Thursday, September 15, 2016

Time for a Break

I have spent two years and three months writing this blog. In that time I have covered the lynchings of 1, 009 persons, and posted 69 articles of interest and editorials. I am hoping that I have made more people aware of this horrible aspect of the past of the US. Acknowledging these distasteful parts is important in creating change now. 

I don't know how long of a hiatus I will be on. I may be back in a week, a month, or a year. Most importantly, I do plan on coming back and bringing awareness of more lynchings. I want to cover two lynchings in particular, the lynchings of Sam Hose and Emmett Till. I haven't covered them yet because recently I haven't felt like I could do justice to those lynchings. There is a lot to research and write and I've been tired. Weary is a better word. Delving into the depths of man's baseness will do that to you. It is not only the horrifying details of the lynchings but also the heart-breaking accounts of some of the crimes that preceded the lynchings.

My first grandchild is due in six weeks and I think it is time I focused on life instead of least for a while. Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to read my blog, and as always, I hope I leave you with something to ponder.  

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

June 2, 1892: Bob Lewis (Jackson)

Today we learn about a lynching in New York through the pages of The Indianapolis news (Indianapolis, Indiana) dated June 3, 1892:


The Victim a Negro Who Committed a Brutal Crime—Sickening-Scene.

PORT JERVIS, N. Y., June 3.—Miss Lena McMahon, was most brutally assaulted by a negro named Bob Jackson yesterday. She will probably die. Several people witnessed the assault, but Jackson kept them off with a revolver. A posse was organized, and he was captured about nine miles from Port Jervis. On the way back Jackson confessed the crime, and implicated William Foley, a white man, who he claimed was in the conspiracy to ruin Miss McMahon. On his arrival at the lock-up he was taken in hand by a mob. A noose was adjusted about his neck and he was strung up to a neighboring tree in the presence of a howling mob. The mob is looking for Foley, who had been paying attentions to Miss McMahon against her parent's wishes.

The incidents of the journey from the jail to the place of lynching were of a most exciting character. At every electric light a halt was made by the mob and the subject of immediate lynching discussed. Jackson was dragged along the streets at the end of a rope, and was kicked and pounded by the mob without mercy.

When the place of lynching was reached, his clothing had been torn from his body, and he was in an almost insensible condition. The scene was appalling beyond description. The yells of the doomed man could be heard for blocks, and his distorted and agonized features could be plainly seen under the ghastly glare of a neighboring electric light. After having hung for more than an hour in plain view of thousands of people, the body was taken down and sent to an undertaker's establishment. The work of the lynchers seems to be approved by the public sentiment of the town as a needed warning and deterrent.

Foley Arrested and in Danger.

PORT JERVIS, N. Y., June 3.—P. J. Foley, whom Bob Lewis, the negro lynched last night for criminal assault on a girl, implicated in the crime, was captured this morning when he attempted to get out of town at 4 o'clock on an Erie express. He was taken to the lockup. Great crowds surrounded the jail where he is confined, and so great is the excitement that officers do not care to open the gates to arraign him before the magistrate for fear popular indignation will lead to similar treatment to that which the negro received.

Our next article comes from The Evening World (New York, N. Y.) dated June 4, 1892:


Port Jervis Will Not Duplicate Thursday Night's Crime.

Negro Lewis's Alleged Accomplice Repudiated by his Only Brother.


PORT JERVIS, N. Y., June 4.—Miss Lena McMahon, for an assault upon whom Negro bob Lewis was lynched Thursday night, is still in a critical condition to-day, but will probably recover. Her physicians say that absolute quiet is required for her.

With the removal of Foley to Goshen Jail, all danger that he might also be lynched has passed.

Respectable citizens now deprecate the lynching and say that the mob was composed mainly of the rough element of the population. It is not believed, however, that any of the rioters will ever be tried or punished for the part they took in the affair.


Peter J. Foley, who was implicated by Bob Lewis before his death in the assault upon Lena McMahon, has a brother in this city, J. P. Foley, a clerk in the office of the Worthington Steam Pump Company, 86 Liberty street. He is an industrious, reputable man, occupying a responsible position and is highly esteemed by his employers. He says that his brother has forfeited the right to brotherly sympathy, and, that if it is true that he was in collusion with Lewis, it is a pity he was not strung up with the negro.

To an EVENING WORLD reporter Mr. J. P. Foley this morning said:  "My brother is twenty-six years old. He was born in Warren, Mass., where our mother and sister now live. Mother is seventy-five years old and this trouble may prove fatal. Peter is the youngest of her three children, and naturally was always petted. He learned the trade of a machinist in Warren, and afterwards worked at his trade there and in Holyoke and in Boston.

"He came to New York, and for a time was engaged as pump salesman by the Gordon Steam Pump Company in Liberty street. He took to drinking and idling, and I was several times called upon to pay his bills and money that he borrowed. I finally refused to have anything more to do with him.

"I had not heard from him for about a year, although I understood he was in the neighborhood of Port Jervis, and I thought he was in the insurance business. i never knew he gambled.

"I was not sure that it was he until I saw his picture in THE WORLD this morning. i shall not do anything for him. If he was guilty of conniving at the outrage upon miss McMahon he merited the same punishment as was inflicted upon Lewis.

"I cannot understand why he has turned out so badly. There appears to be a mean streak in him which cannot be traced on either his mother or father's side. He has never married, to my knowledge.

"Recently I read an account of the arrest of a man giving Peter's initials, in Chicago, for falsely representing himself as an agent of the Harpers. Whether it was really he I do not now. but if it is true, as published, that blackmailing letters from him to Miss McMahon have been found, I am ready to believe almost anything about him."

E. G. Fowler, one of the editors of the Rural New Yorker, opposite whose house in Port Jervis the lynching occurred, said to-day that he was not home at the time. Mr. Fowler recalls the lynching of a negro for a similar crime in Newburg in the Summer of 1863.

The negro in question was locked up in the Court-House, but Sheriff Hanmore was unable to resist the mob, who hanged the prisoner to a tree in front of the Court-House. It was a Sunday night, and Mr. Fowler saw the body hanging when he came out of church.

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

Monday, September 12, 2016

July 22, 1899: Frank Embree

Today we learn about a Missouri lynching through the pages of The Hays Free Press (Hays, Kansas) dated July 29, 1899:


Missouri Negro Meets Death at the Hands of a Mob Near Higbee.

MEXICO, Mo., July 24.—Frank Embree, charged with an assault on the 14-year-old daughter of W. W. Daugherty, June 17, near Burton, Howard county, was lynched Saturday morning while on his way with the officers to Fayette to be tried for the crime.

He had expected his fate, and a few days ago wrote to his brother in Garnett, Kan., and said good-by. He said if the court cleared him he expected to be mobbed after his relase [sic]. He occupied a cell next to that of Alexander Jester, the alleged murderer of Gilbert Gates.

He had feared lynching on his way to Fayette and begged to be taken to Kansas City for safety. The lynching occurred near Higbee, a little place in Howard county. The prisoner was on board a Chicago & Alton train. Embree was taken off and and [sic] whipped for half an hour and then hanged to a tree.

It seems that the little girl was riding along the road on horseback. Embree came upon her unexpectedly. He grabbed the horse by the bridle, dragged the victim to a lonely spot in the woods, where he choked and beat her severely in an effort to subdue her and stop her cries. After accomplishing his purpose he made his escape and got as far as Garnett, Kan., where his parents reside. He was arrested there and brought to Huntsville, Mo., and then to this city.

A more detailed accounting is found in the Garnett Journal (Garnett, Kansas) dated July 28, 1899:


Pleadings of Hid Victim Save Him From a Worse Fate.

Special to the Kansas City Times.

Fayette, Mo., July 22.—Frqank Embree, who ravished Miss Willie Dougherty on Saturday, June 17, has paid the penalty for his crime.

The crime was such that the citizens felt that even the speediest kind of law would not be swift enough, hence decided to take the law into their own hands as soon as they could lay hands on him.

Deputy Sheriff Winn went to Mexico for Embree, where he had been in jail since his capture and return to Missouri. Judge Hockaday had made every preparation and precaution for giving the negro a fair trial. He had summoned about 100 citizens to act as guards at the court house during the trial. But it was all for naught. Hundreds of men in the county were determined to get Embree, and every appraosch to the city was guarded.

Deputy Sheriff Winn was to take the negro to Steinmetz, where a conveyance was in waiting to bring them to Fayette. the train arrived at Steinmetz at 5:15 a. m., and the deputy and the prisoner alighted, hustled into a carriage, where two more deputies were seated, and struck out at a lively gait toward Fayette. When they reached the foot of the Walcott hill, two miles Southeast of Steinmetz, a large crowd of men was seen, and Deputy Sheriff Winn gave the driver the order to dash through the crowd. The horses were whipped to a run, but the mob closed in on them, and stopping the horses, demanded the negro.

A stubborn resistance brought a crowd sufficient to handle the deputies, while the shackled and handcuffed negro was hustled into a spring wagon and the journey to the spot where the crime was committed was begun. A better organized or more orderly mob was never seen. Not a shout, nor any boisterous conduct whatever.

