The Chisolm Massacre: A Picture of "Home Rule" in Mississippi. James M. WELLS.

The Chisolm Massacre: A Picture of "Home Rule" in Mississippi

Chicago: Agency Chisolm Monumental Fund, 1877. First Edition. Account of the horrific fate of Judge William Wallace Chisolm and his family. Chisolm, born in Georgia but a life-long resident of Mississippi, had remained an open Unionist during the Civil War, gaining notoriety among members of the Confederacy while still retaining his position as a probate judge in De Kalb, Mississippi. During Reconstruction he would be elected sheriff, his duties bringing "him into direct conflict with his political opponents and his life was constantly in danger," while "under his leadership [Kemper county] became the stronghold of the republican party in Mississippi" (Appleton, p. 607). Tensions exploded in the spring of 1877 when democrat leader John W. Gully was shot and killed not far from Chisolm's home. A warrant was issued for the latter's arrest and members of the Ku Klux Klan descended upon the town. Chisolm's family, including his youngest son of thirteen years, insisted upon accompanying him to prison though a mob three-hundred strong had already begun to gather, eventually shooting and killing Angus McLellan, a friend of the family who had volunteered to guard them on their way to the jail. Upon their arrival the jail was left unmanned, leaving the family defenseless. The first of the family to be killed once the jail had been stormed was Chisolm's youngest son; shots would continue to be fired, severely wounding both Chisolm and his 18-year-old daughter, both of whom would succomb to their wounds within days. Though the mob would eventually be indicted, no individiuals were ever punished. At the end of the year Walter Riley, a black man, confessed to the murder of Gully, denying that Chisolm had had any hand in the act. The present account was published in October, two months before Riley's confession and subsequent hanging. The author, according to a letter by Chisolm's widow Emily, printed on pp. 9-10, had been one of the first of the family's friends to come to their aid followig the attack, nursing Chisolm and his daughter until their deaths. (See "Appleton's Cyclopædia of American Biography," Vol. 1, p. 607-8). Octavo (19cm.); publisher's green cloth, upper cover lettered in black, gilt-lettered spine, brown glazed endpapers; 291pp.; portrait frontispiece, 8 leaves of plates. Extremities rubbed with shallow loss at spine foot, corners bumped, brief soil to upper cover, a hint of foxing to preliminaries, else Very Good, internally fine.

Price: $200.00

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