Those Lunenburg Resolutions

January 18, 1896


The Planet criticizes the recent council meeting in Lunenburg that claimed that prisoners who were nearly lynched never faced actual danger.


It is indeed surprising to note the blood-thirstiness of the people who claim to represent the best citizens of Lunenburg County. The resolutions adopted at the mass-meeting held at Lunen C.  H., on the 13th inst., were not only peculiar but carried their inconsistency upon their face.
They say that the prisoners were never in danger of mob-violence when it is a fact that organized bands of men were ready to lynch them.
It is known and can be proven by reputable witnesses that requests were made to the troops who had them in charge to deliver their bodies over to the mob so that they might deal with them as they saw fit.
It is further known that the judge of the county court of Lunenburg, the sheriff, and the commonwealth’s attorney signed a petition requesting troops for the protection of the prisoners.
It is known that another company had to be ordered to the scene of the trial, so open had become the would be lynchers in their threats.
It is further known that His Excellency, Charles T. O'Ferrall, Governor of Virginia, sent a special message to the legislature concerning their safety declaring six months after the commission of the murder that from private advices, he had every reason to believe that if these prisoners were returned to Lunenburg County without a military escort, they would be lynched.
And yet in the face of this assertion, this mass-meeting of citizens had the audacity to pass the following resolution:
“Resolved, that in the opinion of this meeting said prisoners were never in danger of mob-violence at any time during their first trial.”
Nay more, in the face of the testimony which we have adduced, what is the opinion of this mass-meeting worth? But they did not stop there. They knew that Mary Abernathy had just a few days before become a mother. They knew that to remove her now would in all probability result in her death and yet they adopted the following resolution:
“Resolved, that our judge be requested to order said prisoners be removed at once to the jail in this county, where we feel they will be as safe from mob-violence as they are now in jail at Richmond.”
This would be in effect the issuing of the immediate death-warrant for one of the prisoners and result in the summary lynching of the other two.
It is conceded by all parties that the Lunenburg County jail is unsafe This makes all the more ridiculous the assertions of this irresponsible mass meeting.
But to cap the climax these people wind up their remarkable declarations by calling these prisoners murderers and declaring it to be the duty of the county supervisors to employ counsel to prosecute them.
But, enough, the public can see the class of people with which we have had to deal.
Moonshine whiskey and lack of judgement go hand-in-hand, and argument is at a discount when pitted against either.
There is much work ahead. The contest is well on, and there shall be no failure on our part to do our whole duty. Lynch-law must go!
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Contributed By

Liam Eynan


“Those Lunenburg Resolutions,” Black Virginia: The Richmond Planet, 1894-1909, accessed September 25, 2022,