Impassioned citizens of Urbana, Ohio, a city with a population of about 9,000, near the capital of the State, lynched a negro two weeks ago under circumstances that have called forth unsparing condemnation from the press of the country. A negro ravisher of a widowed woman had been brought to trial without delay and sentenced, on his plea of guilty, to imprisonment for twenty years-the extreme penalty fixed by the law. Removal of the prisoner to the penitentiary being delayed over night, local militiamen were added to the sheriff's posse on guard at the county jail. The militia fired upon a mob which attacked the jail, and killed and wounded several members of the mob. Appeal was made to the governor for more troops to preserve order. Governor Bushnell states that the captain of the militia, instead of the sheriff, the proper authority, made this first appeal, hence misunderstanding of the situation and delay resulted. One company, However, was ordered out, in response to a second appeal from the sheriff, and appeared on the scene early the following morning, only to leave it on representations (whether made by the mayor or the sheriff, or both, is a disputed point) that their presence was not needed. Then the mob broke into the jail and executed vengeance in short order. The feeling engendered by the resistance first made by the local militia ran so high that the sheriff, the captain, and other members of the local militia which fired on the mob, fled from the town. Later on a women's mass-meeting was held which demanded a change of law imposing capital punishment instead of imprisonment for the crime of rape.

Newspaper comment on this occurrence is intensified further by the fact that a mob of citizens of Princess Anne County, Md., a few days later, took from the court-house a negro ravisher who had been sentenced to death, and strung him up. A number of other cases of lynching have been reported since the case in Urbana.

Scanned from The Literary Digest, June 19, 1897

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