Reconstruction Period Research Forum
TOM CARITHERS HANGED: Abbeville, GA 1904
First Legal Hanging in the Abbeville, GA
Wednesday, February 3, 1904
TOM CARITHERS HANGED: Abbeville, GA., January 31.
Yesterday's was the first legal hanging in the history of Abbeville. Tom CARITHERS, colored, was executed in the jail yard for the murder of H.L.BYRD, a white man, June 15 last.
Before the black cap was adjusted the doomed man made a little talk, giving the usual advice to others to be warned by his example. His neck was broken by the fall and in nineteen minutes the physicians pronounced him dead.
CARITHERS had been employed as a hand on a farm of which Mr. BYRD was overseer. There was some trouble about work the negro was ordered to do. BYRD was on horseback at the time, and as he attempted to dismount, probably to compel obedience to his orders, CARITHERS shot him, inflicting a mortal wound.
The murderer escaped, but a reward for his capture being offered he was later delivered to the officers by his father, who claimed the reward, to be used, he said, in the his son's defense.
Trial, conviction and sentence followed. An appeal was taken to the Supreme Court, but the case was thrown out. CARITHERS was then re-sentenced.
Tad Evans, GEORGIA NEWSPAPER CLIPPINGS: Silcox County Extracts,
1858-1905,(Savannah: Tad Evans, 2000), p. 199