George Templeton (Lynching of)

Even when they appeared in several newspapers across the United States, some accounts were of lynching so brief that it is difficult to uncover details or even confirm the events. Such was the case with the lynching of George Templeton in Hempstead County on October 26, 1885.

The first of several papers to report the lynching was apparently the New York Times. In an article published on October 28, the Times reported that “six disguised men rode up to the residence of a colored man named George Templeton, in Hempstead County, called him out and shot him down.” Templeton, described as “a quiet, peaceable colored citizen,” died instantly. According to reports, “The affair has produced considerable excitement.” The following day, almost identical accounts were published in the Wheeling Daily Intelligencer in West Virginia and the Indianapolis Journal.

Brief accounts like these leave many questions unanswered. Templeton’s identity cannot be confirmed, and genealogical records fail to produce any information. His alleged crime (if any in fact occurred) was not specified, nor is it known if his assailants were ever caught. Even such brief mentions, however, serve as memorials to victims of the racial violence that swept the South during the late nineteenth century.

For additional information:
“A Colored Man Shot Down.” New York Times, October 28, 1885, p. 1.

“News in Brief.” Wheeling Daily Intelligencer, October. 29, 1885, p. 1.

“Telegraphic Brevities.” Indianapolis Journal, October 29, 1885, p. 2.

Nancy Snell Griffith
Davidson, North Carolina


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