The roadside swarmed with men on horseback and in vehicles and the mob grew larger and larger as it neared the scene of the crime. A funeral procession could not have been more quiet. But there was a look of determination depicted on each countenance that told terriblĒ [sic] earnestness of each and every man. New recruits were added as each mile of the long journey of ten miles was made. By the time the end of the journey was reached fully 1,000 persons were assembled. The crowd had driven past the home where the negro was born and reared and lived until nine years ago. He was taken to the scene of his hellish deed, one and one-half miles eaast of Burton, where the first halt was made, and the negro was requested to make a statement.

He told dozens of conflicting stories as to his movements, who aided him to escape, etc. He stolidly refused to tell the straight story. The negro was then driven into the middle of Thomas Patterson's wheat field, and again he was piled with questions concerning the case. He stubbornly refused to tell a straight story. He was then stripped of his clothing and half a dozen stalwart, well-muscled citizens of the community laid on the lash, buggy whips being used.

Each lash laid open the hide and the blood trickled down his body. The negro never once winced. He gazed abstractedly into the faces of the crowd, never uttering a word. Twice he fell, either from exhaustion or with the view of falling back and breaking his neck. He was given 105 fearful lashes, then allowed to sit down, and was again questioned, but he refused to modify his statements. He was made to stand up again and the lash was laid on once more. His sense of felling [sic] had returned and he screamed for mercy, stating that he would tell all.

He then told the crowd that if they would not torture him any more, would not burn him, but would either shoot or hang him, he would confess all.

Embree then confessed that he committed the crime; that he was drunk. He said that he had no assistance in escaping Fayette or out of the county. He did not implicate anyone, but it is believed that he told the truth.

A rope was then thrown around his neck and he was led to a black oak tree, about 150 yards east of where the crime was committed. He was then permitted to say his last say. He stated that he was sorry that he had committed the crime and hoped that all woud forgive him. He requested that they write to his parents and tell them to forgive him, and for them to so live that they would go to heaven. He also requested that his revolver be sent to his mother and a dime he had be sent to his father. He was then told to pray if he wanted to. He prayed to God for forgiveness for his sins and said he hoped to go to heaven. He prayed that his parents and all mankind would forgive him. His petition to heaven was almost incoherent. At last his amen was said. The rope was thrown over a limb and his body was pulled into mid-air. A few violent jerks and convulsions and his soul was ushered into eternity.

Mr. Dougherty, the father of the girl who was so brutally treated, gave orders that not a shot was to be fired into the negro's body before or after death and his order was strictly observed.

There was at first serious thought of burning the negro, but Mr. Dougherty requested that nothing of the sort be done and his every wish was respected. These requests were made at the instance [sic] of the outraged girl.

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

Friday, September 9, 2016

June 14, 1876: Alfred Bodman

The Tennessean (Nashville, Tennessee) dated September 22, 1876:


LOUISVILLE, Sept.21.—Alfred Bodman, of Brownstown, Ind., was lynched Thursday morning while returning from Jeffersonville. He had threatened to kill several persons, and having already been guilty of murder, was lynched. No further information is known other than the fact stated.

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

Thursday, September 8, 2016

June 10, 1915: Joe Strando

Today we learn about a lynching in Illinois through the pages of the Belvidere Daily Republican (Belvidere, Illinois) dated June 11, 1915:


Governor Dunne Calls Out Three Companies of Militia to Quell Rioters.


Sheriff of Johnston City Appeals for Aid After Assassination of Wealthy Farmer and Wounding of His Daughter.

Johnston City, Ill., June 11.—Three hundred citizens of Johnston City battered down the steel doors of the jail here and dragged Joe Strando, a Sicilian, from a cell. They rushed him through the streets to an old coal shed near the Illinois Central tracks, threw a noose around his neck, tossed the end of a rope over a rafter and strung him up.

When Strando's feet were well off the floor he was asked to confess his part in the murder of Edward Chapman, one of the wealthiest citizens of the county.

At this juncture a party of foreigners rushed up, protesting that Strando was innocent. Their leader was beaten nearly to death before he escaped.

Confesses to Murder.

Strando was let down and allowed a few seconds to recover his breath. He confessed having plotted the murder with Joe Bingo, a fellow countryman.

Now fully satisfied of the man's guilt the mob again pulled the Sicilian into the air. This time they tied the end of the rope and watched him die.

His body dangled there for hours in full view of passing passenger trains.

Last night a mob of armed Sicilians awaiting re-enforcements from White Ash and Herrin gathered to avenge the lynching of their fellow country-man. An equally large mob of citizens awaits their move.

Three companies of militia have been ordered here from Shelbyville, Benton and Cairo. It is feared that a clash will occur before they arrive.

Wealthy Farmer Assassinated.

Edward Chapman, wealthy retired farmer, was assassinated and his daughter, Mrs. J. L. Schull, twenty-two years old, was seriously wounded in their home near here a few minutes after midnight. Chapman was shot twice through the head and his daughter was shot in the shoulder.

Several Injured During Rioting.

