Monday, February 8, 2016

Sept 26, 1893: Calvin Stewart

Today we learn about a lynching in South Carolina through the pages of the Edgefield Advertiser (Edgefield, S. C.) dated October 5, 1893:


A Negro Murderer Met His Doom Last Night.


Full Details of the Capture and Killing of the Black Scoundrel—Vengeance Promptly Meeted [sic] Out Over in Carolina.

Augusta Evening News.

AIKEN, S. C., Sept. 27—Calvin Stewart, the negro who waylaid, robbed and murdered Mr. Charles Carter over at Bath last Saturday night a week ago, was caught and lynched last night. He was captured two and a half miles from Langley, over on Rig Horse creek, opposite Bath, about 8:45 o'clock last night. The negro's hiding place was given away by some of his race, who sent word to both Langley and Bath that Stewart was secreted in a negro hut.

As soon as the information was received a crowd of about 20 men was formed, and they at once started on a march to the house where Stewart was said to be stopping.

Stewart heard the mob approaching and he ran out of the house and made for the woods.

The crowd saw him fleeing and made haste to capture him, and after a long chase for a half hour through the dense woodlands on foot and on horseback they overtook the murderer.

It was as exciting a race as a fox chase, the posse fearing they would lose the trail, but they kept close behind and never let the negro get out of their sight.

Calvin trembled with fear when h------------------------------------ had killed her husband. The negro collectively replied:  "For the small sum of five dollars.["]

The crowd then left Bath with the murderer and walked to Langley, two miles down the road.

Calvin confessed his guilt and implicated Steve Dunbar, another negro, who he accused of being his accomplice.

Calvin and Dunbar worked together at Langley, and he said he and Dunbar on the afternoon of the evening Mr. Carter was assassinated agreed to make a raise of some money, either by fair or foul means; that they met Mr. Carter at Langley buying provisions and saw he had money, and they settled upon him to be their victim.

Calvin said he followed Mr. Carter up the raileod [sic] track to Bath and Dunbar went by the dirt road, and they had agreed to deal deadly blow when they met on the railroad above Bath, and that when Dunbar joined him one hundred yards above Bath he hit Mr. Carter the first blow with the stick and fell himto [sic] the ground, and that Dunbar took the club and struck Carter two blows and took his money out of his pockets and then there parted company, he (Calvin) going up the railroad track and Dunbar going back the way he came over the dirt road.

After hearing Stewart's statement making Dunbar an accomplice the crowd started out to catch Dunbar, and they soon found him and carried him before Stewart, who accused him of being an accomplice. Dunbar denied the accusation but the mob held him.

The crowd wanted to lynch Stewart at once after hearing his confession. Mr. S. M. Cobb, who lives at Langley, proposed to the crowd to send Stewart to the county jail at Aiken and offered to take charge of the negro for the night and take him to Aiken this morning, as he had to come here to attend court. The mob declined the proposition.

Mr. Cobb then propased [sic] to send Stewart to Aiken by four good citizens, he select them. This proposition was accepted and Mr. William Augustine, A. J. Green and Jim Morrison were appointed a committee to escort the negro to Aiken. The mob started from Langley about 2:30 o'clock this morning with Stewart walking along the dirt road coming to Aiken.

When the committee had gotten about a half-mile between Langley and Murray Town the committee with their prisoner, were halted in the road by a mob of about 25 or 30 men with double barreled shot guns, who appeared from behind the trees and commanded the committeemen to hold up their hands, which they promptly did.

The eommitteemen [sic] were then ordered to step back, and they acted promptly and left the negro standing in the road. As soon as the citizens stepped back from Stewart the mob opened fire upon the negro, and at least 75 shots were upon him.

Fully three hundred of the buck shots struck the murderer and he fell dead. His body was riddled with bullets from head to feet, and one half of his face was shot off.

The negro fell in the road on his face and was Ieft [sic] there, and is still lying there untouched, exposed to the rain, about 300 yards from the railroad track.

Mr. Cobbs said he struck a match and looked at the negro and saw that he was dead, and that his body could not have looked worse if three freight trains had passed over him.

The other, Dunbar, is held at Langley and it is feared that he will be lynched also.

Coroner Crouch at Vaucluse has been sent for to hold an inquest.

Calvin, the other negro, is about 35 years old and is said to have three wives.

The Red Men, to which order Mr. Carter belonged, offered $75 for the capture of the murderer.


An article covering the governor's reaction was printed in The Laurens Advertiser (Laurens, S. C.) dated October 3, 1893:


An Official Investigation of the Aiken Affair Will Not be Made.

COLUMBIA, S. C., Sept 29.—The indications are that the lynching of Carter Stewart [sic], colored, charged with murder, will not be officially investigated. This is one of the first cases in South Carolina's history where a charge of murder has been sufficient to induce lynching. In almost every other case it has been confined to punishment for attacks upon women. Governor Tillman was to-day asked what course he intended to pursue in the matter. He replied:  "I would suppose the grand jury will do its duty about the matter."

When reminded of previous experiences with lynchings Tillman said:  "What's the use to write to the solicitor and have him get up a farce of an investigation? This question of lynch law is getting to be a very serious one and is beginning to run its regular course as shown by the experience of other States. Lynchings are generally directed against some certain crime. Then they drift away till they are abused. There are some cases in which it is proper, but when the barrier is once broken down there will at last come some case w[h]ere the evidence will be so insufficient that public sentiment will punish some one so severely that lynchings will have to be stopped. I think that there is but one crime for which a man should be lynched in this State. That is rape, notwithstanding the fact that it takes three years to secure the full operation of the law against a murderer when he has plenty of money with which to push his case. The law in this respect ought to be changed and I have frequently recommended such a change to the Legislature, but it has paid no attention to it. Something ought to be done to secure a prompt conviction. This case seems to have been a most brutal murder, but he could have been hanged according to law and everybody would have been much better satisfied."

No official notice will be taken of the recent lynching.

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

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