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About Omaha daily bee. (Omaha [Neb.]) 187?-1922 | View Entire Issue (Sept. 29, 1919)
Each Burst of Flame Greet
ed With CheersCrowd
Watches Upper Floor to See
If Jailors Are Smoked Out.
WOMEN AND, fclRLS
NUMEROUS IN CROWD!
tlen Cut Fire Hose Build
ing Burps Three Hours Be
fore Sfream Turned On .
Shoot Until Negro Dies. !
FASCINATING! GRIPPING! ADELE GARRISON'S LOVE SERIAL, REVELATIONS OF A WIFE. HtSTHEF. ,j
trrnA '' "N. I 'tl ""V TT V Monday night JjSn Tuesdsy; .
The Omaha Daily . Bee isis -a
. . i ' V J . ' a. ro S p. m. ... l i'
f 1 m .m. ... M . m. .. 71 f
VOL. 49. NO. 88. JgPr'im'K' Oj&AHA, MONDAY,' SEPTEMBER 2, 1919. ' - 8WMgLrV,gSS. SS: TWO CENTS. 11 7p""-; " 1;
mm turn mm iw. i y
i J : uT - , ,
The spectacular features attend- i
ing the burning of ttie magnificent
Douglas county court house, with '
darnaae estimated from $200,000 to j
$500,000, were entirely subordinated
to various aspects of the crowds
action, which were without prece-1
dent in any affair of the' kind that !
W.as taken place in ttie country in tne
st quarter century.
it"or three hours the hre burned,
!om after room being set afire by
Lembers of the mob, without hin
ranee from police or firemen, the
Ltter being utterly unable during
Vat time to get a stream played on
V of the rooms. The first hose
is not turned loose until about
,":30, and then only after the shoot
ing on the Eighteenth street side,
which' .heralded the capture and
death o( the negro, and the achieve-1
merit of.' the mob's purpose.
"It's All Over."
It was then that a truck ran a
hose out at the Farnam and Seven
teenth street, corner. Some of the
crowd jumped instantly to cut the
hose, but were restrained by others
"Let 'em alone. Its all right now,
we've got the nigger and its all
No Injury to Firemen.
"So injury was done the firemen
in preventing their efforts to reach
the fire, possibly for the reason that
any effort on their part to combat
the aiob would have been useless. A
fire truck that drove up to Farnam
and Seventeenth street was greeted
with hoots and jeers by the crowd,
which made way for it, but surged
around again when the hose was run
out and attached to the street plug.
"Cut the hose," yelled some one,
and within a moment scores of
knives had hacked the tough fabric
of the hose to pieces.
The same attitude was maintained
by the crowd with the advent of
each succeeding fire wagon, until
it became apparent- that no legally,
constituted authority in the city
could do anything to stop the burning.-
The Offices Burned. "
Starting with the eounty treas
urer's office, the following rooms
were set afire by members of the
mobt and wholly gutted with all
Prominent Business Men Con
fer With Commissioners in
Council Chamber and De
mand Martial Law at Once.
Mayor Smith MHio Had Narrow Escape
When He Tried to Argue With Mob Leaders
F0R DELAY IN ACTION'
treasurer's office, first
- , ' i
Sheriffs office, fourth floor.
v County clerk's office, first floor.
The district clerk's office, second
i floor. ' .
The county attorney's qffice, third
Red Cross rooms, basement.
The flames spread to other rooms
of the building, but the above were
wholly burned put, with contents
and window facings.
Mob Used Gasoline.
Gasoline was used to start the
flames, the first room to burn being
the county treasurer's office. The
fluid was turned on the floor, desks
and chairs, and the latter placed in a
pile in the center of the room.
A-mighty cheer burst from the
crowd with the first explosion of
flames through the windows, and the
mob surged around to the Farnam
street side from Seventeenth and
Eighteenth street. Within a few
minutes entrance was made into
room on the third and fourth floors
on the Seventeenth street side of
the building, and within an hour
they; burned fiercely, five rooms on
the fourth floor being gutted, the
flames reaching from the end of the
building to a point over the middle
of the gret central doorway.
The rirt in the county clerk's Of
fice was started by three or four
youths, apparently only 14 or 16
years of age.
