Haywood County, NC

Alleged offense: Rape
Race: Black
Gender: Male
Age: unrecorded
Legal intervention (in alleged offense): Yes
Legal intervention (following lynching): Unknown
Mob size: Unreported
Mob members: None named
Alleged victim: Granddaughter of Matthias/Nithis Holland
Household Status: Unmarried
Occupation: Unknown

George Ratcliffe, an African American man, was accused of raping an 8 year old girl in the family of his employer, the Hollands. The alleged crime took place around 3 miles outside of Clyde around 4:00 p.m on March 3, 1900. Ratcliffe was arrested that same evening, subjected to an initial trial at Clyde and then taken to jail at Waynesville on March 4. Around 1:00 a.m. that morning, a mob of 40-50 “masked men” attempted to break into the cell where Ratcliffe was held. Unable to break in and abduct Ratcliffe, the mob fired at him, killing Ratcliffe in his cell.


Death certificate: None available
Census: None available

News coverage:

Another Brute Pays Penalty

A Negro Shot to Death in Waynesville Jail

The negro congressman White

Rapist Ratcliffe Lynched

Shot in Cell

It is hardly to be wondered


Town: Jackson, North Carolina
Latitude/Longitude: 35.492562, -82.986798

Rationale: Marker estimated according by 1896 Sanborn maps that indicate the site of the courthouse on the corner of Depot and Main streets.

Researcher’s Note: Newspaper accounts report the girl having St. Vitus dance, which is a disease which symptoms include “rapid, involuntary, purposeless movements in the face, feet and hands, according to the National Organization for Rare Disorders. Other symptoms include muscle weakness or emotional or behavioral problems. The disease is also called Sydenham’s chorea, chorea minor, rheumatic chorea or Sydenham’s disease, and most commonly affects children and adolescents.”