Chatham County, NC

Alleged offense: Rape and murder
Race: Black
Gender: Male
Age: 35
Legal intervention (in alleged offense): No
Legal intervention (following lynching): Unrecorded
Mob size: 50
Mob members: Unrecorded
Alleged victim: Mrs. Nancy Welch/Welsh
Household Status: Unrecorded
Occupation: Unrecorded

An African American man, Henry Jones, was accused of raping and murdering Nancy Welch/Welsh, a white widow in Chatham County in January 1899. The day following the discovery of Welsh’s body, Jones was taken from his home by a mob of fifty “unknown persons.” According to newspaper reports, finding what they regarded as definitive evidence of Welch’s murder as well as an apparent confession from Jones, the mob took Jones to the site of the murder, probably near Bear Creek, where Nancy Welsh lived. Once there, the mob hanged Henry Jones.


Death certificate:

News coverage:

Paid Penalty Quickly

A Horrible Crime in Chatham and Its Speedy Punishment

Outraged and Murdered

Horrible Crime!

Southern Cause and Effect

Confessed and Was Lynched


Town: Bear Creek, North Carolina
Latitude/Longitude: 35.616976, -79.384782
Rationale: While an exact location could not be determined, a marker was placed near Bear Creek as newspaper account claim Jones was brought back to the scene of the crime, aka Nancy Welch/Welsh’s home. 1880 Census for Nancy Welsh places her and her family near Bear Creek, about 5 miles from Harpers Crossroads, which is the more likely location of the alleged murder and lynching.

Additional Resources: 1880 Census Nancy Welsh

Researcher’s Note: