Criminal Activities

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Entry Category: Criminal Activities - Starting with H

Haley, Loy (Lynching of)

Loy Haley, an African-American man, was lynched on June 15, 1915, likely near Lewisville (Lafayette County), for allegedly murdering Roy Lester, owner of a plantation in Lafayette County located in the Red River bottoms. Probably the earliest report on the violent chain of events was a June 13, 1915, article in the Arkansas Gazette. Though titled, “Lynching Near Lafayette County,” the article does not, in fact, describe a lynching but rather reports on the intended lynching of Loy Haley. According to the report, Roy Lester had remained on his plantation despite flooding on the Red River that had left his farm entirely surrounded by water, and made him “the only white man on the place.” No details of Lester’s murder …

Hamilton and Ludberry (Lynching of)

A lynching in Warren (Bradley County) was the subject of two different reports published in the January 23, 1887, edition of the Arkansas Gazette. The earliest report received was placed on page four in the “Local Items” column and reads as follows: “It was rumored last evening that Medbury and Hamilton, charged with the murder of the Harris brothers, near Warren, had been taken from jail and lynched. The report, however, could not be verified, there being no night telegraph operator at that place.” However, by the time that page was set, another report arrived at the Gazette (datelined St. Louis, Missouri, January 22) and was placed on the first page of the issue. According to this report, the two …

Hamilton, Henry (Reported Lynching of)

Henry Hamilton, described as a wealthy landowner from Bradley County, was reportedly lynched by a mob on June 30, 1887, for his role in murdering a pair of brothers. However, the national reports in question mirror state reports, published in January of that year, regarding the lynching of two men variously named Hamilton and Ludberry. Newspapers around the United States reported in early July 1887 that Hamilton, “a wealthy planter and stock man,” had been lynched on June 30, 1887, with most accounts saying that he and a man named DeBerry committed the crime for which Hamilton was lynched, while others reported that Hamilton and his brother committed the murders. Accounts also differ on the names of the murder victims, …

Hampton Race War of 1892

aka: Calhoun County Race War of 1892
The Hampton Race War (also referred to as the Calhoun County Race War in many sources) occurred in September 1892 and entailed incidents of racial violence all across the southern part of the county. While many sources have attributed the events in Calhoun County to Arkansas’s passage of the Election Law of 1891, with provisions that vastly complicated the voting process for illiterate citizens of all races and effectively kept them from voting, it seems that the trouble in the county started prior to the early September election. Racial unrest was widespread in Arkansas in the 1890s, especially across the southern counties. Incidents increased after the state began passing Jim Crow legislation that limited the rights of its black citizens. (According …

Hardin, Will H. (Lynching of)

Will H. Hardin was murdered in his jail cell in Clinton (Van Buren County) on April 17, 1899, after his death sentence for killing a local man was commuted. An accomplice, Lee Mills, had already been hanged for his role in the incident. Hardin—a former deputy sheriff—and Mills, both of whom lived near Scotland (Van Buren County), rode to the home of Hugh Patterson on Culpepper Mountain about six miles southwest of Clinton on the evening of December 13, 1897, intending to rob him of between $1,000 and $1,800 believed to be in his house. Also at the house when the robbers arrived were Patterson’s son Jim, along with Jim’s wife Rebecca and their five children. Patterson’s brother William James …

Harris, Gilbert (Lynching of)

On August 1, 1922, a mob of as many as 500 people broke into the Hot Springs (Garland County) jail and, brandishing guns, forcibly took a man and lynched him at the triangle in front of the Como Hotel located at the intersection of Central and Ouachita avenues. In his memoirs, Roswell Rigsby (1910–2001), an eyewitness to the lynching, stated, “I believe this was the last lynching in Hot Springs, at least in public.” There are some conflicting reports as to the first name of the man lynched. There are references to his first name being Punk, Bunk, and Gilbert; however, all accounts list his last name as Harris. Accounts of the hanging appeared in newspapers as far away as …

Harris, Jack (Lynching of)

On June 25, 1903, an African American man named Jack Harris was lynched in Clarendon (Monroe County) for allegedly attacking his employer, planter John A. Coburn. In 1900, Harris, a twenty-six-year-old bachelor, was living with his mother Ann in Monroe County and working as a farmer. The 1880 census indicates that Coburn, born in Searcy County in 1866, was living with his parents Arthur J. and Mary Elizabeth Hixon Coburn in White County. By 1894, he was in Monroe County, where he married Sallie D. Knight. Apparently on June 21, 1903, Harris rode one of Coburn’s mules without his permission. When Coburn asked him for an explanation, Harris allegedly struck him with a piece of timber, breaking one of his …

