Salisbury history club, innocents lynched?, A Game Called Salisbury, Susan Barringer Wells

Susan Barringer Wells has written a new book, “A Game Called Salisbury” about the murder of the Lyerly Family in Salisbury NC over a hundred years ago and the lynching of 3 suspects. The book explores the evidence and the racial undertones leading to the lynching of three black sharecroppers. Susan is a distant relative of the Lyerly family and Susan, as well as other Lyerly descendants, have disagreed about various aspects of the case and purported facts. There has been a lot of controversy about the alleged guilt of the three men who were hanged. Susan just commented that at a recent history club speech, a descendant of Deputy Pat Sloop, who attempted to defend the jail from the lynch mob,  remarked that her ancestor claimed that the guilty parties got away with murder. I would like to hear from this descendant or members of the history club.

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8 responses to “Salisbury history club, innocents lynched?, A Game Called Salisbury, Susan Barringer Wells

  1. Very interesting!
    keep on the good work 🙂

  2. Cunoaste istoria autointuitiv, invata, descopera minunata lume, distreaza-te si invita-ti prietenii in prima comunitate virtuala de istorie aplicata din Romania. Va asteptam online pe:

    http://www.adrianpopovici.eu

  3. Dear Adrian,
    Can you translate to English?

  4. It is odd that you call these hangings
    “lynchings”. My Grandfather was from States-
    ville, NC. When he was 18 years old, it has
    always been told in my family, he rode to
    Salisbury to witness the “public hanging” of the
    murderers of the Lyerly family. Salisbury is
    25 miles from Statesville. To go there was quite
    a journey in 1906 when you had to ride in a
    horse and buggy. This tells me that the
    news of the hangings had to be in the news-
    paper, or else my Grandfather would not have
    known about it or had time enough to get there
    to witness it.

    Maam, I would like to ask you something. How
    do you know for sure of which you write? You
    obviously DO NOT. This was a PUBLIC HANGING..
    not a LYNCHING.

    My Grandfather has never been a liar and this
    is the story he told. He witnessed the public
    hanging and it made him so sick that he vowed
    never to attend another one as long as he
    lived.

  5. I was visiting Salisbury, seeking info for genealogy reasons. The local bookstore, sold me your book. It is fasinating. My ancestors were slaves in the Mt Ulla/ Atwell Twp area. The 1870 census lists my great grandfather as living in the household of an Alex Gillespie. Next door to my great grandmother’s family (McCorkles) was the the Andrew Gillespie family. You book makes it clear why my entire family picked up and moved to CoddleCreek, Iredell Cty, by 1900.Racial relations can’t move forward, until we have acknowledged what was done in the past.
    Keep up the good work!
    J

  6. Very well said Marilyn! I could not have said
    it better myself. It is wonderful to know that
    there are still people out there who desire
    the truth and not a facsimile of.
    Sad but true, my Great Grandparents were
    beaten,axe murdered and burned. The public
    hanging was the consequence for murder during
    that era. To write a book regarding this
    horrific and tragic event is most heart wrenching
    For people who want the truth need to seek the
    truth on their on accord rather than a book
    of half truths. Thank you again for your
    comment.

  7. Susan Barringer Wells

    Wait just a minute Marilyn and COTK.
    Unless every newspaper in the state and the country got it wrong, the 1906 and
    1902 “hangings” in Salisbury NC were
    “public hanging” ONLY in the sense that
    1000s of members of the public witnessed
    it. I responded to Marilyn on another
    thread pointing out that my book is simply
    a compilation of ALL, meaning 100s of news
    articles I could find in 10 years
    on the subject, along with family
    history and accounts given by other
    local residents of their memories of oral
    history on the subject.
    THESE EVENTS WERE UNDISPUTEDLY LYNCHINGS – undisputed by anyone who knows the history. The Salisbury Post has written
    a brief recap of the story for years, and
    never has it once insinuated that it
    was a “public hanging”, ie a legal execution.
    You are correct only in saying that LEGAL executions were done by hanging in those days.
    However, legal hangings had specific criteria that were supposed to be followed. Measurements were made with the intent to break the necks of the LEGALLY condemned, supposedly preventing “cruel and unusual” punishment. Unfortunately these criteria were no always followed to the letter.
    However, with lynchings, there was usually NO TRIAL, or an acquittal, and yet a mob took the untried or innocent accused by
    force either from the jail, from officers, or from homes after acquittal and engaged them in a sadistic ritual, involving a prolonged march to the hanging destination and torture along the way. Usually rather
    than having the victim dropped so the neck is broken quickly, lynchers continue to torture until they get their “confession” and they they pull the victims up slowly by their necks, suffocating them in a lengthy additional form of torture.

    Why don’t you FIRST do a small percent of the research I have done before you
    decide arbitrarily that I do not know what I am talking about or that I have somehow
    made up a fantasy so you can go on thinking this terrible lynching didn’t take place?

  8. Susan Barringer Wells

    To Joan,
    It is very likely that you were related
    to Fannie Gillespie and James and
    Harrison Gillespie.
    If you find out any more of your
    genealogy, I’d be interested in the details.
    thanks for your comments on the book.

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