A Newspaper Account of J.D. Hogan’s Participation in South Carolina’s First Lynching
Below is a transcript from article that was published in an un-named newspaper. The article was originally published in the Fairfield News. Emma Boyle, who was a niece of J.D. Hogan, gave a typewritten copy of the article to Toby Terrar in 1970. No date of publication was included in the typewritten copy.
Capt. J.D. Hogan Takes Part in Unveiling Event.
Conducts Trial and Execution of a Negro Brute for an Assault on a White Woman.
Below we publish a clipping from the Fairfield News which deals with South Carolina’s first lynching which was conducted by Capt. J.D. Hogan.
The incident, while called a lynching, was really a legal trial, for it was in June 1865, and there was no regular court in which it could be tried. Federal troops were in Charleston at the time and news of the incident spread like wild fire. Many feared trouble later. Capt. Hogan at first decided that it would be best for him to leave the country and planned to sail for Brazil. On second thought, however, he was convinced that he had nothing but what was right to protect the women of the country and would remain and die in his homeland if necessary. One hundred and fifty Negroes witnessed the execution and Capt. Hogan made them an address in which he told them that the same fate awaited anyone who laid his hands on a white woman. Just before this incident the Federal Army under Gen. Sherman had passed through the country and had burned every house on the Hogan plantation. The Negroes, feeling their freedom, had to be dealt with a strong hand, but the incident passed off without the arrest of anyone by the Federal Authorities.
The Clipping follows:
From the best information obtainable, the first lynching in S. Carolina occurred on the old Columbia and Longtown road near the Fairfield and Richland line away back in the early sixties more than fifty years ago. The lynching was the result of a criminal assault upon a highly respectable white woman, the widow of a prominent physician. The culprit was a young negro about 18 yr. old who only a few months previously had obtained his freedom. The crime was entirely new, as no such offense as far as was know had ever been attempted during the bondage period. It was shortly after Sherman’s raid that left only confusion, gloom and destruction in its wake. Law and order had been dethroned, and justice had fled to the bushes. The only substance of justice and authority left was the Yankee garrison stationed at the various court headquarters. These military tribunals were very friendly to the negroes, but exceedingly bitter to the whites, and were often seen roaming over the country enforcing their decrees at the point of the bayonet on helpless people. When the alarm of the outrage was given, it spread like wild fire and great crowds began to assemble, but all were at sea. There was no Civil Government to avenge the horrible wrong. The officers had all been overthrown by the military despotism and the question at once arose what should be done, or what could be done. Lynching was entirely unknown then. It was worse than folly to expect justice from the Yankee garrison and no consideration whatever was given that source. After many orderly conferences, and indeed the whole proceeding was as orderly under the trying conditions, as a court room, things began to crystallize. From this time on, the proceedings took the course largely of a legal trial.
Capt. Dick Hogan, a noted scout of the Hampton Legion, suggested that a jury of the most prominent citizens be drawn and the negro given a fair and impartial trail. This was accepted and the following jury was selected. Samuel Lawhon, F.M.L. Duke, Benjamin Cloud, John Raines, John Lorick, John T. Hall, Jos. Kennedy, G.P. Hoffman, father of the late sheriff, Adam Reed, was voted sheriff and Hampton Johnson, father of ex-Senator W.J. Johnson, acted as foreman of the jury and Hogan appeared to be the prosecuting attorney. There appeared, however, to be no clerk selected to record the proceedings. Whether this was intentionally omitted is not known.
The negro was brought before the victim and she at once identified him as her assailant. The tracks leading to and from the negro’s home were measured and compared with his and corresponded perfectly with some other corroborative evidence. The prosecution rested its case.
Then the accused, who stoutly denied his guilt, was allowed to testify in his own behalf and given the greatest latitude. The sheriff was ordered to arrest any witness the accused desired and bring them before the court that they might testify in his behalf. The negro attempted to prove an alibi but could find no one to support his statement. When all the evidence had been take, Hogan addressed the jury, who were standing in a line, and said “Gentlemen, as many as believe the prisoner guilty will step three paces to the front.” Without the slightest hesitation the whole line moved forward and the doom of the negro, whose name was Young, was sealed.
Immediately, a scaffold was erected on the side of one of the most public roads in the county, in broad daylight, with no effort whatever to conceal anything. The negro was then conducted to the scaffold and a rope adjusted around his neck. After being permitted to pray, the acting sheriff, with a mighty blow, knocked the scaffold from beneath and the soul of the negro was landed in eternity. After hanging 30 minutes the body was examined by a physician and pronounced dead. The body was then cut down and delivered to his relatives, many of whom were present and witnessed the execution.
The matter was disposed of, but who knew what would come next? The Negroes were in good standing and in close friendly touch with the Yankee garrison, while the whites were hated, despised and persecuted on every occasion possible, especially, Dick Hogan, who had piloted a portion of the Hampton Legion in the rear of Grant’s army on one occasion and captured a great herd of the enemy’s cattle. Doubtless they would have welcomed an opportunity to court martial and shoot him or even all concerned, on the slightest pretext. Naturally it was expected that the Negroes would promptly report the affair to the Yankee garrison. Excitement was running high for all expected the community to again overrun with bristling bayonets and many shot to death without the privilege even of a trial.
To meet any emergency it was said that all prominently concerned after lynching met and resolved to perfect an organization and each member to be on the alert for any move on the part of the military and in which event carriers were to be sent in haste and all the members notified who were to meet at a given point and all take passage to some foreign port. Many anxious days passed and to the delight of all the matter ended with the lynching.