Orange County, NC

Alleged offense: Arson
Race: Black
Gender: Male
Age: Unrecorded
Legal intervention (in alleged offense): Yes
Legal intervention (following lynching): Yes
Mob size: 75
Mob members: Unrecorded
Alleged victim: N/A
Household Status: Married
Occupation: Farmer

Jefferson Morrow and Daniel Morrow, two African American farm workers from Orange County, died for the alleged crimes of barn burning and threats of rape toward a white woman. In July, 1869, three barns in Orange County burned to the ground in a single evening. The Morrow brothers quickly fell under the suspicion of the community and law enforcement arrested and confined them to the Hillsborough jail. On July 8th, a mob of Ku Klux Klan members abducted the two men from the prison and removed them to the “top of a hill outside of town.” There they threatened the men at gunpoint, before finally deciding on their innocence and letting them go free. At some point in the encounter, a Klan member wounded one of the brothers with a gunshot to his thigh. Newspapers widely circulated reports of the attempted lynching and discussed it extensively, with writers describing in minute detail the dress and conduct of the KKK members. Nearly a month later, on August 7, 1869, a mob lynched the Morrow brothers following an accusation of barn burning and the vague charge of insulting women. Reports at the time indicated that the lynch mob left a note identifying themselves as the KKK. In the wake of the Morrow brothers’ lynching and other Klan activity, Governor William Woods Holden threatened to declare Orange county and other nearby counties as being in a state of insurrection.


Death certificate: Persons who Died during the Year ending 1st June, 1870
Census: None found

News coverage:

Morrow Brothers Abducted

State News



Town: Hillsborough, North Carolina
Latitude/Longitude: 36.078066, -79.105665

Additional Resources:

Researcher’s Note: