Brutal Murder of a Brute

Source Type: Newspaper
Publisher: New York Times
Place of publication: New York City, NY
Date of publication: 1 August 1884

Anniston, Ala., July 31. – Reports have reached here of the punishment of a negro brute which are of a most horrible character. On Tuesday morning the 13-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 sho [sic] met Andy Burke, a colored man, who asked her some question which she was answering when a sheet of music fell out of her book. As she stooped to pick it up Burke threw his arm around her waist, lifting her up, and holding her mouth closed with the other hand, 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 footprints leading into the woods, and hearing muffled screams in that direction he followed the prints 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 yesterday. They took him before the girl, who identified him fully, and he confessed his crime. He was put in the guard house, from which he was subsequently taken by a mob, shot and hanged near the Presbyterian church, where his body remained until morning, when it was carted off and buried.

It is charged that when the negro was taken out he was mutilated. After suffering for a while a suggestion was made to scalp him. This was accordingly done. By this time the crowd became fully committed to the policy of torture, and he was partially disemboweled. All this time, it is said, the wretch begged most piteously for the final act which would put him out misery. 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. Then the body was cut down and left to be discovered by daylight. Details which rumor gives of the night’s are most horrible. It is said that the matter will be thoroughly investigated, by order of the Governor, to find out the truth these rumors, and if possible, to reach the guilty parties and visit upon them the punishment due their crime.


Brutal Murder of a Brute. (1884, August 1). New York Times.