Keith Bowen was lynched in 1889, in Aberdeen, Mississippi after he allegedly tried to enter a room were three white women were sitting.
In 1904, General Lee, a black man was lynched for knocking on the door of a white woman’s house in Reevesville, South Carolina.
In 1918, Elton Mitchell of Earle, Arkansas, refused to work on a white-owned farm without pay. “Prominent” white citizens of the city cut him up into pieces with butcher knives and hung his remains on a tree.
Jesse Thornton was lynched in Luverne, Alabama, in 1940 for referring to a white police officer by his name without properly addressing him by the title of “Mister.”
Jeff Brown was lynched in Cedarbluff, Mississippi, in 1916 for accidentally bumping into a white girl as he ran to catch a train.
On Tuesday, July 19, 1859, a black man known by no other name than John was lynched. He was owned by Giles Kiser in Saline County, Missouri, a seven-county area also known as Little Dixie because of his Southern culture and character. The mistreatment of black slaves by whites was nothing new in the area and was actually a chronic practice during the tumultuous times preceding the Civil War. Black oral tradition spoke of one especially brutal Saline County master who, as an object lesson, chained a recalcitrant slave to a hemp brake on a bitterly cold winter night where he slowly froze to death.
John was accused on circumstantial evidence of the May 14 murder of Kiser’s business partner, Benjamin Hinton who was also a slave owner. Fear of slaves escaping, or being freed by abolitionists, whites began believing that John was the leader of a slave-led insurrection.
An angry mob formed and dragged John to a ravine in a quiet grove two hundred miles from the courthouse in Marshall, Missouri. John was barefoot and stripped to the waist. The mob chained him to a walnut tree. All the time he talked rapidly to his captors. According to the Marshall Democrat, the slave “had an intelligent and open countenance, and conversed very freely with all those who indicated a willingness to hear him while chained at the stake.”
Slave John claimed that he had an accomplice in the murder of Hinton, but the charge caused no one in the mob to stop what they had planned for him. While John was talking, white men gathered dry wood and other combustibles and piled them around John’s bare feet at the base of the tree. Only when the mob set fire to the wood did John comprehend that he was to be burned alive.