“Bloody Riot in Evansville, Ind.-Attack on the Negroes,” New York Times, July 31, 1857, p. 6.
Evansville (IN) Journal
New York Daily Times
Bloody Riot in Evansville, Ind.-Attack on the Negroes
The following text is presented here in complete form, as it originally appeared in print. Spelling and typographical errors have been preserved as in the original.
Bloody Riot in Evansville, Ind.-Attack on the Negroes.
The Evansville Journal, of Monday, gives an account of a bloody conflict between the whites and negroes of that city.
Our town and vicinity have been under an intense excitement since Thursday last, growing out of the negro violence committed on the Edmunds family in the Bayou. The admission of the negro to bail, and a long series of offences which their neighbors have been treasuring up against the colony of blacks, who live in the bottom some five or six miles below town, had aroused the people of the neighborhood to a determination to get rid of the clan of blacks , at all hazards, and on Friday night a preconcerted attack was made on them and their dwellings by a body of white men gathered , no one knows where, numbering 50 or 75. The negroes, it appears, were prepared for them and had armed themselves and loop holed their cabins. Which party made the first assault or fired the first gun in not known.
About 10 o’clock at night a brick fusillade was opened and kept up for some minutes, after which a rush was made at the house, and the door broken in, when a hand to hand struggle ensued, in which bowie-knives, clubs, and cleavers were the weapons used. Many on both sides were severely cut and beaten. A man by the name of ALEXANDER MADDUX received three cuts in the head, the shoulder, and arm. Another man by the name of JOSEPH GLASS received a ball in the head. GLASS is reported dead, and MADDUX in a very critical condition. A German was shot in the thigh, and had one of his fingers shot off. Many others were slightly wounded. It was exceedingly difficult to get at the truth of the matter amid the excitement and conflicting statements. Both parties were seriously beaten in the engagement, but we have not heard of any fatal wounds except those mentioned.
An old black woman, the mother of the family, received a severe blow upon the head from a gun stock, and a black boy was knocked down with a pistol barrel. One white man was severely cut on the head from a blow with a cleaver, which left a large lock of his hair and a pool of blood on the floor. LYLE’S house is half a mile from the main road, in a secluded spot in the woods. At the time of the attack the blacks say there were but five or six black men in the house; the other inmates were eight or ten women and children. The house exhibited the marks of rifle balls and shot in four or five different places. The door which was strongly fastened, was beaten in by a fence rail. The negroes declare they did not fire till after the door was forced open. The other party say the persons shot received their wounds outside the door, and before the door was forced in.
On Saturday the excitement was increased by the above occurrences and a more serious and a wider combination was evidently forming to drive off or exterminate the blacks, who form a community of one hundred and fifty or two hundred in the bottom. Serious apprehensions were felt that a bloody drama would be enacted. Several judicious citizens addressed a note to Sheriff GAVITT, who, aided by Sheriff HALL and Sheriff MCBRIDE, repaired privately to the cabins of the blacks, in anticipation of the movements of the whites, and induced the offending negroes to place themselves under their charge, and they were brought to the city in the afternoon and placed in a secure quarters, and out of harms way. The community, by this judicious movement, well executed, have probably been spared a painful and bloody tragedy.
MADDUX is in a very precarious condition and young EDMUNDS, the victim of the first assault by the blacks, is not expected to survive, as lockjaw is likely to supervene. The severest wounds were inflicted upon the whites as they attempted to ascend the steps of the house, and were dealt by a butcher’s cleaver.
It was expected, on Saturday evening, that the houses of the negroes would be burnt during the night, but the design seems to have been abandoned, and, as the negro men are now in jail, and the public are satisfied that the assailant of EDMUNDS-in case of his death-will have justice meted out to him, public feeling is satisfied, and no further outrages will be committed.