Harrison Race Riots of 1905 and 1909

aka: Charles Stinnett (Execution of)
Though nowhere near as murderous as other race riots across the state, the Harrison Race Riots of 1905 and 1909 drove all but one African American from Harrison (Boone County), creating by violence an all-white community similar to other such “sundown towns” in northern and western Arkansas. With the headquarters of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) located nearby, Harrison has retained the legacy of its ethnic cleansing, in terms of demographics and reputation, through the twentieth century and into the twenty-first. The U.S. Census of 1900 revealed a Black community in Harrison of 115 people out of 1,501 residents. This constituted a vibrant community that, despite its poverty, had a cohesive culture and deep roots. By all accounts, …

Harrison, John Henry (Lynching of)

On February 3, 1922, an African-American man was lynched in Malvern (Hot Spring County) for allegedly harassing white women and girls. While a number of newspaper accounts, as well as a National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) annual report, identify him by the name of Harry Harrison, and the Arkansas Gazette identified him as John Harris, research conducted in large part by the Hot Spring County Historical Society indicated that his name was John Henry Harrison. Harrison was living in Malvern at the time of the 1920 census; he was thirty-eight years old, married, and worked as a laborer in a lumber mill. He was a native of North Carolina and could both read and write. According …

Hate Groups

Both the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) use the term “hate group” to describe any organization that espouses hostile attitudes toward members of racial, ethnic, and religious minority groups. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) includes people with disabilities and people with alternative lifestyles in the minority group category. Individuals who are affiliated with hate groups sometimes commit physical acts of violence or destroy property such as churches, synagogues, mosques, and other symbols associated with targeted minority groups. The historic base of white supremacist groups in the United States began with the post-Reconstruction Ku Klux Klan (KKK), which was actively involved in terrorist activities against African Americans and their supporters in the years following the …

Hayden, Bud (Lynching of)

On June 3, 1898, Bud Hayden was lynched in Texarkana (Miller County) for allegedly assaulting twelve-year-old Jessie Scott, the daughter of the late James V. Scott, former circuit clerk. Although Hayden claimed to be twelve years old at the time, the authorities estimated his age to be at least eighteen. The Arkansas Gazette’s reports of the lynching were carried in newspapers across the country, including the Atlanta Constitution, the New York Times, and the Los Angeles Herald. At the time of the 1880 census, J. V. Scott was living in Cut Off Township in Miller County. He was a twenty-four-year-old farmer living with his wife, Talitha, who was twenty. There was only one African-American family named Hayden in the county. …

Hearn, May (Lynching of)

May Hearn, a young white man in his twenties and the son of a farmer in Luxora (Mississippi County), was lynched in Osceola (Mississippi County) on April 6, 1901, for shooting and killing Clyde King “at a place of bad repute” on the night of March 31, 1901. The Arkansas Democrat noted that Hearn was the son of J. R. Hearn, “one of the most respected farmers living in the neighborhood of Luxora” and a longtime magistrate of the town. May Hearn, however, played the role of the wayward son; as the Osceola Times wrote: “When sober, May Hearn is said to be quiet and peaceable, but when under the influence of Luxora whiskey, all the treachery and blood-thirstiness of …

Hellom (Lynching of)

In late September 1903, an African-American man named Hellom was hanged by a black mob in Mississippi County for allegedly assaulting two young girls. Census records for the year 1900 reveal that there were three black men in Mississippi County who might have been the victim of the mob. All lived in nearby households in Fletcher Township, and all had a similar surname. The first was Oscar Hullum, age twenty-five, who was working as a farm hand and boarding with Brady and Mary Randolph. The second was Will Hellum, age twenty-three, a farm worker who was living nearby with his wife, Lucy, and their son, Jonathan. Living with them was a brother-in law, Arthur Hullum, age twenty-two, and three other …

Hensen, Elias (Lynching of)

Elias Hensen was seized from a house and shot to death on March 12, 1879, in Clay County after testifying against a co-defendant in a horse-stealing case and preparing to testify against other members of his gang. The 1870 federal census lists Elias Hensen, born around 1852, as an illiterate farmhand working for Abraham Roberts in Randolph County’s Current River Township, and it indicates that he might have had a diminished mental capacity. By 1879, he apparently was working with the Montgomery Brothers gang and had earned a reputation as a “rather unsavory character in this neighborhood, and was accused of various thefts, horse-stealing among them,” according to the Clay County Courier. Hensen and an accomplice, Charley Jenkins, were arrested …

Herrig, William (Lynching of)

William Herrig, a white man described in news reports as “a well-to-do farmer 67 years old” was lynched in Clay County by vigilantes on December 29, 1887, for murdering his young wife and a man with whom she was apparently friendly. No William Herrig was living in Clay County by the time of the 1880s census, although other men of that name were living in various places in the United States at the time, all of them German immigrants. Herrig’s wife, whose maiden name was Julia Bennett (and who is also dubbed “Mrs. Nettie” in reports), was described as “a charmingly plump little 20-years-of-age wife” who “had been for the two years before her marriage an actress in the Pauline …

Hicks, Robert (Lynching of)

In late November 1921, a young African-American man named Robert Hicks was lynched near Lake Village (Chicot County) for writing a letter to an eighteen-year-old white woman. While the identity of the woman remains a mystery, Hicks was probably the same Robert Hicks who was living with his mother, Minnie, in the household of his stepfather, Henry Singleton, in South Charlton Township of Chicot County in 1910. At that time, he was eight years old. In 1920, at eighteen, he was still in South Charlton Township working on a cotton farm owned by his uncle, Jessie E. Cooper. While newspaper reports put his age at twenty-three or twenty-five, the census information shows that he was only nineteen at the time …

Hilderbrand, Joe

As a fugitive from Arkansas justice in the 1960s, Joe Hilderbrand gained notoriety and even a measure of national acclaim by evading a horde of lawmen with airplanes and bloodhounds who chased him and a young woman through the wilds of the Ozark Mountains after he failed to return to Cummins Prison Farm from a furlough to visit his ailing father. It was one of the largest manhunts in Arkansas history. Legends accrued around the mountaineer—that he was innocent of any serious crime and a scapegoat for incompetent and embarrassed law enforcement agencies. Life magazine did a piece on Hilderbrand and the young woman, Frances Standridge, with the article stating that she had helped him evade the posses. At least …

Hogan, John (Lynching of)

On June 28, 1875, an African American named John Hogan was lynched near Russellville (Pope County) for allegedly attempting to assault one of Russ Tucker’s daughters. Public records provide some information about the lynching victim. The 1870 census (five years before the incident) lists a twelve-year-old African American named John Hogan, who was living on the farm of a twenty-two-year-old white man named Reece B. Hogans. Hogans had a wife, Josephine, and a two-year-old daughter. Also living on the farm was another black laborer, fifteen-year-old Rose Hogan, who may have been John Hogan’s sister. If this is the correct John Hogan, he would have been only seventeen when he was lynched. Russ Tucker was probably David Russell Tucker, who in …

Holland, Jim (Lynching of)

On Saturday, November 26, 1881, Jim Holland, a white man, was lynched in Dardanelle (Yell County) for the crime of murder. Jim Holland, along with William Casey and Charles G. Helphrey, were accused of having murdered a cotton buyer, Burgess James, near Dardanelle in the fall of 1878. They were eventually captured and placed in the jail at Ozark (Franklin County) to protect them from a lynch mob. However, on July 18, 1881, Holland and his accomplices were able to escape from the jail; either their guard, Jim Hill, was careless or they may have drugged him. Holland and Casey were later recaptured in Polk County, Tennessee, having been trailed there by a Yell County lawman named Captain Poole. Holland …

Holt, Elias (Lynching of)

Elias Holt was murdered in Mississippi County by a gang of disguised men on January 25, 1872, after an accused horse thief implicated him as a conspirator in the crime. Elias Holt, a Kentucky native, was listed in the 1870 census as a twenty-nine-year-old farmer living with his wife, Martha, age nineteen, in Mississippi County’s Big Lake Township. In early 1872, a young man named Jones was arrested and charged with horse theft. During his initial questioning, Jones claimed that Holt had recruited him to steal the horse (with plans to steal another himself), meet him in Jacksonport (Jackson County), and then ride to Texas to get rid of the stolen animals. Jones’s statement, which the Osceola Times decried as …

Hot Springs Shootout

aka: Hot Springs Gunfight
aka: Gunfight at Hot Springs
The Hot Springs Shootout, also known as the Hot Springs Gunfight or the Gunfight at Hot Springs, occurred on March 16, 1899. Sparked by a dispute over which agency would control gambling in Hot Springs (Garland County), this shootout between the Hot Springs Police Department and the Garland County Sheriff’s Office resulted in the deaths of five men. The shootout represented a continuation in the battle for control of gambling in Hot Springs and was preceded by the Flynn-Doran blood feud that lasted from 1884 until 1888. Frank Flynn controlled gambling in Hot Springs until former Confederate major Alexander Doran began opening gambling houses there in 1884. The first blood was drawn when Flynn challenged Doran to a duel. Flynn was …

Howard County Race Riot of 1883

aka: Hempstead County Race Riot of 1883
The Howard County Race Riot occurred along the Howard and Hempstead county line in late July and early August 1883. Two events spurred the outbreak of violence. First, a disagreement over the surveying of a property line led to the beating of Prince Marshall and his brother James Marshall, both African-American farmers, by Thomas Wyatt, a white sharecropper living on land owned by Joseph Reed, a white farmer. Second, a few days later, Wyatt is alleged to have approached a young black woman, a member of Prince and James Marshall’s family, as she was plowing alone in a field and “solicited” her. When she began to cry out, he hit her over the head with a fence rail. The latter …