Thursday, September 13, 2012

Killed by the Night Riders

Most of us have heard tales of the Night Riders, who terrorized tobacco growers in western Kentucky and Tennessee during the first decade of the 1900s. The following is an account of one raid in Dycusburg, Crittenden County, Kentucky. It comes from the Henderson Daily Gleaner of 5 February 1908.

"Three hundred and fifty masked night riders rode into Dycusburg at 1 o'clock (Feb. 4, 1908), burned the tobacco factory of Bennett Brothers, the distillery of Bennett Brothers adjoining, shot up the home of William Groves, foreman of the tobacco factory, driving him from the building when he was captured and whipped almost to death.

"Henry Bennett, a member of the firm of Bennett Brothers, was taken from his home, tied to a tree and severely whipped. He was left bound to the tree. Bennett Brothers operate an independent factory and have been buying tobacco from nonassociation growers, it is claimed.

"When the mob called at Mr. Groves' house they requested him to come out. He declined to do so, and the shooting at once began. Mr. Groves was in a room with his wife and children and as the bullets began to fly through the windows, he deemed it best to come out in order to save the lives of his wife and children.

As he appeared on the porch, members of the mob grabbed and bound him. Taking him into the street, they whipped him and left him lying there. The mob then proceeded to the home of Henry Bennett and called him to come out. Hastily dressing, Mr. Bennett obeyed the command. He was then taken away, tied to a tree and severely beaten."

It is said that Henry Bennett never fully recovered from his ordeal. He died 20 October 1910 and is buried in Dycusburg Cemetery. Engraved on his tombstone is this: "Killed by the Night Riders."

Copyright on text and photographs
by Brenda Joyce Jerome, CG
Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog

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