Saturday, February 27, 2016

February 7, 1903: Beach's Still, Georgia

Today's article is not of a lynching, but instead of what the articles refer to as a riot; currently I think we would refer to it as a massacre or mass shooting. Our first article comes to us through the pages of The Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia) dated February 9, 1903:


Desperadoes Fired Into House Where Festival Was in Progress. 

Waycross, Ga.,k February 8.—(Special.) Meager details of a riot which occurred between two white men and a crowd of negroes at Beach's still reached this city today.

Two negroes are said to have been killed and nine others wounded, one of them mortally. Three of the wounded were women, but their injuries are not serious.

The shooting was done while a negro festival was in progress about 11 o'clock last night.

The report is that two white men well known in that section went to the festival, and after having a little difficulty with some of the negroes blocked the two doorways of the building in which the negroes were dancing and commenced firing into the crowd with shotguns.

The negroes made a wild scramble to get out of the building, while the men fired shot after shot into the writhing mass of humanity. The house was quickly cleared of all except some of the wounded, and the men are said to have entered the building and tied the wounded and dead negroes together.

They then left and returned a short time later and cut the cords that bound the negroes. An inquest was held by the coroner over the dead bodies of the men today, but their verdict has not yet been announced.

The two white men whom it is claimed did the shooting have not yet been arrested nor have they attempted to leave the neighborhood. One of them is said to be a desperado who has been in a number of difficulties with negroes, but has usually managed to escape punishment. The two men were said to have been intoxicated.

Beach's still is in Coffee county, about 22 miles from Waycross. In this section of Coffee county several riots have occurred between the negroes and whites during the past ten years, and there are many desperate men of both colors in that neighborhood.

Our second article comes from The Anniston Republic (Anniston, Alabama) dated February 14, 1903:


Supreme In Coffee County, Georgia. 

WAYCROSS, Ga., Feb. 11—A terrible state of affairs exists near McDonald in Coffee county, since the wholesale shooting of negroes by two white men last Saturday night.

While it is known beyond question who did the shooting, no arrests have been made and the negroes who saw the shooting are afraid to say anything about the affair.

The two white men are thoroughly armed and desperate, and there is no question but there will be further trouble should an attempt be made to arrest them at present.

Later reports from the shooting are that not less than twelve negroes were injured besides the two who were killed outright. The festival which was in progress near Beach's still Saturday is said to have been unusually peaceable until the two white men appeared without warning at each door and commenced emptying their revolvers and shotguns into the crowd.

Not less than twenty-five shots were fired at the negroes while a mad stampede was made for the one window. When most of the negroes had escaped the dead and some of the wounded who were left in the house were bound together by the white men.

The white desperadoes then left the house, leaving the wounded negroes tied to the dead bodies. Returning a short time later, the cords were cut and with curses and threats the negroes were informed that they would be killed if they ever told who did the shooting.

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

Friday, February 26, 2016

1879: Chris Spayd

Today we learn about a lynching in Arizona through the pages of the Harrisburg Telegraph (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania) dated July 19, 1879:



Chris. Spayd Ends a Life of Crime on an Arizona Tree—Lynched for Murder—His Career.

The escape of the notorious Chris. Spayd from the Dauphin county jail in company with the equally notorious Milt. Brown is still fresh in the minds of the Harrisburg public. Spayd was arrested last July for attempted highway robbery on a man named Bradley, from Liverpool, Perry county. While in jail he was confined in cell No. 1, with which he was familiar. He and Brown succeeded in digging out on the morning of August 16, 1878, and making a rope of bed clothes scaled the wall and gained their freedom. Brown is now in the State Prison of Ohio, serving a term of six years for burglary, this fact becoming known to our detectives about a month ago. Nothing was ever heard of Spayd until quite recently when rumors of his having been lynched by an angry Arizona mob for committing murder began to be circulated. As no particulars were given, the rumors were not credited. An article appeared in the Philadelphia Record of yesterday, however which gave some color to the rumors, and a TELEGRAPH reporter ran across a detective this morning who knew all about it. He said that recently a western detective had visited the city for a requisition, and brought the news of Spayd's lynching. Spayd had been living at one of the military posts in Arizona, having sought the far west after he dug out of the Harrisburg jail. He induced several soldiers to steal a lot of horses and desert, and their plans for the consummation of the mischief were all laid, when one of them betrayed the plot, and Spayd and four companions were punished. Burning for revenge the punished men, when opportunity offered, caught the soldier who had betrayed them, bound him hand and foot and threw him into the river, where he was drowned. The five men were arrested and placed in prison, where the detective saw Spayd chained to the floor. On learning that the detective was coming east Spayd sent his kind regards to the Harrisburg detectives, and said he was to be hung and wouldn't bother them any more. Several nights afterwards a mob broke open the jail, took Spayd and a soldier, the two worst villains, and hung them to a cottonwood tree. Spayd was grit to the last, and took things as cool as if to him hanging was an everyday occurrence. So ended the career of one of the most notorious criminals who was ever convicted by a Dauphin county jury.

Spayd began his prison career when quite a lad by being sent to the House of Refuge for bad conduct. In the summer of 1863 he robbed a soldier and almost murdered him before he secured his plunder. While awaiting trial for this offense he and a man named Brown (not Milt), attempted to escape. They called Underkeeper Downey into their cell under pretense that the pipes were leaking, and when Downey stooped down to hunt the leak Spayd dealt him a blow on the head with an iron bar that they had torn from the window. Downey defended himself as best he could, but he was cut and beaten terribly. His cries were heard by Mr. O. B. Simmons, son of prison keeper G. W. Simmons at that time, who rushed into the cell and in a few minutes settled Spayd and Brown with his fists. One blow wedged Spayd between the pipe and wall so tight that he had to be pulled out by main strength. Another blow ruptured a blood vessel in Brown's eye. The injured underkeeper Downey was almost dead when assistance reached him. It was the intention of the two prisoners, as they afterward said, to murder Downey, take the keys and then release everybody in the prison. They were tried at the August court and both sent to the penitentiary for a term of years.

After Spayd was released he soon fell into his old habits. One evening in 1869 he arrived in this city at 9:30 on a freight train, by 11 o'clock the same night he had robbed the jewelry store of Herman Plack, on Third street above Herr, and by ten o'clock next morning he was i Philadelphia and had disposed of nearly all his plunder. He was arrested, brought to this city and tried, again convicted and again sent to the penitentiary. At the latter institutuion he was incorrigible and impudent, and gave his keepers considerable trouble. He could not be handcuffed, because his wrists were as thick as his hands and it was an easy matter for him to slip off the iron bracelets. A gentleman who once visited the penitentiary asked to see Spayd. The keepers took him to the cell known as the "sweat-box," a cell about 4 x 4 feet with a very small door, into which incorrigible prisoners are placed and then the steam turned on. It generally makes them docile in short order. Here Spayd was confined, and the keeper remarked it was a dose he repeatedly received for his bad behavior.

After serving his term for the Plack robbery Chris. was released, but he was not happy unless in mischief, and accordingly with a companion named Warren Sheaffer, he robbed the residence of Mrs. E. E. Haldeman, at Front and Walnut streets, of jewelry and silverware. His capture followed swiftly, both of the thieves being caught in a pawn-shop, on the morning after the robbery, and placed in jail for trial. On September 1, 1874, he was tried and sentenced to two years and six months in the penitentiary for this offense. After serving his term he was in and out of Harrisburg occasionally, but was not arrested until he had attempted highway robbery on Bradley at Canal and Walnut streets. His escape from jail followed, his crime in the West, and his hanging. Society is well rid of a man like this.

