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Meeting in the Copper Queen


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From 1892, an example of an especially vicious lynching, and of the racist press that helped make it possible. Afterward, evidence came to light showing that Mrs. Jewell had in fact seduced the victim.

Fresno Weekly Republican / February 26, 1892

Horrible Fate of a Negro Ravisher.

Applies the Match and Thousands Watch the Brutal Wretch Cremate.

ST LOUIS, February 20. — The Republic’s special from Texarkana, Ark., says: Ed Coy, the negro fiend who last Saturday fiendishly assaulted Mrs. Henry Jewell, the wife of a respectable farmer living a few miles outside the city, this afternoon answered for his awful crime, being burned at the stake in the presence of 6000 people.

Coy repeatedly outraged Mrs. Jewell. Search was vigorously prosecuted for Coy, but without avail until early this morning, when a messenger came from a farmer named Scott, saying that Coy was at the house of Ed Givens, a negro living near him, and asking for men to come out and arrest him.

Mrs. Jewell identified him without hesitation. Coy was placed in a room and heavily guarded until the last of the searching parties returned to town, when all the leaders held a consultation and decided to hang Coy. He was accordingly led out and started for Broad street, where it was intended to hang him. Arriving there, someone threw up a rope, but the mass of people set up the shout:


Finally the crowd forced the men who held the negro to move north on State Line avenue. When near the postoffice, a man who had hold of the rope, the noose of which was about the prisoner’s neck, attempted to climb a telegraph pole. He was unceremoniously dragged to the ground.

“Burn him! “Burn him!” went up the cry again and again, and it was clear to be seen that death by fire alone would appease the wrath of the people.

At this juncture Charles M. Reeves, a leading citizen, mounted an elevation and beseeched the crowd for the sake of their wives and children, that if they were determined to burn the wretch, to take him outside the city.

The appeal had the desired effect, and a rush was made to a suburb, near the Iron mountain tracks. A single stump, about ten feet high, stood alone in the clearing and thither the wretched negro was dragged.

Another man who favored hanging began climbing the stump, but twenty leveled shotguns impelled him to descend hurriedly.

The negro was then made secure to the stump with wire fastenings and a liberal supply of kerosene poured over him. A shout went up.


Let Mrs. Jewell set the fire!”

In response to the call Mrs. Jewell emerged from the crowd, supported by relatives, and walked to the place of execution. Without a word, the spokesman placed in her hand a match. She looked at the negro and falteringly turned to the crowd. “No, you apply it,” was the cry as the woman was seen to falter.

She struck the match, applied it to the clothing of the wretch in two places and stepped away.

In a few moments the doomed negro was a sheet of flame, writhing and groaning in horrible agony. Death resulted in about ten minutes.

Only about twenty minutes before he was led out the Republic’s correspondent had an interview with him. He asserted his innocence of the crime, but in such a manner as carried the conviction of guilt with it.

While the event is confessedly a horrible affair, it is justified by a large majority of the people in this section on the ground that desperate disease requires a desperate remedy, and that hanging has not as great a horror for the average negro as death by fire.


He Butchers His Sister and Feasts on Her Flesh.

ATLANTA, Georgia, February 22 — News of a horrible story of murder and cannibalism near Ray’s mill have been received. Lucy President, an idiotic negro woman, left her house to go to work, leaving a 9-month’s-old babe in charge of her 10 and 9-year-old children, named Mark and Lina. Mark, it seems, was resolved upon putting the infant out of the way, and soon after the mother left he killed and mangled it with an ax. Not content with this he took a fork and gouged the eyes out of the little one, which he roasted, and then taking a slice out of either jaw he and his sister set themselves down and feasted.



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