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Death of Lewis Harris - 1900

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Death of Lewis Harris - 1900

Posted: 1290128745000
Classification: Death
Edited: 1290163365000
Surnames: Harris, McIlvaine
Article from The Weekly Examiner, San Francisco, Thursday, 5 April 1900


Lynching of a Negro Who Confessed to a Brutal Attack

Belair (Maryland) March 27 - Inspired by the recent lynchings at Emporia, Virginia, a mob assailed the jail here last night, captured Lewis Harris, a negro, who attacked Miss Annie McIlvaine at her home near here recently, and hanged him to a tree.

Miss McIlvaine witnessed the attack on the jail and saw Harris taken away to die. She is an elderly woman, rich, eccentric, who lives alone from choice. Her great-great-grandfather signed the Declaration of Independence.

Sheriff Reinhart opposed the mob and opened fire upon it. The shots were returned and the Sheriff was overpowered. Harris confessed his crime, saying that he was drunk when he committed it. After he was hanged the lynchers riddled his body with bullets.

A Coroner's jury exonerated the Sheriff today. Fifteen bullet holes were found in the jail door.The jury found no one responsible by name for the lynching. Negroes and whites here alike approve of it. The Sheriff's daughter was ill in the jail at the time of the lynching and the horrible noise of the assault, it is feared, will have a serious effect on her.

Miss McIlvane's own story of the lynching follows:

I am glad he is dead. I feel safe now. I did not see him when they swung him up, but I watched the mob lead him from the jail. The papers said I led the mob. It is not so. I heard that seventy-five men were coming from Aberdeen and Churchville, and when U saw them gathering near the depot I followed them to the jail and stood for a while in front of the Sheriff's residence.

I moved further away when they began firing pistols. I did not go inside the jail after the back door was broken, but I stood on the corner. They led him past me. The scoundrel! I tried to catch his eye, but he did not look up. They were leading him very fast, almost running. Was I sorry for him? No; not that he was going to lose his miserable life, but I hoped that he would not lose his sour, black as it was.

After he was hanged two young me came up to me as the crowed came back. One of them said: "Miss McIlvine, he is dead." I then felt safe, the first time since last Sunday morning.

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maryachtrh 1290128745000 
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