Thursday, April 9, 2020

Preventing a Lynching

It is very easy to assume that public officials made no effort to prevent lynchings.  But here is a case that showed great courage against a very organized effort:
Ten days ago the dead bodies of Farmer Hicks, his wife and daughter were found in their house and Sheriff Spradley immediately began to search for the perpetrator of the crime. A week later Jim Buchanan was arrested and finally confessed to the triple murder.

The news of the negro's confession spread rapidly and a mob of several hundred people marched upon the sheriff and his deputies with the avowed purpose of securing possession of the negro and burning him at the stake.

Sheriff Spradley and his deputies refused to give over his prisoner and later he was joined by Sheriff Bowers of San Augustine county.  The two officers through a ruse finally succeeded in spiriting the negro away to the parish jail at Shreveport.

Buchanan was afterwards taken to the jail at Henderson and a company of militia was ordered out to protect the negro from violence. A mob. formed and it was feared an encounter with the troops would result in serious bloodshed. Two more companies of militia were dispatched to Henderson and today Buchanan was brought to Nacogdoches under the protection of five companies of militia.

Upon his arrival here the negro was immediately turned over to Sheriff Spradly, who told the people he would be given a speedy trial. The town began to fill up rapidly and the excitement was intense.

The telegraph wires were cut, the railroad tracks were torn up for a short distance and it was announced that an attempt would be made to get possession of Buchanan. ["The Murderer Waived Thirty Days of Life," Lancaster [S.C.] Ledger, Oct. 22, 1902, 1.]

1 comment:

  1. Militias! Five companies' worth. Golly.

    Also, there were some other interesting articles on that page. I could not do the research you are doing in old newpapers because I would always get distracted by all the other unrelated articles and be chasing rabbits everywhere.