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Is This the Murder of Richard Thurmond?

9 Sep

Below is a photo of a lynching on the Ripley courthouse square. The photo’s caption lists a date of 1897. I searched through newspapers and have not yet located a mention of a hanging in Ripley, TN in 1897.

Lynching in Ripley, TN 1897

Lynching in Ripley, TN 1897

 

However, I found a mention of the lynching of Richard Thurmond in The Daily Capital Journal of Salem, Oregon reported August 9, 1898. Is this year of this photo mislabeled? Could this be Richard Thurmond?

 

Daily Capital Journal Salem, Oregon August 9, 1868

Daily Capital Journal Salem, Oregon August 9, 1868

 

Adding more pieces to this puzzle is the fact that The Saint Louis Post-Dispatch reported this murder as occurring in Ripley, Mississippi, which also happens to be only a 30 minute drive to Middleton, TN where Richard Thurmond was captured. A quick search through census did not return any favorable leads connecting Richard Thurmond and LD Hines to Ripley, TN or Ripley, MS.

 

-Tiffany

-Image Source: “We Shall Overcome”: Tennessee and the Civil Rights Movement by Cynthia Griggs Fleming featured in Tennessee Historical Quarterly Vol 54, No. 3 (Fall 1995) page 234, Looking Back at Tennessee Collection Tennessee State Library and Archives

The Death of Louis Rice

7 Aug

From the Washington Progress (Washington, North Carolina) January 17, 1901 edition.

Washington Press Jan 17 1901

Washington Press Jan 17 1901

Louis Rice’s crime was that of testifying in favor of his friend, Henderson House, in House’s murder trial. House had been accused in the murder of Duncan Goodrich, a white man, after a fight that occurred during gambling. House was lynched for the crime and his friend Rice was lynched March 23, 1900. What makes this interesting is that House was not lynched until September 18, 1900. The accused lived longer than his friend who testified for him.

You can read more about Henderson House here -> The Story of Henderson House – A Hanging in Ripley

When looking at the dates of the lynchings of Rice and House it occurred to me that this all took place in 1900. January 1900 was the date of what could be called Lauderdale County’s most infamous lynching, that of the Gingery Brothers. It is safe to say that after an incident like that that the people of the county would be on edge. It amazes me that Rice was brave enough to even testify in the trial given what the atmosphere of the county would have been like at this time.

My attempt to find out more about Louis Rice was unfruitful. Rice was a very common surname for Lauderdale County during this time. Unfortunately for my search I found more than a few Louis/Lewis Rices between Lauderdale and Haywood counties. Because he died in 1900 it is unlikely that he would have a death certificate.

So what do we know about Louis Rice?

Margaret Vandiver in her book, Lethal Punishment, points out some interesting things to note in both the cases of Louis Rice and Henderson House.

Louis Rice

– Had been described by various newspapers as a physician. Had also been described as having committed a murder himself prior to this.

– His only offense was taking too much of an interest in the case. Apparently, he had taken it upon himself to interview witnesses and submit affidavits through an attorney with more evidence that would have possibly proved House innocent.

– Some in Lauderdale County “greatly regretted” and “deeply deplored” his lynching.

Henderson House

– A petition was started by white citizens of Lauderdale County and Shelby County, TN to spare him the death penalty. Hundreds of signatures were sent to the governor. Whites of Lauderdale County and Shelby County, TN (where House’s family lived) believed another man, Alf Halliburton, to have truly been the shooter. Alf Halliburton had been acquitted of any wrong doing.

– Tennessee’s Governor, Benton McMillin, refused to commute the sentence despite the efforts of locals and House was ultimately lynched.

Rice was lynched for trying to free House and that cause was ultimately picked up by whites in Lauderdale County who later tried to do the same thing after Rice’s death.

 

Atlanta Journal Constitution March 24, 1900

Atlanta Journal Constitution March 24, 1900

 

– Tiffany

– Source: Washington Press (Washington, North Carolina) January 17, 1901 edition, Lethal Punishment by Margaret Vandiver p.46 – 48, The Atlanta Journal Constitution March 24, 1900 edition, US Census Records

PT Glass’ Will

24 Jul

If you’ve ever done genealogy for someone from Lauderdale County or even read something written about the history of Lauderdale County chances are that you’ve come across the GLASS surname. I’ve seen it quite a few times in my research and even have some individuals with the GLASS surname in my family tree.

