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Ohio Lynchings: Christopher C. Davis

Together with Sketches of Its Cities, Villages and Townships,
Educational, Religious, Civil, Military and Politacal History,
Portraits of Prominent Persons, and Biographies of Representative Citizens

Inter-State Publishing, 1883
Pages 294-295

Transcribed by

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The greatest event in the criminal history of Athens County was the crime and punishment of Christopher C. Davis, a mulatto, in the fall of 1881. Davis was a farm-hand who had been working in the vicinity of Albany. He had done some work for and was acquainted with a widow, Mrs. Lucinda Luckey by name, a most estimable lady of about fifty-two years of age. Between eight and nine o'clock on Saturday evening, Oct. 29, 1881, Davis went to Mrs. Luckey's house, which was in an isolated situation, and made indecent proposals to her, which were indignantly repelled. She succeeded in inducing him to quit the house, but he returned at midnight and broke into the house with an ax. Without a word he assaulted the poor woman, who stood near the doorway, wild with terror, striking her in the face and choking her to the floor. It is supposed that he then forcibly outraged her person. After accomplishing this hellish purpose he took the ax to complete his deadly work, and struck her with it about the head several times. fracturing the frontal and parietal bones of the skull, and cutting frightful gashes, portions of the scalp and the integuments of the head being torn completely off. Mrs. Luckey lay unconscious for several hours, but in the early morning managed to make her way to a neighbor's house and tell her terrible story. She finally recovered.

Davis was arrested and taken before the Justice at Albany, who bound him over to court in the sum of $300. He was taken to Athens and imprisoned there. But when the enormity of the crime charged against him became known, there were mutterings and threats of vengeance both loud and deep, which induced Sheriff Warden to remove him to Chillicothe for safe-keeping. After a time, when the excitement had apparently subsided, he [Davis] was brought back to the Athens jail.

Between one and two o'clock on the morning of Monday, Nov. 21, 1881, a band of about thirty armed men from the vicinity of Albany and other parts of the county made their appearance in Athens for the purpose of hanging Davis. They were thoroughly organized, and used great care in their operations. They stationed guards at the residence of Marshal Scott, at the Brown House, where it was supposed Deputy Sheriff Sands roomed, at the churches and city hall, so that no alarm could be given by the ringing of bells. They then proceeded to the residence of the sheriff, overpowered him, got into the jail, and finding Davis, placed a rope around his neck, and the crowd proceeded to the South Bridge. Davis at first maintained his innocence, but finally confessed.He was given three minutes to pray, and then, the rope being fastened, was cast off the bridge. Watching him till life was extinct, the crowd then quietly dispersed. The testimony before the grand jury did not show who were the leaders in this summary execution, and no one has ever been brought to justice for complicity in it. In fact, public sympathy was to strong that little effort was made to investigate the facts.

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