“They Hanged Him,” Richmond Dispatch (November 9, 1889)

Richmond Dispatch (November 9

In "They Hanged Him," published on November 9, 1889, the Richmond Dispatch reports on the lynching in Leesburg of Owen (sometimes Orion) Anderson, an African American man accused of scaring a white girl by putting a bag over his head.


Richmond Dispatch (November 9



Horses with Muffled Feet and a Bogus Prisoner—Swung from a Derrick.

[Special telegram to the Dispatch.]

Leesburg, Va., November 8.—On Wednesday evening, October 30th, in the neighborhood of Hamilton, in this county, about dusk a school-girl fifteen years of age was assaulted by a negro boy while on her way home from the Hamilton Academy. Her screams and struggles alarmed the fiend, and fearing that he could not accomplish his purpose he left her and returned to Hamilton. The child reported the assault and declared she believed the negro scoundrel was one Owen Anderson, but that he was disguised so that she could hardly tell. He was taken in charge at once and brought before her, but she failed to identify him. On Thursday morning a search was made on the ground of the attempted assault, and near the place an old guano-sack was found, which the brute evidently used to disguise himself. It was brought before him and having told several tales he confessed his horrible attempt and was forthwith sent to the Leesburg jail to await the action of the grand jury. This morning the community was considerably excited when they learned that Anderson had been taken by a number of men from the jail and hanged on a derrick at the old railroad depôt. About 1 o'clock the party of about twenty-five or thirty men, disguised entered the town on horseback, and from the noiseless stepping of their horses the presumption is the feet of the horses were muffled or unshod. One of the lynchers was tied and conducted to the jail by two of his companions as a prisoner. The alleged guards rang the bell. Deputy-Sheriff Laycock, the jailer, raised a window and asked who they were. They replied they had a prisoner. He came down and opened the door and admitted them. Then he went into the jail and unlocked the door leading to the cells to admit, as he believed, the prisoner. He stepped in the hall and one of the posse said they wanted that negro Anderson. The jailer said, "You cannot get him." He was seized and the keys were taken from him, when one whistled and a crowd of twenty rushed in and captured the prisoner and took him out. They had taken axes, crowbars, and sledges from one of our blacksmith shops to use in case they were needed. The jailer was not able to identify any of the party. The bogus prisoner and the two who had him in charge were not disguised, but were strangers to the county. The prisoner was taken down Church street to the depôt, where one of the posse on horseback put the rope through the hook on the derrick, and Anderson was raised up and was dead in a few minutes. Several pistol-shots were fired into his body. One ball struck in the head, one in the body, and one in the leg. The parties then left by the Middleburg road. They are all unknown. The party who paid the penalty of his admitted crime in this case had made two other attempts of a similar nature in that neighborhood.

Coroner Hockett had the body taken down and it was placed in a freight-car standing near by. The body was placed in charge of the Sheriff.


"An act about the casuall killing of slaves" (1669) Letter from Thomas Jefferson to Charles Lynch (August 1, 1780) "From the Vicksburg Register," The Floridian (July 25, 1835) Virginia Mob, New-York Spectator (August 20, 1835) "Horrible Tragedy," Raleigh Register and North-Carolina Gazette (May 24, 1836) "The Perpetuation of Our Political Institutions" by Abraham Lincoln (January 27, 1837) "The Execution Yesterday," Richmond Daily Dispatch (October 22, 1864) Depositions for the Claim of Benjamin Summers (February 6, 1872) "Page Wallace's Crime," Richmond Dispatch (February 3, 1880) "Lynch Law, Again," Richmond Dispatch (February 19, 1880) "Lynched!," Staunton Spectator (October 3, 1882) "Coalition Rule in Danville" (October 1883) "The Danville Riot," Richmond Dispatch (November 4, 1883) "The Negro and the Criminal Law"; chapter 6 of The Plantation Negro as Freeman by Philip Alexander Bruce (1889) "The Clifton Forge Tragedy," Roanoke Times (October 20, 1891) Southern Horrors: Lynch Law in All Its Phases by Ida B. Wells (1892) "Brutal Attempt of a Negro," Roanoke Times (February 10, 1892) "The Police Force Wakes Up," Roanoke Times (February 11, 1892) "Judge Lynch!," Roanoke Times (February 12, 1892) "Viewed by a Thousand People," Roanoke Times (February 13, 1892) "Richlands' Lynching," Clinch Valley News (February 3, 1893) "Lynch Law and Barbarism," Richmond Dispatch (August 3, 1893) "Peace and Quiet," Roanoke Times (September 22, 1893) "Lynch Law"; excerpt from Governor Philip W. McKinney's Address to the General Assembly (December 6, 1893) "Rev. Dr. Hatcher's Surprising Assertions," Richmond Planet (June 23, 1894) "Hanged by a Mob," Alexandria Gazette (April 23, 1897) "The Lynchers Were Convicted," Richmond Planet (July 8, 1899) "Judge Lynch and His Victims," Richmond Planet (January 18, 1902) "The Lynching of Negroes"; chapter 4 of The Negro: The Southerner's Problem by Thomas Nelson Page (1904) U.S. Senate Resolution 39 (June 13, 2005)

APA Citation:
Richmond Dispatch. “They Hanged Him,” Richmond Dispatch (November 9, 1889). (2020, December 07). In Encyclopedia Virginia.
MLA Citation:
Richmond Dispatch. "“They Hanged Him,” Richmond Dispatch (November 9, 1889)" Encyclopedia Virginia. Virginia Humanities, (07 Dec. 2020). Web. 21 Apr. 2024
Last updated: 2020, December 07
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