While doing a bit of research I came across the will of PT (Presley Thornton) Glass. I was familiar with the name from reading history books written on Ripley and Lauderdale County. PT Glass had been a merchant in Ripley, secretary of Ripley Male Academy, a slave owner, fought for the Confederacy in the Civil War, a lawyer, a member of the Tennessee State legislature, a member of the United States Congress, and he even has his own Wikipedia page complete with a photograph of him. If you’ve ever been to Maplewood Cemetery you might have even seen his grave. In doing my research for another subject I had to do a bit of research on him and that’s when I discovered an interesting tidbit in his will upon his death in 1902.

PT Glass Will 1902

PT Glass Will 1902

“I give and bequeath to my former slave Prince Glass five dollars”

 

Adjusted for inflation that 5 dollars in 1902 would be worth 135 dollars today.

Naturally I wanted to find out more about Prince Glass. According to the 1870 US Census Prince Glass was born about 1852 in Tennessee (I also found his year of birth listed as 1847). His parents were Wallace Glass and Matilda Partee Glass. On the 1870 US Census his occupation is listed as farm laborer. By 1880 Prince had married the former Jennie Fitzpatrick and they soon had children named Eddie, Nellie, Prince Jr, Benj, and Katy. Prince died June 30, 1927 and is buried in Ripley, Tennessee.

Prince must have meant something to PT Glass if he left him money when he died. I noticed that PT Glass referred to Prince as his “former slave” instead of  laborer, so I am curious to know if Prince worked for PT in some form after slavery or what type of relationship that they had after slavery or even during slavery.

 

– Tiffany

Source: Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Presley_T._Glass, Familysearch.org – TN Probate Court Books, 1795 – 1927, Lauderdale Wills 1885 – 1904 volume F, image 315, page 525

 

 

More Tragedy for the Gingery Family – A Follow Up

11 Mar

A few months ago I wrote an article for the website titled “More Tragedy for the Gingery Family”. The original article can be seen at this link – > https://blackripley.com/2013/08/08/more-tragedy-for-the-gingery-family/

As you know the Gingery Family story is one of the most popular stories on my blog. Whenever I mention the Gingery family to someone I am interviewing they always pause for a moment and get very serious when telling me what they know. Margarette was kind enough to share her family’s memories about her Aunt Lennie in the comments section of the original article.

Below is a write up from The Lauderdale County Enterprise describing the murder suicide involving Dupuy Gingery and Linnie Taylor Gingery.

Gingery Murder Lauderdale County Enterprise

Gingery Murder
Lauderdale County Enterprise

“A double murder or rather a murder and suicide was committed Wednesday morning at the home of Cush Gingery, colored, between Orysa and Henning. Gingery killed his wife and then himself. He is a brother of the two famous Gingery negroes who killed two officers near Durhamville several years ago and have never been apprehended.”

– Tiffany

– Source: The Lauderdale County Enterprise July 6, 1917 edition

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Black Life in Ripley – Follow Up to #4

5 Nov

The 4th entry in the 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Black Life in Ripley series told the story of Eleanor Roosevelt being thrown into the conversation regarding African American soldiers being killed in Ripley.

Let me refresh your memory…

#4 Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of Franklin Roosevelt 32nd President of the United States, spoke out against the killing of an African American soldier in Ripley, TN.

You can read the original posting here: https://blackripley.com/2013/09/17/10-things-you-didnt-know-about-black-life-in-ripley-tn-2/

If you recall the missing information such as the soldier’s identity lay in old issues of The Commercial Appeal, the daily newspaper of Memphis, TN, particularly the January 27, 1944 and January 29, 1944 issues. Further research also revealed that the January 1, 2013 issue held clues as well.

Here are the missing pieces.

The soldier was killed December 29, 1943 in Ripley, TN. He had come into Ripley from the Dyersburg Air Force Base. According to reports, he was drunk when he was fatally wounded by the Lauderdale County Sheriff, only after he had shot the sheriff. His name was Private Joseph L. Burrell of Co A of the 449th Signal Construction Battalion. Apparently a group of African American soldiers, estimated to be about 50 or 60 left Dyersburg and in the words of the sheriff “descended upon Ripley with the apparent intention of taking the town apart” (Jan 27, 1944 issue). This incident occured in what was described as the “negro quarters” in Ripley. The result of this skirmish is that soldiers from the Dyersburg Air Force Base were banned temporarily from entering Ripley.

