1902, July-August (5 Excerpts)
From the Rust Papers at the Thomas Balch Library
(The punctuation and spelling are
as they appeared in the original document.)
30th A lovely rain all night - so steady & gentle, & so needed.
Cleared towards mid-day sufficiently for the old soldiers of the Con.
to enjoy their re-union, held here. Two are here for the night. Lee [her
son] went to Wash. to meet his friend, Dillard & brought him up for
the night so I had quite a crowd for supper.
31st Clear, but still & damp. A growing day, much needed for the
corn & grass. An awful crime perpetrated here today! That wretched
negro [Charles Craven] was sought & brought here unfortunately by
the Sheriff. Soon after 300 men from Fairfax mounted & armed, rode
into the town & to the jail — where they demanded the keys.
The brave jailor refused to give them up, tho they almost choked him.
Col. White, Mr Hinks, Mr Ferguson, & many of our best citizens, in
vain appealed to them to allow the Court to take its course. Col. White
asked for volunteers to defend the prisoner. Only a few responded –
among them Charlie Harrison, Mr Switzer, & my dear son Lee, who seemed
very much impressed by the wrong, & injustice of the whole thing.
The majority realized that assistance would only result in more blood
shed. The jail doors were broken with sledge hammers, & the wretched
[prisoner?] carried off, hung, and shot — and the crowd dispersed.
It is Emancipation day too, & quite a crowd of negroes were holding
a parade at the Fair Grounds. There was no demonstration of any sort-
I am thankful to say. & still more thankful that the citizens of Leesburg
tried to uphold the law, & were not engaged in this terrible crime.
The murder was unprovoked, cold blooded & dastardly, & the man
guilty of a robbery a few days before & of many other crimes —
but that is no excuse for outlawery & mob law. It is a blot upon Loudoun’s
fair record. Our visitors all left at one today. Janet Harrison called
tonight – & Tom came home early so we talked of the awful affair
until ten o’clock.
1st Cloudy & warm. How fast the summer is flying! Lily & her
party returned tonight, having had a delightful trip & all looking
so well. All took supper here & we had a fine spread which they all
2nd So very warm & murky. Went to church & communion with my
precious boy Lee. Oh may my children constantly grow in grace - &
love their dear Saviour more & more. Lee & I, with little Lee
leave for a week’s visit to Walkersville tomorrow. Mr Hinks gave
us an earnest, good sermon, bearing upon the awful crime committed here
a few days ago. May it never occur again! . . . .
13th Very cool & damp today. There is a suppressed excitement in
town. The Grand Jury has indicted three men as principals in the lynching
of that negro. I do hope they will be punished, and such lawlessness stopped.