|Place of publication:||New Orleans, LA|
|Date of publication:||4/10/1908|
A letter from Sheriff Wallace of Yazoo City, Miss., to the effect that he has arrested there a negro answerin the description of Walter Clayton, wanted here as an escaped life convict, and also for criminal assault and attempt to murder, has created much interest here. While it was asserted at the time that Clayton had escaped from a mob near Bay Minette, bent upon lynching him, it has been freely stated since that he was buried head down in a barrel. Aside from one of the negro’s shoes nothing was ever found to indicate his fate.
Clayton, Christmas night three years ago, stabbed to death James McKenzie, a white man. For this he was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment. While acting as a trusty at the Dolive, Ala., stockade of the Vinegar Bend Lumber Company, Clayton took leave and visited the home of a respectable farmer, during the husband’s absence, criminally assaulted the wife, cut her throat and then fired several shots at her. He was captured by the sheriff and when en route back to the Bay Minette jail a mob was said to have taken possession of the negro Leaving the sheriff and his deputies the mob started back ober the trail, to lynch the negro. His fate was never known. Members of the mob said that Clayton escaped, though afterward a sister in this city said that Clayton had visited her. This was never believed.
Developments to-day were such as to strengthen the belief that Clayton did escape, and was not burned at the stake or buried alive as was generally believed.
“You can state without fear of contradiction that Clayton escaped the mob that had him near Vinegar Bend,” said a well-known Mobilian to-day, “I know this to be a fact and furthermore I have talked with a brother of Clayton, who met him in the woods near this city shortly after his escape from the the mob. Whether the person under arrest at Yazoo City is Clayton I am not prepared to say, but I should not be surprised in the least that it is the negro.”
Sheriff Palmer received a description of the negro under arrest in Yazoo City, and it fits that of Clayton. A deputy sheriff is to be sent to Yazoo City to see the negro, and if it is Clayton he will be returned to Mobile.
The sheriff’s office here is awaiting anxiously for further information from the authorities of Yazoo City, Miss., regarding the negro under arrest there, and who is said to be Walter Clayton, and who is now believed to have escaped a mob bent upon lynching him.
“News Of Mobile And Its Vicinity; Wharves Committee of City Council Will Meet Monday to Consider Plans and Specifications for Proposed Warehouses and Sheds.” The Times-Democrat (New Orleans, LA), April 10, 1908.