Commercial Appeal January 1, 1944

Commercial Appeal January 1, 1944

Commercial Appeal Jan 28, 1944

Commercial Appeal Jan 28, 1944

Private Joseph L. Burrell was born July 11, 1913 in Denbigh, Warrick County, Virginia. He enlisted in the military in Richmond, VA on August 12, 1942. At the time of his death he was 30 years old and was married, but seperated, to Lucille Burrell. According to his death certificate he died due to gunshot wounds of the liver, stomach, pancreas, intestines, lungs, and heart. His death was listed as an accident. Prior to his death and army enlistment he had been employed as a laborer at the Navy Yard in Yorktown. Virginia.

He was buried at the Colossian Baptist Church Cemetery in Denbigh, VA in an unmarked grave. His mother, Florence Burrell, was granted a military headstone for his grave on July 14, 1944.

Joseph L. Burrell

Joseph L. Burrell

On US Census records  for 1920 and 1940 Joseph is listed as Lawrence. He is living with his mother Florence (b. 1896 Virginia), his father Joseph (b. 1890 VIrginia) and his siblings Claris (b. 1916), Noretha (b. 1918), James (b. 1920), and Mary (b. 1922).

At this point I am not sure that the true story behind his murder will ever be revealed. What troubles me is the reason why the Sheriff was called to what was described as the “Negro” side of town in the first place. Were the soldiers being drunk and disorderly? At this point of time in America soldiers were returning from overseas. Overseas African American soldiers had been treated considerably better than they were treated in the US. When they returned to the US they were basically told to go back to their subserviant roles. Historical accounts from across the United States discuss the murder of African American soldiers, some even lynched in their uniforms. White supremacists did not like the fact that African Americans returned to the US in uniform believing that they were equals and this spawned a surge of racial violence. Could this be what happened to Joseph Burrell? What caused him to pull his gun and shoot the Sheriff? Whatever the case may be Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt was right in her assessment that the South was responsible for instances such as this due to its treatment of African Americans.

Commercial Appeal January 27, 1944

Commercial Appeal January 27, 1944

Commercial Appeal January 29, 1944

Commercial Appeal January 29, 1944

– Tiffany

– Image Source: Joseph L. Burrell headstone (FindAGrave.com)

– Sources: Tennessee Deaths and Burial Index 1874 – 1955, Tennessee Death Records 1908 – 1958, US Headstone Applications for Military Veterans 1925 – 1963, FindAGrave.com Newport News, VA Colossian Baptist Church Cemetery Listing, US WW2 Army Enlistment Records, 1938 – 1946, The Commercial Appeal January 1, 1944 issue, The Commercial Appeal January 27, 1944 issue, The Commercial Appeal January 29, 1944 issue, US Census Records 1920 and 1940 for Denbigh, VA,

Who was Lation (Ligon) Scott? – Dyersburg, TN

1 Nov

While looking through the search terms that lead people to this site I noticed recently that there have been quite a few searches for “Ligon Scott Dyersburg”

Lation (or Ligon) Scott was murdered in Dyersburg, Tennessee December 2, 1917 after ten days on the run. He was tortured and then burned at the stake. His charge was that he had attacked the white woman that he worked for.

When I read of Mr. Scott’s torture and subsequent death it gave me chills. What I also think about is how people participated in the acts as if there was nothing wrong with what they were doing. According to the NAACP’s investigation of his death he was poked and prodded with fire pokers. He had his eyes burned with a fire poker, he was castrated, his flesh was branded and burned. Next, they lit a fire and watched him burn to death. Mr. Scott’s lynching was turned into a spectacle with many of Dyersburg citizens attending. There were descriptions of children leaving Sunday School to attend the lynching. One of the citizens was quoted as saying “The best part about it was the burning. This hanging kills too quick”.

You can read the NAACP Report in The Crisis here : http://books.google.com/books?id=Y4ETAAAAYAAJ&lpg=PA179&ots=ziyk_UG9ei&dq=ligon%20scott%20dyersburg&pg=PA183#v=onepage&q=ligon%20scott%20dyersburg&f=false

I wanted to find out who Lation (or Ligon) Scott was. I searched through US Census Records for Dyer County for 1900 and 1910 and found no record of him. I also searched for a death certificate and found no record of him there either. The article in The Crisis mentioned that Ligon was a preacher with the Holy Roller Church. It also mentions that he was included in the selective draft, so I searched for his World War I draft card and finally found him.

Lation Scott was born December 25, 1893 in Holly Springs, Mississippi. He had a 3 year old child and was living apart from his wife. He listed himself as a self employed farmer. He was living on what appears to say RFD #2 in Dyersburg. His draft registration card was completed June 5, 1917.

Using details in The Crisis article I decided to see if I could locate the area where the lynching took place. The article in The Crisis states the location as “a near by vacant lot, the corner of which adjoins the public square, and which is within a stone’s throw of two churches and the residences of several ministers as well as of the Mayor of the town. It is the property, jointly, of several sisters, prominent women of Dyersburg. The court house and the post office, attractive new buildings, are in sight of the spot” (p. 181)

I then turned to the Sanborn Maps for Dyer County and discovered that maps were available for 1914. Sanborn Maps were not published again until 1929, so I decided to stick with the 1914 maps. As you know, Sanborn Maps show structures so it would be easy to identify a vacant lot. Do I know that the lot was still vacant in December of 1917? I do not, but at least I can find a starting point for further research using the 1914 maps.

Here is Court Square in 1914 with all lots adjoining Court Square outlined in red. (Sanborn Maps 1914 Index Key Sheet 1)

Court Square 1914

Court Square 1914

Using different sheets of the Sanborn Maps gives us a closer view of Court Square. The image below is Sanborn Maps 2 and 3 combined to give us a better view of Court Square including the buildings and vacant lots.

Court Square SB 2 and 3

Court Square SB 2 and 3

Combining the two maps lets me see that the only vacant lot near Court Square was at the corner of Mill Avenue and West Court indicated by the red dot on the map. Using the description in The Crisis we can see that (1) the corner of this lot does adjoin the public square, (2) it is near two churches (one of them shown) and (3) the court house and post office are in sight.

So if this in indeed the lot where this horrible crime took place then the address of that lot is 107 N. Mill Avenue.

So what is left?

Using the information on the WWI draft card a search for Mr. Scott on the US census should be tried again in an effort to locate his family members. I did a preliminary search for an African American male born in 1893 living in Holly Springs, MS with the surname Scott and there were a few hits, however none had the first name  Lation or Ligon. Perhaps he also had another name that he went by as a child. Also, newspaper accounts of this incident should be viewed to locate any clues such as the name of the family he worked for and those he associated with in Dyersburg.

Hopefully more can be done to discover Mr. Scott’s background, the family he belonged to, the identity of his wife and child, and where he might be buried.

– Tiffany

– Sources: The Crisis by NAACP Volumes 15 – 18, Sanborn Maps Dyersburg, TN 1914 (Index Key Map 1, Map 2, and Map 3), US Census Records for Dyersburg, TN 1900 and 1910, Tennessee State Deaths and Burials Index 1874-1955, US World War I Draft Registration Cards, Google Maps for 107 North Mill Avenue.

Lynching of Albert Gooden – Follow Up

17 Sep

I hesistated to share the rest of the information I had found on Mr. Gooden’s lynching because I found it on a website with a very strong message that I could not vouch for due to lack of knowledge on the subjects being discussed. Just to be clear there is a lot of other race related information on this site and I do not know whether it is true or not. My interest in this site is strictly on the story of the aftermath of the Albert Gooden lynching.

This site states,

“After the Lynching and murder of Albert Gooden, Sheriff Vaughn and the Lynch  mob had rounded up two of Gooden’s brothers, Edd Gooden and Braxton Gooden to Lynch them. But sometime happen on that night when the lynch mob was fixing to carry out the lynching. With the help of someone shooting into the crowd of the lynch mob from a distance, Edd and Braxton Gooden manage to escape the lynch mob. Meantime the  two brother left Tipton county and moved up North to keep from being Lynched. Braxton Gooden changed his name somehow after he left tipton county and never came back to visit family, until the year of 1997, when one of his other brothers passed, Spillmon Doc Gooden. But was only there for a day and a half, still being in fear of his life. Out of the two brothers that was almost lynched by the Tipton County Sheriff lynch mob, Braxton is still living up North, Edd Gooden passed in 1993 in Cleveland Ohio.”

If this is true it adds an interesting element to the Gooden story, because very much like the Gingery story I covered on this blog the lynch mob in that instance as well went after the brothers of the suspected killer who may or may not have had anything to do with the crime involved.

Stories like these always catch my attention because they involve individuals fleeing the area due to racial intimidation. Can you imagine living with this type of fear? Not being able to return to your home and family because people are looking to murder you? Ed Gooden, the father of Albert, died in 1941, so these two brothers were not even able to return home to bury their father.

 

– Tiffany

– Source: http://tiptoncounty-racism.com/albert_gooden.html (disclaimer – I make no claims towards the accuracy of other information on this site. My interest in this site is purely on the Albert Gooden story)