1901 Burned at Stake
Decatur Illinois Account- March 13, 1901
& Obits for John Henderson and Valley Younger
Corsicana, Navarro County, Texas


Law and Order Index || Misc Newspaper Extracts || Account from the Dallas Morning News

Decatur (IL) Herald, 15 March 1901


Burning of the Negro Henderson at the Stake Commended.


It Was the Act of “The Best People on Earth.”


Burning Took Place in Court House Yard in Presence of Big Crowd.

Corsicana, Texas, March 13. – Justice Roberts held an inquest over the remains of Henderson, who was burned at the stake today, and gave the following verdict. “I find the deceased came to a just death at the hands of incensed and outraged feelings of the best people in the United States, citizens of Navarro and adjoining counties. The evidence as well as the confession of guilt by the deceased shows the punishment was fully merited and commendable.”

Dallas, Texas, March 13. – Noon – A mob at corsicana has just burned John Henderson, the negro who butchered Mrs. Younger.
An immense crowd was present. Officers were powerless.
Henderson’s death was much like that of a frightened beast. He lost all nerve. Henderson made a complete confession in the presence of more than 5000 people. Henderson was taken to Hillsboro in fear of the mob that gathered in this city soon after his arrest. Last night officers in charge of the negro started to take him to Fort Worth for safety.

When the train reached Itasca the officers were overpowered, and the negro was taken from them and brought here.
Preparations were made to put him to death by fire. The town was filled with people, most of them armed, and the sheriff could do nothing. Several citizens made strong appeals to the multitude to let the law intervene to no purpose.

This morning an iron pale was erected in the courthouse yard in full view of the persons who had assembled. A committee that had been appointed to see the accused secured a full confession from Henderson, which was signed and attested to by Justice of the Peace Roberts.

After the confession was secured it was decided to burn him at the stake at 2pm but news was received that rangers and troops were enroute from Dallas, and hurried preparations were made to anticipate interference. A railroad rail was driven into the ground on a corner lot, and boxes and wood piled around it and saturated with oil.


About forty people made a rush from the jail across the street to the courthouse. In their midst was the negro handcuffed.
The men formed a circle, holding on to a chain which completely surrounded Henderson to prevent an attempt of the enraged people to get at him and tear him to pieces. They rushed to the pile of wood, fastened the negro to the rail with wire and chains. Cans of oil were dashed over the clothing and dozens of lighted matches touched to the inflammable material.

Just before the pile took fire Conway Younger, husband of the murdered woman, jumped at Henderson and slashed him across the face with a knife. As the flames encircled the negro the crowd yelled and yelled and Younger again attempted to cut the murderer.

Lee French, husband of the victim of the negro Anderson Morris, who beat her to death with a piece of iron pipe last November, and who was taken from jail here last week by officers and carried to a place of safety, climbed a tree and made an impassioned speech to the crowd, asking them to help him as they dealt with Henderson. The crowd yelled back they would assist.



Navarro County TXGenWeb
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Edward L. Williams & Barbara Knox