St. Louis Post Dispatch
St. Louis Post Dispatch
Contributed by Gigimo

Description: Virginian Vengeance. Lynching a Negro for a Social Indiscretion.

Date: January 22 1880

Newspaper published in: St. Louis, MO

(Warrenton (Va.) Special to N. Y. Herald)

This usually quiet little town was the scene last night of the lynching of a negro under extraordinary circumstances. On the 27th of December last Arthur JORDAN, a copper-colored negro of about forty years of age, who had been employed as a farm hand on the plantation of Nathan CORDER, a well-to-do farmer living on the Rappahannock River, in the upper end of this county, eloped with Elvira CORDER, twenty-four years old, daughter of the man who had employed him. The negro took the cars at Markham station and was met by the woman on the train at Salem, fifteen miles further down. The injured father of the girl followed the guilty pair to Washington, and after a fruitless search through that city and Alexandria returned broken-hearted to his home. On Saturday last a letter was received by the postmaster at Markham from a gentleman living near Williamsport, Md., saying that there was a negro with his white wife living near him, claiming to be from Markham and acting in such a manner as to excite his suspicions that all was not right. From the description given the couple were readily recognized as CORDER's daughter and Arthur JORDAN, and a party of six of the best men in the neighborhood armed and started immediately to Williamsport to capture the latter and bring him back to this county. They were successful in finding him about eight miles above Williamsport, and arrived with him at Markham on Thursday night last. On Friday Justice LAKE gave the preacher a preliminary hearing, and, committing him for the action of the grand jury, gave him in charge of a constable and two deputies to carry him to jail at Warrenton, some twenty miles distant, where he arrived the same night and was locked up.

On Sunday night a band of sixty determined men rode up to the door of the jail, and, calling out the jailor, presented a man they brought with them tied to be taken in charge. When the jailor came up to receive his prisoner a half-dozen pistols were presented to his head and the keys demanded. He surrendered the keys after some remonstrance, and a detail from the infuriated crowd outside went in, and, placing a rope around Arthur JORDAN's neck, dragged him forth and hanged him to a tree some three hundred yards from the door of the jail. The crowd then departed from town as noiselessly as they came, leaving the lifeless body of the negro dangling from the tree. His body was cut down abut 10 o'clock this morning by order of the authorities and turned over to the Coroner. The remarkable part of this lynching was the entire absence of excitement, the mob proceeding as if in the execution of a solemn duty in thus avenging the violation of one of the most sacred unwritten laws of society. Arthur JORDAN was a hardworking but rather impudent negro, and leaves a colored wife and a large family of children living near Nathan CORDER's house. There is evidence that he used even the formality of a marriage ceremony to accomplish the ruin of his victim, who knew very well that he was already married,and rumor says had been criminally intimate with him for some months before the elopement.

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Submitted: 02/17/10

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