In our closer examination of several racially-motivated lynchings, we look today at a few anomalies. We’ll start first in Ohio – a northern state with few such crimes. It is then to a very early case of Jim Crow laws in Georgia, where a soldier in the United States Army wished to purchase a Coca-Cola. Then we look at the lynching of Leo Frank, a Jewish man accused of murder. And finally we arrive at a crowd of envious whites in Louisiana.
Between the Civil War and World War II, the black community, especially in the South, was terrorized by an epidemic of lynchings. As opposed to public executions, the point of lynching was to avoid the court of law, judge and jury. Often times, the victim, in a holding cell for an offense, was kidnapped by a mob before even being arraigned. According to a recent report issued by the Equal Justice Initiate, there were 4,075 lynchings of black Americans across the South between 1877 and 1950. 1In this case, “The South” pertains to the dozen states where the most lynchings occurred: Mississippi (614), Georgia (595), Louisiana (559), Arkansas (491), Alabama (363), Texas (344), Florida (307), Tennessee (238), South Carolina (184), Kentucky (170), North Carolina (122), and Virginia (88). See the EJI site here.
Lynched a Negro in an Ohio Town (1895)
A Frenzied Mob at New Richmond Makes Short Work of Murderer Anderson.
New Richmond, Ohio, Aug 21 – This usually quiet river town, 25 miles up the Ohio river from Cincinnati, was the scene of the wildest excitement to-day.
Two crimes were committed. The first was a brutal and cold-blooded murder of an aged and respectable man by a negro. The second was teh lynching of the murderer by a mob of furious citizens.
The first victim was Franklin Fridman, nearly 80 years old, and president of the First national bank of this place. The second victim was Noah Anderson, a negro.
Mr. Fridman was among the wealthiest men in Clermont county. He owned a number of farms, and lived at Clermontville, about two miles from New Richmond. He was driving into New Richmond shortly after noon to-day, when he stopped at one of his houses. Hitching his horse to the door yard, he went into an adjoining field, where he was suddenly attacked by Noah Anderson, a muscular negro, who had no weapon but his hands. With these he quickly bore the aged banker to teh earth, and then, clutching his throat with the power of a demon, chocked his helpless victim to death. When satisfied that the man was dead, Anderson fled.
Workmen in an adjacent field, who witnessed the murder but were too far away to render assistance, rushed to the scene, and quickly the prostrate man was borne to the house. He was found to be past all help, as he was already dead.
The news of the chocking crime traveled swiftly, for everybody knew Mr. Fridman. It was not long until Anderson was captured and taken to the New Richmond jail, where a great crowd quickly gathered.
Anderson made no attempt to conceal his crime. He gloatingly told all the details, and said he had given the old man what he deserved. It is said that Anderson was not right in his mind, and that one of his hallucinations was that Fridman had deprived him of a large sum of money. The truth is, the two men had no dealings together at all, as Anderson came to New Richmond on a shanty-boat only a few months ago and claimed to be a paperhanger.
The crowd about the jail soon became wildly excited. As the negro’s confession became known, cries of “Lynch him,” “Hang the coward” arose. A rope was brought. Then prominent citizens addressed the mob, imploring moderation. Anderson was in his cell on his knees crying for mercy when he heard the yells of the frenzied crowd.
The excitement might have been allayed and the crowd dispersed, as the speeches of the more cool-headed ones was having its effect, but for one unfortunate attempt on the part of the town marshal, during a temporary lull, to remove Anderson to a more secure jail at Batavia, the county seat.
At sight of the cowering wretch the fury of he crowd broke loose, and with hoarse yells a rush was made at the marshal, the prisoner seized and quickly dragged to the nearest tree, where he was hanged, and in a brief time he was dead.
There was no masking, no attempt at concealment. Every person present and engaged in the mob, knew all the others. It was simply an act of frenzy under most aggravating circumstances.
The murdered man was endeared to every citizen, and his taking off was so sudden that his friends and neighbors seemed to have lost their reason.
-Pittsburgh Daily Post; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Thu, Aug 22, 1895 2More (very very bombastic) details are available here: “Strangled” The Cincinnati Enquirer; Cincinnati, Ohio; Thu, Aug 22, 1895.
Negro Soldier Slain in Hampton (1898)
Called for Coca-Cola at a White Soda Fountain.
Hampton, Ga., August 19 – The dead body of Jim Neely, a colored soldier belonging to the Twenty-fifth infantry, was found here this morning.
His death was the result of a general shooting match yesterday evening, in which he was the aggressor.
Yesterday afternoon Jim Neely marched down the street in all of the glory of his blue uniform and bayonet strapped to his side. Having been around here before he knew the portion of the city where he would be most welcome and made for the home of Ann Varner, a woman of questionable character, where he was quartered himself.
He Called for a Drink
He then came up to the business portion of the small village and walking up to the soda fount in the store of Messrs. H.A. & E.O Moore ordered a coca-cola.
Young Mr. Moore, who was waiting on the fount, informed him that in the rear of the store there was a place where bottled soda was sold for the benefit of the negroes and that he could be accommodated there.
At this he became very abusive, saying that his money was as good as any white person’s, and was decidedly obstreperous when ordered from the store.
The Quarrell Renewed
In front of Mr. J.C. Tarpley’s he was cursing when Mr. Will Z. Henderson called his attention to the fact that ladies were present, and he became more abusive. Mr. Henderson ordered him to bush and as he did so the negro threw his hand behind him as if to draw a weapon, whereupon that gentleman gave him two licks upon the head with an ax handle that was hastily seized.
According to the very best evidence the negro went off and returned to abuse Mr. Henderson, having his bayonet and dirk, when Mr. Henderson drew his pistol and as he went to fire the negro cut him across the right hand, knocking the pistol out of his hand, and possessing himself of it, began firing at once.
This attracted other parties, and as the firing became general the negro ran toward his stopping place, still snapping the pistol at all he met, and never stopped until he reached his den at the Varner house.
Of the volley that was fired at him no one seems to know just who did it and the bare fact that he was found dead this morning at the house of Ann Varner is the nearest solution that the closest investigation can give.
–The Atlanta Constitution; Atlanta, Georgia; Sat, Aug 20, 1898. more information here.
Leo Frank Hanged By Mob to Tree Near Mary Phagan’s Home (1915)
“As celebrated as any court battle in the twentieth century, the trial of the “jew,” Leo Frank, for the murder of “little Mary Phagan” pitted Jews against Christians, industrialists against workers, northerners against southerners, and city against country folk. It launched political careers and destroyed others, prompted the formation of the Anti-Defamation league, and set the stage for the resurrection of a more sinister and brutal Ku Klux Klan.
“Leo Max Frank was arrested on April 27, 1913, the morning after Confederate Memorial Day. A grotesquely engineered trial led to Frank’s conviction and a sentence of death by hanging. After Governor John Slaton’s commutation of the death sentence, Frank was transferred, for his own safety, to a prison farm in Milledgeville, Georgia.” 3From WithoutSanctuary.org.
Armed Party Overpowers Georgia Prison Guards, Takes Prisoner 100 Miles in Auto.
Marietta, Ga., Aug 17 – Leo M. Frank was lynched two miles east of here today by the armed party which last night took him from teh State Prison Farm at Milledgeville, where he was serving a life term for the murder of Mary Phagan, 14-year-old factory girl, in Atlanta. Frank was hanged to a tree.
Frank was brought 100 miles from the prison farm to a point almost within sight of the former home of Mary Phagan. No shots were fired. Frank’s body, barefooted and clad only in prison tousers and shirt, was found at 8:30 o’clock this morning. It is believed he was lynched about daylight.
Several automobiles, well loaded, left here in the direction of Milledgeville last night. After the return of some of the machines today, officers started out on the road which they believed the automobiles had traveled. They had gone only two miles when they saw the body of Frank not more than 150 yards from the roadside.
News that the body had been found spread rapidly and within a short time hundreds of persons were crowding to the scene. No immediate effort was made to cut the body down, as Sheriff Hicks was not in town and the Coroner took no action.
Crowd at Scene of Hanging
It is believed that a stop made at the bridge over Little River, near Eatonton, when the armed party talked loudly and fired shots, was a ruse to delay pursuers. The vicinity of the bridge was thoroughly searched and at the time the search was being made it is probable Frank already met death.
The crowd increased rapidly. By 10 o’clock many women and children were mingling with the crowd in the woods at the edge of which the body still hung. At that hour no effort had been to dispose of the body, although Coroner Booth had been summoned.
Frank’s body was cut down at 10:15 o’clock, but not until a man had spoken to the crowd, advocating mutilation of the body.
Another man pleaded with the throng to allow an inquest to take its proper course. A vote was suggested and taken. It was overwhelmingly in favor of allowing the Coroner to take charge of the body. It was then cut down and the two-mile trip to Marietta started. The inquest was set for 11 o’clock.
At the suggestion of Newton A. Morris, former Superior Court Judge here, the body was taken from the undertaker’s wagon in which it was placed at the lynching scene and put into an automobile at the outskirts of town. The automobile started toward Atlanta.
Judge Morris telephoned from Smyrna to an undertaker to meet the automobile and take charge of the body.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch; St. Louis, Missouri; Tue, Aug 17, 1915. More information here.
“Postcards of the lynched Leo Frank were sold outside the undertaking establishment where his corpse was taken, at retail stores, and by mail order for years. The owner of the property where the lynching occurred refused repeated offers to buy the tree from which Leo Frank was hung. The dean of the Atlanta Theological Seminary praised the murderers as “a sifted band of men, sober, intelligent, of established good name and character – good American citizens.” The mob included two former Superior Court justices, one ex-sheriff, and at least one clergyman.
“Leo Frank was posthumously pardoned in 1985.” 4Ibid.
‘Let That Be A Warning To You’, Whites Cry As They Shoot At Southern Negroes Working On Highways (1931)
One Killed, Another Wounded as Whites Show Resentment
Alexandria, La., August 27 – J.D. Skinner was killed and Ed Ivory seriously wounded Tuesday night when a group of white men in an automobile fired about ten shots into a highway construction camp in Grant Parish. The opinion has been expressed that the shooting was occasioned by the resentment to Negroes working on the highway while there are so many whites unemployed.
Witnesses state that before the shots the white men shouted in abusive language that if the Negroes did not get out of the camp they would be killed. A volley of 10 shots was fired into the tent where several workers were sleeping and Skinner and Ivory were hit.
Shouting “Let that be a warning to you,” the white men drove off into the darkness. No arrests have been made and little effort is being made to discover the identity of the whites.
–The Pittsburgh Courier; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Sat, Aug 29, 1931
Nearly Ninety Other Lynchings This Week
What follows is a list of all known racially-motivated lynchings between August 15 and August 21, 1878-1950. It should be in the forefront of your mind that the “crimes” listed are only what the victims of the lynchings were accused of committing. They were allowed no trials, and thus they were not guilty in the eyes of the law. Certainly some may have done what they were accused of doing, but in a constitutional society that values law and order over mob rule, each and every lynching was a miscarriage of justice and a horrible wrong. 5For more information on all of this, please see our post here.
It must also be remembered that this list is incomplete. Not only were there unreported lynchings, but the databases I draw from are woefully inadequate. For example – Texas, the state with more lynchings than almost any other, is completely uncounted. There will be a nearly-complete fix for this coming in September.
Year Victim City State Race Sex Form Alleged Offense
1881 Charles Stewart Hancock MS Black Male Hanged Murder of his wife 1883 Joseph Payne Yalobusha MS Black Male Hanged Murder of a young white man, a merchant 1888 Nash Griffin Calhoun FL Black Male Riddled with bullets Wrote insulting note to a young unmarried white woman 1893 Unnamed Negro McCracken KY Black Male Shot Ravishing a married white woman 1913 Son Lovett Calhoun GA Black Male Shot Murder of two well-known white farmers 1917 William Page Northumberland VA Black Male Hanged Attempted rape of a white woman 1918 Bill Dukes Adams MS Black Male Riddled with bullets A “crime too revolting to report” 1926 Raymond Bird Wythe VA Black Male Shot and beaten Criminal assault on a 19 year-old white girl
1878 — Green (brother #1)Johnson KY Black Male Hanged Murder of a white man 1878 — Green (brother #2)Johnson KY Black Male Hanged Murder of a white man 1879 Israel Thomas Bradford FL Black Male Hanged Outraging a young white girl 1881 Ed Reines Graves KY Black Male Unreported Attempted ravishing of an unmarried white woman 1890 Henderson Fox Gibson TN Black Male Hanged Rape of a young white woman 1890 Thomas Woodward Gibson TN Black Male Unknown Assault and robbery of a white man 1898 Amos Neely Grant AR Black Male Shot Criminal assault on a young married white woman 1899 Charles Hurt Crenshaw AL Black Male Hanged/RwB Attempted criminal assault on a widowed white woman 1899 Tom Keith Greenville SC Black Male Riddled with bullets Found asleep in a 13 year-old white girl’s bedroom, daughter of his employer 1902 Charles Johnson Leake MS Black Male Unreported Criminal assault on a young white woman 1904 Paul Reid Bulloch GA Black Male Burned Murder and burning of white man, his wife and three of their children 1904 Rufus Lesseur Marengo AL Black Male Shot Robbery and entering a white woman’s room 1904 William Cato Bulloch GA Black Male Burned Murder and burning of white man, his wife and three of their children 1905 Henry Young DeSoto MS Black Male Hanged Murder of a white man 1906 Robert Davis Greenwood SC Black Male Hanged/RwB Attempted assault on a 20 year-old white girl and criminal assault on 14 year-old black girl 1907 William Clifford Hickman KY Black Male Hanged Rape and murder of 50-56 year-old married white woman 1931 J. D. Skinner Grant LA Black Male Shot Race prejudice; being employed while many whites unemployed; resentment 1937 Albert Gooden Tipton TN Black Male Hanged/RwB Murder of a white city marshal
1883 Reuben Robinson Miller GA Black Male Riddled with bullets Murder of young married white woman 1888 Unnamed Negro Smith MS Black Male Shot Killing a white man, a police officer 1888 Unnamed Negro Smith MS Black Male Shot Killing a white man, a police officer 1897 Unnamed Negro Franklin FL Black Male Drown Entered a 14 year-old white girl's bedroom 1915 John Riggins Decatur GA Black Male Riddled with bullets Criminal assault on a married white woman, wife of a prominent planter 1915 Leo M. Frank Cobb GA White Male Hanged Murder of a 14 year-old white girl 1923 Aaron Harris Bleckley GA Black Male Hanged Attempted sexual assault of a white woman 1923 Lee Green Houston GA Black Male Hanged/RwB Assaulting a prominent white woman
1886 Eliza Woods Madison TN Black Female Hanged/RwB Poisoned to death a married white woman 1889 Walter Asbury Chatham GA Black Male HaHanged/RwB Attempted rape of 17 year-old white girl 1893 Charles Walton Union KY Black Male Hanged Murder of a 10 year-old white boy 1898 Alex Walker Dallas AL Black Male Beaten-Whipped Assaulting and insulting a white man 1898 Jim Neely Henry GA Mulatto Male Shot Violation of racial etiquette and assault 1900 Bill Cato Colquitt GA Black Male Riddled with bullets Attempted rape of white woman 1911 Millard Lee Early GA Black Male Shot Accessory to the murder of white marshal 1913 Louis King Early GA Black Male Shot Broke labor contact with a white man 1915 "Kid" Jackson Montgomery AL Black Male Riddled with bullets Poisoning mules and burning a barn 1915 Henry Russell Montgomery AL Black Male Riddled with bullets Poisoning mules and burning a barn 1916 — Lewis Lowndes GA Black Male Riddled with bullets Intent to murder his white employer 1919 Will Williams Pierce GA Black Male Shot Murder of white deputy sheriff 1950 Clinton Walker Meriwether GA Black Male Shot Knew too much about illegal whiskey
