Crownover (Lynching of)

The July 27, 1897, issue of the Arkansas Gazette carried the news of the recent murder of a white man named Crownover by a “posse of citizens” for the alleged crime of horse theft.

In mid-July 1897, farmers Will Jackson and Will Riley of Saline County lost “two fine horses,” and suspicion immediately fell upon Crownover and another man named only as Beach, whom the Gazette described thusly: “They were strangers and had been loitering about the neighborhood, out of employment, for ten days.” Three days following the theft and the subsequent disappearance of Crownover and Beach, a “posse of citizens” of unknown number “organized and started pursuit.” Near the ScottYell county line, they found the two men asleep, the horses grazing nearby. Crownover awoke at their approach and was immediately shot in the chest and killed. Beach attempted to flee the site but was shot in the leg and taken prisoner.

The full name of Crownover is not given, but there were people of that name residing in Yell County. An article in the Southern Standard of Arkadelphia (Clark County) for May 7, 1897, noted that two cousins, John and Robert Crownover, who resided near Belleville (Yell County), “became engaged in a quarrel while under the influence of liquor, resulting in John stabbing Robert to death.” John was placed under arrest. The parents of the cousins were described as “highly respected.”

In a January 27, 1898, editorial, the Arkansas Democrat objected to the appearance of this lynching on a list compiled by the Chicago Tribune, insisting that Crownover was not lynched but instead killed while resisting arrest.

For additional information:
“The Chicago Tribune’s Statement.” Arkansas Democrat, January 27, 1898, p. 2.

“Horse Thief Killed.” Arkansas Gazette, July 27, 1897, p. 2.

“Horse Thief Lynched.”  Roanoke Times, July 28, 1897, p. 1.

“Killed His Cousin.” Southern Standard, May 7, 1897, p. 1.

Staff of the CALS Encyclopedia of Arkansas


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