Five Negroes Executed
June 22, 1901
Screven county jail executed five black men for ambushing and killing two white men.
Bylvania, Ga., June 15th.—Arnold Augustus, Andrew Davis, Richard Sanders, William Hudson and Samuel Baldwin, all negroes, were executed in the yard of the county jail of Screven county yesterday afternoon. The necks of four were broken by the fall. The fifth died from strangulation. The negroes bore up well. They sang at jail and then marched between a squad of soldiers to the scaffold. Here they made a short talk and received spiritual consolation. The crime for which the men were being hanged occurred last August. It was originated in a quarrel between a young negro named Alexander and two young white men, Filmore Herrington and Milton Mears, respecting the right of way on a country highway, and Alexander made threats against the lives of the white men. Alexander it seems, belonged to an organization of negroes known as “Knights of the Archer.” It was alleged but not proved that this was an oath-bound organization for mutual defense among the negroes, even to the extent of killing white men who interfered with negroes. A day or two later after the quarrel in the road Herrington and Mears swore out warrants against Alexander for threatening their lives. Mears, being a constable, headed a party consisting of himself, Herrington, Capt. J. T. Wade and George Daniel, to effect the arrest of Alexander. As the four white men approached a dozen guns fired from ambush by apparently a dozen guns and rifles. Constable Mears fell dead in his tracks. Herrington, mortally wounded, crawled a hundred yards and died. Daniel was wounded and made his escape. Upon the trial, the five named admitted they were in the ambushing party, but claimed they were forced into it by others under threats of death.
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“Five Negroes Executed ,” Black Virginia: The Richmond Planet, 1894-1909, accessed January 16, 2019, http://blackvirginia.richmond.edu/items/show/806.