Lynched for Miscegenation and Insulting Proposals – This Week in Historical Lynchings

While there is no such thing as a justifiable lynching, some lynchings were for particularly inexcusable reasons. The four that we’ll look at his week fall firmly in this category.

  • In 1887, a black man was lynched for marrying a white woman.
  • A year later, another man met the same fate for “insulting proposals” towards a white woman.
  • Following a 1912 automobile accident, in which two white women were injured, a mob tracks down two black men to deadly results on all sides.
  • Finally, a black United State soldier was lynched for being suspected of making “insulting proposals” to white women over the telephone.

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.

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Lynched for Miscegenation

November 7, 1887

A Negro Hanged by Fastidious Whites – Facetious Verdict of the Coroner’s Jury.

Shreveport, La. Nov. 11 – The determination of some of the moral and religious people of North Louisiana to keep up the custom of miscegenation has resulted in the killing of two white men within a year, both accused of living with negro women, and of a negro man for committing the same offense with a white woman.

lynched-mis

A fourth case has just transpired in the northern part of Caddo Parish. One Aaron Jones, a negro, had been living in the marital state with a white woman, and, although warned, he disregarded the order to leave the country [area].

Judge Lynch sat upon the case and decreed summary punishment. There is a missing link in the matter, but the body of Jones was found a few days after hanging to a tree on the Courtney place in the Black Bayou country.

Henry Hoffmers, one of the Justices of the Peace of Caddo Parish, held and inquest, and the jury brought in a verdict, which he filed yesterday at the court-house.

The verdict of the jury reads: “The said Aaron Jones came to his death by strangulation by having one end of a rope tied around his neck, the other end of the same rope around the limb of a chinaberry tree about twelve feel above the ground, and the body suspected about two and one-half feet above the ground, hanging dead.” 2Chicago Tribune; Chicago, Illinois; Sat, Nov 12, 1887 – Page 1. Here.

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Negro Lynched for Insulting Proposal to White Woman

November 12, 1888

Memphis, Nov. 28 – News is just received of a lynching in Crittenden county, Ark.

Jim Smith, a negro, met the wife of a white farmer in the road and made an insulting proposal to her. She fled and he pursued, and was about to overtake her when the approach of a horseman frightened him away.

The woman reported what had occurred, and Smith was arrested by a deputy sheriff. On the way to jail at Marion the two were met by a mob of white men, who took charge of the prisoner and filled him with bullets.

The negroes are excited, and a number of them have left the neighborhood, fearing that the whites will carry their vengeance further. 3The Times-Democrat; New Orleans, Louisiana; Thu, Nov 29, 1888 – Page 8. Here.

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Trail of Blood Left By Negro

November 10, 1912

Pursued by Posse, Alabama Negro Does Deadly Work

Wetumpka, Ala., November 10 – Two men are dead and another was fatally wounded in a manhunt participated in by scores of citizens of Elmore county today and tonight. A mob of citizens is scouring the woods near Floyd for a negro believed to be the cause of the bloodshed.

The dead are Claude Kidd, member of the posse, and a negro named Berney. John Chrisitzberg was shot and fatally wounded by the unknown negro now sought by the mob.

The trouble, it is stated, started when the negroes, Berney and his companion, by careless driving, caused a horse driven by Chrisitzberg’s daughters to run away, injuring the young women.

A posse started in pursuit of the negroes and in an exchange of shots, Kidd was killed and Chrisitzberg fatally injured. Berney and his companion escaped to the woods and the former took refuge in an abandoned cabin.

He was shot down only after the cabin was burned by the posse. His companion has succeeded in evading his pursuer. 4The Atlanta Constitution; Atlanta, Georgia; Mon, Nov 11, 1912 – Page 1. Here.

 

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Slaying of Negro Who Insulted Women is Held Justifiable

November 7, 1943

Lewiston, Ill. – The verdict of a coroner’s jury today exonerated four farmers in the fatal shooting of a Negro soldier who made insulting proposals to farm women over a country telephone circuit.

insulting lynch-campellis

The negro, Pvt. Hollie Willis of Camp Ellis, Ill., was shot to death early Monday as he fled the farm home of George Quigley, where he had made the telephone calls.

Authorities said the four farmers, who traced the calls to the Quigley home, armed themselves and confronted Willis there, believed that he was the same Negro soldier who raped Mrs. Quigley last Thursday.

Another Negro, however, Pvt. Morris Nichols of Cincinnati, later confessed the attack, which occurred at the Quigley home. The Quigleys had gone to live with relatives when Willis entered the farmhouse Sunday night and made the calls.

The coroner’s jury held that Willis’ slaying was “justifiable homicide,” because he was shot while “committing a felonious act.”

Authorities at Camp Ellis said Nichols, held pending prosecution either by civilian authorities or court martial, had repudiated his confession. Capt. Claude Connor of the camp military police, however, said the confession was made in “great detail.” 5The Coshocton Tribune; Coshocton, Ohio; Wed, Nov 10, 1943 – Page 8. Here.

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Flag announcing lynching, flown from the window of the NAACP headquarters on 69 Fifth Ave., New York City. 1936.
Flag announcing lynching, flown from the window of the NAACP headquarters on 69 Fifth Ave., New York City. 1936.

Over Sixty Other Lynchings This Week

What follows is a list of all known racially-motivated lynchings between October 7 and November 13, 1877-1950. 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. 6For 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 understandably inadequate.

Year	Victim	  City State	Race	Sex	Form    Alleged Offense

November 7

1878	Hemp Neal				Johnson	AR	Black	Male	Hanged					Raping a young white woman, a widow
1882	Unnamed Negro #1 of 2	Lincoln	LA	Black	Male	Riddled with bullets	Attempted murder and robbery
1882	Unnamed Negro #2 of 2	Lincoln	LA	Black	Male	Riddled with bullets	Attempted murder and robbery
1887	Aaron Jones				  Caddo	LA	Black	Male	Hanged					Miscegenation
1891	William Rice			 Conway	AR	Black	Male		Unknown
1893	Robert Kennedy		Spartanburg	SC	Black	Male	Hanged					Assaulted a married white woman
1894	Needham Smith			 Tipton	TN	Black	Male	Shot					Indecent proposal to a respectable young white woman; attempted outrage on a married white woman
1898	S.W. Stewart			  Lacon IL	Black	Male	Hanged					Assault on white woman
1900	Lit Nabors				Coahoma	MS	Black	Male	Hanged					Murder of a white man
1903	Charles Young		  St. Clair	AL	Black	Male	Unreported				Attempted criminal assault on a married white woman
1910	Bob Bryant				  Macon	GA	Black	Male	Hanged/RwB				Accomplice in murder of a white man, a marshal
1910	John Walker				  Macon	GA	Black	Male	Hanged/RwB  			Murder of a white man, a marshal
1911	Judge Moseley		 Lauderdale	MS	Black	Male	Hanged/RwB				Assaulting a prominent young white man
1913	John Tally				   Dyer	TN	Black	Male	Hanged					Attempted assault on a married white woman
1931	Coleman Franks			Lowndes	MS	Black	Male	Hanged					Wounding a white man, a farmer
1943	Hallery/Hollis Willis  Lewiston IL	Black	Male	Shot					Rape

November 8

1883	Lawrence White			  Rowan	NC	Black	Male	Hanged					Murder of a black man
1888	Judson Cason		  Jefferson	FL	Black	Male	Drown/strangulation		Cutting a white man
1889	James Thomas			Emanuel	GA	Black	Male	Probably hanged			Rape of unmarried white woman
1889	Owen Anderson			Loudoun	VA	Black	Male	Hanged/RwB				Outraged a 17 year-old white girl
1893	Henry Boggs			   Columbia	FL	Black	Male	Riddled with bullets	Complicity in murder of a white man, a merchant
1894	Lee Lawrence			 Jasper	GA	Black	Male	Hanged/RwB				Rape of white woman
1906	— Sloan					Madison	FL	Black	Male	Hanged/RwB				Attempted assault of a young white woman
1906	Jett Hicks			   Mitchell	GA	Black	Male	Butchered				Murder of a white man, a prominent farmer
1911	Riley Johnson		Clarksville	TX	Black	Male	Shot					Attacking a young white woman
1919	Robert Motley			Quitman	MS	Black	Male	Hanged					Murder of a white man, a prominent planter, and an altercation with another white man, his land lord

November 9

1882	Unnamed Negro			Noxubee	MS	Black	Male	Hanged					Rape and murder of an unmarried white woman of “loose reputation”
1888	Eugene Lulin		 St. Landry	LA	Black	Male	Unreported				Unknown
1894	Charles A. Williams	West CarrollLA	White, possibly Mexican	Male	Shot to pieces	Murder of a white man, a merchant
1894	Lawrence Younger   West Carroll LA	Mulatto	Male	Hanged					Murder of a white man, a merchant
1895	Lewis Jefferson			 Clinch	GA	Black	Male	Hanged/RwB				Attempted criminal assault on a 10 year-old white girl
1898	Columbus Jackson	  Greenwood	SC	Black	Male	Riddled with bullets	Murder of a white election manager and election riot
1898	Drayton Watts		  Greenwood	SC	Black	Male	Riddled with bullets	Murder of a white election manager and election riot
1898	George Logan		  Greenwood	SC	Black	Male	Shot					Political riot
1898	Jesse Williams		  Greenwood	SC	Black	Male	Riddled with bullets	Murder of a white election manager and election riot
1898	Wade Hampton McKinney Greenwood	SC	Black	Male	Riddled with bullets	Murder of a white election manager and election riot
1909	William “Froggie” James	  Cairo	IL	Black	Male	Hanged, Shot, Beaten	Rape, Murder
1917	Jesse Stater		 	 Brooks	GA	Black	Male	Shot					Insolent letter to white woman
1929	Will Larkins			Gadsden	FL	Black	Male	Hanged and shot			Criminal assault on a 12-13 year-old white girl

November 10

		
1898	Ben Collins		   	  Greenwood	SC	Black	Male	Probably shot			Murder of a white election manager and election riot
1898	Essex Harrison		  Greenwood	SC	Black	Male	Riddled with bullets	Trying/wanting to vote
1898	Jeff Darling		  Greenwood	SC	Black	Male	Probably shot			Implicated in the murder of a white election manager and election riot
1908	Henry Leidy			   Harrison	MS	Black	Male	Hanged/strangulation	Criminal assault on 15-17 year-old white girl
1912	— Berney				 Elmore	AL	Black	Male	Shot					Injuring white girls [non-sexual] and killing a 55 year-old white men, their father
1918	William Bird			Colbert	AL	Black	Male	Hanged					Inflammatory remarks, creating a disturbance, and implicated in the murder of a white policeman

November 11

1905	Henry Schorrow		  Henderson	TX	Black	Male	Hanged					Murder
1905	John Reese			  Henderson	TX	Black	Male	Hanged					Murder
1905	Robert Askew		  Henderson	TX	Black	Male	Hanged					Murder
1919	Jordan Jameson		   Columbia	AR	Black	Male	Burned					Murder of a white man, a sheriff
1927	Henry Choate			  Maury	TN	Black	Male	Hanged-neck broken		Attempted criminal assault of a white girl


November 12

1888	Jim Smith			Mississippi	AR	Black	Male	Riddled with bullets	Making insulting proposals and threatening a married white woman
1891	Joseph Mitchell			  Obion	TN	Black	Male	Hanged					Criminal assault on a 10 year-old white girl
1898	Sam Howard			   Florence	SC	Black	Male	Shot					Living with a woman not his wife
1914	Henry Allen			 Muhlenberg	KY	White	Male	Hanged					Possible falling out with a band of regulators
1914	John Evans			   Pinellas	FL	Black	Male	Hanged					Murder of a white man and attacking his wife
1915	John Taylor				 Monroe	MS	Black	Male	Hanged					Shooting at a white man, a deputy sheriff; commenting on the style of white women’s dresses
1918	George Whiteside		Colbert	AL	Black	Male	Hanged					Implicated in the murder of a white man, a policeman



November 13

1888	Unnamed Negro		  Ascension	LA	Black	Male	Hanged					Attempted to outrage an 11 year-old white girl
1889	John Anthony			Lincoln	GA	Black	Male	Unreported				Attempted rape of a “respectable white lady”
1890	William McGregory	  Lafayette	MS	Black	Male	Riddled with bullets	Attempted assault on a married white woman
1893	David Nelson			Lincoln	AR	Black	Male	Hanged/RwB				Murder of an old black man
1902	John Davis			   Marshall	TN	Black	Male	Hanged					Murder of a white man


References   [ + ]

Eric
Eric has always had a love for history and the Civil War. During the 150th anniversary of the war, he wrote the Civil War Daily Gazette blog, which published daily for nearly five years. Wishing to continue the exploration, following the Charleston murders in 2015, and the activism around removing the Confederate Battle Flag, he decided to dig a little deeper into the causes and repercussions of the War.
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