Lynching of William Burns

William Burns was a 22-year-old African-American man who was lynched on October 6, 1907, in Cumberland, Maryland, for the alleged murder of white Cumberland police officer August Baker.[1][2]

Several newspapers at the time account that Officer Baker attempted to arrest Burns, and that Burns allegedly resisted and shot Baker in a scuffle.[2] Burns was then arrested and taken to the Cumberland Jail.[2] Several days later, Baker died in hospital and a mob of men with their coats turned inside out and handkerchiefs over their faces gathered outside the jail at 12:40 am.[2] The mob tore down a telegraph pole and used it to batter down the doors to the jail.[2] One account reports that Burns was dragged out of his cell after the deputy on duty handed over the keys to the cell at gunpoint.[2] Burns was taken outside "peppered with bullets" and left to die.[2] The crowd wanted to hang Burns, but they could not find a rope.[2]

The Allegany County Commissioners offered a reward of $500 for the arrest and conviction of the people who took Burns from the jail.[3] Benjamin A. Richmond, an associate of Governor Lloyd Lowndes Jr. stated that a number of prominent men from Cumberland and vicinity were involved in the lynching.[2]

References edit

  1. ^ Sutton, Dana Z. (May 4, 2007). "William Burns Lynched in Cumberland, October 6, 1907". Biographical Series. Maryland State Archives. pp. MSA SC 3520-13759. Retrieved May 12, 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Burns Lynched: Negro Slayer of Policeman Taken From Jail By Mob". Baltimore Sun. October 6, 1907. Retrieved May 12, 2015.
  3. ^ "Rewards". Frostburg Mining Journal. October 12, 1907. Retrieved May 12, 2015.