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

Thursday, February 25, 2016

August 26, 1895: Lawrence Johnson, William Null, Louis Moreno, and Garland Semler (Seemler)

Today we learn about a quadruple lynching in California through the pages of The Des Moines Register (Des Moines, Iowa) dated August 27, 1895:


Californians Have an Old-Time Necktie Party and Four Criminals Wear the Neckties.

The '49ers Did the Work Deliberately and With Precision on a 19-Year-Old Boy.


Murderers Taken from Cells and Hanged High by a Tax Paying Mob.

Yreka, Cal., Aug. 26.—Four murderers were taken from the county jail by a mob of 250 men at 1 o'clock this morning and lynched.

A band of citizens, fearing that the law would not be carried out, and angered by the atrocity of recent crimes, determined to take the matter into their own hands. The lynching was the ghastly climax to the reign of lawlessness which has prevailed in Siskiyou county for some months past.

One of the victims was Lawrence Johnson, who, on the evening of July 28, stabbed his wife to death in the town of Etna. Another was William Null, who shot Henry Hayter in the back with a rifle near Callahan's on April 21. Louis Moreno and Garland Seemler, who are supposed to have killed George Sears and Casper Meierhans at Bailey Hill on August 5, were also hanged.

At 11 o'clock farmers from all surrounding country began to drive into town, and by midnight the mob was ready to march to the county jail. Before taking a step, however, every precaution was taken to prevent the plans of the lynchers from being frustrated by the officers of the law. The sheriff and one of his deputies were decoyed to another part of town by two members of the mob, who were engaged in a sham fight, and the fire bell was muffled to prevent an alarm being given in that way.

When the jail was reached a number of the men, all of whom were masked, awakened Under Sheriff Radford and demanded the keys from him. He positively refused to open the door or give the keys up, telling them that if the[y] broke open the doors he would blow their brains out. Finding that Radford was determined not to give them the keys, they went across to the jail and got on top of a stone wall which surrounded the jail.

Deputy Sheriff Henry Brahtlacht, who had been sleeping in the jail, fired two shots out of the window to alarm City Marshal Parks and Deputy Sheriff Radford. He then opened the doors and was immediately held up by the mob, who took the keys from him and entered the jail. Having no keys to the different cells, they were compelled to burst the locks with a sledge hammer, which they proceeded to do at once.

Lawrence Johnson, who brutally stabbed his wife to death at Etna on Sunday of July 28, was the first to receive the attention of the mob. They broke the lock from the door of his cell and placing a rope around his neck, led him out of the jail and across the street to where an iron rail was laid between the forks of two locust trees. Johnson pleaded for mercy, but the silent gathering gave no heed to his appeals, and he was quickly strung up, dying from strangulation in a few minutes.

The mob returned to the jail and then broke into the cell of William Null, who shot Henry Hayter at Callahan's on April 21, in a dispute over a mining property. Null desired to make a statement, but time was too valuable to allow of such preliminaries, and he was soon hanging alongside of Johnson.

Louis Moreno, who is charged with having killed George Sears on the 5th of this month, was taken from his cell and soon swinging  with Johnson and Null.

The last and youngest of the four murderers to pay the penalty of his crime was Garland Seemler, aged about 19, who, in company with Moreno, was charged with having killed Casper M[e]ierhans at Bailey Hill, on the 5th of this month. A rope was placed around Seemler's neck and he was led from the jail in his bare feet. He begged for mercy and his last words were:  "Tell my dear old mother I am innocent of the crime."

About this time Sheriff Hobbs, having been notified, arrived on the scene, and commanded the mob to halt and the command being emphacized [sic] by a display of revolvers. He was told that the "job had been done." By this time the greater part of the mob had dispersed, leaving only about thirty or forty men on guard, who soon left after the sheriff arrived.

The bodies were taken down by Coroner Shofield and Marshal Parks, who removed them in a wagon to an engine house where they were laid side by side. The coroner has summoned a jury to hold an inquest.

Yreka is a little mining town, and years ago was frequently the scene of mob violence. The summary manner in which justice was meeted [sic] out to the four murderers this morning reminded the pioneers of similar scenes during the gold excitement forty years ago, when it was not an uncommon spectacle to awaken i8n the morning and see the body of a notorious criminal dangling from a tree.

Our next article comes to us through the pages of The San Francisco Call (San Francisco, California) dated December 1, 1895:


Facts Tend to Prove That Innocent Men Were Lynched.


A Cellmate of Moreno Bears Out the Confession of "John Doe."


The Mexican Had a Companion Who Probably Committed the Murders.

PORTLAND, Or., Nov. 30.—The recent publication of a letter from Arizona, signed John Doe, in which the writer confesses to the murders for which Moreno and Semlar were lynched in Yreka last August, has created a ripple of excitement here because of a corroborative statement made by a young burglar, Andrew A. Crawford, in a newspaper interview on the 27th of last September.

"When I went to jail last January," said young Crawford, in introducing at that time the history of Moreno, which inclines him to the belief in Semlar's innocence, "I was placed in a cell with Moreno. I found him an easy man to get along with and we struck up a sort of friendship. At that time he could hardly speak good English, and I taught him so that we could converse. He had a habit of sitting up late and staring into space, and one night I asked him what troubled him. He answered:

" 'I am thinking of my wife and children in—(naming a place in Mexico opposite Eagle Pass)—whom I won't be able to see till 1896.' 

" 'How's that?' I asked him.

" ' I'll tell you,' replied Moreno. 'Up to 1889 I was a non-commissioned officer in the Mexican army. Some time before that two officers had me suspended by the wrists in the guardhouse, and I swore vengeance upon them. In 1889, I one day called at the home of one of the officers, in the outskirts of the town. He answered my rap at the door, when I, with the aid of some fellow soldiers, kidnaped and carried him a short distance into the woods, where I plunged my knife into his heart. The other officer shared a similar fate at my hands that afternoon. The killing of the two officers created a great sensation the day following when their bodies were discovered, but I was very popular with my men, they did not inform upon me and the Mexican authorities are yet in the dark as to the identity of the slayer."

" ' It was a month or two later when I killed an officer at a game of cards, and then I knew I had to flee. I hurried to the City of Mexico, where my brother practices law. He counseled me to leave the country at once and remain absent seven years, after which my prosecution would be barred by the Mexican statutes of limitation. I sailed in a Spanish ship as carpenter from New Orleans, visiting nearly all parts of the earth, till I reached Seattle from Liverpool in the ship of J. B. Thomas last fall.'

"Moreno left the County Jail a little more than three months before I did," continued Crawford, "and he promised to write and keep me informed where he wads, so I could join him after my release. The last letter I got from Moreno (it was not in his handwriting) was two weeks before he was hanged. My theory is that the writer of the letters accompanied Moreno to Yreka, and that he alone was guilty of the double murder for which Moreno and Semler were hanged."

