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Alfred Cranford Murdered. Sam Hose Lynched.

**Caution: this post may not be for the faint of heart; possible controversial topic ahead.**

Alfred Cranford (1871-1899)
Photo by Sharon Kadlick via FindAGrave
The funeral of Alfred Cranford was held today. His wife stood by his grave, but showed no sign of emotion. It is feared that her mind has become unbalanced as a result of the terrible ordeal she has just passed through,... ["Palmetto Citizens In Arms", Augusta Chronicle (Georgia), 15 April 1899, pg. 1]

Alfred was buried at the Cranford Family Cemetery in Newnan, Coweta County, Georgia. His cause of death was murder by axe, and the act was perpetrated in front of his wife and children. Witnesses placed blame on Sam Hose, and the infamous manhunt resulting in a horrific lynching commenced.

Alfred Cranford, Murdered By Negro Brute and Wife Assaulted.


Both Crimes Committed in Presence of Four Small Children -- Brute Ran From House and Made His Escape -- Bloodhounds on His Trail -- Citizens of Newman
[sic] Join in Chase.

Palmetto, Ga., April 12 -- Alfred Cranford, a highly esteemed citizen of this county, residing three miles from Palmetto, was murdered and his wife assaulted by Sam Hose, a notorious negro of the community, at 7 o'clock last night.

The latter slipped up behind Cranford while the latter and family were seated at the table eating supper, and before the presence of the negro was known Cranford was felled to the floor by a terrible blow on the head with an axe. The powerful negro wielded the weapon with terrific force, the keen edge crushing through the skull and brain of the defenseless man and almost killing him instantly...

...If the negro is captured there will be a lynching on the spot, as the negro was clearly identified by Mrs. Cranford, and his guilt is fixed beyond a doubt. It is believed that he cannot evade the posse long, as the bloodhounds have traced him many miles through the woods and swamps,...

There has been great excitement in the community today, and a report of a lynching is minutely expected.

The negro is of a yellow color, five and one-half feet high, one or two front teeth out, and he carries his head a little to one side. He is 21 or 22 years old, and had on a brown spotted hat... [Augusta Chronicle (Georgia), 14 April 1899, pg. 1. Preceding are snippets. Entire article may be viewed online at GenealogyBank.]
Macon Telegraph (Georgia)
15 April 1899
Another headline from the Macon Telegraph: THE NEGRO MUST DIE: Three Hundred Armed Men After Him.

Sam Hose evaded capture for ten days. Then, once the mob finally caught up with him, he was burned alive and his body mutilated.



His Ears Were Cut Off Before He Was Executed and After the Burning There Was a Scramble For the Charred Bones of the Victim, Which Were Carried Away as Souvenirs.

Sam Holt, the negro murderer of Alfred Cranford and the assailant of Cranford's wife, was burned at the stake one mile and a quarter from Newnan, Ga., Sunday afternoon at 2:30 o'clock...

...Such suffering has seldom been witnessed, and through it all the negro uttered hardly a cry...

The spot selected was an ideal one for such an affair and the stake was in full view of those who stood about and with unfeigning satisfaction saw the negro meet his death and saw him tortured before the flames killed him.

For sickening sights, harrowing details and bloodcurdling incidents, the burning of Holt is unsurpassed by any occurrence of a like kind ever heard of in the history of Georgia. [Emphasis mine.]

...Self-confessed and almost defiant, without a plea for mercy and no expectation of it, Holt went to the stake with as much courage as any one could possibly have possessed on such an occasion, and the only murmur that issued from his lips was when angry knives plunged into his flesh and his life's blood sizzled in the fire before his eyes.

Then he cried, "Oh, my God! Oh, Jesus!" [Savannah Tribune (Georgia), 29 April 1899, pg. 1. Preceding are snippets. Entire (graphic) article may be viewed online at GenealogyBank.]
Most of us will never understand evil, though we can likely recognize it. I do believe evil was present among the hundreds (thousands?) involved, from the murder of Alfred Cranford to the lynching of Samuel Hose.


Anonymous said…
I would believe the account of the incident by Sam Hose, and not Mr Cranford. I so not believe that Mr Hose attacked or in any way violated Mr. Cranfords wife. An independent investigation found that Mr Hose acted in self defense. Mr Cranford was noted for being a pushy and angry sort, and Mr Hose would have no real reason to kill him. In an altercation he could have punched him. Or simply ran away.
There was evil there. No doubt. And that evil existed among the men who were specifically, racist.
Anonymous said…
All will give an account. There is one who knows the hearts of men. Eventially all of us will have to face Him. What's on your account?
Anonymous said…
The evil these people participated in will be condemned by the most high. Racist people will not get a "pass" fyi the Lord, nor will we ever forget!

Holy Land
Katie said…
Hello, could you please advise where this cemetery is located? There is no history or information online. Thank you, I’m a native Cowetan and would like more information.
S. Lincecum said…
According to the map on FindAGrave - - it looks to be behind a school (?) off Fischer Rd.
Anonymous said…
Hello! The grave of the Cranford family is on the Northgate High School campus on a hill overlooking the football stadium. It is surrounded by fencing and is unavailable to any visitors wanting to enter the grave site. However, you can still see the headstones from behind the fence.
-An anonymous student :)

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