Skip to main content

The Lynching Project: Bartow County

Bartow County Overview

Bartow County is located in the northwest corner of Georgia. There are 3 documented lynchings betweeen the years 1904-1930, a rate of 1 lynching approximately every 8.7 years. Since only 3 lynchings were documented between 1880 and 1940, there is too small a sample to determine a conclusive pattern in the methods they used and their reasons for lynching. 

However, however limited the sample, while there doesn't appear to be a strong pattern in the reasons they were lynched, there appears to be one in the methods in which they were, since all 3 victims were eventually hanged. Nonetheless, it's noteworthy that 2 out of the 3 victims were lynched for allegedly attempting to sexually assault white women. All of the documented lynchings were motivated by vengeance. 

John Jones - July 1, 1904

There was very little personal information about John Jones other than the details of his lynching. He was lynched for allegedly raping Mrs. Oscar Banister, a white married woman. A mob of 200 took him from Sherriff Maxwell and riddled him with bullets. More than 500 shots were fired.

Jesse McCorkle - February 25, 1916

Jesse McCorkle was 30 years old at the time of his murder, and he was lynched in Cartersville, Ga on February, 25th, 1916 for allegedly attempting to assault Mrs. Heath, a white woman. A mob forcefully took him from jail and hanged him from a tree in front of Cartersville city hall.

According to a 26 February 1916 article in The Sun Herald of Lime Springs, Iowa: "Jesse McCorkle, a [black man] was taken from jail here by half a hundred men and boys, hanged to a tree in front of the city hall and his body riddled with bullets. McCorkle was arrested for breaking into the home of A. T. Heath and attacking Mrs. Heath, whose husband was away. The woman shot [him] in the wrist with a revolver, but she was overpowered. When caught, McCorkle's wounded wrist was still bleeding and he had the revolver ..."

He might have been married. 

John William Clark - October 1, 1930

Background Information:

John Willie Clark was born in Vienna, Dooly County, GA on Oct 23 1907, and was one in a family of ten. His father died in 1918 and his mom made a living by washing clothes. They lived in two rooms on the ground floor of an old house. He barely attended school, and left home at 12 years old, and since then he never lived with his mom for more than a few weeks at a time. He made a living working in garages and occasionally sent his mom some money. His mom last heard from him on November, 1929 and she did not know her son was lynched until she saw it in the newspaper. John Clark had been in and out of the courts on several occasons on charges of theft and robbery prior to his lynching. 

Lynching details:

Clark was 22 when he was accused of murdering Chief Joe Ben Jenkins, a white police officer. After a legal struggle as lawyers attempted to keep him from being lynched, a mob took him from Cartersville county jail, and hanged him from a telephone pole. This was described as "The Nicest Lynching" because he was only hanged and not mutilated in any other way.