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

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

June 15, 1923: "Gray Eye" Simmons

Today we learn about a lynching in Florida through the pages of The Palm Beach Post (West Palm Beach, Florida) dated June 16, 1923:


Assailant Declared Bootlegger Ordered Shooting


Resulted From Single Handed Raid of a Pool Room

(By Associated Press)

Miami, June 15.—Town Marshal Charles R. Bryant, of Homestead, was shot to death this afternoon in a pool room in the negro quarter of Homestead, when he attempted to make a liquor raid single handed. Thirty minutes later a negro known as "Gray Eye" Simmons, his slayer, was bound to a tree by a crowd of men and riddled with bullets.

Bryant and his 14-year-old son drove up to the pool room in an automobile about 2 o'clock. Bryant went inside and mounted the stairs to the second floor. According to information furnished by other negroes, he was met by a fusillade of bullets from a revolver wielded by Simmons. A few minutes later Bryant's boy, who had driven away, returned and went upstairs after his father. He found the place deserted and his father's body on the floor.

Simmons escaped from the place by jumping into an automobile truck parked in the street and fleeing. The crowd, which had hastily gathered in the business section of the city when news of the murder was carried there by another excited negro, gave chase and captured the slayer several miles down the road. He was brought back and lynched within fifty feet from the scene of the murder. Before his death he had declared that he had been employed by a white man, for whom he sold moonshine, to shoot Bryant, who had been active against bootleggers.

In response to a call which said further race trouble was feared, Sheriff Allen and several deputies and Chief of Police Quigg of Miami, rushed to Homestead in automobiles. They arrested a white man, J. E. Anderson. He was brought back and lodged in the city jail. No formal charge has been preferred against him.

Homestead was quiet tonight and a search for two other negroes had been abandoned. Simmons is said to have confessed before he was lynched.

Bryant leaves three children, the oldest 14. His wife died a week ago and was buried Monday.

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

Monday, February 22, 2016

April 19, 1909: J. B. Miller, B. B. Burrell, Jesse West and George Allen

Today we learn about a quadruple lynching in Oklahoma through the pages of The Washington Herald (Washington, D. C.) dated April 20, 1909:


Four Are Taken from Jail at Ada, Okla.


Feud Existed for Years, and Leader of Band Accused of the Murder Was a Notoriously Bad Man, Having Slain Six Men—Each Mob Victim Was Worth More Than $100,000.

Oklahoma City, Okla., April 19.—Four white men—J. B. Miller, B. B. Burrell, Jesse West and George Allen—charged with the assassination of A. A. Bobbitt, a wealthy cattle man, two months ago, were dragged from the county jail at Ada, one hundred miles southeast of this city, at 3 o'clock this morning by a mob of masked men and lynched to the rafters of a barn across an alley from the jail building.

The men were not ordinary criminals. Miller left an estate valued at perhaps $200,000; Allen was recently a bank cashier; Burrell and West were owners of real estate valued jointly at $150,000.

Bobbitt was murdered from ambush on the night of February 27 last near Ada. He was also wealthy, and was prominent as a cattle dealer.

Feud Existed for Years.

A feud had existed for years between Bobbitt and the men who were lynched this morning. After his murder they were quietly arrested along with Oscar Peeler, a young relative of Miller. He was spared by the lynchers, and this afternoon made a confession in which he acknowledged that the mob victims were the murderers of Bobbitt, and he had a guilty knowledge of the crime, through his association with Miller.

It is generally believed that by reason of the wealth and influence of the accused men they would be able to secure acquittal. On that account it was decided that they should be lynched.

No definite action has yet been taken toward fixing the responsibility for the lynching. Six guards on duty at the jail were overpowered and held captive until after the lynching. It is estimated that one hundred men took part.

Sends Ring to Wife.

When taken from the jail Miller wore a diamond ring valued at $250, which he slipped from his finger and handed to the mob leader, asking him to send it to Mrs. Miller, at present in Fort Worth. He also wore a valuable diamond stud, which he presented to the sheriff.

One of the victims, Jesse West, attempted to fight the mob, and was severely clubbed over the head with a pistol. None of the others resisted.

Each victim was married. miller was looked upon as the leader. He has lived on the Southwestern frontier since boyhood, and was widely known as a bad man. It is said that he had killed six men, and was with the noted Pat Garrett, slayer of Billy the Kid, when Garrett was murdered at Las Cruces, N. M., a year or so ago.

A mass meeting is in progress at Ada to-night to take action denouncing the mob violence, but it is hardly probable that the participants in the lynching will ever be identified.

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

Saturday, February 20, 2016

June 9, 1882: James McHare

Today we learn about a lynching in New Mexico through the pages of the Detroit Free press (Detroit, Michigan) dated June 10, 1882:

A Murderer Lynched.

DENVER, COL., June 9—The Republican's Las Vegas, N. M., special says:  James McHare and John Graves, employed on the railroad section at Pecos, thirty miles south of Las Vegas, engaged in a fight last evening. McHare shot and killed Graves. McHare escaped, was afterwards overtaken by a party of forty men, and lynched. The body is still hanging. McHare was from East Saginaw, Mich.

Some lynchings have a lot of information and unfortunately, too many are like this lynching. I found the same article in a variety of papers. Thank you for joining me and as always, I hope I leave you with something to ponder.

Friday, February 19, 2016

March 24, 1900: Walter Cotton and O'Grady

Today we learn about two lynchings in Virginia through the pages of The Times-Democrat (New Orleans, Louisiana) dated March 25, 1900:


The Pair Had Committed a Burglary at Emporia, Va.


Blood Mad After Lynching the Negro, the Mob Granted the Demand of Negroes Present and Lynched the White Man, Negroes Pulling the Rope.

Special to The Times-Democrat.

Richmond, March 24.—Two men, one a negro, a confessed murderer, who had escaped from jail and been rearrested; the other an Irish tramp, the negro's "pal" in a murder a few nights since, were lynched to-day as [sic] Emporia, Greenesville county. Many negroes witnessed a white mob hang the negro, Cotton, and a majority of the mob that lynched the Irishman were negroes.

These facts of outlawry were committed a short time after two companies of Richmond militia had left the scene of the crime. Both of the men might have been saved had some one in authority shown a determined spirit. The Governor insists that the responsibility for their lynching rests upon the sheriff of Greenesville county, who refused to permit the two companies of the Richmond Blues no longer to remain in charge of the jail.

Walter Cotton, the negro, who was the first victim of the mob's vengeance, Thursday shot to death Magistrate Saunders and a Mr. Welton, who attempted to arrest him. The negro, with O'Grady, an Irish tramp, a few nights ago entered the house of a citizen of Emporia, and, at the point of a pistol, burglarized the residence. It was for this crime Saunders attempted to arrest Cotton. The latter, with O'Grady, was concealed in a hut near Emporia, and opened fire on Saunders and Welton, killing them both.

It was 12:45 this afternoon when Cotton was lynched at Emporia. It took place in the presence of about 1500 people, white and colored. There was no disorder. no one made any resistance. A committee of citizens entered the jail. The deputy in charge made simply a formal resistance; that is, he entered a protest. The people were determined, however, to lynch the man, and thought it would be better to execute him in broad daylight, as a lesson to the people who would commit crimes.

There was considerable delay in getting the prisoner unchained. He was led out of the prison with a rope about his neck. The man said not a word. He was so frightened he could not speak. There was fear that many shots would be fired, and "Don't shoot," "don't shoot," was uttered by a dozen men.

The negro was dragged through the crowd to a tree between the courthouse and the Bank of Greenesville. An active young man climbed up to the first limb. The rope was thrown to him and he placed the end over the limb and threw it down to the crowd.

"Now, everybody pull," said some one, and many willing hands lifted the murderer from the ground. Two pistol shots were fired into the negro's body. There was some cheering, and all was over with Cotton.

Soon after Cotton was lynched there were probably 3000 people in the courtyard. The body was left suspended. A cry went up for the life of O'Grady, the white man. A rush was made for the jail. The negroes were loud in demanding that O'Grady be lynched.

"You have killed the negro, now lynch the white man," they demanded.

Former Judge George P. Parham, who had led the mob that lynched Cotton, made a speech to the crowd. He said Cotton was a confessed murderer, while O'Grady claimed to be innocent. "Let's give him a chance to prove that he is not guilty," said the judge.

"We know he is guilty," replied scores of voices.

Col. Field of Petersburg, who commanded a regiment in Mahone's division, begged the mob not to act hastily. These pleading[s] were of no avail. A crowd of whites and negroes entered the jail. Mr. C. T. Boykin of Richmon was one of those who pleaded with the mob to let O'Grady live. There were half a dozen men in the cell, who swore they would die before they would allow O'Grady to be lynched. The mob was twice driven out. O'Grady was frightened almost to death and crouched in a corner of his cell. All the other prisoners were terribly scared. Each one felt that his life was in danger.

Most of the crowd was unwilling to let the white man live. They broke into the jail for the third time, and at 1:40 p. m. brought O'Grady out with a rope about his neck. He was dragged to the tree where Cotton had been lynched. Most of those who had hold of the rope were negroes. The man was swung to the limb on which the negro had just died. He soon expired from strangulation.

"I feel that I have done all I can in this matter," said Gov. Tyler this afternoon. "The civil authorities stated that they could handle the mob without military assistance. When the sheriff ordered Major Cutchins to depart, there was nothing left for him to do but go.

"I am greatly distressed at the result, but I could not keep the soldiers there without declaring martial law, and I did not feel that the prevailing conditions warranted it.

"The law in reference to such matters will, I presume, be carried out. The men who took part in the lynching will, or should, be arrested and dealt with accordingly.

"As Governor and as a citizen I deeply deplore this flagrant outrage upon law and order. Nothing was left for me to do but what was done. I exercised my prerogative to its fullest extent.

"The trouble seems to have been with the authorities at Emporia. We were given to understand that protection would be given the prisoners. The result shows that this confidence was abused.

"A meeting was held by the judge, the sheriff and a number of leading citizens in the judge's office, and pledges were then made to uphold the law. The sheriff was made to believe that the prisoners would be protected, and in accordance to that belief he withdrew his request for military protection. The sheriff is supreme in such instances, except, as I have said, where martial law is declared."

Many people think Gov. Tyler made a mistake in not declaring martial law and taking the prisoners out of the hands of the mob.

Three other persons, whom Cotton charged with having committed the Blick murder and robbery were discharged by the judge and left town. At last accounts the town had resumed its wonted quiet.

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

Thursday, February 18, 2016

February 23, 1877: Cage

Today we learn about a lynching in Louisiana through the pages of The Louisiana Democrat (Alexandria, Louisiana) dated February 28, 1877:


For the first time in the memory of the oldest inhabitant of our Parish, lynch law has been administered in Rapides. The circumstances which led to the summary punishment of the criminal as we learn them are as follows:

On the evening of the 22nd inst. after dusk Maj. Geo. O. Watts, who lives a short distance below Alexandria rode to town, hitched his horse to a rack and went aboard the Bart. Able, then at the wharf on her way down. When he came ashore ready to go home his horse was missing from the rack, and on inquiry he learned of someone having ridden him off while he was on the boat. He borrowed another horse, and armed with only a small pistol he started down the Bayou Robert road after the horse thief, and found out at the toll gate that a man on a horse answering to the description of his had passed through half an hour before. The gate keeper and others described both the man and the horse, so that even before the thief was captured it was known who he was. Maj. Watts followed him and by some means found himself at the Baillio store about nine miles from town ahead of the thief. He started back and met him in the lane of Gov. Moore's upper place. He demanded a surrender and the man surrendered and Maj. Watts had started him back to town ahead of him afoot, when seizing an opportunity the thief and assassin, turned and fired two shots at the Major, one of which took effect in his right breast just above the nipple and it is now thought passed through the lung. Disabled by the first shot as he was, Maj. Watts fired two shots in return without effect, and the horse thief and would be murderer escaped. The Major made his way back to the store, when a carriage was procured and he was brought home.

Early next morning as soon as it was known, a party with a deputy Sheriff started in search of the criminal who had in one night committed two foul crimes. It was known from the description given that he was a young man who gave his name as Cage, and who said he came from Wilkinson County, Mississippi, and had been around town for some days ostensibly seeking employment.—A part of the Sheriff's posse got on the trail and tracked it to the Lodi sugar house, when after at first refusing to surrender he was finally captured and brought to the Parish Jail.

That afternoon he was carried to Maj. Watts' residence where he was lying in a very critical condition, and he recognized him at once as the man he had caught on his horse the night before and who had shot him. Other parties also identified him who had the night before seen him leaving town on Major Watts' horse. This could be more readily done, as the night was a bright moonlight one. He was again placed in Jail and after that we must let the Jailer tell the next step in the tragedy of blood. His statement under oath will be found in another place. From that it appears that in the night a party of men came to the Jail, overpowered him and took away the prisoner. The next thing known to to [sic] the public was that the man Cage was found in the morning hanging to a limb of an oak tree, on the river bank about one mile below town.—The place was visited by many of our people to see how speedily punishment had followed the double crime and we heard but one sentiment expressed that it was a terrible punishment, but that it was just and deserved by the criminal. For eight long years our people have seen criminals bid defiance to the law with impunity and they have suffered in silence. They have seen men whose hands were red with blood, either escape entirely or by legal quibble elude the clutches of the law, and they have said nothing. They have seen murderers, thieves and robbers undergo the farce of a trial before inefficient judge and ignorant juries, and come out eager to commit other and greater crimes, and they have borne the repitition [sic] of crimes till patience has become exhausted. Maj. Watts is one of our most esteemed citizens whose manly qualities and courteous manners have won for him the hearty good will and favor of our entire community, and the thought that he was likely to lose his life at the hands of a desperado who seemed to have before him neither the fear of God nor man, excited our usually quiet and peaceable people to such a pitch as we have rarely, if ever seen before. The necessity of taking the execution of the law out of the hands of its officers, is a painful one, but "self-preservation is the first law of nature," and when such men as Cage are allowed to go scot free after committing such crimes as he had, no man's life or property was safe. The hand of the assassin might take the one, or the thief the other without fear or punishment. The theory underlying all governments, is, that the citizen gives up to the State a certain portion of his individual freedom and pays to it a specified amount of his property in return for its protection of his life and property, and when the State or the law, which is the representation of its Sovereignty, fails to afford the necessary protection, the citizen in his individual capacity must protect himself. The lesson just given ought to be a salutary one to evil doers and will doubtless have the effect of stopping crime which seemed to be alarmingly on the increase. Our Jail is now full of criminals as shown by the jailer's fees amounting to $299 for last month, and two more were brought in, we are informed on the night Cage was taken out.

Happily there can be no pretext that politics had anything to do with this. Maj. Watts is no politician, never ran for any office and took only the interest that every good citizen takes in the welfare of the country. Cage was a white man, and if he had had anything to do with politics he had probably been a Democrat.

The remedy was a severe and terrible one, but the body politic of our Parish was a dangerous and desperate one and required the use of a powerful medicine. Let us hope that the lesson will be heeded, and that it may be long years before it becomes necessary to teach such another one.


I am the Jailor and one of the deputy Sheriffs of the Parish of Rapides; on the night of the 22nd of February, I had gone to bed, I had heard that Webb Taylor, deputy Sheriff, James Moore and Dave Paul had gone in pursuit of the man who shot Major Watts. Some time in the night, I suppose about 12 o'clock, Mr. Moore, Webb Taylor whom I recognized, after calling and rousing me out of bed, told me there were two prisoners on the road, and to be ready, that they would be there in a few moments they thought; I replied to them that we had got the man that had shot Major Watts; Moore replied to me, God damn him, keep him safe, and don't let him get away. I got up thinking that Dave Paul and Joel Neal would be along; Webb's reply was that he would be along in the morning.

I kept going backward and forward to the gate occasionally to see if the two prisoners were coming; leaning up against the facing of the door looking down the Bayou Robert road to see if the two prisoners were coming, having the keys of the Jail in my pocket, a lamp lighted in the house, and a pistol in my hand, waiting to receive the prisoners, when they came. I looked to my left, I saw at the corner of the Jail yard something black, that I had taken to be a cow; I noticed it, and it appeared to squat down; after noticing awhile, it then got up. I hailed to it Who is that? it dodged then back behind the Jail yard, i spoke, I'll be damned if I don't see who you are. I walked to the corner, with my pistol in my hand, I saw a gun about 5 or 6 feet from the corner presented across the street; some man or woman dressed in man's clothes, asked me who are you, I replied Cole Calvit; he said you are the man I want, and grabbed me, demanded my pistol, they took it, then started back one or two steps, and demanded the keys, I told them the keys were int he house. I went to the jail yard, two or three holding me, with their shot guns in their hands and ordered me "not a word." I observed to them, let me go in and get the keys; they held me back and would not let me go in; I then replied to them to let me ask my wife to bring me the keys, he refused; finally the keys rattled in my pocket; they took me, marched me to the steps, and up the steps and showed no disposition to hurt me at all, demanded of me the keys, and asked what key fitted the door, and I showed it to him, and I unlocked the outside door myself; he then took the keys, went in, took another man with him, he asked what room the man was in, that was put in that evening, and I said the wooden room, and showed him the key to unlock the door, as I was overpowered and disarmed; he opened the door, and another man went in with him; there were two on the platform, and they were requested not to let me move; he called for Cage several times, I heard a murmuring. I heard some say, ain't you coming, finally Cage came. From the appearance from the door, he was pulled out, they carried him down the steps, told me to lock the doors, they locked the cell door; I told them not to turn out all the prisoners, one whispered to me, said to me, "you are dealing with gentlemen" I said that's all right, I am a gentleman too.

I have not seen the person until this morning when I saw him hanging to an oak limb, just below the town of Alexandria, and I recognized him to be the same man that I received in Jail yesterday evening, and who was taken out during the night.



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

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

September 23, 1888: Lewis Davis

today we learn about a lynching in Missouri through the pages of the Abilene Daily Reflector (Abilene, Kansas) dated September 25, 1888:


Lewis Davis Hanged By a Mob Over the Grave of a Murderer Previously Lynched.

MIDLAND, Mo., Sept. 24.—Two years ago next Saturday night a masked mob of thirty men took Pat Wallace from the Crawford County jail at this place and hung him to a railroad bridge two miles from town. He had been indicted for the murder of an entire family of six persons, whose bodies he burned in their home, on a desolate knoll three-fourths of a mile from Steelville. The victim of the mob's vengeance was buried. Yesterday morning at daylight a ghastly object hung from a limb of a big oak that waved above the grave. It was the lifeless body of Lewis Davis who had been in the St. Louis jail for the past six months, accused of the killing of David F. Miller, a neighbor, whom he had brutally murdered and robbed. The trial of Davis was in progress when at 2 o'clock yesterday morning the jail was broken into by masked men and he was taken out and lynched as above stated. Lewis Davis is from a family of high standing in this (Crawford) County. his brother has been elected twice to the office of assessor.

If you are interested in the lynching that occurred two years prior, you can read about it here. Thank you for joining me and as always, I hope I leave you with something to ponder.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

August 13, 1911: Zachariah "Zach" Walker

Today we learn about a lynching in Pennsylvania through the pages of The Scranton Republican (Scranton, Pennsylvania) dated August 14, 1911:


Infuriated Citizens of Coatesville Wreak Vengeance on Slayer of Policeman.


Almost as Many Women as Men in Crowd Which Avenges Dead Officer.

COATESVILLE, Pa., Aug. 13.—Zachariah Walker, a negro desperado, was carried on a cot from the hospital here tonight and burned to a crisp by a frenzied mob of men and boys on a fire which they had ignited about a half mile from town. The negro, who had shot and killed Edgar Rice, a special policeman of the Worth Iron mills, last night, was first dragged to the scene of the shooting, begging piteously for mercy.

He had been arrested by a posse late this afternoon after a search which had stirred the countryside. When the posse finally located him he was found hiding in a cherry tree and with the last bullet in his revolver shot himself in the mouth, falling from the tree. He was removed to the hospital and placed under police guard.

A few minutes after 9 o'clock a mob numbering almost one thousand persons appeared at the hospital. The leaders were unable to gain admission but quickly smashed the window frames and crawled through the corridor. A policeman who had been placed on duty to watch Walker was the only person in the building besides the nurses and patients.

Took Bed and Patient.

The leader of the mob placed his hands over the policeman's eyes while others who had entered the building set about to take their man from the hospital. When Walker was taken to the hospital he was strapped down in order to prevent his escape. The mob seeing this gathered up the bed and placing it on the shoulders of four men started for the country. They left town by way of the Towerville road and when a half mile from the hospital stopped at the farm of Mrs. Sarah Jane Newlin.

Here they entered a field and quickly gathering up a pile of dry grass and weeds placed the bed containing their victim upon it. The negro was begging piteously to be released, but his pleadings fell on deaf ears. A match was placed to the pile of grass and the flame shot up quickly, entirely enshrouding the screaming victim. That nota [sic] vestige of the murderer be left the mob tore down the fence along the road and piled the rails upon the burning negro.

Many Women in Crowd. 

After waiting for half an hour the mob dispersed as quietly as it had come. A curious feature of the burning was the fact that there were almost as many women in the crowd as men.

The mob was orderly, scarcely a murmur being heard from the time that it began to congregate on the streets until it had dispersed less than an hour later.

During the march from the hospital to the scene of the burning of the negro, a distance of less than three-quarter of a mile not a policeman was encountered by the determined mob. Even the man on duty in the hospital made no effort to stop the fifteen or more leaders who gained admittance to the institution.

The only masks worn by the members of the mob were handkerchiefs drawn loosely over their faces.

Work of Determined Men.

That the burning of the negro was designed and carried out by level headed men there can be no doubt. It was not the work of men whose nerves had been wrought up to the danger point by over indulgence, but rather the work of a body of determined men who were ready to take any kind of a chance to avenge the death of a respectable citizen who had been shot down in cold blood.

Coatesville is a town of about 10,000 persons, and is located on the main line of the Pennsylvania railroad about thirty miles west of Philadelphia.

Before the body of the negro had been consumed the news spread throughout the town that Walker had been lynched on the outskirts, and while the rails and bedding were yete [sic] smouldering the road leading to the scene was alive with automobiles. It is estimated that nearly 500 of such conveyances visited the scene of the burning before midnight.

Screams Attracted Many.

After the mob had reached the outskirts they dropped the bed upon which the negro lay instead of carrying it, and dragged the half-crazed victim strapped to the bed, along the road. The negro evidently believing the mob was bent upon lynching him begged piteously not to be "strung up" and, while lying on the bed watching the mob gathering the dry grass and heaping it near the bed his fears were apparently doubled.

With screams living adjacent to the farm upon which the pyre was built. Several reached the field almost as the match was placed to the dry hay, but not one offered any remonstrance, and very few spoke a word in opposition to the summary vengeance visited upon the negro.

When the mob left the scene of the fire it walked along the road quietly until within a short distance of the borough limits and then dispersed, the men, women and boys scattering as if by magic.

District Attorney Robert Gaythrop came over from West Chester tonight and stated that every effort would be made to discover the identity of the ring leaders of the mob. An investigation is already under way and the county detective is at work endeavoring to find out who took part in the crime which has cast a blot on the fair name of Chester county.

The August 17, 1911 edition of the New York Age (New York, N. Y.) printed a scathing column in response to the lynching:


The Governor of Pennsylvania was once a great baseball player. He stood high with the bellowing fanatics in their grandstand. He was a good catcher and a fair hitter. He might well have remained in the world of sport, for in the affairs of government he is still a baseball player. When the news of the Coatesville lynching and burning reached him, what action did he take? This little fice with a bulldog's chain [sic] This little man with a bulldog's chain about his neck, what message did he send to the people of Pennsylvania and the country? "I am sorry," he said in effect, "but mistakes will happen." No wonder great Pennsylvania hangs its head in shame. Where giants once sat there sits a pigmy now. Governor Tener extracts no little comfort from this reflection:

I am making a full investigation and
in a few days will know all about the
occurrence and who were its ringlead-
ers. I realize, however, that the town 
of Coatesville is an orderly one. It is
 a respectable community of industrial 
people, and I cannot conceive for a 
moment how such a thing could hap-
pen, and on Sunday.

"In a few days." The Easy Minded! "Coatesville an orderly town." A fool's speech in the mouth of a statesman! Blood, murder, lynching, burning a human being; all this in an orderly town! What was Tenet's majority down there among the "industrial (sic) people?" On Sunday? How? Give Tener a spoon of soothing syrup, the blindness of birth is not yet broken from his eyes. Is there consolation in an hour like this for a governor of a mob-ridden state? Tener is easily consoled. Why weep or waste a single sigh:

I believe, however, that a lynching
could occur in New York, indeed in
any Northern State as well as Penn-

The governor's belief is not to be shaken, but another lynching in Pennsylvania would wreck the state; and a  lynching in New York, and we expect something of that kind to be attempted here, would bring desolation more than enough for an army. The brutes of the "white race" are sowing the wind; let them put to death a Negro in this town, and see the whirlwind reaped. The situation in the North as well as the South, demands that men of color must everywhere be prepared to protect themselves. The law officers are powerless. The nation is powerless. The governors are powerless. The pulpit is silent. The press is dumb. The Negro is forced to the wall. They must protect themselves who have no protection in a free government.

The World asks how do black men feel? We answer for them. They feel that in a land whose fields they have cleared and whose history is empty without their record; whose wars they have fought and whose flags they have saved from the clutches of the revels, they are friendless. The newcomers from the vice-dens of Europe, the brutes and half-starved slaves from the markets of the old world in the North, and the ancient opponents of liberty in the South, are one in degrading black men. But mark this, dear World, with the black man, if he go down, down also goes the republic. A hissing and a byword among the enlightened nations of the earth already, let lynch-law take its throne here, and soon we shall be a memory. Where glory sheds its lustre today, to-morrow sorrow-marked columns will tell the story of the fall.

The Times goes to the heart of the Pennsylvania barbarity. Walker was lynched not because he was a murderer, for murderers are as common as leaves in autumn (and what the Negro has learned of murder was taught him by the American "white" man), but because he was a Negro murderer. The barbarians burned Walker, but they burned at Walker's race. Walker's race feels the sting, feels the degrading whip of scorn cracked on this awful occasion by the hungry beasts from the wilds of southern Europe. Walker's race has borne in patience the persecution of fifty bitter years. Walker's race remains a kindly race. But Walker's race begins to weary under the burden of lynch-law, disfranchisement and old Jim Crow. His race doubts the olive branch of peace, and no longer perceives the efficacy of the gospel of love. His race has read the records of those who have come up through trials and tribulations. They have read therein that those who permit oppression will always be oppressed, and self-protection is the first principle of equality.

The United States may go on in its drunkenness. It may debauch itself on the wine of self-glory. It may oppress the Negro race. It may run wild over airships and close its eyes to wicked sights, and its ears to the cries of justice. But soon or late there will be hell to tell the captain.

Our next article comes from the Harrisburg Telegraph (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania) dated August 16, 1911:


In its editorial comment upon the disheartening and disgraceful tragedy at Coatesville last Sunday night, the Philadelphia Public Ledger makes a suggestion which we regard as sufficiently important to reproduce:

The sanguinary event suggests
the reflection that the same sort of
people who dragged the moaning
culprit through the streets are
among the very ones whom cer-
tain fanatics and radicals would
like to commit the power of recall-
ing the Supreme Court Judges of
the United States. those who can-
not control themselves and their
own bloodlust, forsooth, are to be
permitted to dictate the abdication
of eminent jurists who are not set
in their exalted station to be in-
timadated or terrorized in the in-
terests of a faction or a mob, or to
be voted on like a municipal loan
or a legislative amendment, but to
construe the law impersonally and
disinterestedly for the benefit of all
the people. And such men as
those who lynched Walker are pre-
sumed to be qualified to decide in-
stantly upon the fitness of men like
White and Hughes to interpret the
intent of the law and pronounce
sentence accordingly in issues of
the gravest moment!

Although it may be argued that the mob who lynched Walker were not the voters of Coatesville, or, at least, not all of the voters or a majority of the voters, the fact remains that such mob violence invariably represents the preponderance of public sentiment at that time. If a majority of the citizens of Coatesville had been as keenly interested in preventing the lynching as the minority were in carrying it out, Walker would have been tried, convicted and executed according to law.

The fact that no such interest was manifested and that those who disapproved did so only passively shows what possibilities there are for the abuse of the recall.