They' were seen at work piling
chairs in the center of the ' room,
their actions being followed with
cheers by the mob. Then the match
was applied, and amid cheers and
shots from the crowd they climbed
out on the window ledge to watch
the progress of the flames.
Crowds Cheer Flame Bursts.
With each burst of flames from
the "windows the crowd set up a
cheer, which drew the members of
the mob on the side streets surging
around to the front. Flame burtss
from the side streets, with result
ant yells, took (hem back again, and
in this manner the progress of the
fire continued during . the three
hours that it burned.
Women and Children.
The make-up of the crowd was
largely that of spectators. A great
number of vomenand girls were
in he thick of the jam at all hours,
crowding up within a few feet of the
burning building, and apparently
oblivious to dander, or secure in the
feeling' that no harm would come ,
to them. . i
Above them the air whistled with !
the shooting that was constantly
going on. men scattered through
the crowd constantly pulling re
volvers and firing them into the air.
During' the early hours of the j
sight, following the start, of the!
rc. and up. to the time tjie laoaer i
as raised on tn; r.r.rney street
uotinitf J On Ytf Seven, Column it re.)
Should Have Acted at First
Sign of Mob Trouble, Say
Citizens Ringer Silent and
A demand for immediate' de
claration of a state of martial
law in Omaha was made by lead
ing business men in a hastily
convened meeting in the city coun
cil chamber immeditely after the
lvnching of the negro last nignt.
Ward Burgess, Everett Buck
ingham, R. C. Howe, LC. Nash,
Randall Brown. Lloyd Skinner
and a number of other prominent
citizens were present, with City
Commissioners Zimman, Ure and
The meeting was called to make
an attempt to meet the serious
situation which faces the city.
Commissioner Zimman presided
until Mr. Ure had been summoned
from his home, when he took the
To Protect Negroes.
Two hundred troops were re
ported by Mr. Ringer at the meet
ing to be on their way to Omaha
from Des Moines to protect the
colored citizens and prevent fur
ther trouble. '
Up to a late hour no communi
cation hnd been established with
Governor McKelvie who is absent
from home. Permission to get
troops from Fort Omaha and Fort
Crook will be secured through
Ward Burgess declared that he,
would get the authority from
Washington to get these troops if
it can be secured in no other way.
Ringer Silent; Eberstein Gone.
Commissioner Ringer last night
would not discuss the riot He
refused 1o affirm or deny a report
that he was inside the court house
while the riot of the evening was .
Chief of Police Eberstein could
not be located after the lynching.
Mr. Burgess declared that the
riot, burning of the court house
and lynching of the negro consti
tute the most flagrant disgrace
that has ever blotted the name of
"But it has happened," he said, .
"and we must meet the new con
dition. Plenty of Troops.
"I believe the situation now
should be handled with an iron
hand. If an iron hand had been
used earlier today the riot could
probably have been avoided. But
now is no time to hesitate. Let
us have troops here and plenty of
Elmer Thomas declared that a
body of armed citizens could be
organized instead of calling for
A motion was made that a state
of martial law should be declared
in the city.
Attorney F. A. Brogan object
ed to this and pointed out what
the meaning of martial law is.
"It means," he said, "that no
courts can sit, no police act none
of the ordinary functions of civil
government go on without Jhe per
mission of the military authorities,
I don't think we want to order
that here yet. The situation is
very serious and we need troops
(Continued On Pge Seven, Column Six.)
Mm IlK m $5-' : -.
This picture of Mayor Smith was taken a year ago, when a flying circus was here promoting a Liberty
bond campaign.'" The mayor made a flight with Lieutenant Hill, an Engiish aviator. ' ' . ' ' .
LYNCHING COMMITTEE OF 30
RECEIVES WILL BROWN FROM
OTHER COURT HOUSE PRISONERS
Chief Eberstein Remains in Jail Until Prisoner is Delivered Over to Crowd Negro
Hanged From Pole in Front of South Side of Court House and Body Then Tied
to Automobile and Driven to Seventeenth and Dodge Streets, Where Burning
Takes Place Many Shot, But Only Two Fatalities Reported Frenzied Popu- j
ir KnriMTnn to Mane mavor omun canv in ine cveninx, duitbiu uiuicrs
Called Out at Last Moment Fireme n Prevented from Fighting Blaze. ' .
Accused Negro Who
Paid With His Life
For Attack on Girl
"Too Terrible to Talk
About," Says Victim
of Negro's Assault
Agnes Loebeck, .the girl who
was assulted by Brown; was told
of the lynching" shortly after it
"I am sure he is the man." she
said, "but the whole thing is too
terrible to talk about."
"He is a brute and deserved to.
be hung," exclaimed Louise Loe
beck, Agnes' sister. .
Casualties in Riot
: LIST OF DEAD. 7
Will Brown, negro, accused of . the assault of Miss
Man, 23 years old, supposed to be Clarence Clancy,
shot eight times. Dead at Y. M. C. A. .
LIST OF INJURED.
Mayor Ed P. Smith, severely cut about head and
possible fractured skull; unconscious.
Police Of f ice Robert P. Samardick, badly beaten in
afternoon. . ' .
Police Officer Heinle Bosen, beaten and wrist
sprained, at Eleventh and Jackson streets.
- Special Agent F. A. Heisler, Union Pacific, beaten
about head. Also' struck on head with rock. Arm
Frank Dobin, 3018 South Eighteenth street, beaten
and finger broken, at Eleventh and Jackson streets.
Unidentified boy shot in knee. Attended at Y. M.
C. A. Taken home by friends.
Conrad Field, Fremont, Neb., shot in back. Taken
io Y. M. C. A. for emergency treatment aiid then to Wise
Memorial hospital. Seriously wounded.
" J. Nafsinger, Sampson, Ala., shot in hip. Bullet re
moved at Methodist hospital. Condition not serious.
Harold Bulletts, grocery clerk, 2919 St. Marys ave
nue. In St. Josephs hospital. Shot in leg. Not serious.
' Police Officer Andrew Trapp, badly beaten. Treat
ed at Central police station and taken home.
J R. Feere, 1105 Pacific street, shot in leg. Was on
third floor of court house when shot. .
Police Officer Dworak, South Side, was struck over
the head with a gun. He was taken to Y. M. C. A. and
'then to his home. Injuries not considered serious.
: John Hudspeth, 1333 South Twenty-eighth street,
shot in shoulder; not serious.- "
Arthur Hall, 16 years old, 4910 Twenty-eighth
street, badly beaten, at Twenty-fourth and Grant
Police Officer W. J. Turner, South : Side, left leg
broken by shot.
Detective Jack Graham, shot in left hand and neck.
Gilbert McMurray, fireman No. 7, rock fell on neck
and his back may be broken. J -
Pete McDermott, fireman! No. 16, overcome by gas
in court house. Rescued by Johnny Lee and taken to
Y. M. C. A. Not serious. , !
Captain R. Dunlap, fireman, beam fell on shoulder.
J. W. Murdoon, 416 Karbach block, shot jn mouth.
Man thought to be Fred Morasko, shot. Taken to
Will Brown, negro, was lynched by a crowd at Eighteenth and Harney streetf at
10:55 last night after several hours' endeavor to gain admittance to the court house
which was a seething furnace when the black man was taken down a ladder by leaders
of the mob. - -
Brown, charged with assault upon Agn es Loebeck, 19-year-old white girl of 3228
South Second street, last Thursday night, was crazed witn ingnt wnen his captors gamed
admittance to the cell room on the top floor of the court house.
- After being riddled with bullets at the pole where it hung, the body was,dragged
Seventeenth and Dodge streets, where it was burned.
The lvnchincr occurred after one of most spectacular scenes ever witnessed
Omaha. For several hours the court houswas trurrounded by a mob of 10,000 interested
in watching the destruction by fire of'che new $r,5j0,000 court house and also in await
ing the fate of the negro whose lifefiung in the balaikc
RUSH BROWN DOWN STAIRS.
Negro prisoners in the coifnty jail rushed Brown down the stairway from the jail
when the fire threatened to rach the cell room and, forcing1 SheVl.ff Mike Clark out of
the way, hurried Brown to the floor below where they turned him oyer to a lynching com
mittee. " ' A ,
Two are dead and thirty-nine injured as a result of the lynching. . .
At 3 o'clock this morning Major White and 700 soldiers from FortOrrraha were i
troling the streets downtown. Machinecruns were stationed around the city. Soldi
with bayonets drawn, stopped -every pedestrian and automobile and ordered them of
street.,. , . - ... - - -
The remnants of the mob dragged the charred torso of Brown through the str
until an early hour this morning.
All sorts of rumors went thrbugh the crowd One report was that Sheriff Clark
been shot. .
Many were injured when they attempted to force their way inside the court h
up to the sheriff's office. .
SCALE SIDES OF BUILDINGS.
When the fire began to make its way to the jail rooms on the top floor of
court house, the tire department, previously unsuccessful in quenching the tire, br
ladders which were extended on the west side of the court house. Civilians who
adept in scaling the sides of buildings, gained the second floor window landings, and
went on to the third and the fourth floors by means of ropes. Windows were sm;
in and the workers were heartened by the cheering of the crowd below. ,
m xne meantime tne nutter oi an American nag was ooserved trom the county
ottice. . ,
"Bring down the negro J" was a command frequently heard from Wembers of
determined crowd. V
. Mayor Smith was seized by the mob on Seventeenth street, near the court house
10 o'clock, and was threatened with lynching. He Was hustled to Harney street i
stopped at the foot of a trolley pole on the cross-arm of which was a coil of rope.
" "Giv us the key to the jail." "If we can't get the negro we'll lynch you." "He
no better than the negro." "He's a negro lover," were cries heard in the mobf
Get that rope, someone shouted. It was pulled down by a loose end, but was not
long enough-to reach. , A man climbed the pole with a knife and cut the rope.
It was brought down and placed around the neck of the mayor.
YELL, "STRING THE MAYOR UP." .
"Throw it up over the pole and string the mayor up." veiled a dozen voices. The
Lmob surged to and fro. The mayor was the center of a crush so great that it almost over
wirew an auwmuuiie standing near. -
The rope was placed around the mayor's neck but it wasn't thrown over the pole
Appalled at the possibility of murdering the city's chief executive, voices began
be heard: . '
we won t stand tor hanging the, mayor"; "That won't get us the nigger": "L
7im go" ; "Tell 'im to get out of here."
' The crowd began to move. It surged down Harney street. The mavor was tn
midst of it. This excitement being over, many rushed back to the court house conflag
tion ana tre mayor disappeared. -
The mayor entered an automobile standing near the scene. Ansrrv cries surtre
again immediately. The automobile was overturned and the mayor had a narrow es
irom more serious injury.
The car caught fire and burned up.
Mayor Smith was rushed to the Ford hospital following the attemnt tn 'lvnrrt him
Dr. E. C. Henry attended him. Until an early hour this .morning", the mavor was still urt
conscious from severe injuries received to his head. The extent of his iniuriea has not been
determined. Strenuous efforts to suppress all reports concerning the1 mayor injuries were
SeTrn, Column Sis.)
USE NEW ROPE FOR LYNCHING. .
The lynching was done with a new three-quarters inch rope.
When the body hung still, high in the air the rope was cut. The naked body fell
to the pavement. Men cursed and kicked it. - The rope was fastened quickly to an auto-V
moDiie wnicn drove oir slowly through the crowd, the horrible object at its end blood-J
MVPrprl nnrl tracrcrrcr Q Inn rr ha noiununt hrmirh fho ornnrrl
. n " u fill, JL , X- A W
The automobile proceeded only a short distance when the rope was unfastened and
the body was dragged by as many men as could get hold of the rope up Nineteenth
street to Farnam; east to Eighteehtth, north to Douglas, east to Seventeenth and thence to
Dodge street where the mob stopped. Thebody was covered with kerosene taken from
fire truck lanterns and the match applied. ' The crowd danced around while the flames
shot up. . . 7 , -f
. It Was the original intention to drag the body to Twenty-fourth and Lake streets,
the center of a large 'negro' settlement. This was abandoned, however, after the mob left
tne scene ot the lynching. v
A young man leaped on the top of an automobile and made an impassioned spee
- uont go to Twenty-fourth and Lake streets tonight," he said. "Those negroes
there are all armed and your life will be endangered. Don't go up there tonicht. G(
up there tomorrow when you're armed right and you can get as many of them as you like.
But not tonight.
' "We'll go tomorrow(," yelled a man.
"You bet, we'll go tomorrow," came back many voices. .
(Continued on Vt Two, Column One.)
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