Friday, August 26, 2016

June 30, 1882: Unnamed Negro

Today we learn about a lynching in Illinois through the pages of the Harrisburg Daily Independent (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania) dated July 1, 1882:

Lynched the Wrong Man.

ELIZABETHTOWN, Ill., June 30—John Jolly, a negro, attempted to force an entrance to the house of Mrs. Howe, at this place, yesterday morning. Failing he abused her until driven off by several neighbors. Soon afterward a crowd collected near Mrs. Howe's house, seized a negro supposed to be Jolly and hanged him from a tree. It is now believed that the lynchers hanged the wrong man.

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


  1. Your account of the 1883 Mississippi hanging of a white man (Captain D.W. Presell) inspired me to find out all I could about him, and one of the period articles I read (from the Greenville paper) said that it was generally agreed that he had been innocent.

    I just wrote another post about the Brookhaven double-lynching of two brothers. You’re really turning out to be a wonderful resource, but it’s hard for me to understand how you keep going because these stories really get me down to the point that it’s hard for me to make it through my day. Here’s a Wikipedia link that has an amazing lynching photo from 1893. Some of these accounts get me down more than others, and this one was that way because this teenager endured prolonged torture before a crowd of thousands who cheered with his every scream. I don’t know how you can keep with this sort of thing.

    By the way, do you know of a Hodding Carter, Jr. book entitled “So the Heffners Left McComb”? I’m rereading it, my first reading having been decades ago. I also just ordered James Silver’s book, “Mississippi: The Closed Society,” which I’ve never read.

  2. I am glad that I am a good resource. I am planning on taking a hiatus soon because it is getting to me. I have managed for almost two and a half years, but now I have to drag myself to my computer to do the research and write the blog. I feel like I live, eat, and breathe lynchings. I research them for the post, I write about them, and I read resources about them.

    I have never heard of the books, but I'll have to look them up. Right now I am reading At The Hands of Persons Unknown by Philip Dray. I read Ralph Ginzburg's 100 Years of Lynching but I was disappointed in it. He manipulates the information to make the point he wants. It is probably why it is important to me to show different articles when I find them contradicting. I really enjoyed Southern Horrors: Women and the Politics of Rape and Lynching by Crystal N. Feimster. I still have quite a few I haven't gotten around to reading yet. I always have a pile of books needing to be read.

    I'll have to read your blog post once I am done checking on my blog. Sorry if I ramble (I do sometimes), I feel relieved to have someone understand the emotional strain this blog can take. I am constantly fighting with myself about taking the hiatus because I feel like I am giving up, but truthfully I have to take a break before it devours me.

    1. I would guess that your goal is to give meaning to the lives of all those who died by telling their stories, so by taking a breather, you might feel that you’re letting them down. The double lynching that I just posted about was bad enough, but the one in Paris Texas was the worst I’ve come across (maybe I first read of it on your blog—I really can’t remember), and there’s also a photo of it that looks like something straight out of hell. I have enough problems emotionally without taking on too much of something like that because it scares me to become so distraught. If I haven’t gone completely crazy by now, I’m probably not likely to—as least through reading about people who are long dead), but I think that, well, what’s the point in dwelling on such things.

      I should think that the Carter book about the Heffner family would be challenging enough for you without it being nearly so awful as what you’re now wading through. I mean, there are things other than lynchings that are worthy of remembering—not that you don’t know this, of course. I’ve never read the Silver book, but have it on order from Ebay.

      Thanks for the book recommendations. Just by way of sharing things about myself, most of my reading consists of American novels from about 100 to 150 years ago. My favorite author is Margaret Deland, who I like so much that I have all of her books and some of her letters. Recently, I got into F. Hopkinson Smith (an engineer who designed the base for the Statue of Liberty), and I’m enjoying him very well too, but no one can compete with Deland for my affection.

      I haven't noticed that you're especially prone to rambling, but it wouldn't matter if you were because, however it might appear, whatever you say will be tied together at some level.