Tag Archives: Crime

Newspaper Clippings – Jet Magazine June 9, 1955 Edition

1 Feb

Below is a clipping from Jet Magazine’s June 9, 1955 Edition.

JetMagazineJune91955

 

 

 

– Tiffany

-Source: Jet Magazine June 9, 1955 edition via Google Books

Newspaper Clippings – The Pittsburgh Courier July 9, 1932 Edition

29 Jul

Below is a letter to the editor of the Pittsburgh Courier from Pastor SHM Lee of the St. Paul AME Church in Youngstown, Ohio.

The Pittsburgh Courier 9 July 1932 page 10

I found Wallace McClish/McCleish in the 1940 US Census living in Brownsville on Church Street with his wife Inez. His occupation is listed as “traffic police”. By 1960 McClish had relocated and was living in Memphis, Tennessee as an employee at an apartment complex. I wonder what compelled him to leave his field of law enforcement. A quick search for Tom Devine in the Haywood County and Lauderdale County areas yielded no results.

 

– Tiffany

Source: The Pittsburgh Courier July 9, 1932 edition page 10, 1940 US Census for Haywood County, Tennessee, 1960 Memphis City Directory

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

Fourth of July at the Lauderdale County Jail

2 Jul

In the spirit of the upcoming Fourth of July holiday I decided to see if I could find any information on past Fourth of July holidays in Ripley. Reading through the Lauderdale County Enterprise I found the article below discussing events at the Lauderdale County Jail on July 4, 1917.

Lauderdale County Enterprise July 6, 1917

Lauderdale County Enterprise July 6, 1917

Using the US Census I found two Horace Walkers living in neighboring Haywood County, Tennessee. They happened to be father and son. Horace Walker Sr. was born in 1846 in North Carolina and was married to Mary Walker. Horace Walker Jr. was born in 1880 in Tennessee. In addition to these two Horace Walkers I also found another Horace Walker born in 1876 in Haywood County son of Thomas Walker.  Thomas Walker (B. 1850 North Carolina) could possibly be brother of Horace Walker Sr. (Horace Walker Sr. also had a son named Thomas), but more information and research is needed to make that connection. To make this easier I found Horace Walker Sr. (father), Horace Walker Jr. (son), and Horace Walker (possible nephew/cousin). An interesting note is that Horace Walker (possible cousin/nephew – B. 1876) and his wife Nervie were living in Lauderdale County in 1920. With that being said its unclear which Horace Walker found himself imprisoned in the Lauderdale County Jail on the Fourth of July. It could have very well been another Horace Walker who did not appear on my search of the US Census.

I did not find an African American Charles Ed Moore on the US Census. I found a few white Charles Moores in Haywood County and one in Lauderdale County. This made me wonder if there was any separation based on race at the county jail. I would think that there was given the time period.

So on the Fourth of July 1917 at the Lauderdale County Jail shenanigans broke out amongst the prisoners. Looks like Charles Ed Moore might have gotten what was coming to him.

 

 

 

 

– Tiffany

– Source: The Lauderdale County Enterprise July 6, 1917 edition, US Census 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920

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

The Gingery Mob – Who Was the Accomplice?

9 May

About a year or so ago I wrote about an event known as The Gingery Mob in which the Gingery brothers, Henry and Roger, killed a police officer and his helper because their brother Reuben was arrested for failing to be vaccinated. Henry and Roger escaped, but their brothers Reuben and Frank were killed for their crimes. In addition to this a man from Henning identified as a neighbor of the Gingery’s was also killed for being an accessory to the crime.

Just who was the accomplice from Henning?

Sometimes the answer we are looking for is right under our nose and in this case it was. I have a list of the lynchings that occurred in the West Tennessee area, of course the listing is incomplete, but it didn’t occur to me until now to check that list and see who was hung around the time of the Gingery Mob. Wouldn’t you know it? My answer was on that list.

Anderson Gause was lynched January 16, 1900 just 7 days after the Gingery brothers. Could he be the accomplice?

I went a little further to substantiate my idea and I discovered newspaper articles linking Anderson Gause to the crime. According to the papers

“Anderson Gause colored was lynched by a mob near HENNING Tenn for aiding two murderers to escape”

With my idea corroborated by published news accounts I figured that this was my guy the accomplice, but just who was Anderson Gause?