Adjutant General Dixon of the Illinois National Guard left Cairo on a special train for Johnston City, Ill., where state troops have been ordered to quell a riot.


(Special By United Press.)

Springfield, Ill., June 11.—Adjutant General Dickinson received a telegram from Sheriff Harris, of Williamson county that conditions at Johnson City are normal today following yesterday's lynching.

Another article named him Stranzo. I could not find anything on Bingo being lynched, but another article did mention him as being arrested in Marion. 

Our last article comes to us from The Des Moines Register (Des Moines, Iowa) dated February 12, 1921:


Man Confesses to Crime for Which Another Died. 

(By The Associated Press.)

MARION, Ill., Feb 11.—The story of how an innocent man went to his death at the hands of a mob, for another man's crime, came to life after Settino de Santis, an Italian miner, was hanged today for the murder of Amel Calcatterra and Tony Hemphill, two boys.

Befoe he was led to the gallows, De Santis confessed to the murder of Edward Chapman, in Johnson City, Ill., six years ago, for which crime another Italian, Joe Bingo, was lynched on the public square at Johnson City by a mob at the time.

Bingo, De Santis and another Italian, Frank Bianco, had been working together in a coal mine at Johnson City and were discharged by Ben Schull, the mine foreman.

Several nights later, a bullet crashed through a window at the Schull home. It missed Schull but killed Chapman. De Santis and Bianco disappeared the night Bingo was caught by a mob and lynched.

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

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

1884: Horse Thieves

Today I am doing something a little different. I am going to feature articles from 1884 about the lynching of horse thieves. Our first article comes to us from the Sterling Standard (Sterling, Illinois) dated February 7, 1884): 

VIGILANTES  on the Upper Elkhorn river, in Nebraska, have been hanging some more horse-thieves. Kid Wade, the leader of the Nebraska outlaws and horse-thieves, is the latest victim. A recent dispatch from Sioux City, Iowa, reports:  "The vigilantes have headquarters at a place called 'The Pen' at the mouth of the Long Pine. They have arrested a large number of men in various parts of Northern Nebraska and taken them away to 'The Pen,' where they are tried and disposed of in some manner. The fate of those arrested is not definitely known, but they are never seen again. It is supposed they are shot, hanged or conducted out of the country. The terrible earnestness of the vigilantes and the mystery of their ways cause men to shudder when their doings are mentioned. It is positively known that they have lynched eleven men, and equally sure that others have met the same fate, but how many or by what means only the grim executioners can tell. Kid Wade was captured at Lemars about three weeks ago by two of these avengers, and he seemed to realize the fate that awaited him, but manifested no more concern than if going about ordinary business.

Alton Evening Telegraph (Alton, Illinois) dated February 28, 1884:

One of the wounded horse-thieves captured by a sheriff's posse in the Deadwood region, Dakota, has been taken from jail and lynched.

Not a horsethief, but poetic justice in a way found in the St. Tammany Farmer (Covington, Louisiana) dated June 14, 1884:

—Henry Richardson, leading member of the famous vigilance committee in Brown County, Idaho, which hanged fourteen horse-thieves in three months, has himself been lynched near his own home.—Denver Tribune.

The Record-Union (Sacramento, California) dated June 25, 1884:

Horse-Thieves Disposed of.

BISMARCK (Dakota), June 24th.—A horse-thief named Jacob O'Neil was caught and lynched in McLean county, forty-five miles north, Sunday morning. There is a report this evening that four more of the gang were pursued to Mouse river, where one was shot and three lynched.

San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco, California) dated July 21, 1884:


Five Montana Horse Thieves Lynched by cowboys.

SALT LAKE, July 20—News comes from Judith City, northern Montana, that five horse thieves were captured and hanged in the vicinity of Rocky Point a few days ago. The hanging was done by a regularly organized gang of cowboys, who set out to round up the thieves that infect that section, and they are doing their work in good shape. They secured thirty-two stolen horses from the quintet of outlaws and then made short work of them, hanging the lot to the nearest tree.

In the region between the Lower Judith and Musselshell, within the last three weeks, thirteen horse thieves have been lynched and it is probable the end is not yet. The campaign was opened by the killing of two thieves on the Musselshell, followed by the dispatch of two half-breeds at Clagett. Then one was hanged on Armed creek and another near Ft. Maginnis. Two more were lynched at Lewiston on the Fourth, and the big haul at Rocky Point is the latest, making in all thirteen.

Memphis Daily Appeal (Memphis, Tennessee) dated July 30, 1884:


Hanging to trees in One Town in Montana.

