Union County, NC

Alleged offense: Rape
Race: Black
Gender: Male
Age: Unrecorded
Legal intervention (in alleged offense): Yes
Legal intervention (following lynching): No
Mob size: 326
Mob members:
Alleged victim: Jane Godfrey
Household Status: Unmarried
Occupation: Unrecorded

Edmund Davis was accused of breaking into the Godfrey family home in Jackson township, Union County, North Carolina. There he allegedly sexually assaulted and physically harmed a woman referred to in newspaper accounts as “Miss Godfrey” (likely Jane Godfrey). Godfrey’s mother, the owner of the house, had a small boy living in her house alert a nearby neighbor. He came in to find Miss Godfrey “ravished,” with signs of having been choked. Nearby was a stick and wagon hammer which led people to suspect Edmund Davis. He was eventually apprehended just a few miles over the border in Lancaster County, South Carolina, near a church which he had claimed to attend. After his arrest he was taken to Miss Godfrey who failed to positively identify him as her attacker and then imprisoned. While in prison he allegedly confessed to the crime. Fearing a lynch mob, the authorities hid Davis in the woods overnight. He was eventually found on the morning of the October 17 by a mob of 100 men. Sometime around 9:00 on that morning he was executed in front of a large crowd of men, supposed by most accounts to number 326 people.


Death certificate: None found
Census: None found

News coverage:

A Ravisher Lynched

Judge Lynch in Union


Town: Jackson, North Carolina
Latitude/Longitude: 34.863563, -80.728349
Rationale: Used historic maps to locate Jackson township and the probable location of Heath’s store.

Additional Resources:

Researcher’s Note: