About the Case
Date: October 20, 1908
Victim(s): Tom Stover
Case Status: attempted
Hartselle, Alabama native, Tom Stover was lynched in the early morning hours of October 20, 1908, by a mob near his hometown as a mob supposedly “surprised and overpowered” officers as they were transporting him to the Morgan County Jail in Decatur, Alabama. Stover was lynched because he was suspected of “having entered the room of Miss White,” implying he had been in a relationship with a white woman who “resided near Danville.” In a surprising admission from the Montgomery Advertiser, it was stated that “There was no direct evidence as to his guilt, but circumstances pointed strongly to him (Stover).”
Finding evidence on the lynching of Tom Stover was especially difficult. The Montgomery Advertiser piece was the only article I was able to find that detailed the lynching. It came from the Morgan County Archives. The only other primary sources I was able to unearth were two articles that cited a rise in overall lynchings nationwide in 1908. Both sources gave “attempted assault” as the justification for Stover’s lynching. The two sources went on to say of overall lynching trends: “The Lynching record for 1908 shows the practice of taking summary vengeance on persons guilty of certain forms of crime is increasing rather than diminishing.” The article goes on to cite a nationwide rise, rather than just a spike in the volatile South. “Though the rest of the lynchings occurred in the south, they were not confined to that section by any means.”
I was unable to uncover any biological or ancestral information regarding Tom Stover or his alleged victim, Miss White. There was also no information on the mob that lynched Stover, as reporters claimed that none of the men were recognized because “it was dark and the men’s faces were blacked.” I am hoping to receive more information on the Stover lynching and his victim from the Morgan County Archives in the coming weeks.