1882 Jack Turner Choctaw AL Black Male Hanged Alleged ringleader of a plot to kill whites; being a Republican and testifying against a Democrat in U.S. Court 1899 John Bolin Fulton KY Black Male Hanged Murder and robbery of a white man 1906 Unnamed Negro Calcasieu LA Black Male Shot Race hatred; being black laborers on the railroad 1906 Unnamed Negro Calcasieu LA Black Male Shot Race hatred; being black laborers on the railroad 1912 Monroe Franklin Pope AR Black Male Hanged Criminal assault on a white woman 1916 Andrew McHenry Alachua FL Black Male Hanged Accessory to murder of a white deputy sheriff 1916 Bert Dennis Alachua FL Black Male Hanged Accessory to murder of a white deputy sheriff 1916 Josh Baskins Alachua FL Black Male Hanged Accessory to murder of a white deputy sheriff 1916 Mary Dennis Alachua FL Black Female Hanged Accessory to murder of a white deputy sheriff 1916 Stella Young Alachua FL Black Female Hanged Accessory to murder of a white deputy sheriff
1879 Ed Rabun Union LA Black Male Hanged Attempted to rape a married woman and failure to leave the area as ordered 1884 John Johnson Carroll GA Black Male Shot Rape of 14 year-old white girl 1887 Unnamed Negro Wilson NC Black Male Drown Attacking a white girl, a farmer’s daughter 1889 Sherman Lewis Lauderdale MS Black Male Hanged and shot Criminal assault and murder of a white woman 1893 Charles Tait Coahoma MS Black Male Shot Killing a white man, his employer 1896 Fred Robertson Wilkinson MS Black Male Unreported Murder of a white man 1896 Lewis Purnell Wilkinson MS Black Male Unreported Murder of a white man 1898 Hamp Hollis Sumter GA Black Male Hanged/RwB Murder—chopped to pieces a white woman and her son 1899 Isaiah Denmark Marion GA Black Male Head crushed Found under the bed of a white woman 1899 Peter Louin Elmore AL Black Male Unreported Murderous assault on a white man 1899 Son of Peter Louin Elmore AL Black Male Unreported Murderous assault on a white man 1901 Frank Stevens Ohio KY Black Male Hanged Assault on a married white woman 1904 Ed Avery Walker AL Black Male Shot Murder of a white man, the town marshal 1906 Dan Etheredge Saluda SC Black Male Riddled with bullets Attempted criminal assault on 7 year-old white girl, his well-to-do employer’s daughter 1906 John Bapes Polk FL Black Male Hanged/RwB Attempted murder of a prominent white man 1915 Bob — Red River LA Black Male Hanged Attempted criminal assault on a 17 year-old unmarried white girl, daughter of a farmer 1919 Walter Elliott Franklin NC Black Male Riddled with bullets Attacking a white woman, the wife of a prominent farmer 1930 Oliver Moore Wilson NC Black Male Riddled with bullets Ravishing two little white sisters, aged 7 years and 5 years
1890 John Henderson Woodford KY Black Male Hanged Murder of a prominent white farmer, his employer 1890 William AlexanderBaton RougeLA Mulatto Male Hanged Attempted rape of an 11 year-old white girl; entering the bedroom of two young white girls 1891 Ray Porter Chilton AL Black Male Unreported Murder and robbery of a 16 year-old white boy, a railroad employee 1893 Jake Davis Abbeville SC Black Male Shot Rape of a 55 year-old married white woman 1895 Noah Anderson New Richmond OH Black Male Hanged Murder 1898 Tom Miller Brooks GA Black Male Riddled with bullets Attempted rape of a white woman 1901 Luke Hough Anson NC Black Male Hanged/RwB Outraged and murderous assault on a prominent young unmarried white woman 1903 Manna Ponton Halifax NC Black Male Hanged/RwB Criminal assault and murder of a 13 year-old white girl, daughter of his employer 1908 Anthony Davis Jefferson AL Black Male Shot Strikebreaker 1910 Tom Weaver Wilcox GA Black Male Shot Murderous assault on the white postmaster 1922 Parks Banks Yazoo MS Black Male Hanged Refused to leave neighborhood
References [ + ]
|1.||⇡||In this case, “The South” pertains to the dozen states where the most lynchings occurred: Mississippi (614), Georgia (595), Louisiana (559), Arkansas (491), Alabama (363), Texas (344), Florida (307), Tennessee (238), South Carolina (184), Kentucky (170), North Carolina (122), and Virginia (88). See the EJI site here.|
|2.||⇡||More (very very bombastic) details are available here: “Strangled” The Cincinnati Enquirer; Cincinnati, Ohio; Thu, Aug 22, 1895.|
|5.||⇡||For more information on all of this, please see our post here.|