped convict from the Penitentiary at Frankfort, Kentuckey [sic]. He was arrested last Sunday at Rising Sun, Ind., for alleged arson, in burning the barn and stock of Justice Hudson, near Walton, last October. At the time of the hanging he was on his way to Burlington jail in the custody of three officials, who were overpowered by the mob. At the time of writing the dispatch he was still hanging to a tree and was not likely to be taken down before morning. During his examination Smith wrote a letter to his mother asking her for $500 for his defense, and confessing to many of his crimes.

The Cincinnati Enquirer (Cincinnati, Ohio) dated January 17, 1880 informs us about Smith's corpse:

Smith Resurrected. 

The body of the colored man, Charles Smith, who was lynched night before last near Walton, for arson, was buried near the foot of the tree upon which he was hung. Yesterday afternoon, it is said, two Covington physicians left this city in a buggy, went to the scene of the execution, and dug up the corpse. The "cadaver" was found too stiff to double up, as is customary, and it was brought to Cincinnati and the Ohio Medical College last night in a sitting position on the seat of the buggy. On their way home the enterprising disciples of Æsculapius met another Covington physician, and one of them said, "Hello! Doc, you are too late, if you are after this—here he is!" showing their ghastly load. Thus are the ends of science accomplished.—Covington Commonwealth

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

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