Alamance County, NC

Alleged offense: Rape
Race: Black
Gender: Male
Age: Unrecorded
Legal intervention (in alleged offense): Yes
Legal intervention (following lynching): No
Mob size: 25-50
Mob members: Unrecorded
Alleged victim: Daughter of Lee Rudd
Household Status: Unrecorded
Occupation: Unrecorded

In August of 1920, John Jeffress, an African American man, reportedly jumped out of the bushes as the 7-year-old daughter of Lee Rudd walked by, and proceeded to rape her. As the event took place near Elon College, word quickly spread of the reported assault, and a “posse” of 25 individuals, including Elon president W.A. Harper engaged in a man-hunt. After tracking down Jeffress, they took him into custody at the Alamance County Courthouse. On August 23, Jeffress was supposed to stand trial. The judge attempted to appease the crowded courthouse by telling them that justice would be served, but the enraged crowd became restless. While officers attempted to transfer Jeffress from the county jail to the courthouse, a group of 25-50 unrecognizable “outsiders” held up the officers and abducted Jeffress. They took him to the woods off of Belmont Road and shot him to death. His body was left by the side of the road and “thousands of people from the surrounding county visited the place” thereafter. No one was charged for the murder, as the sheriff claimed he could not identify a single person in the crowd.


Death certificate: None found
Census: None found

News coverage:

Jury Ordered to Fully Investigate Graham Lynching


Town: Graham, North Carolina
Latitude/Longitude: 36.073269, -79.42582
Rationale:  Lynching site is approximate based on likely path taken from Court House

Additional Resources:

Researcher’s Note: