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Lynchburg, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Lynchburg’s First Public Hanging, 1830

 
 
Lynchburg’s First Public Hanging, 1830 Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Bernard Fisher, May 26, 2014
1. Lynchburg’s First Public Hanging, 1830 Marker
Inscription.  Near this spot on the afternoon of August 16, 1830, John M. Jones was hanged in Lynchburg’s first public execution. In May of 1829, Jones, a Lynchburg slaveowner, had killed George Hamilton on the James River waterfront in a dispute over Jones’s lover. In at trial presided over by Judge William Daniel, Sr., Jones was found guilty of first-degree murder, and sentenced to execution by hanging.

On the day of the execution, Jones was taken to the gallows on the hillside, which at that time was on the edge of town and not yet a part of the cemetery. The scaffold was surrounded by a dense crowd of several thousand people “of all colors, sex and ages, some on foot, others on horseback.”*

A sermon was delivered by a local minister, and other clergymen led the crowd in hymns and prayers before Jones was finally covered with a hood and prepared for hanging. When the trap fell, much to the shock and dismay of the spellbound onlookers, the rope broke and Jones fell several feet to the ground. After having a drink of water, Jones again climbed the scaffold and was successfully hanged. Because it was believed his neck was
Lynchburg’s First Public Hanging, 1830 Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Bernard Fisher, May 26, 2014
2. Lynchburg’s First Public Hanging, 1830 Marker
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not broken, officials let Jones’s body hang for nearly an hour as the crowd slowly dispersed.

Because this hanging was such a terrible calamity that engaged the disgust of many citizens, it would be thirty years before Lynchburg attempted a public execution again.

*The Lynchburg Virginian, August 19, 1830: p2, col. 6.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Notable Events. A significant historical month for this entry is May 1829.
 
Location. 37° 24.831′ N, 79° 9.463′ W. Marker is in Lynchburg, Virginia. Marker can be reached from the intersection of Taylor Street and 4th Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 401 Taylor Street, Lynchburg VA 24504, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Duval Holt Orchard (a few steps from this marker); The Whitlow-Bradley Graves (a few steps from this marker); Ministers, Trustees and Other Religious Leaders (a few steps from this marker); Hermon Methodist Church (a few steps from this marker); Chapel and Columbarium (a few steps from this marker); Ivy Chapel Union Church (within shouting distance of this marker); Site of Glanders Stable (within shouting distance of this marker); The Dovecote-Columbarium Connection (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Lynchburg.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on September 1, 2020. It was originally submitted on May 27, 2014, by Bernard Fisher of Richmond, Virginia. This page has been viewed 778 times since then and 35 times this year. Last updated on August 31, 2020, by Bradley Owen of Morgantown, West Virginia. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on May 27, 2014, by Bernard Fisher of Richmond, Virginia.

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May. 26, 2022