Another lesson in connection with this shocking crime is the futility of it. Almost simultaneously with the affair in Coatesville, a negro who attacked and killed a woman near Durant, Okla., was shot to death by a mob and his body burned, the idea being, as usual, to make such a horrible example of him that others of his race would be deterred from following his example. Within twenty-four hours after that lynching another woman was killed by another negro in the same locality and under very much the same conditions.

Nothing is gained through lynchings in the way of suppressing crime, and everything is lost in the way of public decency. We are glad that the Pennsylvania authorities have taken the Coatesville situation in hand and that there is a prospect of the ringleaders in the burning of Walker being brought to justice speedily.

The Pittston Gazette (Pittston, Pennsylvania (dated August 17, 1911):


This Is Charge Being Made at Coatesville.


Impression Grows That Officials, All of Whom Are Candidates In Next Election, Are Proceeding Slowly, That Their Act May Cause Defeat at the Polls.

Coatesville, Pa., Aug. 17.—New complications were added to the situation here when three men who had given information concerning the burning to death of Zach Walker, the negro slayer of Special Policeman Edgar Rice, by a mob last Sunday night were arrested on charges of murder and hurried away to jail at West Chester.

There is a widespread impression that the arrest of the three men is for the purpose of dispelling the growing belief that the county and borough officials who are investigating the lynching have feared to order the leaders of the mob into custody because such action might imperil their political fortunes. Nearly all of the men engaged upon the investigation are candidates for office at the coming election. It was also significantly pointed out that the three accused men were among the few of hundreds of men examined who gave important information concerning the manner in which the lynching was planned and executed.

Robin Gawthorp, district attorney, is thoroughly aroused by the criticism that has been made about his failure to arrest the men who lynched Walker.

"I would like to find the men who circulated all these lies about me," he said. "We have been and are going straight down the road to justice, no matter where or to whom it leads. We intend to and are sifting this outrage to the very bottom. We will make the arrests and push the prosecutions."

Chief of Police Umstead repeated his statement that politics had hindered the arrests.

"My hands are tied," he said. "The people in this town do not respect the police. It is remarkable that the men who had no respect for a policeman in life should show such sympathy for him after he is dead—I mean that they had enough sympathy for Rice to lynch a man."

The Leavenworth Post (Leavenworth, Kansas) dated August 19, 1911:


Authorities Have Eight Men Connected With Coatesville Lynching.

Coatesville, Pa., Aug. 19.—With eight persons under arrest in connection with the lynching of the negro here Sunday night, Chester county authorities are still pushing their investigations with vigor and interesting developments are promised. It was reported today that at least three of these taken into custody had made confession implicating the leaders of the mob that burned Zach Walker.

Some of those said to be involved are leading citizens. One of the five men arrested last night, it is said, will later have to answer to the charge of murder in connection with the lynching.

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


Monday, February 15, 2016

December 21, 1879: Two Negroes

Today we learn about the lynching of two men through the pages of The Fort Wayne Sentinel (Fort Wayne, Indiana) dated December 22, 1879:


Macon, Ga., Dec. 22.—Two Irish lads, Edward H. Harvey and James McGee, dry goods peddlers, were murdered last Friday night by negroes near Jernigan, Russell county, Ala., and the bodies were thrown into the Chattahoochie River. The murder was discovered Saturday, when two negroes were arrested. They confessed complicity with two others. A large crowd of whites and blacks assembled Sunday afternoon at about 4 o'clock and decided to hang the two murderers. This was done forthwith. The murderers displayed sullen indifference and asked no mercy. The two others implicated have not been arrested.

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

Saturday, February 13, 2016

July 17, 1894: Louis Laferdette

Today we learn about a lynching in Kentucky through the pages of The Cincinnati Enquirer (Cincinnati, Ohio) dated July 17, 1894:


Lynched Early This Morning Near Burlington. 

Louis Laferdette, who murdered William Whitlock, a farmer, near Burlington, Ky., was lynched this morning near the scene of the crime by a masked mob of 25 men, who entered the residence of Jailer Chrisler at Burlington. At the point of a revolver they forced Chrisler to give up the keys to the jail. The prisoner was then taken from the jail, masked and driven near the farm of the murdered man, where he was strung up.

Found in the August 13th edition of the same paper is an article about the boy who shared a jail cell with Laferdette. I am only posting the sections of the article concerning Laferdette since the article is long and the boy was not lynched. 


By a Dead Criminal.

A Boy Forger Makes an Astounding Confession,

Declaring That His Father Led Him to Crime.

The Accused Parent Immediately Flees the Country,

Taking With Him His Brother's Guilty Wife.

Astonishing Sequel To the Lynching of Louis Laferdette at Burlington.

The confession of the youth . . .

The youthful prisoner is Robert Green . . .

Since that time he has languished in the rickety little jail, his only companion during that time being the unfortunate Italian, Louis Laferdette, who was lynched by a band of masked men three weeks ago. In the short time that they were together a firm friendship was formed between the hardened criminal and, as the evidence now shows, the innocent lad.When Laferdette was dragged from his cell that awful night his last voluntary act was to kiss the boy upon the cheek and bid him good-by, asserting to his executioners that little Bobbie was his only friend in the wide, wide world. As the last handclasp was given he told the little prisoner that in his pocketbook was a diamond that should be his in the event that the lynchers carried out their murderous purpose. The parting was a pathetic one, the little fellow returning to his bunk to weep over the fate of his companion in bondage.


During their talks before the lynching, Laferdette, who, after all, seems to have had good traits, told the boy that if he was guilty to confess his misdoing and accept the punishment that would be dealt out to him.

"Tell the truth, Bobbie, "he said. "You will feel all the better for it after it is over."

The words of the man now buried in the potter's field at Burlington sunk deep into the mind of the boyish prisoner and for weeks he brooded over the advice given him. It was a wrestle with the spirit, for although innocent, the lad, whether the impulse was fear or filial piety, felt obligated to keep a great secret concerning the crime for which he was imprisoned. Struggle as he might, the words of Laferdette rang in his ears by day and by night until a last the good angel triumphed and the lad broke down.

Sending for the Prosecuting Attorney . . .


Then followed an occurrence . . .

As may be expected . . .

Mrs. Green is a . . .

In the meantime . . .


It seems strange that the innocent should be protected and the guilty exposed through the instrumentality of a would-be murderer and hardened law-breaker such as Laferdette was. It will be remembered that this person was arrested for the attempted slaughter of an old farmer living opposite Coal City on the Kentucky side, who had been his benefactor. After being captured after a desperate fight and incarcerated in the jail at Burlington, he took frightful oaths to kill the persons who were instrumental in having him arrested. Knowing the desperate character of the man, and indignant over his cruel treatment of his benefactor, the farmers of the vicinity formed a lynching party, and, taking Laferdette from jail, hanged him. His black record bears at least one mark of good merit, for it was his advice that caused the exposure of one who was as great if not a greater criminal than he was.

There is talk . . . 

I left the beginning of each paragraph to give an idea as to the length of the article. Thank you for joining me and as always, I hope I leave you with something to ponder.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

June 9, 1882: John Tibbetts

Today we learn about a lynching in Minnesota starting with an article found in the Bismarck Tribune (Bismarck, N. D.) dated June 16, 1882:

Young Tibbetts' Fate.

