Skip to Top NavigationSkip to ContentSkip to Footer

Slavery, Racism, Lynching: 1817-1917

Mouton Advertiser

Mostly Lawrence County, AL
Revised: June 16, 2003.

Like the rest of the world, the Moulton Advertiser has changed since the following items appeared. Now owned by the Slaton Family, the Moulton Advertiser, a thriving, successful, progressive weekly, had a local Black as managing editor during the 1990s. One wonders what D. C. & Jourd White, owners and editors when most of the following was printed, would think of that.

Negro Skins Put To Use!

Megaree, in the Philadelphia Times, says: A Philadelphia physician has his shoes made from the skin of negroes. Ghastly, but true! He obtains the epidermis from bodies which have been used for dissecting purposes in a famous medical college in this city. The thighs are flayed and the skin thus procured are [sic] sent to Wolmelsdorf, near Reading, and there tanned by a stolid Berks county yeoman. The result is a beautiful leather extremely soft and pliable, very lustrous, and suggestive of a fine but very thick piece of kid. The shoes are beautiful to look upon and grasp the feet kindly. (Moulton Advertiser 19 Nov 1896)

Horror of horrors! Can anything be more horrible than to see a white man in the South advocating the mixing of white and black children up in the same schools? Awful! terrible! fearful!
If the law prohibiting the mixing of whites and blacks in the same schools is repealed, there will be a lamentable scarcity of respectable teachers in the country. Under certain conditions, a people becomes desperate and the presence of bayonets will only add fuel to the fire. (Moulton Advertiser 14 Aug 1890)

Sheriff Roberson carried a Negro boy 12 or 14 years old, to the coal mines last week for stealing two fine watches from Dr. John Farley. (Moulton Advertiser 5 Feb 1885)

A serious disturbance between the white's [sic] and niggers, occurred at Courtland on Saturday last, but as we have no reliable information we forbear comment. Geo. Martin, the negro speaker, referred to heretofore, was the principal actor and had his abdomen cut opened [sic] and a hat full of entrils [sic] dropped out. Late advices state he is improving. Geo. ought to be arrested as a Rioter. (Moulton Advertiser 26 Sep 1873)


To the Jail of Lawrence county, Alabama, on the 2nd instant, as runaways, Two Negro Boys, one of a bright mulatto color, about 25 years of age, weighs about 150 pounds, and says his name is Austin�the other is of black complexion, about 23 years of age, and says his name is Jorden. Said negroes say they belong to Wm. Wilson, a negro trader, living near Murfreesboro, Rutherford county, Tenn., and that they ran-away from him between Courtland and Russelville, Ala. The owner of said slaves is hereby notified to come forward, prove property, pay charges and take them away, else they will be disposed of according to law. Feb. 5, 1858.
WM. EUBANK, Sheriff. (Moulton Democrat 19 Feb 1858)

Two negroes escaped from the Jail in this place on Tuesday night of last week, and are now luxuating [sic] in some white man's watermellon [sic] patch. We did not learn the particulars, their names nor their crimes. It is enough to know they're gone where the grape vine twineth, and the county is just so much better satisfied.
(Moulton Advertiser 2 Aug 1877)

A negro robbed a man on the public highway near Birmingham of 20 cents and goes to the pen 25 years.
(Moulton Advertiser 1 Feb 1910)


The issue now before our people is: "shall the white man or the negro rule Alabama?" The issue has been precipitated upon the people by the negro and his infamous white allies. Of course all white men who care a copper for the purity and preservation or their race and blood, will be found united on this issue, not matter how much they may differ on other question of State or National import. In the language of the Selma Daily Times, "the day for temporizing is past"�and the sooner this question is settled, the better for both races. We want every man wearing a white skin to show his hand in the coming struggle. We want no drones nor middle men�no third parties in the way to clog our progress or weaken our ranks. Let death be the penalty of desertion. Clear the Ship for action! Put her in command of Commodore George S. Houston, with a full crew of tried and true men, and the white men of this State will muster in such force in November '74, as to overwhelm the black cohorts of miscegenation, and elevate still higher that proud old banner, whose prestige is crowned with the glory of near six thousand years. We feel humiliated in being forced to write on such a subject�but necessity suggests but one alternative�that the base abandoment of race and kindred�rather than which, death is far preferable. Then, to the white men of Alabama, we would say�the crisis is approaching, and it is high time you were making preparations to meet the coming onslaught. Be united, and you are invincible! Burnish your arms for a glorious victory, or pack your trunks to leave the country! (Moulton Advertiser 15 Aug 1873)

The Issue

We have believed for some time past, that the issue of race was rapidly culminating. The blacks, throughout the entire South, have united followed the teachings and fortunes of the carpetbagger. In questions of politics the negro has arrayed himself in opposition to his former master; and even when that master has made overtures for conciliation and a harmony of interests, for the good of all concerned, he has met it with an ignorance of the realities of the situation that bodes no good for the future.

