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Saturday, August 11, 2018

The Lynching of Calvin Beatty 1860-1878

On today's date - August 11 - 1877, 18 year old Calvin Beatty died of the result of wounds received in a lynchng attempt. He had been accused of raping (or trying to rape) a young daughter of a prominent local farmer.

Below are excerpts from newspaper accounts describing what occurred over the next few days.

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Beatty was taken to Franklin and jailed. The jailer had cause to believe he might be lynched, and for several nights keep the jail guarded. No attempts at lynching having been made his suspicions were lulled, and the guards were dismissed at eleven o’clock last night, promising to send two guards, however, in their place. An hour afterward the tramp of one hundred and fifty horses were heard, and then came a knock upon the jailer’s door. “Whose there?” Asked the jailer. “Friend.” Was softly responded. “What do you want,” asked the jailer. “We have come for Calvin Beatty, and we intend to have him. We don’t want to frighten you nor harm you; we are aware of your position and respect it. Just quietly give us the keys and stay in your room. “ “You can’t get any keys, I will die before I give them up,” said the jailer. “Knock down the door,” said the man in an undertone, and it was done. Three men rushed into the hall through the breach, when the jailer and his wife met them, she exclaiming, “Oh gentlemen, just consider what a terrible thing you are doing before going any further. Said they: “Madame, we took the whole matter into consideration before leaving home and our minds are made up now.” They then passed into the jail, knocked off the lock to Beatty’s cell, told Beatty he was wanted, and pushed him along out the door and took him away.

“Where they rushed me outside of the jail they put me on a horse behind a man and rode rapidly away.

They asked him if he raped the child, and he replied that he saw her, but never touched her. The mob sneeringly cried that he was a damned liar, and laughed and joked.

When they came to a tree one said, “Here’s a good place; let us hang him here.” But they all said, “It is too bushy here; let’s go further.” So they rode on until the man who had me said: “Here, fellows, let’s hang this d—-d n*****; I don’t want him to ride behind me all night; I am getting d—d tired of him.” So they stopped at a hickory tree, when one of them climbed it and threw a rope over the limb and placed the noose around my neck; the man in the tree then fetched it a jerk and it choked me mighty bad; the moon was down and it was very dark; between fifty and sixty were around me; got my right hand out of the rope to which my left was tied behind me, and slipped it easy-like up to the rope on my neck, and worked it, unbeknownst to them, until I got it around my ears and off my neck; then the man in the tree says: “When you stand away off dar for, you d—-d fool; come close;” get close to the tree, when the man in the tree there an end of the rope down, and says, “Ketch hold, dar.” They ketched the rope, and I looked ‘round to see where to jump; so when the man rode off to let me swing, I fetched a big lunge and lit right among the horses, the man up the tree say: “The d—-n n***** is gone; look out dar,” I got down long the horses, and they were afraid they would shoot one another; and, at last, I saw an opening andI darted through; one man says, “there he goes,” and then they began to shoot, and that blinded me; they shot in my face and all around me; I never heard the like; while they were shooting I ran against an old stump and fell just as a head of them shot; at last one man shot me in the hand, and just before I got to the fence another man shot me in the side; he galloped up close to me and fired, and I fell; and he says, “I’se got him.” But that made me jump again, and then I come to a rail fence, and I saw dar was a rock fence by it, and I jumped over that, and I got mighty weak and didn’t go but a few steps before I fell in a clover patch; lay still and heard them hunting and shooting all around, but they didn’t find me; I lay dar till ten o’clock yesterday morning and I got so bad off for some water, I walked and crawled through some beech woods, and got to a black man’s house and told him not to tell where I was; but he got scared, and said if I died there the white folks would get after him.” He was then surrendered to the officers and brought here for safe keeping.

Wednesday night about dusk a negro went to Judge Cook at Franklin and said that Beatty was out in the country badly wounded. 

Dr. House kindly visited the patient. He found him at a cabin on the road-side on the farm of Mr. Jeff Walker, near two miles from the place of the attempted hanging, and near four miles from Franklin. He placed him in an express and lodged him in the calaboose where crowds soon collected to get a view of him. When I visited him his wounds were being dressed by Drs. House and Hughes. He lay on his back with his body bare, and all over the right side of the chest and abdomen were small punctures about the size of No. 3 shot. There were a great many, possibly a hundred or more. The side was puffed up and hard. He had been vomiting blood and also passing it by the bladder. He was evidently in a bad fix.

Being asked if he recognized any of the mob, Beatty said he did, and named two. His escape was almost miraculous, . . . The authorities of Williamson county express the determination to make it hot for the lynchers. 

Calvin was transferred to the Nashville jail for "safe keeping" by order of Judge William S. McLemore. When the train arrived he was conveyed by express wagon to the jail, where "a good many colored people were waiting to see him.

He died there from his injuries.

Fayetteville_Observer_Thu__Aug_15__1878
Nashville Daily American_Fri__Aug_9__1878
Memphis_Daily_Appeal_Thu__Aug_8__1878
Memphis_Daily_Appeal_Fri__Aug_9__1878


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