PERHAM, Minn., June 9.—John Tibbetts, the boy who murdered Washington and Feherbach a few days since, was brought here yesterday and was examined before Justice Rothplez. Towards night the propriety of lynching him was freely discussed, but nothing was done. About 1 o'clock this morning, however,twenty resolute men broke into the jail and with difficulty broke into his cell, and grasped him. He said, "Don't, boys; this is too rough." The lynchers then carried him to the railroad, a few rods away, rested a ladder against a telegraph pole, looped one end of a rope around his neck, ane [sic] throwing it over a round of the ladder, hoisted away. He was dead in a few moments. The lynchers kept the crowd back with drawn revolvers, and as soon as the work was done, scattered in all directions. Tibbetts, who was only 17 years old, made a full confession last night. He laughed at the crowd that met him yesterday morning, but became depressed at night. The lynchers will probably not suffer for their crime.

Another article placing partial blame on his mother and brothers is found in the June 16, 1882 edition of The Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia):


Belief That His Mother and Brothers were His Accomplices.

ST. PAUL, Minn., June 15.—The lynching of young Tibbetts for the murder of two land surveyors near Perham did not end the criminal developments in that affair, and a brother of Washington, the murdered land-surveyor, is in Perham with a detective working up the case, and they have discovered facts implicating the whole Tibbetts family, consisting of a mother with several young cubs of sons. The boys seem to have been ambitious to rival the Missouri bandits, and the mother seems to have stimulated their bloody intentions. An interview with a gentleman from Perham says:  "New facts in the Perham murder case are continually coming to light. young Tibbetts seems to have been a fiend incarnate, and urged on in his acts of wickedness by his mother. Since the lynching it has become known that he and a comrade had made a plan to wreck a Northern Pacific passenger train by placing ties or some other obstruction on the track. The scheme only failed from lack of sand in Tibbetts companion. Public feeling against the boy's mother is very strong. She exhibited no signs of grief when told that her son was lynched, nor did she view the body or seem to care to see it. Young Tibbett's [sic] step-father has shown greater feeling than the boy's mother, and the public generally sympathize with him. Public feeling is strongly in sympathy with the lynching. The whole neighborhood is in great excitement, and should it be proved the boy's mother is really implicated in the crime, there is little doubt she will be in great danger of the same fate that befell her misguided son." A correspondent of the Pioneer Press, who visited the house of the Tibbetts family with the officer, send the following:  "On nearing the house the oldest boy, George, 13 years old, left the house and started for the woods. After some conversation with the father, who is the only one in the family for whom there is felt any pity, the boy was hunted up. Upon being approached he began to yell like a lunatic, begging for his mother to protect him. At this period another boy, still younger, was heard to remark:  '— —, they can't take me.' At this time matters became exciting, and Mr. Washington, brother of the murdered surveyor, began the examination of the boy, George. He was asked what he knew about the murder, and was requested to tell what time it was John said he would kill those men if he could get a chance. His reply was:  'John told me on Thursday, the same night the surveyor and his packer came to our house.' He was asked if his mother knew of it. He said 'Yes.' He also said:  'Sohn [sic] tried to steal their revolvers on Saturday night before they were killed.'  In all the conversation held with the boy it was plain he knew of the whole affair. The mother was then called outside, she having taken up the insanity dodge. She said she had been sick, and that her folks thought her crazy. Her conversation was rather flighty until she was given a good scare, when she began to divulge some of the facts related by the boys. At this time the reporter was sitting by her right and Mr. Washington on her left, each of them having a small knife in hand, whittling. She turned upon the reporter and demanded the knife. It being refused, she turned to Washington and asked for his knife, which was also denied. All of this time the woman seemed ready to do some eviscerating. Her eyes dilated, her lip quivered, and she looked like a tigress thirsting for blood. She soon cooled off, and was asked if she knew that her son was dead. She said 'Yes.' It looks like the mother planned the whole of this terrible deed, and the guilt upon her soul is killing her and destroying the integrity of her mind. She was told of the boy being hanged, to which she said she was glad of it. The daughter is a very pretty girl of 14 years and seemed to feel badly, but her grief was of short duration.

The Topeka Daily Capital (Topeka, Kansas) edition published on June 15, 1882 refuted the claims of the mother's blame:

She is Only Insane.

CHICAGO, June 14.—A sensational story reached here late last night to the effect that Mrs. Tibbetts, of Perham, Minn., mother of the boy Tibbetts who was lynched for the murder of two engineers of the Northern Pacific road, aiding and abetted her offspring in planning the crime, and even planned with him and another lad to wreck a train for plunder, the plan failing because the other boy backed out. It was added that the feeling against the unnatural mother, who showed no grief for the fate of her boy, was so great that the citizens seriously threatened to lynch her also. The story turns out on investigation to be a hoax. No such feeling exists. The woman was declared insane six years ago by two physicians. The feeling for her is more of pity than anger on account of her strange actions. The money found in her possession was given her by her husband.

Our final article is a small entry found in The Saint Paul Globe (St. Paul, Minnesota) dated July 7, 1882:

The mother of young Tibbetts, the murderer who was lynched recently in Otter Tail county, has become insane from the shock of the tragedy, and been sent to the asylum at St. Peter.

Some sources report John Tibbetts age as 15 while others report it as 17. 

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

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

February 24, 1911: Bob Jones and John Veasey

Today we learn about a lynching in Georgia through the pages of The Charlotte News (Charlotte, N. C.) dated February 25, 1911:

Mob of Two Hundred Lynch Two Negroes In Warrenton, Ga.

Bob Jones, Who Shot Conductor Thompson, And John Veasey, Another Negro, Charged With Murder, were Lynched.

Warrenton Was Quiet To-day After the Affair—Members of Lynching Party Have not Been Identified.

By Associated Press.

Augusta, Ga., Feb. 25.—Bob Jones, the negro who fatally shot Conductor W. W. Thompson, at Camak, on the Georgia railroad, Thursday night, was taken from the Warren county jail at midnight Friday by a mob of about 200 infuriated citizens and lynched.

John Veasey, another negro in the jail, who was charged with the murder of C. E. Tarham, two months ago, was also lynched.

The mob then quietly dispersed and this morning Warrenton was as quiet as a small town can be. The negro who was with Jones at the time Captain Thompson was shot has not yet been apprehended and the mob took advantage of Sheriff Brinkley's absence with his posse looking for this negro, to enter the jail nad [sic] lynch Jones and Veasey. At -- 11 o'clock this morning the two negroes were still hanging from a tree near the town, their bodies riddled with bullets.

Mr. Fitzpatrick, a prominent citizen of Warrenton, said over the long distance telephone today that the mob entered the town about midnight and with a heavy instrument pried open the door of the jail. They took the two negroes from their cells and quietly led them to the outskirts of the town. The next thing that the inhabitants heard was a fusillade of shots and then all was still. This morning the bodies of the negroes were seen swinging from limbs of the same tree.

It was stated that the mob was not composed of Warrenton citizens and Mr. Fitzpatrick stated that he did not know where they came from.

Much indignation was caused two months ago when john Veasey, one of the negroes lynched last night, is said to have murdered Mr. Tarham, a prominent citizen of Warren county.

The officials of the Georgia railway have not received any details of the affair last night, although they were informed early this morning by their agent at Warrenton that the negroes had been lynched.

The search for the other negro, who was with Jones at the time Captain Thompson was shot, continues although it is not stated what chances there are for capturing him.

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