On this dayOct 31, 1901

Silas Esters Lynched in LaRue County, Kentucky

Image | Buffalo Evening News

At approximately 2 A.M. on October 31, 1901, a lynch mob of more than fifty white men tightened a noose around the neck of a Black man named Silas Esters and dragged him from the LaRue County Jail in Hodgenville, Kentucky. According to newspaper reports, Mr. Esters was accused of coercing a young boy to commit a crime. Before he could stand trial, Mr. Esters was kidnapped from the jail and lynched in front of the courthouse.

During this era of racial terror, law enforcement officers tasked with protecting the people in their custody often witnessed or participated in deadly mob violence. When the white men arrived at the LaRue County Jail intent on committing a lynching, police officers surrendered the keys and made no effort to protect Mr. Esters as he was violently seized by the frenzied mob.

In an attempt to escape his fate, Mr. Esters slipped free and began to run away – but made it only 100 yards before his body was riddled with bullets. The mob then placed the rope noose around the neck of his corpse, dragged the lifeless body to the courthouse, and swung it from the top steps. No one was ever held accountable for the lynching of Silas Esters.

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