Today in Texas History – September 13

From the Annals of the Religious Right –   In 1860, abolitionist Methodist minister Anthony Bewley was lynched.  In 1858, Bewley – an outspoken opponent of slavery – established a mission south of Fort Worth.   He ran afoul of the so-called vigilance committees who were claiming that abolitionists were plotting to burn Texas towns and murder white citizens.

Bewley was targeted primarily on the basis of a letter he allegedly received from another abolitionist earlier in July.  The letter implored Bewley to continue with his work in helping to free Texas from slavery.  Many were convinced it was a forgery set up to incriminate Bewley.  But the letter was widely published and used as supposed evidence that Bewley was fomenting trouble along with other John Brownites in Texas.

Bewley knew trouble was coming and took his family to Kansas.  A Texas posse caught up with him in Missouri.  He was returned to Fort Worth on September 13.   Later that evening,  vigilantes seized and lynched Bewley. His body was allowed to hang until the next day.  He was buried in a shallow grave, but quickly disinterred.  His bones were stripped of their flesh and placed on top of Ephraim Daggett’s storehouse and children were allowed to play with them.

One cannot know how many in the lynch mob went on to serve in the Confederate military.  But stories such as this illustrate clearly why the Confederate “heroes” should continue to be removed from the place of honor that hold in many Texas areas and relegated to the dustbin of history.

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