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Ohio Lynchings: Henry Corbin

The Ohio State Journal
Thursday, January 14, 1892; and Friday, January 15, 1892
Transcribed by

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Thursday, January 14, 1892

An Oxford Lady Brutally Murdered
and Daughter Assaulted by Their
Lecherous Negro Servant.


OXFORD, O., Jan. 13.--Last night Mrs Georgianna Horner, a well-known and popular lady residing near the college campus, was killed by Henry Corbin, her colored servant. It was a most brutal affair and the town is wild with excitement. The fiend attempted to outrage the lady but, being foiled in his attempt to throw her to the floor owing to her struggles, he became furious and releasing his hold, grabbed a stick of stove-wood and literally brained the poor woman.

Her daughter, Lizzie, hearing the noise, rushed into the room to see what was the matter. She was horrified to see her mother lying on the floor with her head mashed into an almost unrecognizable mass, from which blood poured in streams, while the negro stood over the prostrate woman with the blood-covered stick of wood in his hands. He no more than saw the daughter than he grabbed her, but she fought heroically for her honor and finally escaped from his clutches and ran out into the street where she where she fell exhausted and lay for almost an hour.

When she revived she ran to a neighbor's house and gave the alarm.

The neighbors went at once to the Horner home and found the mother just breathing her last, but the negro had fled.

Search was made in every direction, but he could not be found. If caught he will probably be lynched.

Kind friends took charge of the remains of the mother and cared for the daughter, who is in such a critical condition that the sad fate of her mother was concealed from her for as long as possible.

The Horner family is one of the most prominent and wealthy in this county. Mrs. Horner is a niece of Thomas McCullough the banker. She was about 52 years of age with a large circle of admiring friends. Her charitable disposition made her a great favorite among the poor. The daughter, Miss Lizzie, is the recognized belle of the village and was exceedingly popular. She is a graduate of Oxford college. It is said that Mis Lizzie is engaged to be married to a popular young attorney of Hamilton some time this winter.

The negro is an old attache of the home and always conducted himself in such a way as to gain the confidence of his lady employers. He is 25 years of age, very black, 5 feet 6 inches tall and weighs about 150 pounds.

Thursday, January 14, 1892

Classic Oxford, Aroused by Tuesday
Night's Awful Murder and
Last Night's Capture

Makes Swift Work of Murderer Cor-
bin by Placing Him on the
end of a Rope.

Thrilling Tale of Hanging a Man Dy-
ing From Shooting Himself
to Defeat Capture.

The Murderer Found in Oxford After
the Town and Surrounding
Country is Searched.

Baffled in His Efforts to Escape Cap-
ture He turns His Gun Upon

Inflicts a Deadly Wound in His Body,
But Does Not Cheat the

Into Eternity With a Parting Salute
of Bullets.


OXFORD, O., Jan. 14--The most sensational event in the history of this quiet little college town, where President Harrison and Senator Brice received their schooling, took place tonight in the capture and lynching of Henry Corbin, the negro who brutally murdered his benefactress, Mrs. Horner, Tuesday night and assaulted her daughter, Miss Lizzie.

The negro it seems had never left the town, premature reports to the contrary notwithstanding. Early in the evening the officers heard that the brute had been seen hiding about some out-buildings on the premises of his friends, and a search was accordingly made with the desire result. He was fund skulking like an animal in an out-of-the-way place, and when he saw that his hiding-place was discovered he made a desperate effort to escape, which was frustrated by the vigilant officers.

Seeing that escape was out of the question, hemmed in as he was on all sides, he abandoned hope and cowardly turned upon himself the pistol with which he had been intimidating the officers, and before he could be prevented, shot himself, not fatally, but inflicting a wound which was considered fatal. He was taken to the village prison and locked up.

The authorities made an effort to keep from the citizens any news of the capture for fear of summary measures, and arranged to remove the prisoner to Hamilton for safe-keeping as soon as it could be decided whether he would live, but the effort was useless.

The report spread like wildfire and on all sides was heard the opinion that the law's delay was dangerous. Never was such excitement. Men put on their over coats and went hurriedly out on the streets, while little crowds soon collected. Even the women left their warm firesides to talk with each other and the children could not be kept in doors. There was something coming. Everybody felt it in the air and although the law-abiding elders cautioned calmness their counsels had little effect. The public blood was boiling over the outrage with which the fair name of classic Oxford had been so recently sullied and the opinion prevailed that there was but one proper way to wipe out the disgrace.

There was not much delay. Soon the prison was besieged by an orderly mob of disguised men whom no one seemed to know

though they came from out the alleys and streets converging at the prison. They quickly broke down the door, took possession of the place, disarmed the surprised officers and carried the dying negro to a neighboring tree, tied a rope around his neck, threw the end over a limb and in less time than it takes to write it he was swinging high in air.

Then it was the lynching party became really and truly a mob. Pistols were drawn and a regular fusillade ensued, in which volley after volley was fired into the struggling quivering man, gasping in the agonies of death.

Meanwhile the crowd had increased to mamoth proportions. People came running to the spot from all directions, and although the main body soon left the scene others hung about the spot all night long and hundreds remained out of bed. Thus was avenged the foul deed of Tuesday night, and while it was not in accordance with law and order, the majority of the people of Oxford are satisfied.

This culmination, coming close on the heels of the awful murder, which had aroused the citizens and kept them on the highest pitch of excitement for the past two days, will not give the town a chance to get back into her normal condition. The streets have been literally crowded with people, all talking of the blood-curdling affair. Men, women and children were alike exorcised and excitement reigns supreme. After the first shock to the public conscience caused by the abrupt lynching had passed a certain feeling of relief was noticeable among the people, following the strain induced by the terrible fate of mrs. Horner and the critical condition of Mis Lizzie added to the fear that the brutal violator of the confidence reposed by two unprotected women would escape justice. Thus it was that there was last night a general expression of satisfaction with the work of the avengers of the most horrible crime ever perpetrated here.

The two days since the crime were notable. Business was suspended and everybody was aiding in the search for Corbin. A reward of $1000 was offered for his capture, $200 by Mis Horner, $800 by the town of Oxford and #500 by the county commissioners, and no stone was left unturned that would lead to his arrest.

An inquest was begun over the remains of Mrs. Horner and meantime Miss Horner recovered sufficiently to say no attempt at outrage was made upon her person, the efforts of the negro being confined to choking her into insensibility. Beyond the mental strain and nervous shock she was not seriously injured, and from a search of the house she gives it as her opinion that robbery was the object of the negro, inasmuch as some money and valuables are missing.

Oxford is an unusually quiet and orderly village and is known as the seat of learning. There are two large female seminaries located here as well as Miami university and a well-known sanitarium. The people are composed very largely of those who have moved here to educated their children and they are literary and refined. But during the past few days the town, which contains about 8000 has been in a state of undescribable commotion. It is situated nine miles from Hamilton and thirty-five miles from Cincinnati. It is almost on the Indiana state line and many persons have come over from Indiana to participate in the excitement which prevails. There are a great many colored people here and they have been as indignant as the white population over the outrage of the brute who turned on his benefactress. In many respects the town has been a refuge for the colored people for many years. It resembles [word missing] in the sympathies extended to the slaves during the war and refugees were taken care of. After the war there were many who came to the village and made it their home. Colored men who are engaged in agricultural business in southwestern Ohio and Indiana make this place their favorite one for camp-meeting and general gatherings. Some of the colored people have been as indignant as any of the white persons in trying to hunt down Corbin and some of them even participated in the lynching. But for the most part the colored people were greatly alarmed tonight. There were some very indignant white persons who carried their vengeance even further than the victim and made threats to other colored men whom they said, in their anger, were impudent on the streets. There has never been anything in the history of this classic village which compares with the excitement prevailing at this time.

Another Account of the Tragic Affair.

CINCINNATI, Jan. 14.--Henry Corbin, the negro who murdered Mrs. Georgetta [Sic.] Horner at Oxford, O., on last Tuesday night, was lynched there at 10 o'clock tonight. He had been hiding ever since Tuesday night in a shed within a few hundred feet of the place where he had committed the murder. Growing hungry, he had sent a negro boy up town to get him something to eat and the boy told that he was getting food for Corbin and told where the murderer was hidden. At once a crowd formed and rushed to the spot to which the negro boy had directed them. Corbin heard them too late to escape and in his cowardly fear endeavored to put an end to his life with a small 22-caliber revolver, he shot himself above the right eye, but the wound was not fatal. Fearing that their victim had escaped the crowd rushed in and seized him. But the marshal and his assistants took him in charge and were leading him to the calaboose followed by and enraged crowd which now numbered several hundred. Just at the door of the calaboose someone threw a rope around Corbin's neck, but a marshal's knife saved the wretch for the moment, the rope was cut, and Corbin was hustled into the calaboose. Word came soon, however, that the sheriff was on his way to take Corbin into custody, and upon hearing this the mob broke into the calaboose and dragging out the murderer hung him to a tree in the public square and riddled his body with bullets. It is said that 400 pistol bolls were shot into his body. The crowd then dispersed leaving the corpse hanging, and at the present writing still swings in the public square.

Henry Corbin, the colored boy lynched at Oxford tonight, was for two years the servant of Mrs. Georgiana Horner. Mrs. Horner was a widow of means, living with her daughter. On last Tuesday night the negro locked the door of the dining-room and picking up a club of fire-wood killed mrs Horner with one blow. The daughter then resisted the assault on her and escaped to the street, giving the alarm. Corbin escaped.

Mrs. Horner's maiden name was Georgianna Markel. She was 53 years old, was a graduate of Dr. Scott's female college and was a classmated of Mrs. President Harrison.

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