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"A Day Of Blood At Wilmington" Raleigh News and Observer, November 11, 1898


"A Day Of Blood At Wilmington" Raleigh News and Observer, November 11, 1898


The Raleigh News and Observer, a Democratic newspaper published an account of the events in Wilmington, North Carolina on November 10 and 11, 1898. It states that a new municipal government was legally formed and that the African American fired the first shots and they had no options. The give detail of the mood of the city at different hours of the day, and list affidavits of citizens that saw an African American fire on a white man. The reporter talked with the Secretary Alger to ascertain what the President knew and if federal troops were to be ordered out.


Raleigh News and Observer


"A Day Of Blood At Wilmington" Raleigh News and Observer, November 11, 1898.




Koontz, Cindy




Raleigh, North Carolina
Wake county, North Carolina
Wilmington, North Carolina
New Hanover county, North Carolina

Original Format

Newspaper Article



Negroes Precipitate Conflict by Firing on the
Whites—Manly, the Defamer of White
Womanhood, Escapes—Building of
His Slanderous Paper Gut-
Ted and Burned.


Three Whites Wounded—Board of Alderman Changed Le-
gally, Mayor and Chief of Police Resign, and City
Under Control of New and Conservative Dem-
ocratic Government—Mayor Waddell
puts Guards Around Jail to Pro-
tect Negro Prisoners—No
Further General Vi-
olence Feared.

Wilmington, N. C., Nov. 10.—(Special)
--Wilmington had been all excitement today, though comparative quiet reigns tonight. Yesterday, a large mass meeting of business men was held, and it was demanded of the negroes to have the plant and editor of the Daily Record, the negro paper which recently printed the vile slander on the white women of the state, removed from the town by 7 o’clock this morning. The demand was not needed to by the negroes, and at 8:30 o’clock 600 armed white citizens went to the office and proceeded to destroy the printing material. While this was in progress, in some unaccountable way, the building took fire and was burned to the ground. The fire company turned out and narrowly averted the burning of a large negro church and a negro dwelling adjoining the office.

Incensed at this, a number of negroes assembled in the First ward in another part of the city, and a clash between whites and blacks ensured. As a result of the fight William Mayo, white, is thought to be fatally wounded; Geo Piner, white, and --------Chadwick, white, are also wounded, but not fatally. Three negroes were killed. At various other times during the day seven negroes are reported to have been killed.

Business during the day has been suspended, and the town to-night is heavily guarded to prevent incendiary fires or further trouble. Ten or more negroes have been lodged in jail on the charge of being implicated in the instigation of a riot.

Acceding to a suggestion of the business men, the Republican Mayor and board of aldermen resigned this afternoon and were superseded by good business men who pledge themselves to maintain order and peace. Armed white men from neighboring towns are here and still others are arriving on special trains.

Bumptious negro political leaders are being made to leave the town on almost every train. At this hour¸ 8:30 p. m. all is quiet.


Will Restrain Lawlessness and Restore Good Order.

Wilmington, N. C., November 10.—After a day of bloodshed and turbulence Wilmington has subsided to-night into comparative peacefulness. Eight negroes were killed and three white men wounded during the day, one of them, William Mayo, seriously. The furniture and building of the Record were destroyed. Editor Manly escaped.

To-night the city is in the hands of a new municipal government and law and order is being established. This afternoon the Board of Aldermen resigned one by one. As each alderman vacated, the remainder elected a successor, named by the citizens’ committee until the entire board was changed legally. They resigned in response to public sentiment. The new board is composed of conservative Democratic citizens.

The Mayor and Chief of Police then resigned and the new board elected their successors, according to law. Ex Congressman Alfred Moore Waddell was elected Mayor, and E. G Parmelee, Chief of Police.

The first act of the new government was to swear in 250 special policemen chosen from the ranks of reputable white citizens. They are vested with all the authority of the law and will take charge of the city. The citizens will remain on guard however, throughout the town to prevent possible attempts at incendiarism. The new government will devote its attention to restraining recklessness amount the whites as well as keeping down lawlessness, among the negroes. Further trouble of a general or serious nature is not expected.


Soon after the meeting Mr. George Roundtree received a telegram from Governor Russell saying that he would use all his efforts to influence the Mayor and City Council to resign if that would restore peace.
Mr. Rountree sent the following reply:

“Mayor and Aldermen have resigned. Two hundred and fifty special policemen sworn in. Law will be maintained and peace restored.”

