Monday, June 20, 2016

March, 1898: James Lafette and daughter Sarah, cont.

Today we are learning more about a lynching I first covered in March, 2015 and can be found here. I  am glad to have found an article which named the victims, I always hate when I can't find a victims name. It seems horrible that not only were they lynched but they were nameless as well. Today we have an article from The Cincinnati Enquirer (Cincinnati, Ohio) dated March 3, 1898:


As Spies By Moonshiners.

Bodies of Old Doctor and His Daughter.

Found Dangling From a Tree in the Wilds of the North Carolina Mountains.


RALEIGH, N. C., March 2.—In the mountains of Western North Carolina, 12 miles north of Morgantown, James Lafette, who claimed to be an Indian doctor, and his twelve-year-old daughter Sarah have been lynched. Their bodies were found to-day under a ledge of rock. The ropes with which they had been hanged were still around their necks, and the bodies showed evidence of having been dead several days. Just when the lynching occurred is not known, but Lafette and his daughter disappeared four weeks ago from their little cabin in the neighborhood of Table Rock.

Those who were first startled at their disappearance remembered that they had moved to the neighborhood mysteriously.


And it was only surmised that they had departed as they came.

The section in which the crime was committed is inhabited largely by moonshiners. In October Lafette and his daughter moved to the neighborhood, and it was whispered among them that he was a spy in the disguise of an Indian doctor. He spent his days searching for herbs on the mountain side and in compounding a mixture that he offered for sale among the simple mountaineers as a panacea for all the ills of nature. The only charge against the daughter was that she was over inquisitive into the affairs of her mountain neighborhood. so aroused became the moonshiners at the suspicions  regarding the strange couple that Lafette received a warning to leave the community. This was before the holidays, but he apparently paid no attention to it.The lynching is believed, therefore, to have been perpetrated by the moonshiners, who lynched the girl for the same reason—that of having information as to the violations of the revenue laws. The


Would not have been discovered for months, probably, but for the recent forest fires on the mountain sides. Farmers from another section of the country went to the scene to fight the rapidly advancing flames, when the ghastly discovery was made. The bodies showed evidence of a terrific struggle, and it is believed, in consequence, that the mob was composed of only a few persons. The discovery of the crime creates the biggest sensation of the year in North Carolina, as it is the first instance in the state where a female has been lynched. The girl was said to have been a bright, intelligent child. Public indignation is at white heat.

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

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