Washington (DC) National Era, “Lynching an Abolitionist in Mississippi,” October 8, 1857

Source citation
“Lynching an Abolitionist in Mississippi,” Washington (DC) National Era, October 8, 1857, p. 164: 1.
Original source
Memphis (TN) Appeal
Newspaper: Publication
Washington National Era
Newspaper: Headline
Lynching an Abolitionist in Mississippi
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Newspaper: Column
Date Certainty
Cara Holtry, Dickinson College
Transcription date
The following text is presented here in complete form, as it originally appeared in print.  Spelling and other typographical errors have been preserved as in the original.


A correspondent of the Memphis Appeal writing from Oxford, Miss., on the 7th inst., gives the following account of the manner in which an Abolitionist was lynched:

“On Friday night last, a man by the name of Snyder was brought here under arrest, charged with organizing and insurrection among the negroes in that neighborhood of Abbeyville, and was tried before the committing court the next day, and discharged. Mr. Yancy Wiley was called to the chair, and made some inquiring remarks, which were answered by several of our influential citizens, somewhat recommending mob law, which was received with applause; but this was cooled down by occasional speeches from those opposed to it. After deliberating some two hours, the prisoner agreed to remain in jail one month, to enable him to procure evidence of his innocence, which was put to a vote in the house, and rejected; after which a committee of five was appointed to dispose of the matter. They agreed to accept his proposition, (one month’s imprisonment,) and the meeting adjourned. He (the prisoner) left the house for the jail under care of two constables, but on arriving at the gate he was pushed back, when the officers had to release their hold, which was immediately taken by two of the crowd. They proceeded to the end of the street leading north from the courthouse.

“When they were about one hundred yards out of the corporation, they left the road about a quarter of a mile, and stopped. The man (Snyder) was asked to strip himself, which he did without a word. He was then asked to acknowledge the crime he was charged with. To this he said he had none to make; that he was innocent, &c. After keeping him naked near an hour, and consulting, it was proposed to let him have what he chose, and he was carried back to jail. Awhile after supper he was demanded of the jailor, who refused to let him out, but, upon persuading and explanation on the part of the people, he (the jailor) agreed to turn the prisoner out, not having any legal process to imprison him, which was done. He was taken a half-mile from town by a picked crowd, who were watched closely by outsiders. After remaining in the woods about an hour and a half, the crowd (who were scattered around as sentinels) met at a fence where the prisoner was. He was again told to strip, which he proceeded to do without molestation; but when he was drawing his shirt, it was caught and fastened around his neck with the sleeves for a blindfold. A rope was then put around his neck to frighten him, but it had not its desired effect. He was allowed to stand in that position about fifteen minutes, when he was carried to the bottom of the hollow nearest to where they were, and tied around a tree. He was told what was their intention: to lynch him until he told something. The lashing was commenced by two, who used straps fastened to sticks about ten inches long. After he had taken one hundred and sixty-seven lashes, he began to know something about it, but not enough to satisfy the lynchers; so they commenced again with two other lynchers, and when the number had reached two hundred and thirty eight lashes, he told the whole tale, which was this: He was to raise a company of some dozen blacks, who were to be furnished with arms (knives and pistols) by him, and go to the houses of some of the wealthiest families, and get their money by frightening them. If they failed in this way, they were to kill the men and take it, when they were to get on the cars from Memphis, and then up the river to Indiana. They were to take two white ladies with them, for wives. (He implicated another man, who was then in Indiana.) There was no testimony against him except his confession and that of the blacks. So he was shipped on cars yesterday morning for the Junction, where he was to start to his home in Indiana. I have learned to-day that he was taken from the cars at Holly Springs, and confined in jail. I suppose we shall hear more from him when the cars arrive here to-day. D.P.M.”

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