Mr. Rountree is a prominent attorney here and a member of the Democratic Campaign Committee.


Precipitated by Negroes Firing on Whites—Destruction of Record Office.

Wilmington, N. C., November 10.—The trouble in Wilmington to-day commenced at 8:30 this morning, when an armed body of citizens, numbering about 400, and led by Ex-Congressman Waddell, chairman of a committee of twenty-five appointed for the purpose proceeded to the publishing house of a negro newspaper, the Record, to wreck it.

The editor of this paper had published an article defamatory of white women, and a mass-meeting of citizens yesterday ordered his expulsion from the city within twenty-four hours and the removal of his press. Fifteen leading negroes were called in by the committee of twenty-five last night and directed to notify the chairman by 7:30 this morning whether they would agree to the removal of the press. They were informed that if no answer were returned, the press would be demolished.

No answer was received by the chairman this morning and after waiting an hour, the citizen proceeded in a body and demolished the fixtures of the printing office. The building was also fired and gutted. The leaders say that this action was the work of irresponsible persons and as soon as the fire was discovered the fire department was called to extinguish it.


The burning of the printing office created a great commotion among the negroes of the town. The rumor spread that the whites were going to burn and murder in the negro quarters. This rumor reached the negro employes of a cotton compress numbering 300 or 400 who quit work and hung about the streets in manifest terror. Other parties congregated in the negro section, and it was in one of these that the first tragedy was enacted. The men were standing on a corner and were ordered to disperse. They declined and, it is claimed, fired into the whites.
A fusillade was immediately opened upon them by the whites and three negroes kill. Two whites were wounded slightly. One negro ran down the street, and, passing a residence, fired a rIfle at William Mayo, while, standing on the veranda, shooting him through the left lung. This negro was recognized, pursued and captured while hiding under a bed. It is said he confessed to the shooting. He was riddled with shot by his captors and killed.


In the meantime the town was in a state of excitement. The whites rushed to the seen from every direction, the local military company was ordered out and a battalion of United States naval reserves proceeded to the scene of the trouble with a rapid fire gun.

About one o’clock some negroes in a house fired upon a passing party of white men. The house was surrounded and four negroes captured and taken to the jail. One negro broke away and ran, he was sho down and killed before he had proceeded half a block.

During the afternoon there were other affairs of this kind and eight negroes were killed at various points in the disturbed section. Their names are at this time unknown.


As the news of the rioting spread throughout the State neighboring cities offered to send help. All such offers were declined, except in the case of Fayetteville, from which town came about 150 men. As night fell, the town was completely patrolled and guarded. Very few negroes were on the streets and they were not allowed to congregate anywhere.

The action of the citizens in organizing a new municipal government is expected to bring peace and order and no rioting is expected to-night.
It developed later in the day that the negro committee summoned last night had agreed to use their offices to have the press removed, although the editor had disappeared and they had no authority on the premises. This letter instead of being delivered to the chairman of the committee of twenty-five in person was put in the mail and did not reach him until three hours after the expiration of the time limit which had been fixed for the receipt of an answer.


A crowd was forced to-night to take from the jail and lynch two negroes, Thos Miller and Iya Bryant, who were arrested to-day charged with making threats and were regarded as dangerous characters.

The Mayor, Colonel Waddell, promptly prohibited the assembling of the crowd at the jail and he himself headed a guard of twenty-five men with Winchesters to guard the prisoners.

Eleven negroes were killed, three white men wounded, one seriously. Several of the leaders are in jail. If can be reached lynching will be reported.


Much Disturbed By Reports From Wilmington—No Word From the Governor.

Washing, D. C., Nov. –(Special)—At the White House this afternoon President McKinley and Secretary Alger were in conference for nearly two hours discussing the situation in North Carolina, and the news of the rioting at Wilmington, where eight men according to the information received here, were killed.

The President was much exercised over the startling reports, and if his position on the matter is anything like Secretary Alger’s there is no doubt that the crime of sending Federal troops to the State would be perpetrated if the Governor made such a request.

Just after leaving the President; Secretary Alger said to me that only the press reports of the riot had been received by the President, and that no information from the State authorities has arrived. Secretary Alger said to a number of correspondents that the affair was considered very serious and was a disgrace to the State. He acknowledges ignorance of the state of affairs in North Carolina at this time.

