Lynching in North Louisiana

Many Blacks were Lynched in North Louisiana

In the 1880’s before there was organized protest against the practice, lunching by mobs was common practice across the South, including Ouachita Parish and surrounding North Louisiana parishes.

Ida B. Wells a national organizer against lynching kept records of the lynchings across the South as a part of the national drive to outlaw lynchings. The national push to stop mob lynchings was promoted by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). The Archives of Tuskegee University in Alabama maintains listings of the lynching of the Monroe area. Some Blacks who committed crimes were lynched instead of being taken to jail or getting tried by a jury to determine their guilt or innocence. Before police could take Black prisoners to jail, angry mobs would approach police and abduct Black prisoners and lynch them. Sometimes whites were lynch, but most lynchings were against Black citizens.

Lynchings in the Monroe Area: (From Tuskegee University Records)

December 1, 1882, Unknown Negro, Man Stealing;
July 9, 1883, Henderson Lee, charged with murder;
April 27, 1884, Mr. Mulligan (white man), charged with murder;
February 18, 1886, George Robinson, Self defense;
April 19, 1889, Unnamed Negro man, rape;
May 18, 1889, Unnamed Negro Man, burglary (Columbia);
October 20, 1890, John Russ (White man), murder (Columbia);
October 30, 1890, Negro named Showden, threatening language;
May 22, 1892, Unnamed Negro Man, murder;
December 28, 1892, Tillman Green, attempted assault
April 23, 1894, Thomas Claxton, Murder (Tallulah);
April 23, 1894, David Hawkins, Murder (Tallulah);
April 27, 1894, Thell Claston, Murder (Tallulah);
April 27, 1894, Scott Harvey, Murder (Tallulah)
April 27, 1894, Camp Claxton, Murder (Tallulah);
June 4, 1894, Thomas Underwood, Murder;
June 14, 1894, J.H. Day, Suspected arson;
January 10, 1896, A.L. Smart, murder;
July 13, 1896, Courtney Rendrick, murder;
September 16, 1896; James McCauley, rape;
October 2, 1897, Wash Furran, rape;
May 29, 1906, R. T. Rogers, murder (Tallulah);
August 26, 1906, Alfred Shaufilet, murder;
March 15, 1907, Flint Williams, murder;
March 15, 1907, Henry Gardner, murder;
August 24, 1909, William S. Wade, murderous assault;
August 25, 1910, Laura Porter, keeping a house of disrepute;
October 22, 1913, Warren Eaton, murder;
August 5, 1914, Preston Griffin, murder;
August 7, 1914, Charles Hall, murder;
August 8, 1914, Louis Pruitt, murder;
August 8, 1914, Dan Johnson, murder;
March 16, 1918, John Richard (lynched but released before death), robbery and rape;
March 16, 1918, George McNeal, robbery and rape;
April 22, 1918, Clyde Williams, assault with intent to murder;
January 29, 1919, Thompson Smith, Murder;
August 9, 1919, Unnamed Negro man, suspected murder.

Newspaper accounts of some of these lynchings revealed the gory details: August 24, 1909, William S. Wade was lynched for murderous assault. Wade wanted to get revenge against white for the killing of his brother by police. Wade went on top of the Bank of Monroe armed with a shot gun and bird seed which was mistaken for buck shots and started shooting white people walking along the street. He shot 26 white people in his rage.
The police shot Wade 75 times and after they killed him, an angry mob hanged his dead body in front of the New South Drug Store where Black people could see it. Wade’s body was taken to a vacant area and burned until the body turned into ashes. The only part of Wade’s body that did not burn was the heart. Locals were disturbed and burned the heart again because old legends said only the hearts of heroes don’t burn.

October 22, 1913, Warren Eaton was lynched for insulting a white girl. Eaton was accused of accosting a seventeen year old white girl and asking her to go with him to a house in the red district of Monroe. Eaton was arrested by police for insulting a white girl. Some white men in Monroe were angered over the fact that a Black man insulted a white girl. An angry mob of white men met at the Monroe Grocery company to design a plan for getting Eaton out of jail and lynch him. One of the members of the mob made a false call to the police about someone needing assistance at a house near the Monroe Steam Landry. When police arrived on the scene, a group of white men pointed guns at them and demanded the keys to Eaton’s cell.

The angry mob went to Eaton’s cell and took him wearing under clothes. Eaton did not resist or utter a word of protest when he was taken from the cell to be lynched. Eaton was lynched in front of Negro Knights of Phythias Hall. On August 5, 1914, Henry Holmes was lynched for murder. Holmes was arrested for the murder of A. J. Madden, a white store owner in Monroe. Holmes went to Madden’s store and hit him over the head with a hoe while he was leaning over the cash register. Eaton confessed to police that he hit Madden over the head. Madden died the next day from injuries sustained in the assault. An angry mob went to the police station knowing that there were only two officers watching Holmes. They went to the police station and disarmed the two policemen and took Holmes away from the jail. Holmes was hanged on a china tree in the rear of Madden’s store.

On August 8, 1914, Dan Johnson and Louis Pruitt were also lynched for the murder of A.J. Madden. They were accused of accompanying Holmes in the murder of Madden. There was no clear evidence that Johnson and Pruitt helped Holmes kill Madden. An angry mob lynched Johnson and Pruitt before being tried by a jury. Johnnie Richards was falsely identified as being lynched on March 16, 1918 for an assault on a white woman. George McNeal was lynched at the courthouse square instead of Richards. There were conflicting reports that stated that Richards was also lynched along side McNeal. Richards and McNeal were accused of assaulting a white woman named Strozier who lived on 415 Olive Street.
They were held in jail for investigation as suspects in the Strozier assault. McNeal was a city prisoner during that time, but he was a trusty who had freedom at night. Mrs. Strozier identified McNeal as the Black man who attacked her. She also identified Richards as an accomplice but said he did not help McNeal.