The ignorant and semi-barbarous negro, led and influenced by corrupt white men, who degrade their own race, and that of the negro too, is a dangerous element, and one which, in my judgment, will not do to temporize with. The storm should be met at the onset, and the sooner the proclamation of the white people goes forth, "thus far shalt thou go, but no farther," the better it will be for all concerned. We once had faith in the future of the negro and believed that the elective franchise in his hands "would not be so bad as it seemed," for we believed that the intelligence of his former master, and the kind relations that existed between the races would tend to develope [sic] the intelligence of the negro, and that on all questions of policy his vote would be divided. That faith has gone and we accept the issue just as it presents itself, the white man against the black.

If Alabama is to be South Carolinaized, then the sooner the better, for it is useless to waste time in temporizing. If Alabama is to redeem herself, as Georgia has, then let it be done at the next election. If ignorance and corruption are to the be guiding stars of Alabama's future, then the sooner the fact is proclaimed the better in order that those who wish to change their locations may do so.

The story that is maintained by a correspondent of the State Journal that this issue will drive the negroes from the State, and that our lands will not be tilled, our people impoverished, and that desolation will cover the State, is farcical. The farming operations in Alabama have, since the war, resulted disastrously to the owner of lands. The negroes, and the cities of the West, have received the benefit of the work done, and in our honest judgment the people of the State of Alabama are to-day poorer than they were on the day Lee surrendered. The day the negro leaves the State, that day will immigration commence. Thrift and plenty will in a few years smile over the land. Large planters may not see it in this light, but white population will increase, small farms with comfortable homes will be seen and the general prosperity and aggregate wealth of the country will be vastly augmented. The poor white man, the immigrant, has no inducement to come south. Labor here is considered menial, and the day that he and his family locate in this section, that day they come in competition with the negro, for work. We are willing to admit that the negro is a good laborer, the best in the world for the cotton field, but if we are to have him make our laws, fix our taxes, and run the government merely to build up Louisville, St. Louis, or other Western cities, we are inclined to the opinion that it is paying rather "too dear for the whistle," and we are willing to dispense with him, as a luxury or a necessity. We appeal to the community at large if any man of them were to-day in New York city as immigrants, with their wives and children with them, looking for a home on which to earn their bread by the sweat of their brow, would they select Alabama in its present condition as a place to locate. We say to the State Journal correspondent, that Alabama will never retrograde by the departure of the negro from our midst. The inexhaustible resources of wealth in this State will bring population rapidly, and of Caucasian blood too, whenever this is made a white man's State, with a white man's legislature, and with a white man's honesty and intelligence. Let the day come speedily. White men or Black men must control Alabama, which ever shall do it. The issue has been made by the negro and he must abide with the verdict. -  Selma Daily Times.
(Moulton Advertiser 15 Aug 1873)

The Radicals were out in full force at Landersville on election day, but notwithstanding their displayed love for the negroes the white people carried that box. John Howell, worked against his color, and it will afford us joy to take an active part against him at the next general election. He is candidate for Sheriff remember this, boys. (Moulton Advertiser 11 Aug 1876)

Thirteen negroes were lynched in different sections of the country last week for assaults on white women. Mr Nigger must understand that to lay violent hands on white women is instant death as soon as caught.
(Moulton Advertiser 19 Jul 1888)

Brutal Murder

A quiet, peaceable White was shot to death by a brutal negro. The Murderer at Large. Near Town Creek, in this county, on Monday of last week, Mr. Oscar Cooper, a respectable farmer of that neighborhood, had occasion to reprimand Steven Binford, one of his colored laborers, on account of his not doing work in a satisfactory manner. Binford did not like the talk of Cooper, and securing a shot gun, emptied the contents into Cooper's body, killing him instantly. The negro fled and is still at large. Cooper leaves a wife and two small children. Great indignation is felt among Cooper's neighbors, and it is believed that Steven's neck will grace a halter when caught. (Moulton Advertiser 19 Jul 1888)

