Rowan County, NC

Jack Dillingham
John Gillespie
Nease Gillespie

Alleged offense: Murder
Race: Black
Gender: Male
Age: 16 (John), others unrecorded
Legal intervention (in alleged offense):
Legal intervention (following lynching): 
Mob size: 2000-3000
Mob members: George Hall
Alleged victim: Isaac Lyerly; wife Augusta Lyerly; son Johnny Lyerly; daughter Alice Lyerly
Household Status: Unrecorded
Occupation: Sawmill workers

In the summer of 1906, five African Americans including Jack Dillingham and John Gillespie, and Nease Gillespie, John’s son, were accused murdering members of a white family, the Lyerlys, near Salisbury. Held in jail in Charlotte until their trial, the five African Americans were brought back to Salisbury in August for a special session of Superior Court. According to newspaper accounts, on the night of August 6th a mob led by George Hall, a white man, gathered outside the Salisbury jail. For some time, sheriff’s deputies and the state militia guarded the prisoners, but as the mob grew in size and violence, the protection was withdrawn. Soon thereafter, the mob stormed the jail and removed their three victims, leaving others in jail unmolested. The mob paraded Dillingham and the Gillespies downtown before hanging them near the corner of Long and Henderson Streets, at the Henderson Ballground. Hall was later tried and convicted for leading the mob. He served some time in prison before escaping, being recaptured, and then being pardoned.


Death certificate: None found
Census: None found

News coverage:

Last Night’s Triple Lynching

Last Night’s Triple Lynching cont.

Fifteen Years for Hall

Fifteen Years for Hall

Fifteen Years for Hall

The Horrible Story

1906 Murders Led to Lynching


Town: Salisbury, North Carolina
Latitude/Longitude: 35.670397, -80.459516
Rationale: The “Henderson Ballground,” on the corner of Long and Henderson Streets. Lynching location determined through a number of accounts, but largely dependent on the Salisbury Evening post August 7th article.

Additional Resources: Claude A. Clegg, Troubled Ground, is a book-length treatment of this case and Susan Barringer Wells covers this case in great detail in her book, TA Game Called Salisbury

Researcher’s Note: