|Alfred Cranford (1871-1899)|
Photo by Sharon Kadlick via FindAGrave
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.
ANOTHER HORROR AT PALMETTO
Alfred Cranford, Murdered By Negro Brute and Wife Assaulted.
FELLED HUSBAND WITH AXE.
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,...
LYNCHING IS EXPECTED.
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
Sam Hose evaded capture for ten days. Then, once the mob finally caught up with him, he was burned alive and his body mutilated.
SAM HOLT BURNED AT THE STAKE BY ENRAGED PEOPLE.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.
MAKES CONFESSION OF HORRIBLE CRIME AND IS TORTURED TO DEATH IN THE PRESENCE OF 2,000 ONLOOKERS.
DOOMED VICTIM WAS MADE TO SUFFER UNDESCRIBABLE AGONIES.
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.]
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