A Terrible Retribution

Source Type: Newspaper
Publisher: Alexandria Gazette
Place of publication: Alexandria, VA
Date of publication: 5 August 1884

An Anniston, Ala., special says: Reports have reached here of the punishment of a woman’s assailant which are of a most terrible character. On Thursday morning the thirteen-year-old daughter of a well-known citizen of Tuscaloosa, who lives on the outskirts of the town, went into town for the purpose of taking a music lesson. On her return home in the evening she met Andy Burke, a negro, who asked her some questions, which she was answering when a sheet of music fell out of her book. As she stooped to pick it up Burke flung his arm around her waist and lifting her up and holding her mouth closed with the other hand, he ran into a copse of woods with her. As he ran the girl lost her hat. A gentleman riding by saw the hat in the road, and seeing tracks leading into the woods, and hearing muffled screams in that direction, he followed the steps and sound. As soon as Burke saw that rescue had come to the girl he released her and escaped.

All night Tuesday and through Wednesday parties of men prosecuted a search, finding the fugitive Thursday. They took him before the girl, who identified him fully, when he confessed his crime. He was put in a guard house, from which he was subsequently taken by a mob, shot and hung near the Presbyterian church, where his body lay until morning, when it was carted off and buried.

But by far the worst part of the story remains to be told, which only legal investigation could sufficiently verify.

It is charged that when the negro was taken out he was first mutilated, and after letting him suffer a while, the suggestion was made to scalp him, which was accordingly done. By this time the crowd became fully committed to the policy of torturing him, when he was partially disemboweled. All this time, it is said, the wretch begged piteously for the final act which would put him out of pain. When the party had satiated itself with with the criminal’s suffering he was strung up to a tree, all of the party who had revolvers firing bullets into the swinging body, after which it cut down and left to be discovered by daylight. The details which rumor gives of the night’s are most terrible.


A Terrible Retribution. (1884, August 15). Alexandria Gazette.