"Mary Turner and the Lynching Rampage of 1918 Reexamined"

By Phillip Williams. MA History. MLIS. 18 May 2018.

It has been one hundred years since the tragic events of May 1918 in south Georgia. The story of Mary Turner and the Lynching Rampage of 1918 has been told and retold by historians since then. By in large, those accounts have been quality works that have done an adequate job looking at what exactly happened and the impact the lynching rampage had upon Brook and Lowndes Counties. There are a number of relatively minor inaccuracies that have crept into those accounts through the over reliance of historians upon the newspaper accounts from the time period over other sources. Those historians have fallen prey to one of the weaknesses of newspaper articles. In a rush to get the story out, reporters will play a bit fast and loose with some of the facts. Furthermore, corrections rarely make good headlines.

The use of sources considered to be primarily genealogical have gone underused by many professional historians for far too long. There is a bias against genealogy by many historians. Traditionally genealogical sources are not that useful for providing additional information about the lives of the great men of history. Their lives are often better documented elsewhere. When one starts doing history from the bottom up, genealogical sources and methods become extremely valuable. Most people did not have time to write an autobiography, and were also not lucky enough to have a biographer. To piece together a narrative about the life of a common person, a good historian must rely upon every available scrap of information.

Newspapers are a favorite source of many historians who write history from the bottom up. They are also a favorite source of genealogists. Census records, death certificates, marriage records, tombstones, and other traditionally genealogical sources have not caught on quite as quickly with historians. Those sources are not without their problems. There is not a source of any type without problems. A good historian must weigh the strength and weaknesses of the sources they use. A good genealogist must do the same. Historians would be quite surprised by how much in common they actually have with genealogists.

In addition to demonstrating the benefits of using genealogical techniques to supplement information from the newspapers accounts, this article will be the first to cover additional information about the Hampton Smith murder that emerged in the months and years after May 1918. Including in a brief account of the trial of Leamon Wright for the murder of Hampton Smith, and his execution for the crime on Jefferson Davis' birthday in 1921. Leamon Wright went to his death denying any involvement in the murder of Hampton Smith and the attack on his wife.

Mary Hattie Graham Turner's age and family:

The newspaper accounts from the time period universally omitted any and all information about the family of Mary Turner besides her husband being Hayes Turner and her having an unborn child that was murdered with her. The primary sources vary as to what year she was born.

Most newspapers covering the events made no mention of her age at all. Those include:

  • Albuquerque Morning Journal. 20 May 1918.
  • Alexandria Gazette. 20 May 1918.
  • Arizona Republican. 20 May 1918.
  • Atlanta Constitution. 20 May 1918.
  • Baltimore Herald. 20 May 1918.
  • Chattanooga News. 20 May 1918.
  • The Evening World. 20 May 1918.
  • Grand Forks Herald. 20 May 1918.
  • Harrisburg Telegraph. 20 May 1918.
  • New York Sun. 20 May 1918.
  • New York Times. 20 May 1918.
  • Norwich Bulletin. 20 May 1918.
  • Ogden Standard. 20 May 1918.
  • Pensacola Journal. 20 May 1918.
  • Richmond Times Dispatch. 20 May 1918.
  • Savannah Morning News. 20 May 1918.
  • South Bend Times. 20 May 1918.
  • Tägliche Omaha Tribüne. 20 May 1918.
  • Thomasville Daily Times. 20 May 1918.
  • Tulsa Daily World. 20 May 1918.
  • The Washington Times. 20 May 1918.
  • Watertown News. 20 May 1918.
  • The Wheeling Intelligencer. 20 May 1918.
  • The Hawaiian Gazette. 21 May 1918.
  • Monroe Journal. 21 May 1918.
  • Der Nordstern. 23 May 1918.
  • The Lancaster News. 24 May 1918.
  • Worth County Local. 24 May 1918.
  • Savannah Tribune. 25 May 1918.
  • The Idaho Recorder. 31 May 1918.
  • The Wallace Miner. 6 June 1918.
  • The Weekly Banner. 14 June 1918.
  • The Cleveland Gazette. 10 August 1918.
  • Kansas City Sun. 10 August 1918.
  • Richmond Planet. 10 August 1918.

Similarly, the report given by Walter White to NAACP and published in The Crisis in September 1918 under the title "The Work of a Mob" made no mention of her age at all. Walter White's book Rope and Faggot: A Biography of Judge Lynch made no mention of her age either. The mention of her lynching in the Congressional record on 18 January 1919 made no mention of her age either. Christopher C Meyers' journal article “Killing Them by the Wholesale” A Lynching Rampage in South Georgia” did not mention her age at all. The mentions of her lynching in Lynching in America: A History in Documents (2006), The Way it was in the South: The Black Experience in Georgia (1993) , and Strange Fruit: Plays on Lynching by American Women (1998) all do not give her age.

The Cleveland Gazette of 1 June 1918, gave her age as twenty. It is unknown how many other newspapers reported her age. The Cleveland Gazette paper was the only one found that mentions her while research was carried out. The primary Georgia newspapers of the period did not mention her age at all. In Armstrong's "The people... took exception to her remarks”, Mary Turner was said to have been 19 years of age. The source of her age is not cited. Armstrong in her book Mary Turner and the Memory of Lynching discussed how the wording of the marker was written. The Georgia Historical Society's proposed draft of the wording of the marker did not make mention of her age at all. The draft submitted by the Mary Turner Project gave her age as 21. Armstrong notes, "The latter version emphasizes Turner's young age (different from published sources)..." (p 197). Outside of the mention of her age related to the erecting of the marker in 2010 in the conclusion, Armstrong did not otherwise mention the age of Mary Turner in her book

Mary Turner's age appearing as either 19, 20, or 21 increased dramatically with the renaissance of interest in her death following the erection of the historical marker in 2010. Modern newspaper accounts are generally reliant upon the historical marker or the Mary Turner Project for establishing her age or otherwise do not cite the sources for details. The Internet has created an echo chamber of these uncited facts.

When asked via email on 17 May 2018 about how the age of 21 was chosen for the historical marker, Dr. Mark Patrick George, the former head of the Mary Turner Project, responded that they had built the website and erected the historical marker prior to coming into contact with Mary Turner's family. He went on to say "Family members who we work with put her age at 33 and we need to change it on our website," and that the project just had not gotten around to changing it yet. 33 puts her birth year at 1885.

The only readily available account describing the extended family of Mary and Hayes Turner is "A Place to Lay Their Heads" by C. Tyrone Forehand. He claims to be a great grand nephew of Hayes and Mary Turner. His description of the family of Marry Hattie Graham Turner includes her parents' names' (Perry W Graham and Betty Graham), her siblings' names ( Pearlie, Perry G. , Otha, and Etha), and mentioned that she was born in 1885. From the perspective of a genealogist, this gives us a tremendous amount of information to go on. When looking for her in census records, we can crosscheck those records and see if people with the names of her parents and siblings show up. A Mary Hattie Graham showing up in a census with a father named Perry Graham could happen without it necessarily being the Mary Turner that we are looking for, but it would be highly unlikely for it not to be her if we find one whose also has siblings with the known names of her siblings.

In the 1900 census for Brooks County, Georgia a family with a father named Perry Graham, a mother named Betty, a daughter named Pearlie, a daughter named Hattie born December 1884, a son named Perry Graham, and a son named Otha can be found. The 1900 census for the Graham family is depicted below.

There is not much of an actual difference between a person being born 1885 and being born December 1884. The author has personally seen census records in which a person's proven birth year is off by over a decade in a census record. An 1884/1885 birth year would put Mary Turner about 32 to 33 years of age by her death on 19 May 1918. It is perfectly reasonable for a woman of that age to be pregnant with her third child. The author is going with the speculative birth time as December 1884 or sometime in 1885.

The next positive record we have for Mary Hattie Graham Turner is her marriage to Hayes Turner. On 11 Feb 1917 Hayes Turner married Hattie Graham in Colquitt County, Georgia. (Colquitt County, Georgia, marriage book E, p 393). That date does raise some questions. Were the two surviving children of Mary Turner (Ocie Lee and Leaster) both fathered by Hayes Turner? Were they Mary Turner's biological children? Was one or possible both of them her step-children? Where was Mary Turner between 1900 and 1917? Her parents and her brother Otho/Ortha appear in the 1910 Brooks County census. Perry Graham, Jr is listed in the next household. She might have been living elsewhere or had just been skipped over by the census enumerator. Currently she cannot be located in the 1910 census.

There is a grandchild who is shown living with Mary Turner's mother in the 1920 and 1930 census. In 1920, he is listed as Loyd Smith and 1930 as Willie L. Smith. In 1920 his birth year is shown as 1910 and in 1930 as 1907. It is possible that he could be the child of Mary Turner's sister instead and not Mary's child. There is a marriage record for a Pearlie Graham marrying a Joe Jenkins on 22 Aug 1901. This most likely Joseph R. Jenkins who lived in Brooks County during that same period. She appears to have died, as Joseph R. Jenkins remarried on 23 Dec 1909. There is a family tree on Ancestry.com that lists Willie L Smith as the son Mary and an unknown father. A sister, Leaster Manning, is also listed on that same family tree. More research needs to be conducted related to Mary Turner's children and if Willie Lloyd Smith and Leaster Manning are one in the same as Ocie Lee and Leaster who are said to have gone by assumed names after Mary Turner's lynching. In an interview conducted by the writer in May 2018, a relative of Mary Turner confirmed that "Lloyd was Mary’s son presumably prior to her marriage to Hayes." Lloyd being Mary Turner's son further suggests that her having been 19, 20, or 21 in 1918 as inaccurate. Her being 19 in 1918 would mean she would have given birth to him when she was 8 if the 1907 birth year for him is used and 11 if the 1910 birth year is used. Her being 21 in 1918 would mean she would have given birth to him when she was 10 if the 1907 birth year for him is used and 13 if the 1910 birth year is used. Ocie Lee appears to be the same as Willie Lloyd Smith.

There is a marriage record in Lowndes County, Georgia for a Will Smith and a Hattie Graham dated 21 July 1903. This was more than likely her. There were not any other Hattie Grahams in the area during the time period. Even with the additional information of a possible husband she still cannot be found during the 1910 census.

The family of Mary Turner should be consulted further by historians. Members of the Graham family still live in Brooks County.

We know a bit more from records about Hazel B "Hayes" Turner than we do about Mary. Forehand also provided the names of his parents, siblings, and gave his birth date as August 1893. He can be positively identified in both the 1900 and 1910 censuses. The 1900 census gave his approximate birth date as August 1893, and the 1910 gave his birth year as 1893. He registered for the World War I era draft on 5 June 1917. At the time he was living in Berlin, Colquitt County (Berlin is 3 miles away from the Brooks County/Colquitt County line), and claimed to have a wife and four children. The draft card gave his birth date as 15 August 1892. Once again a year off is not that big of a deal. People did not always know what year they were born. Literacy and knowing exactly when one was born was a privilege during that time period. The 1910 census shows Hayes Turner's father John Wheeler Turner being able to read and write, but not Hayes himself.

There is a marriage record for a Hayes Turner who married a Clara Cooper on 1 September 1912 in Brooks County, Georgia. Hayes Turner would have been of a marriageable age by that time. There are not any other Hayes Turner or variants of the name in the area during that time period. Hayes Turner having been married previously could explain why he shows up as having four children when he registered for the draft in 1917. Below is Hayes Turner's draft card, which he signed with an x.

Members of Hayes Turner's family remained in Brooks County after the lynching and some still live there.

Claude Hampton Smith, Sr :

The historic newspaper accounts also got Hampton Smith's age wrong. The Savannah Morning News of 18 May 1918 and The Quitman Free Press of 24 May 1918 both gave his age as 31. Christopher Meyer's article, relying upon the newspaper accounts, also gave his age as 31. The 1910 Brooks County census gave his birth year as 1893. His World War I era draft card gave his birth date as 4 January 1893. His tombstone also gives his birth date as 4 January 1893. That puts him at just 25 years and four months at the time of his death. One would expect for The Quitman Free Press to have at least gotten Hampton Smith's age correct given it was the newspaper for his home county. This is even more evidence that newspapers can be unreliable for basic life details of individuals, and that facts gained from newspapers need to be supported by additional evidence.

His wife, the former Leila Bertha Simmons remarried years after the incidents of 1918. She gave birth to Claude Hampton Smith, Jr on 13 September 1918. She went home to live with her family in Garden Valley, Macon County, Georgia. She died 13 February 1981. Claude Hampton Smith, Jr died 20 September 1984.

The Non-Turner Victims of the 1918 Lynching Rampage:

For the other victims of the 1918 Lynching Rampage, we often nothing more than their names, if that. The newspaper accounts of the lynchings provide some of the names, but Walter White's "The Work of A Mob" provides us with the most names of the victims of any available source.

Will Head: Head was a generally uncommon name in Brooks County. By 1910 there were only four Head families in the county, that of a Willis Head of the Morven area, a Henry Head of the Hickory Head area, a Frank Head of the Tallokas areas, and a William Head born 1888 in the Tallokas area. Henry Head's family can also be found in 1900 census for Brooks County. Willis Head's family was in the area of Lowndes County across the river from Morven by 1900. By 1920, Willis Head was dead and his widow Emma is living in the Barney area.

