From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Thompson, Marie

(died: 1904) 

Thompson lived in Shepherdsville, KY. In 1904, she killed her landlord, John Irvin, after he berated and kicked her son and attacked her with a knife. Thompson was a large woman who got the best of Irvin and cut his throat with his knife. She was arrested and jailed. A lynch mob of a dozen white men made a first attempt to take her from the jail cell. Their efforts were thwarted by a group of armed African American men; a shootout occurred and both parties retreated from the scene. Hours later, a much larger mob of white men succeeded in taking Thompson from the jailhouse; they then attempted to hang her, but while Thompson was swinging in the air, she grabbed a man by the collar and took a knife from him. She cut the length of rope that led to the noose around her neck and landed on the ground. Thompson was fighting her way through the mob when she was gunned down - June 14, 1904. More than 100 shots were fired at her. Marie Thompson died the next day in the Shepherdsville jail. For more see From Slavery to Freedom: a history of African Americans, 8th ed., by J. H. Franklin and A. A. Moss; and Ladies and Lynching: the gendered discourse of mob violence in the new South, 1880-1930, by C. E. Feimster (dissertation).


Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: From slavery to freedom: a history of African Americans 8th ed.
NKAA Source: Ladies and lynching: the gendered discourse of mob violence in the new South, 1880-1930 (dissertation)

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“Thompson, Marie,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed August 21, 2019,

Last modified: 2017-07-19 17:51:24