George Crenshaw (Lynching of)

On September 2 or 3, 1885, an African American man named George Crenshaw was taken from jail and hanged by a mob near Lewisville (Lafayette County) for allegedly murdering a young salesman named Harry W. Paup.

According to the September 1 edition of the Arkansas Gazette, at 10:00 p.m. on Friday, August 28 (another report says August 29), a young salesman and “highly respected young gentleman” named Harry W. Paup was walking through a cotton field near the home of an elderly black man named George Crenshaw. Crenshaw’s dogs began to bark and alerted Crenshaw, described as a “blood-thirsty old demon.” Crenshaw grabbed his gun, and though another man, Mike Ross, tried to stop him, ran to the field, spotted Paup, and shot him in the chest. Crenshaw then returned to the house and forbade anyone to leave. Paup’s body was discovered the following morning. On August 30, Crenshaw turned himself over to Sheriff W. L. Cornevey. According to the Gazette, “No event in our community has ever caused more sadness and sorrow.” An additional short article in the same edition of the Gazette indicates that Crenshaw claimed self-defense because Paup was found with a cocked pistol. Public opinion, however, held that Crenshaw shot Paup and then placed a pistol in his hand.

Crenshaw did not remain in jail for long. On September 4, in an article datelined Lewisville, September 3, the Gazette reported that the previous night a “party” took Crenshaw from the jail and hanged him not far from town. No further information about the event is known.

For additional information:
“Another Account.” Arkansas Gazette, September 1, 1885, p. 2.

“I Am Shot!” Arkansas Gazette, September 1, 1885, p. 2.

“Judge Lynch.” Arkansas Gazette, September 4, 1885, p. 1.

Nancy Snell Griffith
Davidson, North Carolina


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