Tuesday, May 22, 1917 (all day)

Women Cheer Negro Burning

Fiendish Slayer Is Tortured

Two Other Negroes Who Helped in Murder of Little Girl Are to Be Burned at Stake, Too

MEMPHIS, Tenn., May 22. – Lynch law ruled this section today. With Ell Person, negro, burned at the stake seven miles from Memphis on the Macon road this morning and with DeWitt "Dummy" Ford, another negro, captured and ready to face the fate of Person, a mob of more than 5,000 is scouring the country around Memphis for a third black.

When Person was tied to the stake and the torch applied he implicated Ford and the third negro in the killing of Antoinette Rappal, a 15-year-old girl, near here on April 30.

Ford had been arrested in connection with the murder. He was released because of lack of evidence. He is deaf and dumb and the police could not get him to write a statement.

Dan Armstrong, third negro implicated by Person, was located, together with several other armed negroes, in a shack on the outskirts of the Wolf river district shortly after 1 p.m. Leaders are rushing to Memphis for reinforcements, and a battle with the barricaded negroes is expected.

Ford is still detained in his cabin near here. He was shot through the arm when he reached for his shotgun as a portion of the mob closed in on him.

Hundreds of women are in the mob singing "Hang John Brown's Body." Mrs. Charles Rappal, mother of the dead girl, was brought to the stake in time to see the torch applied. When the fire beneath the negro was blazing, a collection for a tombstone for the girl's grave was made.

Confesses Crime

When Persons was being tied to the tree he made a confession, saying he chopped the girl's head off.

He implicated two other negroes. The mob went after them.

Fifty members of the mob soon found Dewitt Ford, one of those accused, and he will be burned, leaders say, as soon as the third man is found. A double burning is planned.

Ford was arrested for the girl's death soon after her body was found, but was released for lack of evidence.

Women Cheer Burnings

In the vast throng which burned Person were hundreds of women and girls. As the mob of 2,000 prepared the stake for the burning the women sang "John Brown's Body."

As Person burned, the mother of the dead girl stood and cried:

"Let him suffer as he made my little girl suffer."

Threaten Negro Chauffeur

After the lynching, the mob posted a card declaring, "We have avenged the death of a red-blooded daughter of the South, who died for a negro's fiendish desire."

One excited negro chauffeur shouted: "We are thru; let us join the Germans." He was threatened by the crowd, but police rescued him and turned him over to the federal authorities.

Before Person was tied to the tree, his ears were cut off and his fingers torn from their sockets. He was otherwise mutilated.

Woman Prevents Shooting

Some of the members of the mob proposed shooting him before setting fire to his body, but a woman relative of the dead girl protested.

"Let him suffer ten million pains to pay for the girl's death," she screamed. Her appeal was received with a cheer.

None of the members of the mob were masked. All defied the officers openly. Many of them are well known in the country.

The Seattle Star, 5/22/1917
Seattle Star, 5/22/1917