Henry Allen (Lynching of)

Henry Allen was lynched in Jacksonport (Jackson County) on September 10, 1881, three days after he stabbed a man in nearby Newport (Jackson County).

The information on the lynching comes from a special telegram to the Arkansas Gazette published the day after the affair. Henry Allen had reportedly stabbed a man named Williams (his first initial is not legible on the main surviving copy of the Gazette, but his middle initial is E.) on September 7, leaving him in serious condition. Afterward, Allen was arrested and jailed at Jacksonport.

According to the report, at approximately 2:00 on the morning of September 10, “a large number of masked men in arms” surrounded the jail at Jacksonport. The mob demanded that “Jailor Lankford” turn over the keys, and when he tried to flee, he was caught: “His life was threatened and a rope placed around his neck, still he positively refused to surrender the keys.” In response to this frustration, the mob “then fell upon the jail doors with hammers, chisels and bars, and in less than ten minutes an entrance was effected.” Sheriff J. R. Loftin arrived and tried to disperse the mob but “was simply waved to one side, placed under heavy guard and not allowed to speak out.”

The mob then dragged Allen from the jail and hanged him from a nearby locust tree. As the Gazette reported, “As to who the participants were remains a mystery to the public.” The report does not provide sufficient biographical detail to identify Henry Allen with any degree of certainty.

For additional information:
“Judge Lynch.” Arkansas Gazette, September 11, 1881, p. 1.

Staff of the CALS Encyclopedia of Arkansas


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