There was a Will Head born 3 November 1888 in Milltown (modern Lakeland), Georgia who registered for the World War I era draft in Brooks County on 5 June 1917. He is listed as being single (this discounts any theory that Willis Head is one in the same as this Will Head), and working in Morven as a blacksmith for C. F. Fry.

Head was a similarly uncommon surname in neighboring Colquitt County and Lowndes County. In Berrien County, Georgia in 1900 (Milltown was part of Berrien County until Lanier County was established) we do find the Will Head who registered for the draft in Brooks County in 1917. This can be confirmed by this Will Head's Social Security application in which he lists 3 November 1888 as his birth date and his parents as Frank Head and Mary A. Tolliver. He is found with his parents in the 1900 census of Berrien County. This Will Head's father Frank Head is also in the 1910 Brooks County census. This Will Head can be found in the 1920 census, 1930 census, and 1940 census all for Coffee County, Georgia. That Will Head cannot be the Will Head that was lynched.

Expanding the search for suitable candidates for Will Head further away did not bring up any more likely candidates. Most likely the Will Head that was lynched was either Willis Head or his son Willie Head. Willis Head's birth year is 1875 in 1900 and 1865 in 1910. Willie Head's birth year is 1898 in 1900 and 1899 in 1910. Neither Willis nor Willie can be found for certain in census records after the 1910 census. Willis' widow Emma moved to Cook County, Georgia and died there in 1974.

Will Thompson: Will Thompson is too common of a name to distinguish in records without additional information.

Julius Jones: Julius Jones is also too common of a name in the area of South Georgia to distinguish between the Julius Jones who was lynched and others.

Eugene Rice alias James Isom: There is a James Isom who lived in the Barney area, but he can be found in the 1920 census. Somebody in the area named Eugene Rice cannot also be positively identified.

Chime Riley: More than likely Chime was a nickname. There were a number of Riley families in the area and it impossible without further information to narrow who Chime Riley was down to just one. For now his life is just his name and the paragraph about him from the Walter White report.

Three others in the river: The unknown bodies from the river were never positively identified with any name.

Sidney Johnson: The newspaper accounts of the lynching rampage, described Sidney Johnson as having been 19 years of age, from Lowndes County, and having had parents still alive in 1918 since they were put in jail in Valdosta for safekeeping. There was a Sidney Johnson in the 1900 census, born March 1900 to Richard Johnson and his wife living near Clyattville, Lowndes County, Georgia. The census listed several siblings. The family shows up again in the 1910 Lowndes County census living near Dasher, Georgia. The ages of the children were way off in the 1910 census, but the names and birth order stay similar enough to confirm it to be the same family. The other Sidney Johnson in the area during this time period was a white man named Albert Sidney Johnson born about 1880. One does not find a better candidate for the Sidney Johnson when extending the search. Sidney Johnson appears to have been named for his paternal grandfather Sidney Johnson who first appears in records in the 1870 Lowndes County, Georgia census.

Sidney Johnson's family stayed in Lowndes County until sometime after 1920. After that time his parents and several of his siblings moved to Pinellas County, Florida.

Simon Shuman (also seen as Schuman): He is often listed among the victims of the 1918 lynching rampage, but this appears to be a mistake. In Walter White's "Work of A Mob", it is reported that Shuman was seized one night from his home his home near Berlin. White reported that Shuman had not been seen in the seven weeks since the incidents in May. The Athens Daily Herald of 21 June 1918, reported that a man named "Shorty" Brown who had been captured in Jacksonville, Florida, had implicated Shuman in the Hampton Smith attack. Shuman was arrested and placed in the Brooks County jail. An Associated Press article that appeared in the Thomasville Times Daily Times Enterprise on 25 June 1918, reported that Shuman had been removed from the Brooks County jail "to parts unknown, for safe keeping." Clearly Shuman did not die during the May 1918 rampage as some have since assumed. He had also clearly been seen since then. There is the possibility that White was confused about the timeline of Shuman's disappearance and that his report actually referred to Shuman having been moved elsewhere for safe keeping. White might also have simply not gotten word about the events related to Shuman for mid-June because of how long communication took in 1918. There is also further evidence that Shuman was not a victim of the lynching rampage.

