Thursday, January 7, 2010

Frank E. Morgan--Topeka, Kansas, 1898.

Frank E. Morgan a volunteer soldier from Burlingame, was attacked by an unknown Negro last night about half past 7 o’clock , at seventh and Kansas avenue, and his throat was nearly cut by two slashes of a razor. A mob of several thousand yelling men besieged the city jail till midnight. Lynching would have been late of the would be murderer if he had been captured . The Police gradually persuaded the mob that he was not at the jail. There seem to be little doubt that the attack on Private Morgan was entirely without provocation. Morgan had an appointment to meet his brother, Ed. Morgan and his cousin James Morgan, at the corner where the trouble occurred. Ed. and James Morgan came up on the north side of east seventh street. At the alley they stopped by a Negro, who made some remark to them. They replied and the Negro cursed them.

Then they walked toward the avenue. When they reached the corner Ed. Morgan looked back, and, stepping up to his brother, said: “ There’s a fellow following us.” The three stepped over to the railing near the corner of the building. The Negro came, up, and, according to the story of witnesses, called Morgan a vile name. The white man struck the Negro, and then Frank Morgan the brother of Ed., stepped in between the fighters. The Negro dealt him two blows with his razor, saying at the same time:” You’re one of them d----militia-men, ain’t you?”

The Negro turned and run. Morgan fell forward, with the blood spurting in streams from this neck. “ I’m cut, Ed. I’m cut he said to his brother. A man standing near is said to have started in pursuit of the Negro, and to have hurled a rock at him. Who this man is could not be learned. The Negro turned north in the alley. Morgan was quickly taken to Stansfield’s drug store, where Dr. D. T. Long dressed the wound. The injured man was not unconscious and talked intelligently. One of the wounds extended from the left ear around to the front of the neck. The other had severed the lower part of the lobe of the left ear and made a shallow gash across the creek. The first wound gaped open, and was a ghastly sight. Twenty stitches were taken in it. In front of the drug store an immense crowd gathered. Many of the soldiers cut on leave thronged to the spot and were greatly excited.

As soon as Morgan’s wounds were sewed up he was taken to Christ hospital in an ambulance. Hardly had the ambulance passed out of sight when a squad of thirty soldiers under command of Lieutenant Huddleston came rapidly down Kansas avenue. The squad composed provo guard of Camp Leedy. News of the trouble had reached the camp and the guard had come to town ostensibly to collect the stragglers from the streets. The temper of the men in the command was such that it had more the nature of a detail on the war path for Negroes. The men begged their Captain to allow them to disperse and take in the town. The requests were very wisely refused.

The appearance of the solders created wild excitement on the avenue. An immense crowd, cheering howling and hooting pushed shoved down the avenue abreast of the soldiers. But the excitement on the avenue died down when the soldiers marched away for camp. But the mob which had gathered did not disperse. It became rumored that the police had caught the Negro that did the cruel work. In a few minutes the streets around the city jail at fifth and Jackson streets were crowded with people. All of the special police and day men were hastily summoned to the jail. The crowd was an angry one, and the presence of a few stray volunteers served to stir the excitement and increase the talk of lynching. Every effort was used to calm the mob.

A young man by the name Kelly climbed the railing in front of the jail, and tried to make a speech . He made an unhappy allusion to “ the affair up on Kansas avenue” the crowd allowed him to go no farther. A Negro drunk named Hezekiah Jones had been arrested by the police , and this man, it became rumored, was the one who did the cutting. The police, brought in several witnesses of the affair, and they all were positive that the man was not the right one. After the theory was exploded, the mob got the idea the police had the man, and were simply using Jones, the drunk as a blind.

There was considerable wild talk of storming the jail. Guards were posted in the alleys to prevent the transfer of any one from the city to the county jails. By midnight the bulk of the mob had departed, and a few stragglers stayed to take over the situation. Some of the volunteers stated that they would not leave town until the police captured the man. As soon as that happened, they proposed to take summary vengeance.----Frank Morgan the man who was cut, is a large powerful man. It is said that he had been dissipating considerably though out the afternoon.

He said to be a rooter for the Capitals: I really don’t know much about this. It all happened so quickly that I was down and bleeding before I know what had happened. I don’t believe that I could recognize the Nero that cut me. I never saw him before. I thank I will get over this all right. I don’t believe I am going to die. Ed Morgan and James Morgan said that the Negro was a short heavy set man, with a black mustache. He wore a round black hat, and a black suit. J. Davis a member of one local Modern Woodmen Company, saw the hole affair from the middle of the street, and confirmed the description. A. W. Green storm, of Osage City, gave a story of the trouble which corresponded with the general observation, and descriptions. Dr. McClintock examined Morgan at the hospital, and made this statement on his condition: Morgan’s external jugular is cut and the external muscles of the neck. All of the deeper muscles are ok. If the keen knife blade had been an eight inch deeper, the jugular vine would have been severed. Morgan was enlisted in the Osage City Company.

Note. I would like to know about Frank P. Morgan, if you have any information on him I would like to hear about it, you can write to me at the following:

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