Wisconsin State Journal, 12 Aug 1878

Wisconsin State Journal, 12 Aug 1878

[warning: graphic description of lynching]

It was now time to select a subject to give the colored Republicans their first lesson. The man chosen was


a sober, orderly and very intelligent negro, who came from Ohio and settled in the western part of the county. He was a school teacher, and at this time was a member of the lower house of the Legislature.

There is a Democratic side to the story of PATTERSON’s death. It is that he procured a half-witted negro to murder another negro. The murderer, when arrested, is said to have said that PATTERSON hired him to do the deed, paying $50 for his services. The whites arrested PATTERSON and the murderer. They were bringing them to Yazoo city, when some negroes took PATTERSON from the whites and hanged him. That is


as told to Northerners. One of the crowd of young white gentlemen who rode out under the command of Capt. DIXON to get PATTERSON, tells this:

“We just took him out there and got him on top of a mule and put a rope around his neck and tied it to the limb of a pecan-tree, and drove the mule out from under him; and in driving the mule out from under him it pretty near killed him; and to keep him from dying there, with his feet on the ground, we took hold of the other end of the rope and pulled him up; before we could get the knot untied he died – it was tied in such a bungling way.”

He is


and PATTERSON was a poor brute, who could not take a joke, but died under it. It will be seen that there are two Democratic versions. The negro who was accused of the murder of his comrade was put in the jail for some time, but no action was ever taken in his case.

The real facts are that a prominent negro was wanted as a victim to strike terror into that class of the people throughout the country. PATTERSON was selected as the one. He had been active in forming Clubs among the Republicans, and was preparing to do hard work in the campaign. He was


on pain of death, if he did not go. He did not go. DIXON gathered some of his band and rode out to Silver Creek, where PATTERSON lived. He was warned of their expected raid, and escaped into the cane. They watched around for some time, but dared not go in after him, fearing that he would get the first shot at them. They then succeeded in bribing a Democratic negro to go to his hiding place and coax PATTERSON out to the road, on the pretence that friends of his wanted to concert plans to get him away to safety. PATTERSON came to the road. DIXON’s men sprang from their concealment, with their pistols cocked. PATTERSON, as


flashed on his mind, cried out in mortal agony. One of the men present said he “screamed like a frightened coon.” They put him on a mule and carried him two or three miles to a large pecan tree. Here they made a negro tie a rope around his neck; it was then passed over a limb of the tree. During this time PATTERSON begged for his life. He offered to do anything if they would spare him; he would go back on MORGAN; he would always vote the Democratic ticket; etc., etc. Seeing that they meant to kill him, anyway, he summoned some courage and began to bear his fate more like a man. He took from around his waist a belt containing over $1,400 in money, bonds and school fund certificates, the savings of several years. He told them t hat he knew they were honorable gentlemen, who would do what they promised to; that he had two sisters in Ohio attending school, whom he had long assisted in supporting; that he had promised to pay their school expenses. He then asked them to promise to send his money to these sisters. They gave the promise, and he placed the money in the hands of one of the leaders. He was then


as described by the humorous young white gentlemen. The white gentlemen, after threatening to “kill the first nigger” that offered to cut the body down, rode away. For three days the body swayed back and forth in the wind, and the buzzards gathered and began to tear the flesh from the head and face before it was taken down. His sisters never saw a dollar of the money. Such was the fate of PATTERSON. His crime was that he was an active Republican.

Within a week one of the leaders of the crowd of young white gentlemen engaged in this murder, was riding in a new buggy behind a fine horse, and it is


that a large portion of PATTERSON’s money was invested in this “new rig.”

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