Rockingham, NC

Alleged offense: Rape
Race: Black
Gender: Male
Age: Unrecorded
Legal intervention (in alleged offense): Yes
Legal intervention (following lynching): No
Mob size: 100
Mob members: Unrecorded
Alleged victim: “Mrs. Irwin”
Household Status: Unmarried
Occupation: Farm laborer

One Mr. Irwin hired John Taylor to drive him and his daughter to a concert. When Taylor dropped the two he off he supposedly rode a horse back to the Irwin household, where he then raped Mrs. Irwin. He was arrested the following morning and taken to Rockingham County prison. When rumors circulated that a lynch mob had formed, he was transferred to the Guilford County jail. The following weekend, on Saturday, June 11th, a mob of about 100 masked people from Reidsville went to the Guilford jail to ask for John Taylor. When the sheriff wouldn’t hand over the keys, the mob broke into the prison and took Taylor from his cell. They had started to bring Taylor by horse and buggy to Reidsville when they realized it would be morning by the time they got there. Rather than wait until arriving in Reidsville, the mob stopped seven miles south. They placed John Taylor on a horse with a noose around his neck, secured the noose to a tree (either post oak or chestnut), and set the horse running. Taylor’s neck did not break, but rather he “suffered death from strangulation.” The next day, a Sunday, large groups of people — which newspapers reported as numbering 2,000 — visited the site of the lynching to observe and take souvenirs.


Death certificate: None found
Census: None found

News coverage:

Wild Justice

<a href=”http://lynching.web.unc.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/9169/2015/04/News_and_Observer_Tue__Jun_14__1881_.jpg”Taylor the Negro Rape Fiend, Lynched.


Town: Reidsville, North Carolina
Latitude/Longitude: 36.245215, -79.683896
Rationale: 7 miles south of Reidsville.

Additional Resources:

Researcher’s Note: