24 February 2019

Body of Lynched Negro, Rufus Moncrief, Found Beside Road in 1917

Here's one where a newspaper seems to imply it's not really a lynching because it might have come at the hands of persons of his own race.


First report : Athens, Georgia, Tuesday Evening September 18, 1917
Body Found Tied to Trees and Riddled With Bullets

CLUES ARE LACKING AS PLANS LAID CAREFULLY

Note Tacked by Corpse May Lead to Identity of Perpetrators -- Investigation Now Under Way.


The body of Rufus Moncrief, a negro, was found early this morning tied to three small water oaks and riddled with bullets at the Simpton bridge, two miles from Whitehall. The negro is between 30 and 35 years old and the lynching occurred about 12 o'clock, according to those living nearby, who heard the shots.

Over his head there was tacked a piece of paper on which was written, "You have committed assault on one white girl but you will never do another one that way."

Cause a Mystery.
There is no clue as to who the lynching parties are and it is not definitely known as yet when or where the cause of the lynching originated.

Mr. N. C. Hammonds, of Whitehall, states he heard and saw two cars pass through Whitehall about 12 o'clock and shortly after at the bridge he heard the shots fired.

George Deen, an old negro, who lives on a hill about three hundred yards from the scene, stated he heard shots about midnight, all being fired practically at once, and that in a few minutes, two cars passed his house going in the direction of Watkinsville.

Several parties having seen the two cars, one of which was recognized as a Ford, it is believed that the parties who did the lynching were in these cars, but where they were from and who any of the occupants were could not be learned.

Was Not Hanged.
Arthur Barney, colored, was probably the first to see the body when passing along the road about 7 o'clock this morning. The body was only a few feet away and plainly visible from the highway. The negro was not tied up by the neck, but merely had his hands and feet tied, and then himself tied, with back to the trees.

The negro worked at Mr. R. T. Yarborough's place, located not far from the scene of [the] lynching. He had been working there for four years, and Mrs. Yarborough stated so far as they knew the negro was faithful and reliable -- that he had always been so with them.

Many Flocked to Scene.
As soon as the news of the lynching reached Athens this morning, many cars began visiting the scene and a steady stream of traffic was on the road. It is the first lynching in Oconee county in many years and the affair has created a sensation, especially in view of the several mysteries of the case. It was impossible to get the names of any connected with the case except that of the victim.

Tracks Well Covered.
It seemed the parties committing the act had everything carefully planned, as no clues are known this afternoon. However, the coroner's inquest may throw some light on the situation. Sheriff Clarence Maxey took charge of the note that was found, early this morning.

The negroes of the community cling around the scene as if it has a fascination for them. It is said many have been there since early this morning staring at the body as though they were hypnotized. They talk but little.
Second report : Columbia Record (South Carolina) - Thursday, 20 September 1917
NEGRO THOUGHT LYNCHED, KILLED BY OWN RACE

(By Associated Press.)
Athens, Ga., Sept. 20. -- At Watkinsville the coroner's jury in the case of Rufus Moncrief, the negro whose body was found beside the road riddled with bullets, seems to have unearthed a murder, which crime it was attempted to hide behind Ku Klux methods.

The negro, it is practically established, was killed by others of his race after a big gambling meet.

The jury is still in session and some actual witnesses and participants are said to be known.
According to the 1900 Oconee County, Georgia Federal census, Rufus was born about October 1885. His father (Edd) was a carpenter, and his mother (Ida) had -- over the course of her 23-year marriage -- given birth to ten children. Only five were living.

An Oconee County marriage record suggests Rufus (colored) married Mat/Mot Barrett (colored) on 3 May 1908. The couple -- both noted as white -- was later found in Watkinsville for the 1910 census, though they are erroneously listed as father and daughter. No children were present.


From NY Public LibraryA simple search on Google will give you the statistics. The Tuskegee Institute kept track of lynchings in America from 1882 - 1968. There were 581 in Mississippi, 531 in Georgia, 493 in Texas, 391 in Louisiana, 347 in Alabama, and so on. Total from all states: 4,743. That's more than one lynching and victim a week.

I feel a little like I should try to explain why I would give the horrible acts – those committed by the criminal, as well as those committed on the criminal – voice on this blog. There are no (at least to my knowledge) statistics showing the accuracy of the lynchers. How many times was an innocent person hung, riddled with bullets, and mutilated in the name of "justice?" I mean, we probably agree there are innocent people sitting in jail right now – with supposed checks and balances in place. Imagine when there were none. Shouldn't those innocent people be remembered?

Now, make no mistake, sometimes the lynching party "punished" the right person. As in, sometimes the true perpetrator was indeed apprehended – and then disposed of, often in a barbaric fashion. Even if you take the literal "eye for an eye" death penalty approach, I would not be surprised if that would have been an applicable punishment in only an infinitesimal number of cases. People were lynched for stealing, people were lynched for "insubordination," people were lynched for literally being in the wrong place at the wrong time. And let us not be cowards and leave out the racism debacle that lingers to this day. So another reason for giving voice to these past atrocities is in the same vein of "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

As a family historian, I am saddened to think (1) these revolting deeds took place, and (2) while statistics are easy to find, the names and stories of the individual victims are much harder to locate. A list of lynching victims will unfortunately never be complete. I hope that in a small way, posts such as these will serve as a memorial to those who were victims of Judge Lynch and his frightful law.

23 February 2019

Rope Around Neck of Ernest Glenwood, of Dooly County (1919)

One where the local newspaper tries to claim he was only "given a sound thrashing."

Not buying it.

Macon Telegraph (Georgia)
Saturday, 4 October 1919 - pg. 3 [via GenealogyBank]
FIND LOST NEGRO IN RIVER

Rope Around Neck of Ernest Glenwood, of Dooly County.

AMERICUS, Oct. 3. -- Mystery surrounding the disappearance of Ernest Glenwood, a negro, living near Lily, in Dooly county, was cleared up yesterday when his body was found in the Flint river and recovered by Tom Shirer, a white fisherman. Glenwood disappeared September 22, when, taken in custody by three masked men, and carried into the woods at night. John Graham, another negro, was with Glenwood when he was seized and carried off, but Graham was not molested.

It was charged that Glenwood had been circulating improper propaganda among Dooly county negroes, and it is believed he was given a sound thrashing by citizens who seized him and afterward released. How he came to meet death in the river is a mystery, although when found, the body had a rope about the neck, while a stout cord was tied around the right wrist. Several other negroes implicated in the circulation of the objectionable propaganda, were first whipped and then ordered to leave the county, since which time none of them have been heard from.
W. Fitzhugh Brundage wrote about this incident in Lynching in the New South (1993), citing a 4 October 1919 Atlanta Constitution (Georgia) news article:
Blacks who showed insufficient subservience to racial protocol in myriad ways suffered at the hands of small mobs...In September 1919, a mob lynched Ernest Glenwood, a farmhand in Dooly County, Georgia, for circulating "propaganda." The black man, who had been trying to organize black workers to refuse to work for 60 cents a day, was overpowered by three white men. They tied his arms together, forced him to jump into a river, and then riddled his body with bullets as he struggled for air.


From NY Public LibraryA simple search on Google will give you the statistics. The Tuskegee Institute kept track of lynchings in America from 1882 - 1968. There were 581 in Mississippi, 531 in Georgia, 493 in Texas, 391 in Louisiana, 347 in Alabama, and so on. Total from all states: 4,743. That's more than one lynching and victim a week.

I feel a little like I should try to explain why I would give the horrible acts – those committed by the supposed criminal, as well as those committed on the supposed criminal – voice on this blog. There are no (at least to my knowledge) statistics showing the accuracy of the lynchers. How many times was an innocent person hung, riddled with bullets, and mutilated in the name of "justice?" I mean, we probably agree there are innocent people sitting in jail right now – with supposed checks and balances in place. Imagine when there were none. Shouldn't those innocent people be remembered?

Now, make no mistake, sometimes the lynching party "punished" the right person. As in, sometimes the true perpetrator was indeed apprehended – and then disposed of, often in a barbaric fashion. Even if you take the literal "eye for an eye" death penalty approach, I would not be surprised if that would have been an applicable punishment in only an infinitesimal number of cases. People were lynched for stealing, people were lynched for "insubordination," people were lynched for literally being in the wrong place at the wrong time. And let us not be cowards and leave out the racism debacle that lingers to this day. So another reason for giving voice to these past atrocities is in the same vein of "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

As a family historian, I am saddened to think (1) these revolting deeds took place, and (2) while statistics are easy to find, the names and stories of the individual victims are much harder to locate. A list of lynching victims will unfortunately never be complete. I hope that in a small way, posts such as these will serve as a memorial to those who were victims of Judge Lynch and his frightful law.

22 February 2019

Another Lynching in Georgia: John Ware was Strung Up in 1904 Franklin County

According to MonroeWorkToday, the lynching of John Ware is referenced in A Festival of Violence: An Analysis of Southern Lynchings, 1882-1930 and Fitzhugh Brundage's Lynching in the New South: Georgia and Virginia, 1880-1930. Following is what Mr. Brundage wrote regarding labor disputes between the races and the lynching of John Ware specifically:
Labor disputes between blacks and whites, which routinely bred frustration, suspicion, and anger on both sides of the color line, were sometimes fought out to bloody conclusions, thus weaving a thread of violence into southern labor relations...Because a defense of white authority, and conversely a challenge to that authority, were never far beneath the surface of any labor dispute involving whites and blacks, more than just economic motives could be at work in both the murder of a white planter by a tenant and the subsequent lynching of the tenant.

The black man who openly challenged his white employer was uncommon; had he not been, the racial hierarchy and the system of labor at its foundation would have been jeopardized. But some did challenge...When John Ware, a tenant farmer in Franklin County, Georgia, refused to sell his cotton to the merchant of his landlord's choice in 1904, the two men began to fight and the black man killed the planter...[T]he black man's stand led to his swift execution by a mob. These lynchings drove home to blacks the peril of challenging their employers; as one white planter curtly explained, "when [an African American] gets ideas, the best thing to do is to get him under ground as quick as possible."



Newspaper Account of the Lynching of John Ware

19 September 1904 Idaho Statesman
Charlotte Observer (North Carolina)
19 September 1904 - pg. 1 [via GenealogyBank]
ANOTHER LYNCHING IN GEORGIA.

John Ware Strung Up in Franklin County for Fatally Shooting a Young White Man, C. Y. Daniel.

Atlanta, Sept. 18. -- A special to The Constitution from Royston, Ga., says:

Judge Lynch held court in Franklin county to-day, and as a result the riddred [sic] body of John Ware, a negro, is swinging from the limb of a tree between here and Carnesville. Ware was done to death by a mob for fatally shooting C. Y. Daniel, a son of George Daniel, of Danielsville, to-day. Young Daniel and the negro had some words over a trivial matter. It is said the negro, becoming greatly enraged and saying that no white man should run over him, drew a pistol and shot Daniel, the bullet inflicting a wound that will prove fatal.

The news of the shooting quickly spread and a crowd began gathering, many leaving church to join in the chase for the negro. The negro was captured early in the afternoon and while being hurried to Carnesville by the sheriff, was overtaken by the mob. The negro was taken from the sheriff and deputies, seated on a horse, a noose fitted about his neck and the other end tied to a limb. The horse was then struck a sharp blow and dashed away, leaving the negro swinging to the limb. Half a hundred shots rang out and the swaying body was riddled. The corpse was left hanging by the mob.
Per a short article in the 20 September 1904 Montgomery Advertiser (Alabama), Georgia's Governor Joseph M. Terrell took "a firm stand against lynching by offering a reward of $250 each for the arrest and conviction of any of the men who took part in the lynching of John Ware, the negro hanged by a mob in Franklin County..."

It Didn't Work.

Ocala Banner (Florida)
14 October 1904 [via GenealogyBank]
LYNCHERS NOT INDICTED.

Franklin County Jury Could Find No Evidence.

Atlanta, Oct. 13. -- The presentments of the Franklin county grand jury contain an extensive report of the investigation into the lynching of the negro John Ware, made with the view of indicting the lynchers, as recommended by Judge Russell in his charge to the grand jury.

Solicitor C. H. Band, of the western circuit, took a very active part in the investigations and in cross examining the witnesses summoned to appear before the grand jury. His best efforts, however, and those of the members of the grand jury, were unavailing since no evidence was adduced on which to issue an indictment.


From NY Public LibraryA simple search on Google will give you the statistics. The Tuskegee Institute kept track of lynchings in America from 1882 - 1968. There were 581 in Mississippi, 531 in Georgia, 493 in Texas, 391 in Louisiana, 347 in Alabama, and so on. Total from all states: 4,743. That's more than one lynching and victim a week.

I feel a little like I should try to explain why I would give the horrible acts – those committed by the criminal, as well as those committed on the criminal – voice on this blog. There are no (at least to my knowledge) statistics showing the accuracy of the lynchers. How many times was an innocent person hung, riddled with bullets, and mutilated in the name of "justice?" I mean, we probably agree there are innocent people sitting in jail right now – with supposed checks and balances in place. Imagine when there were none. Shouldn't those innocent people be remembered?

Now, make no mistake, sometimes the lynching party "punished" the right person. As in, sometimes the true perpetrator was indeed apprehended – and then disposed of, often in a barbaric fashion. Even if you take the literal "eye for an eye" death penalty approach, I would not be surprised if that would have been an applicable punishment in only an infinitesimal number of cases. People were lynched for stealing, people were lynched for "insubordination," people were lynched for literally being in the wrong place at the wrong time. And let us not be cowards and leave out the racism debacle that lingers to this day. So another reason for giving voice to these past atrocities is in the same vein of "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

As a family historian, I am saddened to think (1) these revolting deeds took place, and (2) while statistics are easy to find, the names and stories of the individual victims are much harder to locate. A list of lynching victims will unfortunately never be complete. I hope that in a small way, posts such as these will serve as a memorial to those who were victims of Judge Lynch and his frightful law.

14 February 2019

Underwater Ghost Towns of North Georgia Book Review

Title: Underwater Ghost Towns of North Georgia
Author: Lisa M. Russell
Publication: 2018, The History Press (Charleston, SC)
Paperback edition has 208 pages.
Back of the Book: "North Georgia has more than forty lakes, and not one is natural. The state's controversial decision to dam the region's rivers for power and water supply changed the landscape forever. Lost communities, forgotten crossroads, dissolving racetracks and even entire towns disappeared, with remnants occasionally peeking up from the depths during times of extreme drought...Lisa Russell dives into the history hidden beneath North Georgia's lakes."

I had no idea this book existed until I was leaving my local library one day and noticed it in the section set aside for new arrivals. The title grabbed my attention, but I think one of the lines on the back cover sold it as a must-read for me: North Georgia has more than forty lakes, and not one is natural. Well. The "not one is natural" part was news to me.

The map below is one I created with Google Maps. My one criticism of the book is the lack of something similar.


Regardless of this slight irritation, the book was very interesting. Ms. Russell profiles sixteen lakes, dividing them into three sections: The Army Corps of Engineers Lakes, The Georgia Power Lakes, and The Tennessee Valley Authority Lakes. Before and after type images are included, such as locations and buildings that were demolished, relocated, or simply drowned. A central theme throughout the book is the question of whether or not those rives dammed to create the lakes really should have been tamed. The reasons often offered were flood prevention and bringing power to more people. Was the progress (if one agrees with that term) gained worth it? The author does not attempt to answer this question for the reader, but simply asks that it be pondered.

I have not been to all the lakes located in North Georgia, nor have I been to all the lakes profiled in Ms. Russell's book. But I have been to some, and stories of those were (of course) the most captivating for me.

Allatoona Lake

Ms. Russell writes, "Allatoona has more identifiable towns underneath its waters than all the great lakes of North Georgia...Allatoona has been the subject of archeological studies that reveal a civilization that predates these forgotten towns."

We used to camp often at Red Top Mountain State Park, located on Lake Allatoona. On one occasion, we visited the Allatoona Pass Battlefield. The Star Fort, deep railroad cut, and the battlefield in general was preserved. The lands that lay beyond, however, were drowned. You can see the lake waters not far behind state memorials placed to commemorate the lives of soldiers who fought and died there.


Richard B. Russell Lake

Ms. Russell writes,
The University of Georgia conducted archeological studies on the Russell Lake area before the dam was closed in 1970. Researchers found prehistoric and pre-ceramic artifacts that proved the area had a small band of archaic hunters. Three prehistoric fish traps were located within the Savannah River channel at Cherokee Shoals and Trotters Shoals. Other items found in the lake basin included a farm, a mill site and a nineteenth-century ferry crossing.
The construction of Richard B. Russell Lake also drowned the lands on which the Revolutionary War Battle of Cherokee Ford was fought.

Battle of Cherokee Ford
11 Feb 1779

In honor of the brave militia men under Robert Anderson...who fought a
superior Tory force led by Col. Boyd at the mouth of Van(n)'s Creek and the
Savannah River. This encounter weakened Col. Boyd's Tories three days
prior to the Battle at Kettle Creek.

Lake Blue Ridge

I was aware of several Cherokee Removal Forts in North Georgia, but not this one that is now underwater. Ms. Russell writes:
During the government's takeover of Cherokee land, Native Americans were forced into one of the fourteen collection points. The collection sites were the beginning of the Trail of Tears. Under Lake Blue Ridge was one of these forts, Fort Chastain.

Lake Chatuge

Though I have no personal connection to this particular lake, the genealogist in me cannot let this post end without sharing this from Ms. Russell's book:
In the path of Chatuge, 20 cemeteries with 2,200 graves had to be moved. An unnamed engineer wrote: "After identifying all possible graves and determining the wishes of the nearest relative that could be located, it was found necessary to move 581 graves in five cemeteries..."
I shudder to think what happened to the rest.

I recommend this book. Especially if you have an interest in the rivers and environment, history, and/or people of this region.

This seems like a good time to point you to a post from five years ago >> Relocated Southern Cemeteries Index, 1787-1975 << about the Tennessee Valley Authority's Cemetery Relocation Database. One final note: All the "lake" images above are from my personal collection, and will not be found in the book.

(There are affiliate links in this post.)

30 January 2019

Defending It All: the Lynching of Dave Goosby, Part III

You have arrived at part III of The Lynching of Dave Goosby in 3 Parts -- defending the lynching. [Part I is here.] [Part II is here.]

According to MonroeWorkToday, the lynching of Dave Goosby is referenced in A Festival of Violence: An Analysis of Southern Lynchings, 1882-1930 and Fitzhugh Brundage's Lynching in the New South: Georgia and Virginia, 1880-1930. Following excerpt from the latter:
...Sensational crimes -- murder, rape, or attempted rape -- that typically incited the formation of posses were also those for which summary punishment was widely condoned by white southerners.

Because posses were, in the eyes of whites, protecting law-abiding citizens and carrying out justice, they enjoyed popular blessing. Newspapers routinely applauded the heroism of posses and raised few questions about either their legitimacy or the bloodshed they caused...
As you'll read below, members of the local Thomasville, Georgia community (in their newspaper) did a masterful job of absolving themselves of any wrongdoing with the lynching of Dave Goosby.

Firstly, the sheriff prostrated himself before his constituents and explained that he felt as they did, but still had to do his job.

Daily Times-Enterprise (Thomasville, Georgia)
21 September 1894 [via Georgia Historic Newspapers]
To the Citizens of Thomas County.
About 7:30 p.m., on the 15th inst., I was informed by Mr. Jas. Jones, an upright and trustworthy citizen residing in the neighborhood of Mr. Martin Butler had been murdered, and that he had come to request me to take steps for the arrest of the murderer.

...[A] warrant, issued by Coroner B. C. Johnson, charging Dave Goosby with the murder of Susie Butler was placed in my hands, and soon after I was notified by the sheriff of Dougherty county that he would not hold the prisoner longer. I at once laid the whole matter before the judge of the superior court, who immediately handed me the order printed below, and in compliance with it, I placed Goosby in the jail at Valdosta.

I exhibited no weapon to the parties who first delivered Goosby to me, I made no threat, nor show of force, and only took out my pistol when I had reached a point 25 or 30 yards from where I had received him, this to prevent him from escaping. In all my conversation with his captors I was calm, considerate and respectful. The man was quietly and voluntarily turned over to me, as an officer sworn to execute faithfully all writs and processes delivered to me and to see to it that "no person shall be abused in being arrested, while under arrest or in prison." I received him and though a wretch whose life was "a thousand times forfeit" and though my indignant horror at his infernal crime would have prompted me as an unofficial citizen to secure for him the swift vengeance that awaits this worse than murderer, yet my duty to a prisoner delivered to my keeping and to the law which I have twice sworn to observe and obey, left me no alternative.

And now, having stifled as best I could the feeling that was uppermost for the moment, and done what I had solemnly sworn to do, I submit with confidence to the just judgement of the people I have served so long, the integrity of my motive, and the uprightness of my conduct. I am your obedient servant, R. P. Doss, Sheriff.
Less than a week later, a letter from Judge Hansell was published. He wholeheartedly endorsed the sheriff as a "faithful officer of the law." The day following the sheriff's letter to the citizens of Thomas County, the newspaper felt the need to address detractors:
To Our Critics.
It is a notable fact, that many, very many, colored people approve the lynching of Goosby.

"I believe that there are one hundred good colored men in Thomasville," said a prominent gentleman yesterday, "who would have joined a crowd to lynch Goosby."

The English committee, Ida Wells and Northen fanatics, should make a note of this.

The better element of colored people favor prompt and swift punishment of any of their race who commits the crime for which Goosby was lynched.
Rationalizing for the rest:
Judge Lynch.
This grim judge has again presided in a case in Georgia. Dave Goosby has paid the penalty of his crime -- that crime of all crimes -- with his life. The particulars of the affair appear in another column...

There is another side to the question. The crime was the most cruel, brutal and revolting in the history of such crimes. The victim was frail, delicate girl of eleven years of age, in fact almost a child. Her assailant was a powerful negro man. He was deaf to her cries for mercy. After accomplishing his purpose he cut her throat and left her for dead.

The fiend acknowledged to Sheriff Doss, and to numerous prominent citizens in Valdosta, that he committed the crime. It is any wonder that the cry for speedy, swift and sure vengeance went up? The English committee may regret the fate of Dave Goosby, but we regret the sad and untimely fate of Susie Butler, as her frail little body, torn and mangled, sleeps in an [sic] humble grave among the pines. Her fate has been avenged. The warning should not be lost.

If England, the North, the negroes, or any one else, wants to stop lynching let them stop the nameless crime, for just so sure as God reigns in heaven, will this crime always be punished, and swiftly punished, in the South. Southern manhood has sworn that Southern women shall be protected and that oath will be kept. Aye, kept to the letter, and at all hazard.
Note: I did see a single blurb about it being reported in the Atlanta newspapers the governor of the state of Georgia was offering a reward for the "arrest and conviction" of the lynchers. Nothing after that one item, though, while the lynching account was repeated over and over, across several days.

And on the "English committee" mentioned a couple of times above: I think the newspaper was referencing an overseas anti-racism organization called the Society for the Recognition of the Brotherhood of Man, founded in 1893. It was inaugurated with meetings addressed by Ida B. Wells on the lynching of blacks in America.

29 January 2019

Swung Up: the Lynching of Dave Goosby, Part II

You have arrived at part II of The Lynching of Dave Goosby in 3 Parts. [Part I is here.]

We left off yesterday with the local Thomasville, Georgia newspaper touting the "universally approved" decision by a judge to get the accused rapist and murderer, Dave Goosby, into court the first Monday of October 1894. (This would have been just a few weeks after victim Susie Butler's death.) In fact, the final sentence from the author of this blurb was the following:
If justice was meted out to this class of criminals more swiftly there would be less lynchings.
And one more thing before diving into more newspaper articles. Don't forget these sentences from the latter part of the item chronicling the crime of which Goosby was accused:
Yesterday Judge Hansell ordered Sheriff Doss to remove the prisoner from the Albany jail and carry him to another county to prevent any possible trouble. The Sheriff left at once to carry out the order and by this time Goosby is safe in one of the best jails in South Georgia. [Emphasis mine.]
The following paragraph was published on page 1 of the 19 September 1894 issue, Columbus Daily Enquirer (Georgia).
SAVED FROM LYNCHING.

THE NEGRO GOOSBY LOCKED IN THE TIFTON JAIL.

TIFTON, Ga., Sept. 18 -- [Special] -- Dave Goosby, the negro rapist who assaulted and murdered little Susan Butler near Thomasville last Saturday, was brought here this morning from Albany. He admitted his guilt to a citizen of this place. He was in charge of the sheriff of Thomas county. He was kept as secretly as possible.
You'll see in the next couple of articles the Thomasville newspaper asserts Goosby was in jail in Valdosta. The two towns are less than fifty miles apart, so maybe there was a layover in Tifton before the accused was brought down to Valdosta. Or maybe the Columbus paper got it wrong. No matter the scenario, I'm highly skeptical of this line: He admitted his guilt to a citizen of this place.

I'm including two articles detailing the lynching. This is not to be gratuitous, but instead to show the premeditation and (dare I say it) recruitment.

Daily Times-Enterprise (Thomasville, Georgia)
Wednesday, 19 September 1894 - pg. 1 [via Georgia Historic Newspapers]
PROBABLY LYNCHED.

The Thomas County Rapist Probably Strung Up.


Information was received here yesterday afternoon that the citizens of Valdosta were preparing to lynch Dave Goosby, the Thomas county rape fiend, who was carried there yesterday by Sheriff Doss for safe keeping.

There was considerable quiet talk here about a crowd going down on the 9:30 train to take part in the lynching.

We wired Valdosta late in the afternoon to find out the feeling there and received a reply stating that there would be no trouble unless a crowd went down from here.

We have it from a reliable source that a crowd of perhaps twenty-five or thirty went down on the 9:30 train, and it was also rumored that a number would join the party at Boston [Georgia].

It was reported that news was received from Valdosta about nine o'clock that everything was fixed and the lynching would take place on arrival of the Thomasville delegation. If all these reports be true, and they probably are, there is very little doubt but that Dave Goosby paid the penalty of his awful crime last night. He has, in all probability, traveled the route that all rapists travel.
Prophecy Proven

Daily Times-Enterprise (Thomasville, Georgia)
Thursday, 20 September 1894 - pg. 1 [via Georgia Historic Newspapers]
GOOSBY SWUNG UP.

THOMAS COUNTY'S RAPIST MEETS HIS FATE.

A Mob Takes Him From the Valdosta Jail and Hangs Him to a Convenient Tree -- His Black Carcas
[sic] Riddled With Bullets.

Dave Goosby, the black brute who committed an outrage upon little Susie Butler and afterwards cut her throat, was taken from the Valdosta jail at midnight on Tuesday night, strung him up to the limb of a tree and filled full of bullet holes.

The crime committed by Goosby was one of the most revolting and atrocious that has ever occurred in this section and the feelings of every citizen of the county, and in fact of this whole country, were wrought up to the highest tension. Had the brute been brought to Thomasville there is no doubt but what he would have been lynched on sight.

It will be remembered that although the negro was in the hands of several men living in the neighborhood of where the crime was committed for three or four hours before Sheriff Doss arrived, as soon as he was taken in charge by that officer, there was an effort to take him away and put him to death. Before the crowd could organize for action, however, Sheriff Doss had managed to get him out of their reach. He carried his prisoner to Camilla and from there sent him to Albany for safe keeping. Learning that an effort would be made to lynch the negro in Albany Judge Hansell ordered the Sheriff to take him from there and carry him to Valdosta. From what we learned this was done none too soon, for he would likely have been lynched there the night Capt. Doss took him away had he been allowed to remain.

The Sheriff had no trouble in taking the negro to Valdosta, but as soon as the people there knew that he was in town, the excitement became very great and it was reported here that he would be lynched that night. Our paper yesterday morning gave these rumors.

It is said that a number of Thomasville people went down on the night train believing that the negro would be lynched and being desirous of taking a hand in it.

Yesterday morning when the news was received that Goosby had been hung, we wired to Valdosta for a special and received the following:

"Valdosta, Ga., Sept. 19. -- Soon after the arrival of the east bound train last night -- about midnight -- a mob went to the jail and with the use of sledge-hammers and other implements, forced an entrance and took Dave Goosby out to a pine thicket on the northern border of the town and swung him to a limb and riddled his body with bullets. The crowd seemed to be well organized and determined. The sheriff and jailor were powerless to resist them. The parties who did the work are not known here, so far as the public knows at this writing, Wednesday morning. The people here in no sort of way condone the horrible crime committed by Dave Goosby, but there is a very general feeling of deep regret that he was sent here and that this affair occurred in our community. Nine-tenths of our population knew nothing of what was going on, and awoke to a surprise this morning. Dave Goosby was brought here yesterday, and half the people in Valdosta did not know that he was in our jail."

Judge Hansell had called a special term of court to try Goosby and most all of our people hoped that as he had not been lynched at the time of capture he would be allowed to go to trial and hung according to law, but he has gone to a higher court for trial.

Goosby met the inevitable fate of the rapist. Just so long as the fiendish crime is committed just so long will lynch law be resorted to.
And let us not forget the extraordinarily obvious sensationalism, complete with graphic humiliation.

Daily Times-Enterprise (Thomasville, Georgia)
23 September 1894 [via Georgia Historic Newspapers]
A photograph of Goosby, the negro who was lynched a few days ago in Valdosta, taken while he was hanging from tree, was being shown on the streets yesterday. The ghastly picture attracted no little attention.
According to the 1880 Duncanville, Thomas County, Georgia Federal census, Dave was born about 1870 in Florida. Same record shows he was a son of Joe and Silvy Goosbie. Furthermore, Georgia county marriage records show a Dave Goosby married Lydia Waldon on 5 April 1889 in Thomas County.

Finale here: Defending the lynching (to absolve the community of any wrongdoing).


From NY Public LibraryA simple search on Google will give you the statistics. The Tuskegee Institute kept track of lynchings in America from 1882 - 1968. There were 581 in Mississippi, 531 in Georgia, 493 in Texas, 391 in Louisiana, 347 in Alabama, and so on. Total from all states: 4,743. That's more than one lynching and victim a week.

I feel a little like I should try to explain why I would give the horrible acts – those committed by the criminal, as well as those committed on the criminal – voice on this blog. There are no (at least to my knowledge) statistics showing the accuracy of the lynchers. How many times was an innocent person hung, riddled with bullets, and mutilated in the name of "justice?" I mean, we probably agree there are innocent people sitting in jail right now – with supposed checks and balances in place. Imagine when there were none. Shouldn't those innocent people be remembered?

Now, make no mistake, sometimes the lynching party "punished" the right person. As in, sometimes the true perpetrator was indeed apprehended – and then disposed of, often in a barbaric fashion. Even if you take the literal "eye for an eye" death penalty approach, I would not be surprised if that would have been an applicable punishment in only an infinitesimal number of cases. People were lynched for stealing, people were lynched for "insubordination," people were lynched for literally being in the wrong place at the wrong time. And let us not be cowards and leave out the racism debacle that lingers to this day. So another reason for giving voice to these past atrocities is in the same vein of "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

As a family historian, I am saddened to think (1) these revolting deeds took place, and (2) while statistics are easy to find, the names and stories of the individual victims are much harder to locate. A list of lynching victims will unfortunately never be complete. I hope that in a small way, posts such as these will serve as a memorial to those who were victims of Judge Lynch and his frightful law.

28 January 2019

A Horrible Crime: the Lynching of Dave Goosby, Part I

In this space will be a short series of posts I'm calling The Lynching of Dave Goosby in 3 Parts. You have arrived at Part I -- about the crime and alleged criminal. A young girl was murdered outside the southwest Georgia town of Thomasville -- population about 5,600 -- in the year 1894.

Daily Times-Enterprise (Thomasville, Georgia)
Tuesday, 18 September 1894 - pg. 1 [via Georgia Historic Newspapers]
A HORRIBLE CRIME.

SUSIE BUTLER ASSAULTED AND MURDERED

By a Black Brute in Human Form. One of the Worst Crimes Known to This Country -- The Fiend Narrowly Escapes Justice at the Hands of Judge Lynch -- The Coroner's Verdict.


At our hour for going to press Sunday morning the full details of the horrible crime which was committed across the river on Saturday evening and which has shocked and created the most intense excitement throughout the county could not be obtained.

Since then the crime with all its awful details has been learned and it is the most horrible and fiendish that was ever committed in any civilized country.

Susie Butler, about eleven years of age, a sallow complected, puny looking girl, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Martin Butler, living on the Bowen place, seven miles from town, went to the spring, a short distance from the house, after a bucket of water. It was about five o'clock in the afternoon. She procured the water and had started back to the house with the pail on her head, when Dave Goosby, a negro farm hand living in the neighborhood, rushed upon her, knocked the pail from her head and assaulted her. After he had accomplished his hellish purpose he held the half-dead child upon the ground with one hand, took a pocket-knife from his pocket with the other, opened it with his teeth and deliberately cut her throat. Thinking, no doubt that he had killed the girl, and that she should not be able to tell on him, he went to his house a short distance away and remained there until he was arrested.

