A Lynching in 1847

It’s not really crucial for the book I’m working on, but I just finished the diary of a priest who travelled from New York to North Carolina in 1847 to start a monastic community in Valle Crucis. This priest was later a missionary on Blackwell’s Island, which is why I’m looking into him.

They travelled on foot for the last leg of the journey, and just as they were entering Greensboro they came across a huge mob who were on their way to a the hanging of a black man accused of murder. This was around November, 1847. The priest doesn’t go with them, and he doesn’t say much about it except to describe what happened at the inn where he stayed that night.

“I was much shocked at some unfeeling remarks made at table about negroes, by two young lawyers, and a lady of the house, a Presbyterian. After living awhile in a slave state, I ceased from feeling any surprise at want of sympathy for the ignorant slave. It is not the least evil of slavery, that is sears the noble sentiments of brotherly love, which man naturally has for a human being.”

I don’t like the condescending “ignorant” part but at least he was anti-slavery. I’ve tried to look up who was hanged/lynched that day, but so far I have been unable. I found a database of lynchings but it begins in 1882. As I said, it’s not really crucial, but this is the kind of thing that always pulls at me. It’s what I’m doing with this whole book really. All these people who suffered and are forgotten. I know that is the way of it for almost all of us but still. I want to give them their history back.

On a much much lighter note … a kitten! Okay, not really a kitten but he will always be my kitten to me. Hey little Bleeck.

Bleecker on the Bed

Stacy Horn

I've written six non-fiction books, the most recent is Damnation Island: Poor, Sick, Mad, and Criminal in 19th-Century New York.

View all posts by Stacy Horn →

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