Lynching in Wickliffe, KY
Friday, October 16, 1903, Tom Hall's partially nude body was found hung in a tree in Wickliffe, KY. Hall was thought to be a man from Mississippi who had come first to Mayfield, KY, then on to Paducah, to work on the new Cairo division of the Illinois Central Railroad. A disagreement had occurred between two young white men and a group of African Americans at the Paducah-Cairo train depot platform, Sunday night, October 11. There was an exchange of gunfire. One of the white men, Crockett Childress, was shot in the chest, but survived, though rumors circulated that Childress was dead. Tom Hall was shot in the arm. [It was assumed he was a.k.a. Bob Douglas, who was wanted for a shooting in Mississippi.] Hall claimed he was innocent; he said that he was only a bystander who had gotten shot at the train depot. It was decided that there would be less disturbance if Hall were jailed in Wickliffe. On Tuesday, October 12, in response to the shooting, all African Americans were forced to leave Kevil, KY. Friday morning, about 1:15 a.m., a group of about 35 masked white men took Hall from jail and hanged him. For more see "Quickest of lynchings occurs at Wickliffe," Daily News Democrat (Paducah, KY), 10/16/1903, vol. 35, issue 12, front page; and "Kentucky Negroes forced to flee," Washington Post, 10/14/1903, p. 8.