Ordinarily you would think that tracking down someone named Anderson Gause would not be that complicated, but there were a lot of people with the last name Gause in Lauderdale County at this time, Black and White. United States Census Records did not provide the best information because several people just listed themselves on the census as “A. Gause”. I then decided to check the Tennessee State Marriage records, but in those records I also found a lot of people named “A. Gause” listed. So then I decided to check FindAGrave.com to see if there was an A. Gause listed in Bethlehem Cemetery, Canaan Cemetery, or Canfield  2 places he possibly would have been buried since he was killed in Henning. I turned up no records on Find A Grave and of course no Tennessee State Death records because he died before death records became mandatory.

Just who was Anderson Gause? How did he help the Gingery brothers escape? Did he help them get onto a train? Take them by wagon to another city? Give them his horses? Did he even help them or was he just at the wrong place, at the wrong time while the community was looking to kill anyone who might have remotely had anything to do with the Gingery brothers? Who knows for sure, but as always I will be sure to share more information as it becomes available.

Anderson Gause Jan 20, 1900 - The Clifton Advocate

Anderson Gause Jan 20, 1900 – The Clifton Advocate

– Tiffany

– Sources: The Lynching Calendar: http://www.autopsis.org/foot/lynchdates2.html, The Clifton, Illinois Advocate Jan 20, 1900 edition

– Tiffany

Sources: 1880 US Census, State of Tennessee Marriage Records for Lauderdale County, Lauderdale County Enterprise Friday, September 24, 1926 edition

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Black Life in Ripley, TN

14 Apr

This edition 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Black Life in Ripley, TN comes to us courtesy of Madison County, TN.

2. The Madison County Area was once involved in a plot to capture a slave thief named John Murrell.

This story begins in 1834 with Rev. John Henning whose descendants would go on to found Henning, TN in Lauderdale County. At this time Rev. Henning was making his home in Denmark in Madison County, TN. Rev. Henning suspected that a thief named John Murrell had stolen two of his slaves and he hired a man named Virgil Stewart to track down Murrell and bring his slaves home.

As the story goes Stewart tracked down Murrell and gained his confidence. They traveled together through the West Tennessee wilderness where allegedly Murrell told Stewart about his exploits in slave stealing, horse stealing, and a plot to incite the largest slave revolt in the South. Stewart claimed that on this trip Murrell admitted to stealing Rev. Henning’s slaves and that he had already arranged to resell them. During the course of the trip the slaves were sold by an associate of Murrell’s and they were thought to be in Manchester, Mississippi. As the story goes Henning’s slaves never made it to Manchester, TN and Rev. Henning eventually gave up finding them.

On Murrell’s return to Madison County Rev. Henning had him arrested for slave stealing and Murrell went on trial. He was convicted and sentenced to 10 years. You might think that the story stops here, but it doesn’t. Virgil Stewart went on to publish a pamphlet about the ordeal called “A History of the Detection, Conviction, Life and Designs of John A. Murrell, the Great Western Land Pirate” (Athens, TN 1836). This book was heavily thought to be an embellishment of the actual events, but nevertheless it made its way to Beattie’s Bluff, Mississippi and was thought to be the basis of a slave revolt in that area. Several died as a result of Stewart’s lies including slaves and those thought to have helped the slaves plan the riot. The pamphlet went on to make Murrell a legend and if you’re interested his thumb is on display at the Tennessee State Museum in Nashville, TN.

Here are some extra details:

Slave theft was a felony in Tennessee. Murrell had been charged in 1833 with harboring 3 slaves belonging to William Long in Madison, County. Long had thought that Murrell had taken the slaves in order to resell them. This is why when Rev. Henning’s slaves went missing Henning immediately considered Murrell as the culprit.

Murrell supposedly also admitted to Stewart that he used a slave named Sam from Madison County to run a slave resell scam. The scam involved Murrell selling Sam, after a while Sam would escape and runaway, and Murrell would sell Sam again to someone else. Murrell also used a slave from Tipton County in a similar scheme.

John Murrell Stealing a Slave

John Murrell Stealing a Slave

So there you have it folks. Our little West Tennessee towns and their inhabitants were involved in plots of slave stealing and inciting slave revolts and Rev. John Henning helped to create one of the biggest legends in West Tennessee history in John Murrell.

 

– Tiffany

Sources: Flush Time and Fever Dreams by Joshua Rothman and Beginnings of West Tennessee by Samuel Cole Williams

Image Source: Fold3.com