FOUR DIE RACE: Shooting Enrag Alabamans Two Whites and Two Negroes Lose Lives in Fierce Mob Fury Quartet of Blacks Escape Posse by Hiding in Dense Swamp- MA

Source Type: Newspaper
Publisher: Los Angeles Times
Place of publication: Los Angeles, CA
Date of publication: July 1930

Con-vinced their quarry had escaped possemen late today abandoned search for four Negroes in connec-tion with the slaying of two white men yesterday which resulted in the death of two Negroes, one of them being lynched.

Possemen seeking the slayers of Grover Boyd and Charlie Marrs, white, said this afternoon it was ap-parent the quartet had eluded them and escaped into Mississippi. Quiet was restored here tonight.

The Negroes slain were John Robert-son, shot down resisting a posse seeking to search his home, and Esau Robertson, his nephew, who was lynched in a mob last night.

Hunted All Night

The Negroes sought, Tom Robert-son and his sons, brothers of the lynching victim, were sought throughout last night by between 200 and 300 armed men after they had beaten Clarence Boyd, nephew of Grover, who was slain as he sought to aid him.

A Coroner’s jury late today re-turned a verdict the two Negroes came to their deaths at the “hands of party or parties unknown.” Officials gave no indication an investi-gation will be conducted.

Jim Ayres, white, was suffering a cheek wound received in a fight with the Negroes last night and Clarence Boyd, nephew of Grover, was injured severely about the head with a bottle held by a Negro.

Shot From Behind

Grover Boyd was shot down from behind by one Negro and Charlie Marrs was killed while possemen and citizens stormed John Robert-son’s house, where the Negroes had taken refuge. John Robertson was killed as he fled the house and Esau Robertson was hanged to a tree by the mob.

First reports of the trouble were exaggerated, the death list being given as high as eight.

Sheriff Scales, who took charge of the search last night and at-tempted to control the unruly mob of 200 to 300 men, checked the cas-ualties today and found four dead and two wounded.

Reports two Negroes had been burned to death also were proved unfounded by a search of the ruins of John Robertson’s home.

Start of Trouble

The trouble started yesterday when Clarence Boyd met Esau Rob-ertson and demanded payment for a storage battery he had sold him.

The Negro said he did not have the money and Boyd seized the bat-tery. Later the Negro called Boyd outside the store in which they were standing. The Negro’s brother, Oliver, and his father were there. The three were said to have jumped on Boyd and beaten him.

Grover Boyd and Carl Scales went to Clarence’s assistance and one of the Negroes fired four bullets into Grover Boyd’s back, killing him. Scales and others seized Esau, but the other two Negroes disappeared.

Esau was held by the crowd with formed and last night was to the woods and hanged. In the meantime, Sheriff Scales and his deputies arrived and search for the other two Negroes was started. When the posse called at the home of John Robertson, brother of Tom, he met them with gunfire and in turn was slain. Later, it was discovered Marrs had been shot and Ayres wounded. Enraged, the mob fired the house.

Mob Dwindles

While the flames roared in John Robertson’s home, possemen formed and began a search of the section for the other two Negroes.

The mob that numbered between 200 and 300 last night dwindled to-day to between twenty-five and fif-ty.

Sheriff Scales said reports a race riot was in progress were untrue and that the Negroes not implicated in the shooting had not been mo-lested.

A squad of State law enforcement officers from Montgomery and an-other squad from Birmingham dis-patched by Gov. Graves are en route here. The Negroes are be-lieved in hiding in dense swamps near the Mississippi line.