HELENA, July 29.—Advices from Lewiston, Meagher county, say that seven horse-thieves are hanging to trees at Muscle Shell. Two men named Downe and Felix were recognized among the number. The thieves are all supposed to belong to Downe and Felix's band, who have had their headquarters in that neighborhood. Some twenty of Granville Stuart's cowboys are out after another band who have made for the Woody mountains. They go fully prepared for all emergencies, and if they overtake the horse-thieves there will be another hanging, as the settlers and stockmen are desperate over the loss of their horses. Over 100 horses have been recovered within the past week.

The Belvidere Standard (Belvidere, illinois) dated August 5, 1884:

OREGON "regulators" recently captured seventeen stock-thieves in the Willowa Valley having in their possession a large number of valuable horses. Two of the men were immediately lynched and the others were handed over to the authorities.

The Somerset Herald (Somerset,Pennsylvania) dated October 1, 1884:

Activity of Vigilantes.

VIRGINIA CITY, Montana, Sept. 25.—The  bodies of two horse thieves were discovered hanging from a tree on Poplar river yesterday. this makes thirty-seven thieves lynched by vigilantes this season.

The Argos Reflector (Argos, Indiana) dated November 6, 1884:

THREE horse-thieves were captured a few days ago by a posse of citizens near the town of Prinville, Eastern Oregon, and lynched. that whole section of country was overrun with Stock-thieves, and the settlers were resolved to drive the bands out.

Steuben Republican (Angola, Indiana) dated November 6, 1884:

Reports are that, some distance west of Georgetown, Colo., seventeen horse-thieves were captured and lynched by vigilantes the first of the week.

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

Monday, September 5, 2016

June 29, 1928: James and Stanley Bearden

Today we learn about a lynching in Mississippi through the pages of the Clarion-Ledger (Jackson, Mississippi) dated June 30, 1928:


Brookhaven Citizens Plead With Attackers in Vain Speeches


White Citizen Shot By Negroes is Still in Critical Condition

BROOKHAVEN, June 29—An infuriated mob numbering several hundred Lincoln county citizens stormed the local jail tonight, just before 9 o'clock, obtained Stanley Bearden and James Bearden, negro prisoners, and lynched both the men being held on charges of assault upon two white citizens.

One of the negroes was dragged through the city streets by the neck with a rope tied to an automobile before being carried outside the city and hanged.

The other was taken in another car in the opposite direction and hanged to the Old Brook bridge, a mile and a half south of here on the McComb highway.

The mob used large timbers to force the windows of the jail and obtain the prisoners, and released a third negro who helped the invaders find one of the men being sought in the cells of the jail.

Wild shooting of firearms and much noise and confusion accompanied the delivery of the prisoners, and the mob brushed aside the small group of officers guarding the jail.

The negroes had been jailed following alleged attacks they had made upon Claude and Caby Byrnes, citizens of the city, one of whom had attempted to collect an overdue account from one of the negroes. The creditor left the collector with the word that he was going to obtain the money, and returned instead with his brother, whereupon the trouble occurred. Claude was shot three times while Caby was hurt by a scalp wound.

The mob which stormed the jail and demanded the negroes were refused keys by Sheriff Martin J. Brister and a handful of deputies and officers who were soon overpowered after cooler heads had sought to restore order and prevent seizure of the prisoners.

All attempts of the officers to dissuade the members of the crowd from carrying out their plans to force an entry into the jail failed. An acetylene torch was used to break into the cage where the prisoners were held.

Among citizens who pleaded with the mob to disperse were T. Brady and J. A. Naul, attorneys and the Rev. Paul Hardin who urged them to let the law take its course.

After one of the negroes had been dragged about two miles around the town behind an automobile he was hanged to a tree and the other negro soon met a like fate. The bodies, mutilated, were taken in charge by a local undertaker while a coroner's inquest was held.

Byrne's right thigh was broken by a bullet fired by one of the Bearden brothers in the clash this afternoon and he was in a critical condition tonight. Chief of Police Walter Smith was wounded slightly when fired upon by one of the negroes when he gave chase after the clash with the Byrnes brothers.

The wild excitement that had stirred Brookhaven since the shooting this afternoon had subsided tonight and Sheriff Brister, who could not be located was investigating the lynching. No arrests had been made tonight.

BROOKHAVEN, June 29—Claude Byrnes is in the King's Daughters hospital here with three bullet wounds, one in each leg and one in the shoulder as the result of a shooting affray here this morning.

His brother Caby Byrnes, mechanic, is suffering with a scalp wound inflicted before the shooting began.

The trouble commenced this morning when Caby Byrnes tackled a negro named James Bearden an employe [sic] of Sam Abrams here, for a bill nearly a year old. The negro promised to pay and went away with the statement that he was going for the money. When he returned he was accompanied by his brother, Stanley, an employee of I. Abrams, and the two commenced to make trouble for Mr. Byrnes, instead of handing over the money.