Shuman was an extremely uncommon name in Brooks County during the time period in question, and also generally uncommon throughout all of Georgia during that time period. The only Shuman family (or any other phonetically similar names) in the 1900 census for Brooks County was headed by a Simon Shuman born about March 1877. His wife was a woman named Mary. They have a daughter named Silla listed in the census. The family can be seen again in 1910 census for Brooks County, Georgia with additional children. They cannot be found in the 1920 census for Brooks County, Georgia. A Simon Shuman with a wife Mary and children of similar names to the 1910 census can be found in the Albany, Dougherty County, Georgia 1920 census. The names and birth years of the family in the 1920 census being more or less the same as those in the 1910 census, more or less confirm that Simon Shuman survived his ordeal in Brooks County and moved away. By the 1930 census, they had moved to St. Johns County, Florida. He and Mary are also found in the 1935 Florida state census living in St. Johns County, Florida.

During that same time period, there were not that many other Simon Shuman's in the state of Georgia. There was one in Bryan County, Georgia from he 1870s to 1930s born in the 1850s who appears to be the father of Simon Shuman who was living in Brooks County in 1900 and 1910. The elder Shuman was married to a woman named Silla, the same name as Simon Shuman's of Brooks County firstborn child. During the time period those were the only Simon Shumans in the state of Georgia.

It is unclear when Simon Shuman died. A man named Simon Shuman of his approximate birth year did die on 25 August 1962 in Glynn County, Georgia. A Simon Shuman of his approximate age does appear in the 1940 Glynn County, Georgia census.

Two more Victims?

Prior to this article, coverage by historians of the aftermath of the Hampton Smith's death and the subsequent lynching rampage ends with Walter White's report and the national reaction to it. There are are few other parts of the Hampton Smith case that have not previously been given attention by historians.

Leamon Wright alias "Shorty" Ford alias Edmund Pipkins alias Julius Brown alias Rounder Ford alias Black Terror:

The Athens Daily Herald of 31 May 1918 reported that a man named "Rounder Ford" had been captured in Jacksonville, Florida in connection with the Hampton Smith murder. He also went by the alias Julius Brown. The officers from Lowndes County who had traveled to Jacksonville to investigate the matter refused to allow Ford. When they returned to Valdosta, they were met by a crowd of hundreds. The citizens of Valdosta seemed to be hoping for another lynching, and law enforcement were not wanting to oblige them. By late June 1918, Ford was still being held in Duval County Jail, and had implicated Simon Shuman in the Hampton Smith affair. The newspapers articles mention Edmund Pipkins as yet another alias of "Short" Ford.

By late March 1919, "Shorty" Ford had been transferred from Duval County Jail to Chatham County Jail in Savannah, Georgia. The Chattanooga News of 25 March 1919, reported that Ford was denying his confession of having been involved in the murder of Hampton Smith and was claiming that his arrest was a case of mistaken identity. Ford's first hearing was scheduled for 1 April 1919. Authorities believed that Brooks County was still too unsafe for Ford to be brought to Quitman for trial, and a change of venue request had been put in for much safer Savannah, Georgia.

Revenge against those involved in the murder of Hampton Smith was still very much on the minds of citizens of Brooks County as the first anniversary of his death approached. In May a body was found in the Withlacoochee River west of Valdosta (The Atlanta Constitution 20 May 1919). The African American man whose body had been found decomposing had been bound, shot in the head, and wounded in other ways. He was believed to have been a prisoner from Hamilton County Jail just over the state line in Florida who had been implicated in the Hampton Smith murder. He had been taken from the jail in Jasper, Florida a few days before by men claiming to have official orders to take him. More research should be able to uncover who the man was.

The Atlanta Constitution of 21 May 1919 gave another alias for "Shorty" Ford, Leamon Wright as the trial began in Chatham County. He continued to claim he was not the man known by "Shorty" Ford in the area around Brooks County. By December (Atlanta Constitution 16 December 1919) the trial was being postponed due to the absence of material witnesses. The defense claimed that the real "Shorty" Ford had been arrested, released, and drowned. He was found guilty of the murder of Hampton Smith and of assaulting Bertha Smith on 17 December 1919 and sentenced to death (Atlanta Constitution 17 December 1919). The defense could have been referring to the man drowned in the Withlachoochee River earlier that year in May.

In June 1920 Judge P. W. Meldrum of Chatham Superior Court granted "Shorty" Ford, by this time also consistently referred to as Leamon Wright in press accounts a new trial (Atlanta Constitution 25 June 1920). He claimed to have had an alibi that could prove he was elsewhere. In July 1920, he was once again found guilty and sentenced to be executed on 13 August 1920 (Semi-Weekly Times Enterprise 6 July 1920). An aunt of Wright's named Mary Dozier of Newington, Georgia testified that she had never heard of him being called "Shorty" Ford. Oscar T. Hill of Valdosta, an agent for the Georgia Southern and Florida Railway, also testified that Wright was not who he had known as "Shorty" Ford back in Valdosta. Dixon Smith, the father of Hampton Smith Sr, testified that Wright was indeed the one that had killed his son. The prosecution had also relied upon the alleged confession that Wright had signed in Jacksonville two years earlier. Wright attempted to get another trial in August and his execution was temporarily stayed; however, a new trial was denied (The Union Daily Times 14 August 1920). Oscar T. Hill was also the police officer who had traveled to Jacksonville in late May 1918 to investigate the matter of the person being held in Duval County Jail (Atlanta Constitution 1 June 1918). Dixon Smith did not live with his son when he was murdered. The only surviving witness to the murder was Bertha Simmons Smith, Hampton Smith's wife. It is unknown how Dixon Smith was able to positively identify somebody from the scene of a crime that he was not present at himself.

By May 1921, Wright's execution was scheduled for 3 June 1921. Several papers (Americus Time Recorder 12 May 1921, Atlanta Constitution 29 May 1921) noted at the time that 3 June was Jefferson Davis' birthday and also a public holiday in the state of Georgia. The Atlanta Constitution mentioned that some had suggested that the execution be delayed by a day because of the holiday. The Americus Times Recorder did not mention any suggestions of delay and report the two executions that were to happen on the holiday more as a matter of fact. He was successfully executed at 10:30 am on 3 June 1921 in Chatham County Jail. His last words were "Bos I'se shore innocent" (Atlanta Constitution 4 June 1921).

The woman who had claimed to be his aunt during the trial, Mary Dozier, was also the informant for his death certificate. She gave the names of his parents as Will Wright and Hattie Hutch. His aunt gave his birth year as 1904. This would put him at only being 14 years of age back in 1918. He was buried in an unmarked grave in Laurel Grove Cemetery.

The birth year she provided seems to be most likely inaccurate. Leamon Wright registered for the draft in Chatham County, Georgia on 12 September 1918 while in jail and gave his birth date as 5 September 1900. His birth year is given as 1900 when he appears in the 1920 Chatham County census. During that census, he was in Chatham County Jail and is listed as Julius Brown. There is the chance that the 1900 date on both the census record and the draft registration was decided upon by authorities in the Chatham County Jail to make it seem like they were not holding a minor against his will. Further information about Leamon Wright from before 1918 cannot be found for certain.

Leamon Wright had two trials for the murder of Hampton Smith in Chatham County, Georgia. Somewhere in the Chatham County Courthouse are additional primary sources related to 1918 Lynching Rampage.


There is a lot more that can be done as far as scholarship on the 1918 Lynching Rampage in Brooks County/Lowndes County. The time to have collected first hand oral histories about the rampage has sadly passed. There are a number of people who are still alive who knew people who were alive during the lynching rampage. These second hand accounts need to be collected while there is still time. Those second hand accounts should be looked at with a critical eye by historians. The court records in Chatham County Courthouse need to be consulted. When writing about people who are not the traditional white well off males with thoroughly documented lives, historians should contact surviving family members to see what can be learned to help improve the accuracy of the narrative.

The use of genealogical techniques has its place in the research process of history. The bias against genealogical techniques needs to be confronted by historians and those techniques embraced. For historians that focus on local history or historians that focus on history from the bottom up, borrowing skills from genealogy can be extremely valuable. As this article has shown there is a lot that can be found out through these techniques that cannot be discovered through solely relying upon newspaper articles. This article shows that those seem techniques also have their limitations. People with very common names are nearly impossible to find out anything more about beyond their name without some sort of additional context, such as age or names of family members.


Armstrong, Julie Buckner. “The people… took exception her remarks: Meta Warrick Fuller, Angelina Weld Grimké, and the Lynching of Mary Turner.” The Mississippi

Quarterly 61 (2008): 114-141.

Armstrong, Julie Buckner. Mary Turner and the Memory of Lynching. University of Georgia Press, 2011.

Forehand, C. Tyrone. “A Place to Lay Their Heads.”

Meyers, Christopher C. ““Killing Them by the Wholesale” A Lynching Rampage in South Georgia.” The Georgia Historical Quarterly 90 no. 2 (2006): 214-235.

White, Walter. "The Work of A Mob." The Crisis 16 no. 5 (September 1918): 221-223.