A Black lynching


1st Lieutenant
Forum Host
Sep 17, 2011
The Times from Paolo Kansas, February 9, 1883​
Smith was arrested and taken to jail. The child’s father, procuring a shot-gun, followed and attempted to shoot the fiend, but was prevented by the bystanders. About 11 o’clock to-night an excited crowd, chiefly colored men, some in masks, gathered at the jail and demanded the prisoner. The Sheriff had prepared for the emergency, and warned them away, but the clamorous throng pushed forward and forced open the door of the building. The Sheriff struck the foremost man over the head. Then the mob opened fire, to which the Sheriff and deputies replied, and a general fusilade ensued. The front windows and doors of the building were perforated with shot. Ed Long, son of the sheriff, received a buckshot wound in the arm[, shattering his elbow]. James McGrew, colored, was shot through the head and instantly killed. Two other colored men received serious wounds. Several others were slightly injured. The mob retreated and without further effort to obtain possession of the prisoners dispersed. The Sheriff was supported by three or four deputies during the fight.​
the streets are thronged with people numbering among them our best citizens, who are discussing the affair in a business-like, determined manner, and the indications are that the prisoner will be taken from the guards when brought for his preliminary examination this morning and summarily dealt with. The excitement is intense. The Sheriff is censured, though he probably did no more than his duty. This is the fourth case of the kind in which Smith had been involved. He committed a similar crime in Paolo about four years ago, and was shortly afterwards sent to the penitentiary from Linn County for a like offense, and a year ago was under arrest here for a repetition of his hellish deeds. He is a worthless rascal, and his death would be a blessing to the country.​
the crowd had reformed and swelled to 1,000 in a town of 2,400. According to Frazier, they “again demanded the key to the jail. Sheriff Long refused, and the mob, made up of both black and white, broke open the jail door. Meanwhile, within his jail cell, Henry Smith, aware of the explosive rage against him outside, had concealed on his person an undetected penknife. He used it to cut his throat rather than allow the mob the pleasure of lynching him.
Once the integrated mob reached Smith’s cell, they discovered he was dead. Undeterred, as a newspaper in adjacent Johnson County describes the matter, the lynchers ‘placed a rope around his neck, dragged him like a log to the public square and hung his dead body to a tree, where it remained for several hours.'”​

Last night about 11 o’clock Maud Bennings, a little colored girl 9 years old, was found lying upon the ground in the suburbs of the city insensible, stripped of most of her clothing, bruised and mangled in a most terrible manner, and evidently the victim of a hellish crime. The child’s arms and legs were frozen stiff. About 11 o’clock to-day she became conscious and told a story of fiendish treatment which she had suffered. She had been upon an errand early in the evening, and on her return, about 8 o’clock, she was seized by Henry Smith, a notorious negro, carried to a stable, choked and ravished and then carried some distance and thrown upon the street, apparently left for dead. . . . The girl is in a very critical condition and may die, but should she recover her limbs will in all probability have to be amputated​

Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!

Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!