About this time Claude Byrnes happened to be passing by and saw his brother in trouble, the encounter being in the driveway of Mr. Byrnes' shop, and went to his assistance, hitting James Bearden with a shovel.

James Bearden who is a large and powerful negro, was practically uninjured by the blow and picking up a piece of iron hit Caby Byrnes over the head with it, causing the scalp wound. In the meantime Stanley Bearden backed away and started firing at everyone in the vicinity of the trouble, particularly Claude Byrnes, with a .38 special automatic pistol, Mr. Byrnes receiving three wounds as stated above.

No one else was struck by the bullets. An officer arrested James Bearden and took him to the county jail; Stanley Bearden escaped through the back of Byrnes' garage, went to the store where he was employed, borrowed fifty cents and proceeded to Perkins Hardware store where he tried to buy more cartridges from a clerk; the clerk refused to sell hi mthe [sic] ammunition, noticing his condition.

However, the negro had obtained more cartridges and in the meantime the crowd finding him in the store he started out up the railroad, pistol in hand. Those who attempted to stop him were dissuaded by the threatening gun. He was finally cornered in a negro house near the Brookhaven Cotton Oil mill and exchanged shots with officers and citizens who surrounded the house, until he had been wounded several times.

Our next article is found in the Corsicana Daily Sun (Corsicana, Texas) dated June 30, 1928:




BROOKHAVEN, Miss., June 30. (AP)—Quiet and a little bit apprehensive, Brookhaven carried on as usual today with no traces of the violent excitement that rocked the town last night when two negroes were lynched by a mob.

The mutilated bodies of the victims early today were swaying from huge liveoak trees beyond the city limits. Even the most curious hesitated to visit the spot after midnight. Other negroes who might have cut them down were in their homes with the doors locked.

The lynching resulted from a fight between the two negroes, brothers, and two white men, Claude and Cabby Byrne, automobile service station proprietors. Claude suffered a broken hip, Cabby received a scalp wound from a pistol shot while the chief of police, Walter Smith, was slightly hurt. The negroes fled but were captured and jailed after one had been shot three times by officers.

With dusk, small bands of men gathered on downtown corners and when night came they joined to form a huge mob which immediately moved on the jail. Sheriff Brister and deputies were overpowered but they did not surrender the keys.

Heavy timbers were used to batter down the locked doors and the mob entered the jail where the wounded negro and his brother were screaming for mercy.

Again held off by locks, the mob sent for an acetylene torch to cut through the cell bars.

The negroes, James and Stanley Bearden, were carried to the street where one was placed in an automobile and the other dragged through the town by a rope around his neck.

Still screaming, the prisoners were driven slowly to separate points on the outskirts of town and hanged.

Then the bodies were mutilated and the mob dispersed.

A third negro, taken from the jail by mistake, was released without injury. He returned to his cell.

Jackson, Mississippi's Clarion-Ledger is where we find our next article. It was published on July 1, 1928:


No Arrest Made, but Authorities are Continuing Their Investigation

BROOKHAVEN, June 30.—(AP)—James Bearden, one of the two negroes lynched here last night by a mob which forced entry into the county jail met death by gunshot wounds at the hands of unknown persons, coroner's jury found today.

The negro's brother Stanley Bearden, the other victim, died from being dragged along the ground tied to a motor car by parties unknown, the jury decided.

Stanley Bearden received five bullet wounds before he was captured in a chase after a gun fight on the street with Caby and Claude Byrne, battery service station operators, over an account. His wounds were treated in jail. He was not dangerously injured in the chase.

District Attorney F. D. Hewitt came to Brookhaven to investigate the shooting preceding the lynching and returned again when informed that the mob was about to storm the jail.

Sheriff Martin Brister has made no statement regarding the lynching.


At Least Verdict Says Negroes Came to Their Death "Unknown Hands"

BROOKHAVEN, June 30—The coroner's jury in the death of the two negroes, who were lynched here last night, returned the following verdicts late last night:

James Bearden came to his death by gunshots inflicted by parties unknown; Stanley Bearden came to his death by being dragged with an auto by parties unknown. 

The former was hanged at Old Brook, about one and a half miles south of here, although according to the coroner's jury, he was shot to death before being hung. The latter was dragged behind an auto several miles north of town and hanged.

No movement for action against the mobbers has been initiated, it is understood.

The town has quieted down and is going ahead just as if nothing had happened. In the meantime, both of the Byrne brothers, Claude and Caby, who were injured in a fight with the negroes, are doing fairly well in the hospital here.

I learned about this lynching through a blog post titled The murder of the Bearden brothers; Brookhaven's last lynching found here

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

Friday, September 2, 2016

January 13, 1894: J. G. Burton, William and John Gay

Today we learn about a lynching in Kansas through the pages of The McPherson Republican and Weekly Press (McPherson, Kansas) dated January 19, 1894:


The Brutal Murder of Fred Dinniny Avenged.

