Iredell County, NC

Alleged offense: Murder
Race: Black
Gender: Male
Age: Unrecorded
Legal intervention (in alleged offense): Yes
Legal intervention (following lynching): Yes
Mob size: Unrecorded
Mob members: Unrecorded
Alleged victim: W. G. Fowler
Household Status: Unrecorded
Occupation: Unrecorded

A white man named J. F. Mclean and another man arrested two black men named Joe Gillespie and Jule Davidson on suspicion of the murder of a Mr. W. G. Fowler. Gillespie and Davidson stood trial on Tuesday, December 17th, 1878 before two justices of the peace and the former allegedly confessed to his involvement in the crime, implicating the latter as the murderer. Jule Davidson denied Gillespie’s testimony and asserted his own innocence. While the court adjourned, Davidson and Gillespie remained in custody of law enforcement officers until a mob of 200-300 people abducted Davidson, placed a rope around his neck, and hanged him for several minutes, hoping to make him confess. After the judges forced the mob to take Jule Davidson down, the trial resumed in the afternoon — only to be adjourned until later in the week. The pair supposedly confessed to the crime. As several officers were transporting Davidson and Gillespie to the jail at Statesville on Saturday, December 21st, a mob stopped them and abducted Davidson and hanged him to a tree near the railroad, where his body remained until Monday. Joe Gillespie allegedly begged the officers to surrender him to the mob, for he claimed “he was also guilty and desevered to die.”


Death certificate: None found
Census: None found

News coverage:


Guilty By Confession



Town: Statesville, North Carolina
Latitude/Longitude: 35.782759, -80.887351
Rationale: Nearest city or town. The officers were transporting Davidson to Statesville jail when he was abducted.

Additional Resources:

Researcher’s Note: