Source Type: Newspaper
Publisher: The Tuscaloosa News
Place of publication: Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Date of publication: 10/11/1908 0:00
Source URL: View Source

Church and other Build- ing Destroyed by Incendiaries. Many well-informed people believe that the barreling of the Spring Hill Baptist church, and the lodge hail at the same place, marks the outbreak of another series of outrages, which have been carried on in this neighborhood during the present year. The buildings which were burned Thursday night are located about six miles west of Northport, and were owned by negroes living in the neighbor- wood, who had purchased some land and erected a church and “hall.” The buildings have been in use for some time, although during the present year the negroes have been afraid to hold many lodge meetings. The signs all indicate that the build- hags were burned by a band of horse- men, who are supposed to be organized for the purpose of driving the negroes out of this neighborhood. It is thought that a certain element of the Fewer class of white farmers have made a plot to drive off the negro tenants from the rich farms in this section, in order that they may be able to rent the land after the negroes are gone. The trouble is not of recent origin. Barely this year many negroes received anonymous letters warning them that they would be killed unless they left the country. Bands of mounted men- have fired into houses and have done everything possible to terrorized negro tenants. The best element of the white farmers are not in sympathy with the movement, and have done everything possible to protect the negroes. The trouble culminated last April in the killing of Dill McGee, a negro tenant in Hughes’ Beat, who had been warned to leave, but had paid no a tention to the warning. His home was surrounded by a body of armed men who fired into the building and killed him. The county authorities spent considerable money in investigating the ease, and as a result Monroe Childress, Bud Mills and Bill Mereedy were indicted for murder by the grand jury which met last, month. They were, however, released on a bond of $1000 each. They deny that they know anything of the killing, and have summoned many witnesses to testify in their behalf. The trouble in Beat. 9 (Hughes beat) has now reached an acute stage, and the large land owners are very much worried at the outlook. Unless the negroes are protected they will leave the farms, and the cotton crop will not be gathered, not to mention next year’s crop. On some of the farms the negroes are said to be afraid to sleep in their homes, and sleep out in the woods. Some of them have taken refuge at their employers’ Nome. The county authorities are doing everything possible to break up this lawlessness, and the large land owners are also organizing for the purpose of taking steps to protect their negro tenants. It is said that similar trouble took place in this neighborhood some years ago, but order was finally restored by the prompt and energetic action of the officers of the law.