Wednesday, March 16, 2016

March 16, 1900: George Ritter

Today we learn about a lynching in North Carolina through the pages of the News and Observer (Raleigh, N. C.) dated March 24, 1900:


George Ritten [sic], Colored, Shot to Death and Then Swung to a Limb.

(Sanford Express.)

Dr. Gilbert McLeod, of Carthage, who was in town Tuesday informed the Express that George Ritter, colored, was dragged from his home about seven miles west of Carthage on last Friday night by a body of masked men and after being shot to death his body was swung to a limb where it was found next morning.

The theory of the people who knew the negro and are acquainted with the details of the crime is that Ritter was tortured and murdered by moonshiners, who had reason to believe that he had given information to the government concerning their operations in that vicinity.

Ritter, who was about 35 years of age, is said to have been simple and inoffensive. It was first thought that he was connected with the burning of some barns and that he had been foully dealt with for that reason. This theory has been discredited, and it is the general opinion that he was disposed of by moonshiners, who believed that he had given information against them to the government.

Ritter lived on the plantation of D. S. Barret, seven miles from Carthage. Friday night four masked men appeared at the home of the negro, and were met by his wife, who was told that they desired to see George. The spokesman said that he had some questions for him to answer, and not to be uneasy. The negro responded to the summons and accompanied the four men with concealed faces. The party had not been gone five minutes when several pistol shots were heard.

The next morning the body of George Ritter was found swinging to a tree some 300 yards from his home. The head had been beaten with a club and other parts of the body horribly mutilated before the form was swung up.Everything connected with the crime points to the fact that the negro was barbarously tortured before he was killed.

The evidence accumulated by the coroner, Dr. G. McLeod, tends to show that an effort was made to hang the negro and that he got away and ran. He was followed a quarter of a mile where he was shot. The tracks of the pursued and pursuing were plainly visible.

The wife and daughter of George Ritter were taken to Carthage Monday for safe keeping. The two women think they know three of the white-cappers. Masks and hats have been found, and it is thought that these, together with the tracks observed, will lead to the identity of the perpetrators of the barbarous murder.

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

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