14189402

Lewis Hendricks

February 21, 1894

South of Wetumpka, Elmore County, Alabama

This photograph is of a field that feeds into Callaway Creek, near the Coosa River in Elmore County, Alabama. It is believed to be the last known location where Lewis Hendricks was alive.
This is where Lewis Hendricks was killed. Today, it is privately owned farm land.

Lewis Hendricks was lynched four miles south of Wetumpka, in Elmore County, Alabama, near the border of Montgomery County, on February 20, 1894.[1] Hendricks, along with two other young black men who at this point in the research are thought Abram Seddon and William George, were killed because they were suspected of murdering Mrs. Jesse Rucker, an eighteen-year-old married white woman from Stanton, in Chilton County, Alabama.[2] Click here to learn more about the case of Abram Seddon and William George.

After being accused of the crime, Hendricks tried to flee Chilton County by train, reportedly making it to his hometown of Montgomery.[3]  Just north of there, he was caught by a mob as he ran from a train through a cotton field on the plantation of John A. Fitzpatrick. The mob shot him three times, once in the hand, thigh, and shoulder, but he managed to jump into the overflown and freezing Callaway Creek, off of the Coosa River, where he died of his injuries. Members of the mob that lynched Hendricks were nameless except for three local men, West Stewart, James McDaniel, and John Barber, the last of which was considered to be a “great hunter” and ardent supporter of the temperance movement in the Elmore community.[4] The men later claimed to have offered to save Hendricks life once he entered the cold water.[5]

This is a bridge that crosses over Callaway Creek, between Elmore and Wetumpka, in Elmore, County Alabama. Lewis Hendricks was lynched near the creek, about a mile from where this picture was taken.
Callaway Creek, about a mile from where Lewis Hendricks was lynched.

Lewis Hendricks, according to the 1880 census, was born in Montgomery, Alabama, around 1875, to Lewis and Cornelia Hendricks. Lewis, around seventeen years old at the time of his death, was the eldest child in his home and had three younger siblings, Charlie, Liza, and James.[6] Hendrick’s connection to his supposed accomplices is not known, nor is the reason he was visiting or residing in Chilton County at the time of him being accused of the crime. It is also unclear if Hendricks was working for the Rucker family, though it is unlikely because he is not on any list of laborers, as were his supposed accomplices.[7] While no information on Hendricks family post-lynching was found, what is believed to be the field he was chased through by the mob, was found. The Montgomery and Elmore County Records and Archives offices were also searched for information on Hendricks, though nothing was found.

 

[1] “Lewis Hendricks – He Goes Down Into a Watery Grave in Elmore,” The Montgomery Advertiser (Montgomery, AL), Feb. 28, 1894.; “Caught by Hounds and Shot by Men – Alleged Negro Murderer Suffers the Usual Fate in Alabama,” Chicago Tribune (Chicago, IL), Feb. 21, 2894.; “Three Negroes Shot for One Crime.,” Osawatomie Graphic (Osawatomie, KS), Feb. 24, 1894.; “The Third Negro Lynched,” The Montgomery Advertiser (Montgomery, AL), Feb. 21, 1894.; “” The Selma Times (Selma, AL), Feb. 22, 1894.; “Two Guilty Three Lynched,” The Boston Globe (Boston, MA), Feb. 21, 1894.; “Lynched a Negro,” The Nebraska State Journal (Lincoln, NE), Feb. 23, 1894.; “The Third Negro Lynched,” Chattanooga Daily Times (Chattanooga, TN), Feb. 21, 1894.; “Three Negroes Shot for One Crime,” Emporia Gazette (Emporia, KS), Feb. 22, 1894.; “Three Lives for One” The Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia, PA), Feb. 22, 1894.

[2] “Both Were Lynched,” (St. Louis, MO) Feb. 18, 1894.

[3] “,”The Montgomery Advertiser (Montgomery, AL), Feb. 21, 1894.

[4] “,”The People’s Banner (Wetumpka, AL), March 2, 1876.

[5] “Lewis Hendricks – He Goes Down Into a Watery Grave in Elmore.,” The Montgomery Advertiser (Montgomery, AL), Feb. 28, 1894.

[6] Year: 1880; Census Place: Pike Road, Montgomery, Alabama; Roll: 26; Page: 309D; Enumeration District: 134

[7] “Both Were Lynched,” (St. Louis, MO), Feb. 18, 1894.