RUSSELL, Kan, Jan. 16.—A terrible exhibition of prairie justice was seen here Saturday night when three men, J. G. Burton, William Gay and his son, John Gay, were lynched by a determined mob. The men were held guilty of the murder of Fred Dinniny last July. Dinniny lived with T. W. Burton on a farm eleven miles north, and July 9 he disappeared. Burton had his team and even wore some of his clothes, but claimed that Dinniny had gone to Oklahoma with young Gay.

Gay returned a short time ago, and, on close questioning, confessed that Burton had poisoned Dinniny. The elder Gay attempted to point out the place of burial, but failed. Burton then made a confession that the Gays killed him, and on Thursday took the sheriff to a cornfield in a ravine where the body, decomposed and mutilated, with the skull crushed, was found. Indignation ran high, and it was with difficulty that the three men could be got back to the jail, where they had been confined since their arrest late in December.

Saturday night a number of men from the vicinity of the Burton farm came into town and were reinforced by farmers from all parts of the country. The party appeared to have been picked, for there were only about 130 in all when, at midnight, the surrounded the little jail and demanded the prisoners. This was refused by the sheriff, but the parley was short. The mob easily forced their way into the jail and dragged out the terrified trio from their cells.

The mob was cool and apparently well organized and made no attempt t concealment, though there were many onlookers. They took the men out through the streets and guarded them with jealous care, leading them along the Union Pacific track, a little prairie stream is crossed by the railroad and wagon road, about 100 rods east of the Russell depot.

To the bridge over this the mob went and placed the trembling wretches near the edge. Ropes were ready and one was put around the neck of each of the men and tied to the stringers. There was no time for prayers or pleadings, but at a signal all three were pushed off the edge and dropped eight or ten feet with all the precision of a professional hanging.

To make sure of carrying out their purpose the mob fired two shots into each body, although death came quickly by the rope. Then the lynchers rode away quietly and the bodies swung cold and stiff.

When morning came passengers on the east bound express train had a plain view of the bodies as they hung from the high bridge. Hundreds of people gathered around, but it was not until 10:30 that the bodies were cut down. The coroner at once held an inquest and without delay the jury returned a verdict that deceased came to their death at the hands of persons unknown.

There is little sympathy felt for the victims. The murder was a cruel and heartless one, and the murdered man had many friends. Ever since his disappearance suspicions have grown more pointed, and the three men lynched were considered guilty, and during the past week, and while the inquest over Dinniny's remains were being held, attention has been given almost exclusively to the matter. The trivial booty secured and the evidence of mutilation given by the body robbed the murderers of all sympathy.

It is not likely that any attempt will be made to prosecute the lynchers.

Our next article is found in The Abbeville Press and Banner (Abbeville, S. C.) dated January 31, 1894:


They Are Hanged Together From a Railroad Bridge. 

Between 1 and 2 o'clock a. m. a mob of about twenty men entered the jail at Russell, Kan., took out J. G. Burton, William Gay and his son, John Gay, and hanged the three men to a small railroad bridge a short distance east of the depot.

In the jail were two steel cells in which the prisoners were confined. Guards were placed around the jail, and it was the work of only a moment for the rest of the lynching party to gain entrance to the jail building. About this time Burton began to scream, and demanded what they wanted with him.

The masked men began to break off the locks from the cell s with sledges, and this took some time. Burton was the first one taken out, and he was removed to the spot selected for the lynching and there left under guard. The rest of the party returned and joined the guard who were watching the jail.

The two Gays were then marched to the bridge, where Burton had been left. Ropes were placed around there necks and then the leader clapped his hands three times, and quick as a flash all three were pushed off the bridge. The Gays evidently died from strangulation, but the noose on Burton's neck slipped around and up over his chin, and he was heard to breathe heavily for a moment. Several shots were then fired into his body. Each of the others also received a bullet. The mob then left as quietly as they came, going north.

The crime for which they were lynched was the killing of Fred Dinniny in July last on the Burton place. They were also cattle thieves. Stockmen especially have been suffering from the depredations of this gang for several years past. It was not considered safe for any person to cause the arrest and conviction of any member of the gang.

I am not sure if T. W. Burton and J. G. Burton are the same people or possibly related. 

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

Thursday, September 1, 2016

July 30, 1910: Henry Johnson and Sam Marks

Today we learn about a lynching in Floria starting with an article found in the Detroit Free Press (Detroit, Michigan) dated July 31, 1910:

Two Blacks Confess to Murder of a Girl; Are Shot to Pieces

Special to The Free Press.