Administration Sale

Will be sold, on the 15th day of March next, on a credit of 12 months, at the late residence of Henry Fort, dec'd., about nine miles west of Courtland, in Lawrence County; a portion of Personal Property of said decedent consisting of, say from 15 to 20 NEGROES comprizing [sic] likely men, women, boys, girls and children. Also 16,000 pounds of Baled COTTON, Horses, Mules, Milch Cows, Oxen, Hogs and Stock-cattle, a lot of Bacon, Corn, Fodder, etc. - together with Household and Kitchen Furniture.
Mary W. D. Fort
Admrx. of Henry Fort, deceased with the will annexed.
February 17, 1837 (North Alabamian 17 Feb 1837)

Dave Duncan, the negro that killed Rufe Wilson at Russelville some time ago, was taken from the jail at Belgreen last week and hanged. (Moulton Advertiser 9 Feb 1888)

About one year ago Mr. Claud King's gin was set on fire and burned up. Last Saturday four negroes were arrested charged with being the incendiaries, and will be tried in a Justice's court in a few days.
(Moulton Advertiser 12 Apr 1894)

The three negroes who burned Claud King's barn last winter, were taken from the Colbert County Jail last Saturday night and hanged in the Bridge across spring creek. (Moulton Advertiser 26 Apr 1894)


Memphis, Tenn., April 22. Fayette Deloney, Ed Felton and Emmet Deloney, three negroes, charged with incendiarism, were taken from jail by a mob at Tuscumbia, Ala., and lynched.

A few weeks ago several negroes in the vicinity of Leighton, Ala., were arrested for burning the barn of Claude King, of Leighton, which occurred over twelve months ago, in which he lost twenty-one head of horses, a lot of provender and a number of farming implements, aggregating a loss of $5,000. This was one of a series of burnings, and the people of Leighton were in a state of constant suspense.

Suspicion pointed to Fayette Deloney and his son Emmet. Ed Felton and Grant Ricks, all negroes living in that vicinity, and the evidence continued to strengthen until a negro detective was employed to work up the chain. He went to Leighton, and in the course of a few days had completely won the confidence of the negroes, who unfolded themselves and confessed that they had destroyed the barn to avenge themselves upon King, who had foreclosed a mortgage against one of their number. They confessed that it was their intention to fire his storehouse and residence, but that the opportunity had never presented itself. They also showed the detective a key which would admit them into a number of business houses in Leighton.

Upon this evidence they were arrested, and at a preliminary hearing before a Leighton magistrate the three first named were adjudged guilty and bound over to await the action of the grand jury, Grant Ricks having been acquitted. They were brought to Tuscumbia ten days ago and placed in jail.

Saturday night at 11:30 o'clock about thirty masked men visited the Tuscumbia jail the sheriff, Shelby Frisham, being in attendance at a Masonic banquet and taking the three negroes in charge, rushed them to a county bridge a few blocks away, hanged them and riddled their bodies with bullets.

The deed was done so adroitly and systematically that not a dozen people knew of it until yesterday morning. The mob came from Leighton, each member being disguised. After accomplishing their object they quietly dispersed, leaving the bodies hanging to one of the beams of the bridge. (Leighton News 27 Apr 1894) Note: Until 1895, the line between Lawrence and Colbert Counties ran through the center of Leighton.

The Huntsville Mercury has been informed by Dr. J. J. Dement, that there is a negro cabin in that city, 10 by 12 feet, that contains five generations of people, to wit: There are two little girls, their mother, their mother's mother, their mother's mother's mother, and their mother's mother's mother's mother, or their great, great, grand mother. (Moulton Advertiser 7 Jan 1886)

The negroes are told, by the Radicals, that if Greeley be elected, they will be reduced to slavery again, and they believe it. Hence they will be marched to the polls again, in semi military style, to cast the votes that have been placed in their hands, for Grant.
(Moulton Advertiser 1 Nov 1872)

100 Dollars Reward

STOLEN from the subscriber near Cairo Tennessee, on the night of the 11th inst. a negro girl by the name of
Mariah, about 14 years old, tolerable black, very wide between the eyes, tolerable high cheek bones she had on a Coperous coloured [sic] coat; said girl it is supposed was stolen by John Street, who lives in a little town 12 miles above Natchez, called Sulsor town; said Street is about forty years of age, light complexion, thin visage, 5 feet 10 or 11 inches high, had on dark clothes. He was riding a yellow sorrel mare, neatly shod, one of her ancles [sic] large, occasioned by a strain. Said Street is supposed to be now in Madison county, at one of his relations, the name of which is not known. He was seen five miles this side of Murfreesborough. [sic] Any person that will deliver said Street and girl to me, or confine them in any goal so that I get them shall receive the above reward or fifty dollars for the girl.

Noah B. Tindall

Printers that are friendly to the cause of humanity are requested to give the above an insertion in their respective Papers.
December 15, 1817. (Huntsville Republican 13 Jan 1818)

Public Sale

On Saturday the 27th instant at the plantation of Benjamin S. Pope on the west side of the Meridian road, seven miles north of Huntsville. Will be sold to the highest bidder, the following property belonging to Alexander Pope (who has removed from the county) viz:

Household and kitchen furniture consisting of mahogany dining, card and tea tables, beaureau, [sic] candle stand chairs, bedsteads, and bedding, bed and table linen, glass china and table ware, parlour and chamber glasses, time-piece, fowling pieces, a collection of fancy prints with general variety of useful and valuable articles in house keeping also two light waggons, plantation tools, several head of horses, merino sheep, cattle with several likely negroes among whom is a good cook wench. All sums under 50 dollars cash, all sums over that amount a credit of 90 days, with approved security. Sale to commence at 10 o'clock.
B.S. Pope,
John D. Bibb,
Agents for A. Pope. (Huntsville Republican 23 Dec 1817)

20 Dollars Reward

Ranaway on the 16th instant a negro man named, BEN, about 5 five feet 10 or 11 inches high, stout made of a dark complection [sic] had on when he went away a Blue Broad cloth coat considerably worn at the sleeves a woosted [sic] waistcoat and a pair of pantaloons made of flax, and other cloths [sic] not so well recollected, also a scar on his right leg made from the cut of an ax. Ben was bought in Petersburg, Viginia, by Capt. Joseh [sic] Scot, of Hallifax, Va. It is expected he will attempt to get back. Ten dollars will be give if taken in the county & the above reward given if taken out of the county and lodged in any jail so that I can get him or all reasonable expences [sic] if brought to the subscriber living six miles west of Huntsville Madison county Alabama Territory.
Elbert H. Thompson.
October, 4, 1817 (Huntsville Republican 28 Oct 1817)

RANAWAY from the subscriber, on the 19th instant near Meridianville, Madison county, M. T. a negro man named Simon, about thirty years old, five feet seven inches high, very stout made, large mouth and broad teeth, and very broad thick feet, but short, carried away a number of clothes of homespun, a pair of old shoe-boots and a good wool hat not half worn. Any person bringing him to me, or confining him in any jail so that I get him, shall be handsomely rewarded.
Robert Clark.
August 23. (Huntsville Republican 23 Aug 1817)

Negroes for Sale

I have SIX likely and valuable NEGROES for sale, on a credit of one and two years, or for cash, to suit the purchaser (with interest from the date, if sold on a credit.) Among them are two Blacksmiths one an excellent workman, being well acquainted with the various kinds of work belonging to the trade; the other has nearly completed the trade, and, by a little more instruction, will be fully competent to execute any work appertaining to the business. There are three young Women, two of whom are good Cotton Pickers, and the other a very good House Servant, (perhaps inferior to none) and one Child.

I have also, for private Hire, SEVEN very valuable Negroes consisting of two men, Carpenters, a first-rate house-Woman, another Woman, (a pretty good house-servant and excellent field-hand,) and three Girls.

Those wishing to purchase will make application to the subscriber, living one and a half miles northwest of La Grange.
O. A. Rolfe.
December 9, 1836. (North Alabamian 16 Dec 1836)

Negroes for Sale

Will be Sold, for cash, a likely Negro Woman, 21 years of age, and her three Children. A good bargain will be given, by immediate application at this Office, or to Martin & Cassity, at the Franklin House.
(North Alabamian 17 Feb 1837)

We learn that another negro has just been killed down near Courtland, but have heard no particulars and are not trying to get them. (Moulton Advertiser 8 Jun 1909)

We learn that the negro whose skull was cracked a short time ago by Hammet Ashford striking him with the but end [sic] of a shot-gun, is dead. Martin is yet quite sick, and a negro near Jonesboro is in critical condition from a lick on the head. Behave yourselves colored friends, and you'll not be hurt. Keep your heads level. (Moulton Advertiser 10 Oct 1873)

Only One

Only one negro killed at Courtland since our last issue, and that occurred Sunday night. Young Ballentine did the work and everybody congratulates him on the handsome job. The negro was drunk, and had invaded Ballentine's kitchen, swearing death against a female servant. Nothing but a dose of hot lead, from a smoking pistol would appease his wrath. (Moulton Advertiser 17 Jan 1889)

Judge W. P. Caitwood [sic] of Tuscumbia, with many others, has given his views to the country on the negro exodus question. The opinions appeared in the New York Herald, and this is what the distinguished lawyer said: "I think the object good, without endorsing the details of either, although the only question with me is whether the negroes can be induced to emigrate. If they can, and they are thus thinned out where they have congregated in large centers in the south, I think it would be both for their good and that of the country."
(Moulton Advertiser 6 Feb 1890) Note: Correct name is Judge W. P. Chitwood.

Moulton is not yet ready for amalgamation, and palsied be the tongue that advocates such doctrine in our midst.
Wait for the wagon�don't force negroes and white people to intermarry before the law prohibiting it is repealed.
(Moulton Advertiser 14 Aug 1890)


Florence Banner

  • If you want your children to have to sit beside colored children in the public schools, advocate the passage of the force bill.
  • If you want your wives and daughters to sit next to colored women in the churches, vote for the force bill.
  • If you are in favor of white people and colored people riding together on trains, vote for the force bill.
  • If you are in favor of forcing the hotels of our town allowing white and colored people to sit together at the same table, urge the passage of the force bill.
  • If you are in favor of making no distinction whatever between whites and blacks, in a social point of view, vote for the force bill.
  • If you are opposed to drawing a line of distinction between the races, you are a fit person to advocate the passage of the force bill.
  • If you consider the colored race as good as your wife or daughter, and as worthy of as much consideration, then support the force bill.
  • If you want to have negro domination in the South, then support the force bill.
  • If you want to break down all barriers which prevents [sic] the intermarriage of whites and blacks, support the force bill.
  • If you want a squad of negro soldiers at every voting place in the South, support the force bill.

In a word if you want to see more sand raised, in a shorter space of time than you ever saw in your born days, let the force bill become a law, and an attempt made to put it in operation. The watchword all along the line will be, 'Rats, to your holes.' And yet, strange to say, there are men who seem to think that it will not amount to anything if it does pass, and say that "it will not hurt an honest man." We will ask such how would they like to see a negro man walking side by side with their daughters on the street, or sitting beside their wives at church, at hotels, or on the cars. And yet this is the intention of the force bill, and also to break down all barriers and make it lawful for whites and blacks to marry.

Let all who can see no harm to come to society by the passage of such measures, remember that if they have no daughters to be insulted by negroes, that others have. The white man living in the South, that can see nothing wrong in the intentions and teachings of the diabolical and degrading measures proposed in the force bill, must be very dull of perception indeed.
(Moulton Advertiser 14 Aug 1890)

A Corn Thief Rewarded

Jeff Smith, a negro corn thief, was handsomely rewarded Tuesday night near Oakville by a man named Howell. Jeff was stealing corn, and at the crack of Howell's gun he fell dead across his sack filled with corn. No other particulars. (Moulton Advertiser 30 Nov 1899)

A desperate fight took place between whites and blacks the afternoon of Monday Dec. 17th, at Muscle Shoals, Ala., a small town on the Tennessee river, 30 [sic] miles northeast of Tuscumbia. The fight originated between a white man and a colored barber. The friends of each rushing in to assist, the fight became general, revolvers and knives being used freely. The negroes were driven out of town, except three, who were nearly beaten to death. The mob burned the barber shop and contents, killed one negro and wounded several. Three whites were terribly cut and shot, but no one killed. All quiet at latest date. (Moulton Advertiser 3 Jan 1878)

Jas. Boddle, the negro rapist, has been resentenced to be hanged in Colbert county on the 28th of this month. We suppose the entertaiment [sic] will be at Tuscumbia, but at what hour the Alabamian failed to say.
(Moulton Advertiser 7 Apr 1876)

We learn that Charlie Hodges, formerly of this place was recently lynched in Arkansas for rape. We do not know the facts, but this is the report. Charlie is a negro and a refugee from justice.
(Moulton Advertiser 25 May 1905)


Will Hawkins, a negro youth of this place whose reputation is bad, was arrested on Tuesday morning by Marshal Vinson, on complaint of Thomas Baker, colored, a resident of Trinity, Ala., who was robbed of coat and pants, some money and a pocket knife.

On trial it was learned that Baker, who was in the waiting room at this depot waiting for the east-bound passenger train Monday night, was accosted by Hawkins, who represented himself as night watchman at the depot and bantered for a trade of some kind. The stranger would not trade, and Hawkins getting angry ordered him out of the depot. As the former went up the road, Hawkins followed, and at the point of a pistol told him to halt, and demanded his knife, valise and contents, which were accordingly surrendered. He then ordered Baker to leave town, emphasizing his order with some ugly threats and the presentation of a pistol at his head. Baker hid out till morning when he told the story of his night's adventures to the mayor.

His honor was satisfied with the testimony and the marshal finding the clothes in a vacant room where Hawkins placed them, sent him to jail without bond until the meeting of the next circuit court.
Hawkins is a bad coon and has seen the inside of prison walls more than once.
(Leighton News 10 Jan 1896)

Henry Ashford, (col.) committed to Moulton jail several weeks ago, for an assault upon the person of Dr. W. B. Irwin, was taken out of prison on Saturday night last, by a body of disguised persons and carried off. It was supposed by many that the negro was hung, but we learn such was not the case, as he has been seen in the valley since his release.
We hope this is the last act of the kind that we shall ever be called upon to record in the State. It is to the interest of all KuKluxes, Leaguers, and Regulators to disband all secret political organizations and unite for the "enforcement of the laws." Look at Arkansas and Tennessee, and see the result of just such acts as the above. In Arkansas helpless women, innocent children, and palsied old age, are suffering to atone for violations of law and the whole State is one horrid picture of ruin, desolation, and blood of fire, rape, and murder! Who wants these calamities poured out upon Alabama? No one! we hope. Then in the name of Heaven, "Let us have peace." (Moulton Advertiser 29 Jan 1869)

Ben Gowen one of the oldest ex-slaves in this county died at his home near town last Friday. He was well known in this county having taken an active part in politics when the negro vote in this county amounted to a great deal. Uncle Ben has been very feeble for several years and was totaly [sic] blind having lost his eyesight about three years ago. He was a Mason and was buried by that order Saturday. (Moulton Advertiser 28 Mar 1917)

Policeman Frank Prewit pulled a white woman named Fannie Phillips and a black negro man named Cass Johnson, one night last week. They are now in the county jail to await action of the grand jury, charged with living in adultery. At the preliminary hearing they admitted that they had been living as husband and wife for four years. Decatur News.
O! what a fall there was, my countrymen. (Moulton Advertiser 2 Jun 1898)

A little negro boy, only 6 years old, was sent to prison from Birmingham for burglary, and his name is Washington.

A negro stole a biscuit at Birmingham, and was so badly shot that he is not expected to live. His assailant was sent to jail to meditate over his horrible deed.

Notices have been posted in Sheffield requesting the negroes to leave at once, but The Standard says they don't have to and what that paper says may be depended upon.
(Moulton Advertiser 2 Mar 1909)

W. H. Council and his negro coons ran some white ladies out of a car at Huntsville last Friday.
(Moulton Advertiser 9 Jun 1887)

W. H. Council of Huntsville, perhaps the smartest colored man in the State, has been admitted to practice law in the Alabama Supreme Court. He enjoys the confidence and respect of all decent people.
(Moulton Advertiser 3 May 1883)

The body of Prof. Wm. H. Council, for thirty-five years president of the Agricultural and Mechanical College for Negroes, was laid to rest in a grave on the campus of the college. The funeral was a notable affair, and from 1,200 to 1,500 representatives of the white and negro races assembled and heard orators of both races eulogize the dead man. Perhaps never in the history of the South has so much honor been done the memory and achievements of a man who was born in slavery. However, Prof. Council's humble beginning and the great height attained by him made all classes eager to do him honor. (Leighton News 07 May 1909)

Report of an awful crime and its revenge comes to us through M. J. Taylor, which was communicated to him by a nephew in Texas, and which we publish as a warning to others: "I went to Cooper last Friday and saw about 500 men mob a negro. They had him in the court house and was being tried, and when the crowd went in they put the negro in the grand jury room; but the crowd took a breast yoke from a wagon and beat the door down, roped the negro and hung him up to a phone post on the square. In 30 minutes took him down, tied him to the back of a wagon and dragged him all over nigger town; then up near a negro church, built a pile of wood and lumber on him, poured ten gallons of coal oil on it and barbecued him. They did that about 4 o'clock in the evening, and after supper Scott Jetton came along by where the negro was burning, got a piece of the flesh on a stick and went into a negro store; the negro running the store had made some remarks about the people. Scott threw a 6 shooter in his face and made him throw up his hands, then eat a piece of the cooked negro and say it was good. The negro, for which he paid the awful penalty, had killed a 13-year old school girl on her way from school and was going to rape her. The negroes of Delta county, having received notices to leave, are getting out on every train. Yous truly, W. A. Taylor. (Moulton Advertiser 5 Feb 1913)

We would rather live in an Engine House, where the tooting and blowing was eternally going on, than to reside within hearing distance of a negro church when a big meeting is in full blast. Do you see the point?
(Moulton Advertiser 9 Nov 1892)

A mob of 500 men took a negro out of jail at Huntsville on Monday of last week and hung him in the Court House yard. The negro had brutally assisted in murdering a policeman. (Moulton Advertiser 18 Oct 1883)

A negro man killed a white boy at the Muscle Shoals, last week, for ten dollars. He fled, was captured and put in the Florence jail. It is feared the negro will be lynched. Later A mob, composed of about 800 white and colored citizens, hung the negro last Saturday in Florence. (Moulton Advertiser 3 May 1883)


North Alabamian

George Ware, the negro man who brutally murdered the little negro boy on the Shoals last week, of which we gave an account in our last issue, from the Banner, was taken from jail on Saturday and hanged on a tree West of the Depot at Florence. He made a confession of his guilt. Said he committed the cowardly crime for five dollars and five cents, two plugs of tobacco, and that he deserved his fate. There was no drinking or rowdyism of any kind indulged in by the crowd, who were said to have acted with calm determination to do what the laws and Courts of justice seem powerless to do in these latter days; that is to protect the lives of the citizens or adequately to punish all of those who rob and steal and murder. Of these crimes, it seems to be least dangerous to commit the latter. We say it with shame and sorrow, but nevertheless with emphasis and sincerity, that the cruelest and most cowardly brute that ever strangled a woman or an infant can escape conviction in our courts if he has money enough to buy a defense. We are informed that only a few days ago, twenty-one lawyers defended a man in Nashville for the most aggravated and cowardly murder ever committed in the State of Tennessee, just as shocking as that committed by the negro Ware, with the addition of preparations and lying in wait by the murderer, and the enticing of his victim from his home by a forged note over the signature of a neighbor asking him to come to see his sick child shooting him from an alley as he sped on his errand of relief and mercy. This too after the burning of a church, set on fire for the purpose, had failed to bring the murdered man within reach of the assassin's gun. But this murderer had money and the result need not be stated. If the people of Nashville had risen in their might and hung this man and ostracised all of the jury who tried him, the occurrence would have been recorded as a parallel to the action of the people of Natchez and Vicksburg years ago when forbearance ceased to be a virtue and those outraged communities arose in their might and broke the necks of the murderous villains who had outraged society and hitherto gone unwhipped of justice. We deprecate and deplore the condition of affairs, prevailing all over the country, which makes such affairs as the one in question possible, but we see no hope for a change until the lightnings of public wrath descend and purify the mephitic atmosphere of our court rooms.

It is true that a special term of the Circuit Court had been called to try Ware, but what assurance was there that he would have been tried in one or ten years? Are there not scores of men lying in the jails of this State or roaming at large on bail who have been under indictment for years for murder? And as every continuance is estimated by the lawyers to be worth twenty per cent to these criminals, it is easy to see just how much time they need, and there seems to be no trouble in getting it.

if Courts of justice can or will afford adequate protection to a community, every good citizen will uphold and defend them at the peril of his life, but when they fail, and the administration of justices becomes the laughing stock and reproach of a people, it is not strange that we hear the thunders of popular indignation proclaiming the maxim "silus populi et suprema lex." (Moulton Advertiser 24 May 1883)


Our Absent Friends Write "Back Home."

