White Jetton (Lynching of)

In late December 1904, an African-American teenager named White Jetton was hanged near Spring Hill (Hempstead County) for allegedly attacking a white farmer named Nobbs. A search of public records revealed no information about either Jetton or Nobbs.

A report in the Arkansas Gazette on January 3, 1905, said only that the lynching occurred “several days ago.” The report indicates that two African Americans, one of whom was Jetton, attacked a farmer named Nobbs near Spring Hill, ten miles south of Hope (Hempstead County), in a dispute over money they maintained Nobbs owed them. Jetton was described as being “less than 18 years of age.”

According to the Gazette, Nobbs was wounded in the face and head, but not seriously. He managed to resist and was finally able to subdue Jetton; the second man escaped. While neighbors were tending to Nobbs’s wounds, Jetton also escaped. He was subsequently captured by Constable Nelson Garner, but a “determined party of men quietly overpowered” Garner, took Jetton, and hanged him. The Gazette report is vague on the circumstances of Garner being overpowered, but an article in the Earlington, Kentucky, Bee reported that Jetton had actually been taken to jail and was there for an hour before being taken and lynched. A search for Jetton’s ostensible partner in crime proved fruitless.

For additional information:
“Boy of Eighteen Lynched.” The Bee (Earlington, Kentucky), January 5, 1905, p. 7.

“Young Negro Lynched in Hempstead County.” Arkansas Gazette, January 3, 1905, p. 2.

Nancy Snell Griffith
Davidson, North Carolina


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