Jim Wilson Lynching

If you look on the dark side of American history you will find many examples of flaws in our justice system, especially when it came to minorities. Between mistrials, false evidence, and unfair judgment, minorities usually did not stand any chance for fair justice. Many historians and criminal justice majors have revisited old trials and found convicted people innocent. One case in Maryland seems to have taken a form of revenge on its own.

In November 1862 Ellen Plummer, a young girl who was the daughter of a Caroline County delegate, was found dead in the woods near Oakland Maryland. Jim Wilson, a half black man, worked near where the body was found and was arrested for suspicion of rape and murder. He was taken to the location of the body and was hung by his thumbs and tortured until he confessed. Even though his confession did not add up to the crime, he was taken to the Denton prison and locked up for 3 days. On the 3rd day an angry mob of 300 people broke into the prison with an ax and decided to take the law into their own hands. Wilson had a noose put around his neck which he was dragged through town. He was taken to a tree near Tuckahoe Neck, hung, and he was shot at until his body fell from the tree. His body was then dragged to a nearby black church where he was hung again. The town then had the local butcher chop up his body while the mob started a bonfire. The people did morbid things such as nail one of his hands to a tree while another man played catch with the other hand with his wife.

This horrifying story didn’t end there. It seemed people involved in this lynching came to their own misfortunes, especially the butcher who chopped him up. Rumors of the butcher using the same knife to handle customer’s meat that he chopped up Jim with started to deter his customers. He eventually lost his business. Later a train accident would cost him one of his arms. His misfortune ended after he fell into the Nanticoke River drunk and drowned.

Resources

Okonowicz,E. (2010). The Big Book of Maryland Ghost Stories. Stackpole Books. Mechanicsburg, PA

Pitts, J. (n.d.). Maryland Lynchings. The Baltimore Sun retrieved https://news.baltimoresun.com/maryland-lynchings/