The 1918 Lynching of
The Wake County Drum Majors for Social Justice
George Taylor was a black man who was lynched on Tuesday, Nov. 5th, 1918. He was accused by Mrs. Ruby Rogers of assaulting her. His body was found two miles southeast of Rolesville, and within sight of the Rogers house.
According to the News & Observer article published at the time, George Taylor allegedly assaulted Mrs. Ruby Rogers on October 30th at about 3:00 in the afternoon. Mrs. Rogers was alone in the house with her five-weeks-old baby. Her husband, Leonidas Samuel, had left the house two hours before on a business trip to Bolasville. She was sitting in a rocking chair with her baby when a black man entered her room. She claimed he slapped her, causing her to fall to the floor. The man then walked to the bureau, picked up a razor, and told Mrs. Rogers he would cut her throat if she made any noise. When she tried to get up from the floor, he slapped her, knocking her unconscious. When she regained consciousness she was lying on the floor with her baby five feet away. When Leonidas Samuel returned home, he found her in a “critical condition.” We are unsure the specifics of this condition.
George Taylor was not the first black man who had been brought before Mrs. Rogers as a potential suspect, he was actually the fourth. Three other men were arrested and brought to Ruby Rogers for identification and were each released. One of those men who was arrested was Langford Buoy. He was brought to Raleigh by Deputy Sheriffs Roy Hunnicutt and Ernest Raines on the same day that Mrs. Ruby Rogers was assaulted. Buoy was released two days later. Two other men were arrested and then released.
George Taylor was arrested in Wilson and brought to Rolesville with deputy J. T. Bolling. He was brought to Wendell on the Norfolk Southern train where they proceeded to the Rogers’ house in a car. Mrs. Rogers was originally unable to identify George Taylor as the man who assaulted her. It wasn’t until he was standing in the yard and Mrs. Rogers heard him speak that she was able to identify him as her attacker.
Taylor was then put in a car in which he was to be taken to the jail, but the car was intercepted by four men wearing blue masks 500 yards from the house. They took Taylor to a nearby ravine and kept him there until a mob of over 300 formed. Taylor was taken to the spot where his body was found, about two miles southeast of Rolesville, and in sight of the Rogers house, where guns were heard at about 7:30.
His body was found the next morning, hanging by its feet from a tree, badly gashed and filled with over 100 bullet holes. Many bullets had been taken by mob members as souvenirs.