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Violence against African Americans in Boone County
Post-Civil War Violence
1866 Report of the Freedmen's Bureau contained the following incidents:
Amanda Bishop, who was formerly enslaved in Boone County, was taken from her place of employment in Covington and beaten with a club, because “she worked for a Union man and refused to work for the Rebel who beat her.” Amanda's father, Henry Bishop, had served as a sergeant in the Union Army. In December, 1865, Bishop had brought a habeus corpus suit against two slaveholders in Boone County who still held his family as slaves.
Jordan Finney was attacked and driven off his Boone County property, his furniture and house destroyed; his two daughters were also forced out of the county and told never to return, because they were married to Union soldiers.
William and Eliza Sleet
and James and Mary Alexander were “beaten in a most cruel and inhuman manner,” their property destroyed and their lives threatened if they tried to return back home. The Sleet family lived in Verona in 1870, and James and Mary Alexander lived in Mason County in 1870.
Carter Utz was badly hurt in the same attack as the Sleet and Alexander families. According to the report, his body was “cut with gashes six inches in length, which were filled with salt.” Carter Utz and family were living in Burlington in 1870. Utz, William Sleet and James Alexander were all veterans of the Union Army.
June 1876: Smith Williams was taken from the Burlington
Jail and lynched. An incident (near Anderson Ferry
) between Williams and a young white man named Fred Wahl led to Wahl being shot by Williams. Wahl died of his wounds three days after the incident. In 1870, 27 year old Williams was living in Covington with his wife, Melinda. He was working as a day laborer.
July 1876: Joe Payne was accused of assaulting a daughter of Jacob Scott outside of Union
and on the way to the Burlington
Jail, he was pulled from the wagon by a mob and shot. Payne's body was left on the Gunpowder Creek near Pleasant Valley Road, where it was later found. The mob was never identified.
March 1877: Parker Mayo was accused of attempted assault on the daughter of a railroad worker named William Murray who lived near Walton
, while she was home alone. He was also accused of attacking a nearby unnamed farmer's wife the following day. His body was found hanged from a tree outside town.
September 1879: Theodore Daniels, 25, in Union
was hanged and then shot. He was accused of and confessed to attempted assault on Miss Georgia Billeter.
January 14, 1880: Charles Smith, 23 years old, was accused of arson and lynched at Gaines Tavern
. The Daily Commonwealth
, a local newpaper, reported on January 16th, that two Covington physicians traveled to Walton and retrieved Smith's remains from the base of the tree where he was hanged. Mr. Smith was taken to the Ohio Medical College in Cincinnati. In 1870, he was living in the Carlton area, now known as Rabbit Hash
with siblings Elizabeth and Lafayette.
May 4, 1884: The Daily Commonwealth
reported that Charles Dickerson, confessed thief, was forcibly taken from the Burlington
Jail and hung from a maple tree one mile east of Burlington. According to the 1880 Census, 12 year old Dickerson was living in Grant County with a young African American family named Lewis. If the Census is accurate, Dickerson was 16 years old at the time of the lynching.
September 11, 1855: William Scales, 29, was forcibly taken from the Burlington jail at three AM by an angry, drunken mob. Scales had been charged with the rape of the young daughter of Mr. Lunsford; he had plead not guilty and was awaiting trial. Scales's bullet-riddled body was found hanging from a tree “about halfway between Burlington and Florence,” according to news reports.