On April 9, John Hudson, an #African American, was arrested and jailed after a Salina woman, Mrs. J.M. Frost, was attacked and “terribly maltreated. Mrs. Frost identified Hudson as her assailant. At the investigation two days later, four reputable witnesses – two farmers and an African American couple – testified that Hudson was at a farm house miles from town on the night of the crime. But, Mrs. Frost stood by her statement that Hudson was indeed the person who attacked her.
Many people in the town opposed lynching Hudson because they felt that there was a reasonable amount of doubt in the case. However, there were others who were ready to lynch Hudson from the moment Frost accused him. A crowd of about 1,000 gathered around the jail on the night of April 10. Many of the citizens pleaded for the whites to have patience and wait for more evidence before taking the law into their own hands.
The mob made a rush for the jail door and the guards were overrun. The iron door of the jail was beat down, and Hudson was taken out the jail and to the hotel where Frost was staying. She again identified Hudson as the attacker.
Hudson was then taken out to the street to be hung, but before that he was given the opportunity to speak. Hudson told the crowd he realized he was about to die and wished to take an oath in the face of death that he was innocent. He spoke no word of bitterness on account of his impending fate and all he said with regard to the woman’s statement was: “The lady is mistaken and, if you had given me a trial I could have proved it.” At that moment the group of citizens who were thinking rationally removed the rope from Hudson’s neck, and fought the mob off for more than an hour. The mob was armed with revolvers and clubs and several of Hudson’s defenders were injured, including J.L. Bristow, who fifteen years later would become a U.S. Senator from Kansas. Hudson was rushed off to safety. But, the reputation of Salina was only briefly saved. Ten days later, on April 20, Dan Adams was pulled from a train and lynched at the Union Station. For an alleged attack on a popular young baggage agent.