Chico, Texas,
Jan. 31.
Editor News:

As so many people asked me to let them hear from me, I will do so through your paper if you will give me space.

Dear people and friends of old Alabama: I have been here but a short time but have already learned why people work more and make more than they can in old Alabama. Now I have worked seven days and I have helped make more plow points and pointed more in those seven days than I would have done there in a whole year. The people have not lost a day from plowing since I have been here. They are complaining of the ground getting hard. I have not seen a drop of rain fall in Texas. The roads are as dry here now as I ever saw them there. Now we have had two blizzards since I came and the people all said one of them was the hardest they had this winter, and if they don't have any harder weather than that the cold weather is a matter of no consequence.

Now I noticed in The News where everything was frozen up in Leighton. We knew nothing of that. Also notice that the negroes of west Leighton defied the officers to put the hog law in force. Now that is a shame but I can live here and be out of all that. The people say here if a negro would come here and make such expressions he would not last as long as a clean shirt at a hog killing.

Now I have seen one negro since I have been here and he came from Jack county. They don't allow Mr. Negro here. And another great blessing I have not seen a man who was thought to be intoxicated. The people are as rough on liquor as on negroes.

This place is much larger than Leighton and all white people; are as social and clever as can be. They have a good school of more than three hundred pupils six teachers.

I was out in the country today and I actually saw where people were plowing under half as much cotton as a lot of the Leighton valley land would make. Now I don't say this to slur the old country. They say they have picked all they have time to pick and will use that as fertilizer.

Everbody here seems to be well except colds. My family have had terrible colds but are about well now. We have seen a few of the old Alabama people. Have not sold all of their cotton here yet.
I guess I had better close. My best wishes to The News and its readers.

A. T. Braidfoot. (Leighton News 7 Feb 1908)

State of Alabama
Lawrence County Aprill [sic]18th 1828

Whereas Branch Jones an acting Justice of the peace of said County has made known to the Judge of the County Court of said County. That a Negro man Slave named Joe the property of William Leetch of said County has been committed by him said Justice to the Jail of said County on a charge of having broken the Grocery Store of Martin McMahan said Slave being situated in said County and of having taken therefrom Money and property exceeding in value the Sum of Twenty dollars which offence was committed on the night of ___ day of Aprill [sic] aforesaid. It is therefore ordered that Satturday [sic] Morning Eight O'clock 19th of this Instant be set for trial of said Slave at the Court House of said County, and that the Clerk of this Court issue a venire to the Sheriff of said County commanding him to Summon a Jury of twelve Men two thirds at least to be owners of Slaves connected to neither to [sic] Martin McMahan the prosecutor nor to William Leetch the owner of said Slave to appear at said Eight O'clock at said Court House for the trial of said Slave. And it is further ordered that James B. Wallace pratising [sic] Lawyer of this Court be appointed on the part of the State to prosecute said Negro Slave named Joe for the offence aforesaid.
Peter W. Taylor Judge C.C.
(Lawrence County Court Minute Book - 1827-1838, Page 31)

Notice Is hereby given to all persons, that I forwarn them from trading for, or taking an assignment on a note of hand, that I gave to Nicholas Ready of Madison county, Mississippi Territory, for 77 dollars and 50 cents, as I am determined not to pay the same. The note was given for a Negro girl, which girl is not sound, and was not at the time he sold her to me, which I am able to prove.
Wm. Phillips.
Sept. 21 (Huntsville Republican 4 Nov 1817)


Will be Sold by way of Public Vendue, at John Harrod's in the Hickory Flat, Madison county, on the 21st day of November next, the following property, viz: Seven Negroes late the property of David Pickens, deceased. Six month credit will be given by purchasers giving bonds with approved security and payments in specie. Sale will commence at 10 o'clock, where due attendance will be given by me.
John Harrod, Admr.
Oct. 21 (Huntsville Republican 21 Nov 1817)

Amos McKinney, a burley negro, is the latest applicant for a pension at this place. Prove that you sympathized with the yankees during the war, that you have the toothache, then come up and draw your pension.
(Moulton Advertiser 14 Aug 1890)

Related Off Site Links

Jim Crow Museum of Racist Imagery

AL Supreme Court Slave Cases

Black History Milestones: Timeline

Contact: [email protected]

Content, original research, photos, layout and stories are
Copyright © 2001, 2002, 2003 by Hoyt Cagle and Don Campbell. All rights reserved.