Tuesday, February 2, 2016

September 13, 1921: Gilmon Holmes

Today we learn about a lynching in Louisiana through the pages of The Monroe News-Star (Monroe, Louisiana) dated September 14, 1921:



Railroad Agent and Telegraph Operator at Columbia is Brought to this City in Ambulance at 7 o'clock this Morning—Body of Gilmon Holmes, Negro, Lynched by Columbia Citizens, is Cut Down by Sheriff this Morning—Posse Seeking Second Negro, Who May Be Lynched if Caught.

Sidney Manheim, station agent for the Missouri Pacific railway at Columbia, died in St. Francis sanitarium at 11:45 o'clock this morning. Manheim was brought to Monroe in an ambulance at 7 o'clock, in charge of Dr. J. Q. Graves, of this city, who went to Columbia. Dr. Graves remained with him at the sanitarium until he died. Mr. Manheim's two brothers and sisters of Shreveport were also with him when he died.

Manheim did not regain consciousness from the time he was beaten into insensibility until death relieved him, therefore made no dying statement.

Dr. Graves said there was no hope for him at any time, as his skull was completely crushed. he said there was a hole in the frontal bone, showing that the station agent had been knocked down by a front blow, while the top of his head was also crushed.

Gilmon Holmes, a negro, of Plaquemine, La., was lynched by citizens of Columbia last night at 9 o'clock.

Holmes confessed before being strung up to having participated in the attempt to murder Sidney Manheim, station agent for the Missouri Pacific railroad and Western Union Telegraph Company operator at Columbia, and having robbed the Missouri Pacific depot there. He said he was assisted by another negro, who has not yet been captured.

Manheim was brought to the St. Francis sanitarium at Monroe last night and is believed to be dying today.

The vigilantes who took the law into their own hands at Columbia, following the arrest of Holmes by Sheriff J. E. McClanahan, was composed of at least 500 citizens, Sheriff McClanahan said this morning.

A number of women also tried to participate in the lynching, it is claimed, but these were ordered away by the leaders of the band.

The crowd could hardly have been called a mob, it is claimed, as it was orderly in its procedure.

Hotheads in the crowd demanded that the negro be burned, but the leaders would not hear of this brutality. A rope was procured and thrown over the black's neck, but there was no attempt at brutality.

The rope was hauled to the top of a telephone pole, the negro's hands were tied behind him and he was drawn up by ten or fifteen of the leaders.

Holmes is alleged to have confessed to several in the band, just before he was strung up, that he had been a participant in the robbery and attempted murder. He is said to have at first denied that he beat the station agent, but on being more closely questioned he admitted he was a participant in the actual attempt to kill the agent.

Holmes clothes were spattered with blood when he was arrested by Sheriff McClanahan.

Sheriff McClanahan said this morning Holmes confessed to him he was a participant in the attempted murder and robbery. He told where the officer could fine a sack of silver, which the negro had obtained from the railroad office. this was later recovered by Sheriff McClanahan and is being held for the railroad company.

Sheriff McClanahan shot a strange negro in the hip about 4 o'clock yesterday afternoon, endeavoring to make an arrest for the attempted murder. The negro arrived at Columbia on a northbound train and, dressed in blue overalls and in a corduroy cap, which fit the description of one of the negroes, who was in the murder party. When he tried to run the sheriff shot him.

"There is no doubt that citizens lynched one of the negroes who tried to kill the station agent," said Sheriff McClanahan. "The negro confessed to me and to the crowd and even if he had not done so, his blood-bespattered clothes was proof of his guilt. The crowd was calm. They simply demanded that I give up the negro and when I did so they proceeded to hang him in an orderly fashion. There were no attempts to shoot into the body. not a gun was fired. The crowd was composed of the best citizens of Columbia, both old and young."

Holmes came recently to Columbia from Plaquemine, where his father now lives on Plaquemine street.

The attempted murder was one of the most cold-blooded affairs of its kind known to Caldwell's criminal annals.

Two negroes tried to beat Manheim to death with a "sandbag", which consisted of a rock tied in the end of a towel.

Sheriff McClanahan has the "sandbag" in his possession. The negroes after beating Mannheim nearly to death in the office at the depot, conveyed his unconscious body to the freight depot, where they again beat him, and then locked the door.

The crime was committed about 1 o'clock yesterday afternoon and two hours elapsed before Manheim was found, according to Sheriff McClanahan.

Manheim was located at Fenton, near Lake Charles, last year and had been stationed at Columbia only a few months. he has a wife and two small children.

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

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