Source Type: Newspaper
Publisher: Tuscaloosa Times
Place of publication: Tuscaloosa, AL
Date of publication: 23 July 1884

The black demon, Henderson Burke, who recently attempted the outrage of a respectable little white girl , of our community, has, we are glad to state, been caught, and has paid the penalty he so richly deserved. The young girl, whose ruin he attempted, was the granddaughter of one of our most highly respected citizens, residing about one mile from the city. The little girl was on her way home, after taking a music lesson, when she was encountered by the dastardly brute, who dragged her out of the road, over the fence, into the adjoining thicket, tearing the clothes from her, and choking her until she was senseless; and he was only prevented from accomplishing his diabolical purpose, by a certain person passing the road at the same time. Great indignation was felt by both whites and blacks, and posses of our citizens immediately scoured the country in search of the demon.
After three days diligent search, the brute was found on Thursday evening last, not in his own room, but barred in a vacant outhouse near Star Livery Stable. The house was surrounded and broken open. He was discovered on his bed asleep, with a quart of whiskey near him, with which he had no doubt been soothing his troubled conscience. He was taken to the Court-House, and from there carried to the of the little girl, who immediately recognized him as the party who attempted the outrage. To make the identification certain, it is proper to say, that one or two parties, arrested on suspicion, were carried before the little girl, prior to this, and by her, promptly acquitted on the charge. About dusk, he was placed in the guard house, and a guard put over him. At 11 o’clock, that night, he was taken from the prison by a party of men – the guard being overpowered – and hung to an oak tree, in our streets near the Presbyterian Church. While swinging five or six shots were fired into him.
The vile demon was so fully and completely identified, that there was not a reasonable doubt of his guilt. The execution was so quietly and orderly done, but it was not known to the public, until several hours after the brutal creature had paid the penalty of his shocking crime.
We are law and order men; but this character of outrage has become so frequent, that indignant communities, South, West, and North, will not be restrained from executing summary vengeance, where the guilt is clear.


Hung. (1884, July 23). Tuscaloosa Times, pp. 2.