Gaston County, NC

Alleged offense: Murder
Race: Black
Gender: Male
Age: Unrecorded
Legal intervention (in alleged offense): Yes
Legal intervention (following lynching): Yes
Mob size: 30-50
Mob members: Unrecorded
Alleged victim: Thomas Wilson
Household Status: Married
Occupation: Tenant farmer

During the last week of March in 1884, Erwin McCullough allegedly murdered Thomas Wilson. McCullough was an African American tenant farmer who supposedly got drunk and shot down Wilson, a young white farmer. McCullough was taken to a jail in Dallas where he was to wait to go on trial before the Gaston Superior court. At midnight on April 1, 1884, a mob of around 30 – 50 men demanded the jailer hand over McCullough. When the jailer refused, the mob seized the keys from the jailer and abducted McCullough. They took him to Holland’s bridge, a mile and a half southeast of Dallas, where the mob hanged him from a white oak tree. County authorities buried McCullough’s body near the site of the lynching as it was “not being claimed by any… relatives or friends.”


Death certificate: None found
Census: None found

News coverage:

The Lynching in Gaston


Town: Dallas, North Carolina
Latitude/Longitude: 35.292273, -81.182053
Rationale: Holland’s Bridge, a  mile and a half southeast of Dallas.

Additional Resources:

Researcher’s Note: