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Ohio Lynchings: Charles "Chick" Mitchell

Columbus Evening Dispatch
Friday, June 4, 1897, page 1
Transcribed by

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And Easily, Too, When the Time Came,

Three Lives Sacrificed in the
Excitement at Urbana,

One the Negro Ravisher, Who Was Hanged to a Tree,

The Others, Citizens Shot Down By the Militia

While Attempting to Force an Entrance to the Champaign Couth Jail.

The Exciting Scenes Following the Brutal Outrage of Mrs. Gaumer

Come to a Climax In Full Keeping With the Crime—The Home Troops Refused To Act Any Longer and the Others Were Sent Home.

Scene of Hanging of Charles (Chick) Mitchell, Urbana, Ohio, 4 June 1897




HARRY BELL, of Urbana, a spectator.

UPTON BAKER, of Champagne county.


DANIEL GRAVEY; Urbana, shot through the leg.

JOHN WANK, of Oklahoma, shot in the hip, dying.

RAY DICKERSON, of Champagne county, shot in shoulder.

WESLEY BOWEN, of Cable, shot in hip, dying.

PROSECUTOR DEATON, of Champagne county, slight wound in hip.

GEORGE ELLICOTT, Urbana, slight wound in chin.

DR. CHAS. THOMPSON, of North Lewisburg, slight scalp wound.

GUS WEISER, of Urpana, bad wound in face.


Special to The Dispatch.

Urbana, O., June 4.—The coroner returned a verdict in the case of Mitchell, that he "came to his death by hanging in the court hour yard at the hands of an infuriated mob whose names are to me unknown."

At 3 p. m. the body of the negro was removed from the court house yard in Undertaker Humphrey's wagon, and the information given out that a Dr. Myers would be here from Columbus after him for one of the medical colleges.

Special to The Dispatch.

Urbana, O., June 4.—"Click" [Sic.] Mitchell, the negro brute, has paid the penalty of his foul crime with his life. An outraged people have taken the law into their own hands and meted out to Mitchell the punishment he so richly deserved, and have obeyed the command and wish of his prostrate, and as is announced, dying victim.

The sensational and unfortunate events of the night intensified the feeling against Mitchell, if that was possible, and the determination became general that the brute should never leave the twon alive.

After the firing of the militia on the crowd of spectators during the early morning hours, Governor Bushnell ordered Company B, Third infantry, of Springfield, to come here at once. The Springfield militia arrived here at 7:10 this morning and left their special train on the outskirts of the city, or near the water works. The company, 36 strong, under Captain Bradbury, marched up town to the jail where they found 2,000 people surrounding the jail.

The company marched into the jail yard and were met by Hon. Jesse M. Lewis, who said to Captain Bradbury:


"Who are you?"

"I am the deputy sheriff,"replied Lewis.

"There is the sheriff over there,"pointing to Mayor Ganson, who at that particular moment came forward from the crowd on the courty house steps and procceeded to address the militia and the crowd. The mayor assured the militia that their services were not wanted, that the people were law abiding and would assist him in preserving order, that the company could leave the court hour yard and when their services were needed he would send for them. The Springfield company, without waiting for further orders marched down street to the depot, without as much as the sheriff seeing them. The local military company had previously refused to serve longer, and went to the second story of the sheriff's residence and tried to sleep. With


The crowd at once made a rush for the side door, two strong and determined men kicked it down in short order, and gained admission to the jail, the crowd following. There were plenty of sledge hammers, chisels and other tools in the crowd and the men went to work.

Part of the crowd had, previously forced themselves upstairs into the private apartments of the sheriff and after looking about found a bunch of keys, which had been hid away and which proved to be the keys to the jail. The crowd got into the jail in short order. They didn't wait to unlock the door to Mitchell's cell, but busted the lock with a sledge hammer and the door soon flew open. Mitchel was standing in his cell and offered no resistance and did not utter a word. Some one in the crowd had a rope and it was placed over the brute's neck and the crowd made for the door, Mitchell following at the end.

In going down the steps on the outside of the jail Mitchell fell down and the rope slipped off his neck. The crowd surrounded him, jumped on him lik a thousand


The brute was kicked, beaten and almost killed right then and there. The rope was quickly slipped over his head again and a rush was made for a tree in the southeastern corner of the court house yard in front of the court house. The end was thrown over a good strong limb and a thousand willing hands pulled the wretch up. The end was tied to the iron fence and Mitchell was left hanging there in full view of several thousand people, to died the death he had brought upon himself.

All this was done in a shorter time than it actually takes to tell the story. The lynching took place at about 7:20 this morning. The men taking part in it made no attempt to disguise themselves, but it is not known who did the work, and the person who attempts to find out will get himself into serious trouble. This much is known, however, they did their work well and that is all the people wish to know.

It is doubtful if Mitchell died from the effects of the hanging.


had been almost kicked out of him when he fell down. If any life remained in his carcass it was strangled out. It is the general opinion that he was unconscious when strung up. His body was left hanging for an hour or more, and the people of the city flocked to see it. All classes of people came to witness the spectacle. It was finally cut down and placed in an undertaker's box and left lying in the court house yard open to public gaze.


The Sentence Imposed on Mitchell by the Court Being Twenty Years.
Special to The Dispatch

Urbana, O., June 4.—It was 8:25 last night when the members of the special grand jury filed into the court room. The court house doors were locked and none were allowed inside except the attaches and the newspaper men. In answer to a question of the court as to whether they were ready to report, Foreman C. F. Colwell answered in the affirmative. "You may read the report." said the court addressing Clerk Cheney, and the clerk then read the following report:

"The grand jury submitting the following report: To the honorable C. B. Heiserman, judge of the court of common pleas, Champaign county, Ohio: We the members of the special grand jury of the May term of court, 1897, through out foreman, C. F. Colwell, ask to submit the following report: We have been in session one day and have examined into such matters and things as have been brought to notice. We have examined five witnesses and have found the following indictment against Charles Mitchell, alias 'Click' Mitchell, for rape. Whe have ignored the following transcript: The state of Ohio vs. Charles Mitchell, all of which is respectfully submitted.

[Signed]"C. F. COLWELL,

The court then thanked the jury for the labors they had performed and the jury was excused. Nearly all of the jurors quickly left the court house and only three took seats in the rear of the court room to witness the usual scene that was to follow. The court, after consulting attorney Joe Flaughter, representing the prisoner, instructed the sheriff to bring the prisoner into court at once. It was not five minutes later whent he sheriff and deputy sheriff, with Mitchell in charge, walked hurriedly out of the side door of the jaul and entered the north door of the court house. They were preceded by six members of the militia, who stood on guard at the south door as Sheriff McLain hurried the prisoner up the stairway. Guards were also on duty at the front door and no opportunity was given the big crowd that surrounded the court hourse to get in the building.

Mitchell was attired in the uniform of a militiaman, wearing a cap and cape that made it difficult to distinguish him from one of the many guards that guarded the jail and court house. He hung closely to the side of the sheriff and cast furtive glances in different directions as he half ran up the stair way to the court room. As the prisoner walked into the court room and took a chair in front of the bar he was immediately told to stand up by the court. The fiend whose crime had shocked the community was evidently badly frightened. His lip trembled and his dark skin wore an ashen hue. The court then addressed the prisoner.

"The court has appointed Mr. Flaugher to defend you. Has he talked with you?"

"Yes, sir," answered the prisoner. In response to the question of the court as to whether the defendant would waive the reading of the indictment Mitchell's attorney answered in the affirmative.

"You have been indicted by the grand jury just descharged, of rape upon Eliza Gaumer," said the court, addressing the prisoner.

"Are you guilty or not guilty."

"Guilty," answered the prisoner promptly.

"You having pleaded guilty to this offense," continued the court, "It is the duty of the court to at once sentence you. The very serious consequences of the deed you have confessed to have committed, are all around you. The court house and jail are surrounded by angry people and you have been protected only by the vigliance of the sheriff and those he has called to his assistance. In order that your life may be spared and the lives of innocent persons saved the court at once will pronounce sentence upon you so that the sheriff may get you out of this town.

"The offense of which you are charged and of which you have plead guilty is a grievous one. It is one, perhaps, which ought to call for the infliction of the death penalty but it is the duty of the court and officers to administer the laws as they find them. The statute provides that whoever commits the crime of rape shall be committed to the penitentiary for a term not exceeding 20 years nor less than three years."

"It is the sentence of the court that you be confined in the Ohio penitientiary for the full term of 20 years, no part of which shall be in solitary confinement. The sheriff will take you to the penitentiary to-night."

At the conclusion of Judge Heiserman's remarks the sheriff seized Mitchell by the arm and hurried out of the courtroom and back to the jail and another chapter had been added to the most revolting case in the criminal annals of the city.

Although the court asked those in the court room to make no mention of the proceedings of the evening to any one on the outside in order that the reigning excitement might not be intensified by the news of Mitchell's pleading guilty, the sentence spread over the town like wildfire and an excited mob surged aroung the court house and jail. It was known that an attempt would be made to get the prisoner out of town on the 10 o'clock train, but it was evident that he would never get away alive unless the angry mob should be outwitted. Every avenue leading from the jail was guarded by members of the vigilance committtee. One rumorwas that the sheriff and deputy would try to get Mitchell in a carriage and drive with him to Hagenbush Station, while another was that the Pan Handle train would be stopped at Woodstock to take on board the officers and their prisoner.

About 9 o'clock a two-seated carriage with one horse drove up the alley in the rear of the jail. Jack Martin, of _anzen's livery stable was driving

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