Ashley County Lynchings of 1877 and 1884

aka: George Jackson (Lynching of)
aka: Sam Jackson (Lynching of)

Two unrelated African-American men named George Jackson and Sam Jackson were lynched seven years apart (in 1877 and 1884, respectively) in Ashley County for allegedly murdering a white thirteen-year-old girl, Corinne (sometimes given as Corine or Corina) Haynes, in 1877.

Little is known of either the young murder victim or her alleged killers. There were two African Americans named George Jackson in Ashley County in 1870. One was an eighteen-year-old domestic servant living in Union Township. This would have made him twenty-five rather than the reported eighteen when the original crime was committed. The other was ten-year-old George Jackson, who was living with his parents Jessy and Marry Jackson and working on a farm. His age would be right, but he was listed as alive and residing with his parents in 1880. An African American named Samuel or Sam Jackson appears in the Ashley County census in both 1870 and 1880. In 1870, he was twelve years old and living with his parents Pat and Mary in Beech Creek Township. By 1880, they were working on a farm in Union Township. One newspaper account seems to indicate that this is the Sam Jackson in question.

Corrine Haynes’s identity is less certain. She may have been the daughter of William G. Haynes, who was living in Extra Township in 1860 with his first wife, Amelia, and three children between the ages of six and seventeen. Amelia died in 1862, and according to county marriage records, William married Catherine Washington in Ashley County on February 22, 1863. William died on January 24, 1866. Corinne was perhaps his daughter by this second marriage, and if she was indeed thirteen at the time of the alleged crime, she would have been born around 1864, which would make this a possibility. There were no Haynes families in Ashley County in either 1870 or 1880, so Catherine may have remarried. One report on the crime indicates that Corinne’s mother had become known as Mrs. Regan, but there is no evidence of this in either the census or in marriage records.

There are few accounts of the alleged murder of Corrine Haynes. It apparently happened in mid-to-late June 1877. On June 29, the Ouachita Telegraph of Monroe, Louisiana, published a brief article about the crime. It had apparently mentioned it a week earlier and was supplying more details. According to the Telegraph, Corrine’s mother, Mrs. Regan, had sent her to the post office to get the mail. Corinne planned to visit several neighbors during her journey. First, she stopped by Pat Jackson’s home, where George Jackson was hoeing in the field. This was apparently the last time she was seen alive. Half an hour later, George left to go to Charles Simpson’s farm to buy some tobacco plants. (It is interesting to note that in 1870, Charles Simpson and Pat Jackson, both African American, were living near each other in Beech Creek Township. Pat Jackson is listed in the census as Samuel Jackson’s father.)

By June 29, both George Jackson and Samuel Jackson had been arrested for the crime of murder. George, described as a “smooth-faced black, about 18 years old,” allegedly confessed. He said that on his way to Simpson’s, he saw Corinne on foot leading her horse along the path to the post office. He followed her, grabbed her, and took her into the woods. He attempted to rape her but did not. When she threatened to tell her mother and have him killed, he picked up a tree limb and hit her several times over the head. He cut her throat, disposed of the weapon, and washed in a nearby creek. He then left for home. According to later reports, he exonerated Sam Jackson in his confession. According to the Telegraph, “The whole country is in a terrible state of excitement, and every one would rejoice with exceeding great joy to see him executed on the public square tomorrow.”

This report about the excitement in the region was no exaggeration. Almost a month after George Jackson’s arrest, the Telegraph reprinted a communication, originally sent to the Hamburg Monitor, from a citizen identified only as “Captain Bulldozer” of Beech Creek in Ashley County. He tells the story of a mob that took Jackson and burned him at the stake, declaring: “Print the above if you like, to give the truth publicly, if not, I can’t help you.” According to his story, a mob seized Jackson and carried him to “Brazzeale’s.” (This may have been John Brazale, who in 1870 was living in Carter Township in Ashley County. He remained there in 1880. That year, one H. S. Brazeale also lived in Carter Township.) When they arrived, the mob of some 280 “firm, staunch and undoubted men” began to gather wood for a fire to burn him at the stake. As this was happening, George changed his testimony and implicated Sam Jackson, saying, “You ought to kill Sam too, cause he is as guilty as I am….I tell you the truth, I didn’t have anything to do with it cause Sam done it all.” As the lynching proceeded, he declared, “I killed her; I took a stick and killed her and just as she was dead, Sam Jackson stepped up and cut her throat and ravished her. I didn’t do it. Sam is the one.” Later, as the flames reached George’s chest, he was asked if Pat Jackson and his family should be killed and he answered, “Oh, no! no!…Kill Sam.”

As was evident in the census, in 1880 Sam Jackson was again living in Ashley County with his parents. That same year, Corinne’s mother swore out a warrant against him. According to the Arkansas Gazette, by September 1884, Sam Jackson had escaped from jail on two previous occasions. He was arrested again that month and jailed in Hamburg (Ashley County). On the night of September 6, he was taken from the jail by a mob of thirty-five men and hanged about a mile south of town.

For additional information:
Captain Bulldozer. “The Ashley County Horror.” Ouachita Telegraph (Monroe, Louisiana) June 29, 1877, p. 2.

“The Ceime [sic] for Which Sam Jackson Was Mobbed.” Arkansas Gazette, September 16, 1884, p. 6.

“The Hamburg Horror.” Ouachita Telegraph (Monroe, Louisiana), July 27, 1877, p. 3.

“Lynch Law.” Arkansas Gazette, September 9, 1884, p. 1.

Nancy Snell Griffith
Davidson, North Carolina