The girl, covered with blood, which gushed from the gaping wound in her neck at every breath, struggled to her feet and staggered more dead than alive towards the house. She did not get more than half way before she fell to the ground from exhaustion caused by loss of blood.

Her parents, becoming alarmed at her long absence, began to call, and hearing a feeble answer coming from towards the spring, the father started in a run and had gone but a short distance when a most heart-rending sight met his gaze. There, on her knees in the middle of the road, was his daughter, completely covered with blood, her little head held to one side to close the gash in her neck and prevent as much as possible any further bleeding. In a voice weakened to a whisper by the loss of blood she told her father what happened. She was carried to the house and when some of the neighbors arrived she again told her awful story and said that Dave Goosby, whom she described, had committed the crime. Two or three men went to Goosby's house, arrested and brought him to the girl, when she promptly identified him as the man. She also described the knife with which she had been cut, and this knife, with the blood still on it, was found in Goosby's possession.

As soon as the crime was discovered and before the brute who perpetrated it had been caught, a messenger was sent to town to notify the Sheriff. Upon receipt of the information, Sheriff Doss, knowing it would be almost useless to go after the negro without dogs to track him, wired to Sheriff Patterson of Bainbridge to bring his dogs by a special train which Mr. Doss had arranged for. As soon as they arrived, which was some two hours after the news was first received, the Sheriff, with a large posse, left for the scene of the crime.

When he arrived there a considerable crowd was guarding the negro, some of whom wanted to lynch him, while the majority were keeping them off. Capt. Doss, realizing that delay would be dangerous, immediately took charge of the negro, and, with pistol in hand, forced his way through the crowd, which was growing more excited every second, to his wagon, and hustling the negro into it, drove rapidly off. Before the crowd could get their horses and start in pursuit, he had made a good start, but they managed to surround him. The crowd had, by this time, turned into a howling mob, bent upon lynching the brute, and many guns were leveled upon the negro, but for fear of shooting the Sheriff they were not discharged. Sheriff Doss is noted for his coolness and bravery, and this is one time those qualities stood him in good stead. He, in common with all white men, has no sympathy for a rapist, but his duty as an officer demanded that he protect the prisoner in his charge. In the excitement and among the large number of vehicles the wagon containing the Sheriff and his prisoner disappeared and they were seen no more that night. In some manner, unknown to many who were in the party, Capt. Doss had gotten his wagon out of the crowd and disappeared with it in the darkness of the forest. The crowd, after searching for him some time, gave it up and came to town. Capt. Doss carried his prisoner to Camilla, and from there to Albany, where he was put in jail. The Sheriff returned here Sunday night.

Yesterday Judge Hansell ordered Sheriff Doss to remove the prisoner from the Albany jail and carry him to another county to prevent any possible trouble. The Sheriff left at once to carry out the order and by this time Goosby is safe in one of the best jails in South Georgia. Judge Hansell has ordered a special term of the Superior Court to try the fiend on the first Monday in October.

Dr. J. G. Hopkins responded to the call for a physician and went to see the wounded girl. He found a gash in the throat about three inches long and deep enough to penetrate the jugular vein and wind-pipe, the right eye-lid badly contused, a slight cut in the left breast and numerous scratches over the breast as though made with finger nails, besides cuts and bruises on other parts of the body.

It was found necessary to administer a little chloroform in order to sew up the wound in the neck. Nausea and vomiting resulted, and during the act of vomiting the bleeding from the jugular vein began and though the doctor caught and held the vein, stopping further bleeding, the child sank and could not be resuscitated.

On Sunday Coroner Johnson held an inquest over the body of the murdered girl, and the following verdict was rendered:

"We, the jury, sworn by the coroner to investigate the cause of the death of Susan Butler, find that the deceased came to her death on the morning of September 16, 1894, in said county, from a wound inflicted in the neck with a knife in the hands of Dave Goosby, colored, and we further find the deceased was raped and that the killing was murder..."

The excitement in town Saturday night and Sunday was up to fever heat. Nearly everybody that could went out to the scene of the killing. Had the deed been committed in town or the black brute brought here there is no doubt but that the English committee would have had another southern lynching to investigate.

Now, however, that the negro is in the custody of the Sheriff the law will be allowed to take its course.
And following from same newspaper (same issue, same page):
Swift Justice.
As will be seen elsewhere, Judge Hansell has ordered a special term of Thomas superior court to convene on the first Monday in October, to try Dave Goosby, colored, charged with rape and murder. This action of Judge Hansell will be universally approved, and is an example which might properly be followed in similar cases. If justice was meted out to this class of criminals more swiftly there would be less lynchings.
Unfortunately, that sentiment was not universal. Part II -- the lynching -- is here.