A St. Louis Democrat correspondent: Marshall, Saline county, Missouri, on the 26th ult., ( July 26, 1859 ) says:
Some time ago, you will recollect, a negro murdered a gentleman named Hinton, near Waverly, in this county. He was caught after a long search, and put to jail. Yesterday he was tried at this place and convicted of the crime, and sentenced to be hung. While the Sheriff was conveying him to prison he was set upon by the crowd and taken from that officer. The mob then proceeded to the jail and took from thence two other negroes. One of them had attempted the life of a citizen of this place, and the other had just committed an outrage upon a white girl. After the mob got the negroes together, they proceeded to the outskirts of the town, and selecting a proper place, chained the negro who killed Hinton, to a stake, got a quantity of dry wood, piled it around him, and set it on fire! Then commenced a scene which for sickening horrors has never been witnessed before in this, or perhaps any other place.
The negro was stripped to his waist, and barefooted. He looked the picture of despair--but there was no sympathy felt for him at the moment. Presently the fire began to surge up in flames around him, and its effects were soon made visible in the futile attempts of the poor wretch to move his feet. As the flames gathered around his limbs and body, he commenced the most frantic shrieks and appeals for mercy--for death--for water! He seized his chains--they were hot, and burnt the flesh off his hands. He would drop them and catch at them again and again. Then he would repeat his cries; but all to no purpose. In a few moments he was a charred mass--bones and flesh alike burnt into a powder. Many, very many of the spectators, who did not realize the full horrors of the scene until it was too late to change it, retired disgusted and sick at the sight. May Marshall never witness such another spectacle.
The ends of justice are surely as fully accomplished by the ordinary process of law as by the violence of an excited populace.
If the horrors of the day had ended here, it would have been well, but the other negroes were taken and hung--justly, perhaps--but in violation of law and good order. They exhibited no remorse. One of the simply remarked, "that he hoped before they hung him they would let him see the other boy burnt!"
The Saline County Herald, edited by Mr. Geo. W. Allen, formerly of this county, confirms the above, and gives and account of the hanging of another negro by the people. On a Monday, the 18th, a little girl of Arrow Rock, Saline county, who was in company with another little girl, and some little boys, returning from gathering blackberries, was picked up in the road by a negro fellow and carried into the woods, and there most brutally treated. Mr. N.H. Huston was the first to arrive at the place, but not in time to arrest the scoundrel. He was subsequently arrested, and upon an examination before a Committee--and after his guilt was made apparent, he was taken and hanged on Monday night, and his body was permitted to remain upon the tree until Tuesday morning. The burning and hanging in Marshall occurred on Tuesday.
Source: The Staunton Virginia Spectator, 2 August 1859, p. 2, c. 5