Thursday, June 29, 2006

A Hanging in Harrisburg

On June 29, 1859, the Houston Tri-Weekly Telegraph reported the lynching of George White.

White, a railroad laborer standing over six feet tall, was accused of seizing a 12-year-old girl near Harrisburg and raping her. He fled to Galveston, where he was taken into custody and brought before a magistrate two days later.

Arrangements were made to take White to Houston and put him in jail. Accompanying him were Galveston's deputy sheriff and a constable from Harrisburg.

The newspaper account continues:

About a mile and a half from Harrisburg they were surrounded by forty or fifty men in disguise, who tied the deputy sheriff and constable, and seized upon the prisoner and hung him to the branch of a tree.

Indignant at the dispensing of mob justice, the newspaper concluded:

Whenever the law is taken into the hands of the people its moral force is weakened, and a too frequent resort to lynching will break down all regard for the laws of the land. We can accord no praise to the executioners of White, though we cannot say that he did not deserve the fate he came to.

The newspaper published the name of the 12-year-old victim -- something you wouldn't see in today's media.

The race of the victim and the suspect were not provided, so I'm not sure the lynching was racially motivated.

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At 6:34 AM, Anonymous mikefromtexas said...

Just ran across your blog, looks pretty good. I grew up in the Harrisburg area, about three blocks behind the old Princess Drive In. On 67th St. half a block off Harrisburg Ave there was a Bar-B-Que joint called the Red Feather. The walls were covered with old pictures of the entire area going back to the late 1800s. My dad would send me to pick up sandwiches for him and the rest of the guys at Ernie's Pool Hall and looking at all the history on the walls while I waited was a treat. It was really a sad day when it burned down in the late seventies. So much lost.

At 2:32 PM, Blogger J.R.G. said...

Wow, that's sad.

I didn't grow up in that part of town, but I barely remember there being a Sears store in the area.

At 8:30 PM, Anonymous mikefromtexas said...

Sears was a block down, corner of Wayside and Harrisburg.

At 5:59 PM, Anonymous ben said...

I just found your blog today while doing some research on George White. Do you happen to know where I can find information on the lynching (who the victim was, any charges that were filed against the mob, etc)??

At 8:55 PM, Blogger J.R.G. said...

Ben: If you can, send me an e-mail from your personal e-mail address. I was looking for an e-mail address at your blog, but I couldn't find it.

At 8:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

what was the name of the victim and were there any pictures at all


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