|Publisher:||Franklin County Times|
|Place of publication:||Russellville, AL|
|Date of publication:||3/26/1907|
NEGRO ATTEMPTS CRIMINAL ASSAULT. Mrs. Ben Rice is Saved by Pet Shepherd Dog When Cleveland Hardin Attacks Her Near Florence. Florence, March 22. A posse with bloodhounds are in pursuit of Cleveland Hardin, a negro, who attempted criminal assault on Mrs. Ben , Rice, this afternoon at 2 o’clock, at her home seven miles west of this city.The negro was prevented from accomplishing his evil purpose by a pet shepherd dog, who attacked him when he entered the room where Mrs. Rice was alone and attempted to lay hands on her. Mr. Rice was in Florence attending court as a juryman and Mrs. Rice was alone. Hardin had been released from the county jail last Saturday by Mr. Rice, who went his bail and was employed on the farm of the latter. An alarm was given at once and dogs were secured from Columbia, Tenn. The city of Florence and the community in which the crime was committed is in a fever of excitement, tonight and it is possible that the military will be callsed out to protect the negro, if he is captured. Mrs. Rice is a sister-in-law, of Sheriff Young of this county. Florence, March 24. Cleveland Hardin, the negro who attempted criminal assault on Mrs. B. F. Rice, seven miles west of this city Friday afternoon, was mobbed by a crowd of about 300 men this afternoon at 4 o’clock.The negro was captured half a “mile below Florence on the Tennessee river by a party of young men out for a stroll. He did not deny his identity and offered no resistance whatever. His captors started at once for the Rice home. The news of the capture spread with wonderful rapidly and before they had gone two miles the crowd had grown to 150. When the negro was brought before Mrs. Rice she fainted and was revived with difficulty. When asked what she wanted done with . Hardin she, told the men to do anything they cared and fainted again. Many members of the crowd that had collected wanted to burn the negro, but Mr. Rice, husband of the victim, choose shooting and the mob acquiesced. Accordingly the negro was carried half a mile from the Rice home, tied to a tree and his body riddled with bullets, It is estimated that a thousand shots entered the body. The mob was orderly and there was no attempt to conceal the identity of its members. The body was left tied to the tree. Before the lynching Sheriff Young, who is the brother to Mrs, Rice, overtook the mob with the negro and tried to secure the ne . gro but failed. Beyond confessing his guilt Hardin said nothing from the time he was captured until the end.
“Negro Attempts Criminal Assault.” Franklin County Times (Russellville, AL), March 26, 1907.