To-night I asked Secretary Alger if he had given consent for any United States troops to be ordered out by the Governor. In answer Secretary Alger said: “Up to this hour no word has been received officially from the State. No consent from any troops to be ordered out has been given. None can be. If the Governor orders out any troops, they must be State troops, and not under any conditions can he order any United States volunteers until they have been initially mustered out of the service, when the cease to be United States troops, and are again under command of the Governor. Officially the administration is without any information on the situation, and is ignorant of the conditions prevalent in the city of Wilmington.”

At 10 o’clock to-night, White House officials stated that no word had yet been received from the Governor, through that President has heard from some private sources that Governor Russell has ordered several companies of troops to Wilmington.


Showing That the Negroes Were Responsible for the Blood Shed at Wilmington.

Wilmington, N. C., Nov.10.—Wilmington is comparatively quiet tonight after a day which for turmoil and strife has no equal in the city’s history. The fact is a complete revolution in city government has taken place, in that the Republican Mayor and Board of Aldermen have resigned and given place to successors who are staunch white supremacy advocates and Democrats who have already established a through system of police protection. As it is believed that there will be no further clash at arms between the races.

Now that the “smoke had cleared away” and conditions are somewhat more settled it appears that ten negroes were killed outright, and at least twenty-five are more or less seriously wounded and eleven others whose conduct has been offensive and calculated to aggravate the strained attitude of the races are locked in jail. Not a single white man had been killed and only one, William Mayo, seriously wounded.

There is no doubt that the negroes are responsible for the precipitation of the race was as the following affidavit will attest:

“Wilmington, N. C., Nov. 10.

I, William McAllister, being duly sworn, make the following affidavit:

1. That I am yard master for the Atlantic Coast Line. My duty is to make up trains on the yard of the said company in the city of Wilmington.

That at about 11 o’clock this morning I started to go to bed, and my wife called me to the window. I live on North Fourth street, next to St. Mark’s Lutheran church. My wife said: ‘Billy, there is going to be trouble.’ I jumped up and went to the window and saw a white man remonstrating with a negro with gesticulations. I heard the white man say, ‘Go on, go on.’ The negro went about ten paces, and then I saw the negro shoot. He pointed a pistol toward the white man and then fired. Immediately I saw blood flow from the said white man’s right arm. Then there was another short fired from the negro assemblage, and then there was firing from the white assemblage, with the result that three negroes fell. The negroes then dispersed. Then the white men proceeded towards Moore’s drugstore to telephone for assistance.

“Sworn to before me, this 10th day of November A. D., 1898.


“This is a true copy of the

“J. H. Boatwright.

“Notary Public.”

The city is thoroughly quiet at a late hour tonight. The companies of the Governor’s Guard from Kinston, Maxton and Clinton are expected here tonight and hundreds of men have flocked here on special trains during the evening. However, it is not believed that they will be called into service.


Refused to Halt When Commanded by the Guard.

Wilmington, N. C., Nov.—Another negro was killed tonight at Tenth and Mulberry streets. He was hailed by a guard, but refused to halt, and continuing to advance, was shot by the guard. Three companies of the State militia will arrive during the night from neighboring cities and aid in maintaining order.


Wilmington, N. C., November 10 .—At midnight to-night the newly elected Mayor issued the following proclamation:

“The undersigned, upon whom has been placed the great responsibility by the actions of his fellow citizens, takes this method of assuring the good people of this city that all the power with which he is invested, will be exerted to preserve order and peace in this community, and that power is amply sufficient for the purpose. All well-disposed persons are earnestly requested to co-operate with the municipal authorities in every way possible to secure the permanent establishment of good government. The law will be rigidly enforced and impartially administered to white and black people alike.”

(Signed) “A. M. WADDELL



Wilmington, N. C., November 10.—As a result of to-day’s fight the following wounded are at City Hospital: John Doyr, George Miller, George H. Davis. J. R. Davis, David Wright.

White men wounded: William Mayo, D. W. Piner.

The negro Wright was shot thirteen times.


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Raleigh News and Observer, "A Day Of Blood At Wilmington" Raleigh News and Observer, November 11, 1898, Civil War Era NC, accessed June 16, 2024,