Defuniak Springs, Fla., July 30.—Henry Johnson and Sam Marks, two negroes about 20 years old, were lynched by a mob at Dady, in the northwestern part of Holmes county, late this afternoon, for outrage and murder committed on Bessie Morrison, the 14-year-old daughter of Mrs. Mary Morrison, a well-to-do widow of Dady. The girl did not come home from school yesterday afternoon, and posses began to search for her. Her body was found near a swamp early this morning, her throat having been cut and head crushed. Examination showed that she had been outraged.

Dogs led the posse to the homes of Johnson and Marks. The negroes were brought to Dady, each accusing the other. Late this afternoon a mob stormed the prison where the negroes were confined, took them just out of town and shot them to pieces. Both confessed.

Our next article is found in The Times and Democrat (Orangeburg, SC) dated August 2, 1910:



The Fiends Lay in Wait for Their Little Victim.—Her Body Found in a Pool of Water.

Two negroes, pleading vainly for their lives, were strung up by an infuriated mob between Bonifay and Dady, Fla., Saturday afternoon, and while they were dangling, the ropes were perforated by the ----- of from fifty to seventy-five ----- men of the surrounding country.

The crime which caused the lynching is one of the most brutal ever known in that county. The two negroes confessed to murdering little Bessie Morrison, the 12-year-old daughter of Mrs. Mary Morrison, who lives near Dady, in the extreme western end of Holmes county, whose body was found Saturday morning in a pool of water between the Morrison homestead and the little school at Dady.

The little girl started for school Friday morning alone, the first intimation of a tragedy being when she failed to come home in the afternoon. After a reasonable time had elapsed a searching party was formed and, after a quest lasting through Friday night, found the mangled remains of the little girl in a pool of water in a swamp near the girl's home.

Her body was badly mangled and the shrubbery in the vicinity told of a one-sided fight of the girl against the two negro fiends. After committing the murder the negroes dragged the body into a nearby swamp and threw her remains there, where they were found by the searching party.

As soon as the significance of the find dawned on the residents, the search party was transformed into a mob searching for the culprite [sic]. The sheriff of Bonifay was notified and he, together with two assistants, went to Dady where the two negroes were already arrested. A confession, giving some of the details of the criminal assault and subsequent murder were made by the two men and feeling was running high but cool heads prevented a lynching on the sspot [sic].

The sheriff saw that the only thing to be done was to rush the two men to the county jail, and at once started out from Dady, but the residents, who at this time were augmented by the arrival of others, got wind of the sheriff's plan and started in pursuit and overtook the sheriff on a lonely road, overpowering him and taking the two negroes to the nearest tree, ropes were already provided for and it was only a short time before the negroes were swung up.

The two negroes were employed on a turpentine camp and were know[n] to be of a bad character. They, according to their confession, laid along the road in wait for the little girl, who would be going to school in the morning. This was after they had looked around and found that there was no white men in the vicinity. The details of the tragedy are ertremely [sic] gruesome.

The sheriff of Holmes county arrived in Bonifay Saturday night and told the full details of the crime, as far as he knew it and of the lynching. According to the sheriff the mob was in such a mood that it could not be controlled, and he readily saw that white blood would be spilled if he did not turn the negroes over to them. No further trouble is apprehended by the sheriff.

Our next article shows how easily these things get out of control. It is found in the August 2, 1910 edition of The Washington Post (Washington, D. C.):


Man Who Lent Amulet to Child's Slayer Among Victims.

Pensacola, Fla., Aug. 1.—Telephone wires in the vicinity of Dady, Fla., were cut tonight, and negroes were reported to be fleeing for their lives from that section.

Business was reported suspended late today, while farmers left their fields to join posses bent on carrying forward vengeance for the murder of the little schoolgirl, Bessie Morrison, who was slain last Friday.

Today it was reported that a negro had lent an amulet to one of the colored men alleged to have slain the child. This negro was immediately captured and a rope put around his neck, and as he swung from the limb of a tree his body was shot almost to pieces.

According to information here, he is the fourth negro lynched for this murder. The cutting of the telephone wires made it impossible to learn the cause of the hunt for negroes said to be in progress tonight.

We continue with The Watchman and Southron (Sumter, S. C.) dated August 6, 1910:


Bloody Passions of Raging Mob Not Sated by Lynching of Four Negro Suspects.

Boniface, Fla., Aug. 2.—The telephone lines to Dady, the scene of the murder and lynching, are up and reports have been confirmed that four negroes have thus far been lynched by the infuriated citizens of Dady, avenged the murder and assault of a little white girl.

Posses are out now hunting two more negroes who were thought to have had knowledge of the murder. It has developed that the negroes expected also to assault and murder the mother of the girl and kill all the children but their plans failed. Excitement is at a fever, and further trouble is expected. A great throng was at the burial of the little girl.

Yarious papers put Bessie Morrison's age between 12 and 14. Thank you for joining me and as always, I hope I leave you with something to ponder.