Bowles (Lynching of)

Sometime around August 22, 1892, an African-American man identified only by his surname, which was Bowles, was hanged near Gurdon (Clark County) for allegedly raping sixteen-year-old Nellie Wilkes. Public records reveal no additional information about either Bowles or Wilkes. Although the incident was apparently not covered in Arkansas, several publications across the country reported on it, including a German-language newspaper in Baltimore, Maryland.

According to the Hamilton, Ohio, Daily Republican, Bowles, a “burly negro,” “outraged” Wilkes and then fled the scene. This aroused the neighborhood, and a mob was soon in pursuit. He was discovered at a farmhouse, where he had compelled the occupants to give him food. He was brought back to the scene of the crime, where he reportedly confessed. The mob members then hanged him from a tree and riddled his body with bullets, after which they dispersed.

For additional information:
“Arkansas Rapist Lynched.” Tennessean (Nashville, Tennessee), August 23, 1892, p. 5.

“Der Verdienten Strase Ueberwiefen.” Der Deutsche Correspondent (Baltimore, Maryland), August 23, 1892, p. 5.

Untitled. Hamilton Daily Republican (Hamilton, Ohio), August 23, 1892, p. 1.

Nancy Snell Griffith
Davidson, North Carolina


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