Warren Fox (Lynching of)

On July 9, 1915, an African-American man named Warren Fox was lynched in Crittenden County for allegedly murdering a white man named John Millett. There is almost no information available on the principals in this incident. The Arkansas Gazette identified Millett as a “Frenchman and gardener” who worked for G. W. Sims on his plantation at the Crittenden county community of Kanema. Although the Gazette noted that Millett had previously been in Caruthersville, Missouri, and Johnson City, Illinois, he is not listed in census records for Arkansas, Missouri, or Illinois. Similarly, there is no record of an appropriate Warren Fox in Arkansas census records. George W. Sims, however, is well known. He owned extensive property in Crittenden County and worked in Memphis, Tennessee, for many years as a lumber broker. In 1916, when the post office opened at Kanema, the town was renamed Simsboro (Crittenden County), presumably in honor of Sims, who was the first postmaster. When Sims died in 1920, he was listed as a resident of Memphis.

The Gazette described John Millett as a man of “good reputation” who was “quiet and industrious.” As the paper noted, “He had received good wages and had worked steadily, and was supposed to have accumulated some money.” Warren Fox had arrived on the Sims plantation the previous February and was farming on land that he had cleared.

Millett’s body was discovered near his home on Wednesday, July 7; his throat was cut, and his head had been bashed in. Fox was immediately suspected as the murderer, but he denied it at first. Eventually, he confessed, saying that he had left his home at 3:00 a.m. on July 7, and after the murder, returned home and burned his clothing. His bloodstained knife and his gun, which had apparently been broken during the scuffle, were found at his home, as were a gold watch and $23 that he allegedly removed from Millett’s body. Following his murder, John Millett’s relatives were never located.

Fox was arrested, but before the authorities could transport him to the jail in Marion (Crittenden County), a mob of unknown men hanged him from a telegraph pole near the scene of the crime.

For additional information:
“Negro Lynched by Crittenden Mob.” Arkansas Gazette, July 10, 1915, p. 1.

Nancy Snell Griffith
Davidson, North Carolina

Last Updated: 02/17/2020