Richmond County, NC

Alleged offense: Black
Race: Male
Gender: Rape
Age: Between 14 and 21
Legal intervention (in alleged offense): Yes
Legal intervention (following lynching): Yes
Mob size: 50
Mob members: Unrecorded
Alleged victim: Daughter of William Mason
Household Status: Unrecorded
Occupation: Unrecorded

A black man named Archie Johnson was arrested for the alleged rape of a six-year-old white girl, daughter of Mr. William Mason. According to some newspaper accounts, he confessed to the crime upon arrest. He was placed in the Richmond County Jail in Rockingham, where he was abducted by a mob of 50 partially masked persons on Thursday, September 20th, 1883. His body was then found the next morning 20 miles from Rockingham, in the neighborhood where the rape allegedly took place (Laurel Hill, Richmond County) with a sign that read “Our wives and daughters must be protected.” Some studies recorded this lynching under the name Dockery Johnson. As shown by the attached census page, Dockery Johnson was the brother of Archie Johnson. Archie was 11 in 1879 or 1880, meaning he would be 14 or 15 in 1883. Dockery was 17 in 1879 or 1880, so he would be 20 or 21. The person lynched was named Archie Johnson in newspaper coverage and was said to be 17 or 18 years old. Available documentation then does not leave us with certainty as to the identity of the person lynched.


Death certificate: None found
Census: Dockery Johnson in the 1880 United States Federal Census

News coverage:


Gleanings Here and Elsewhere

Judge Lynch Holds Court in Rockingham


Town: Laurel Hill, North Carolina
Latitude/Longitude: 34.812058, -79.542216
Rationale: Placed location in the vicinity of Laurel Hill; abduction location derived from consulting period map for reported location.

Additional Resources:

Researcher’s Note: