Single sheet, 35 cm., manuscript document presumably in a clerical hand, on lined paper, approx. 145 words, signed by the presiding Judge J.J. Norton. The accused were charged with murder and sentenced to be hanged on Friday, April 5 , "between the hours of ten in the forenoon and three in the afternoon...." Old fold lines, some shallow chipping at edges, some soiling and spotting, and ink strikes through two words. Docketed on verso, The State vs. Wm. C. Williams, Harrison Heyward, Cato Sherman, Henry Bolton, John Reese, R. Gaylord Eaton, Recorded on page 119 [129?], Sessions Journal.
According to a newspaper article in the Newberry Herald and News, [Newberry, S.C., issue dated Jan. 12, 1888] Williams and Heyward, African Americans, were accused of being part of a group who hanged a white man accused of the rape and murder of a 14 year old African American girl, Lula Sherman, in the community of Central, Pickens County, South Carolina. The white man, Manz Waldrop, alias Manz Gooden, was removed from the wagon of the deputy assigned to transport him to Pickens for trial, and hanged by a group of African Americans on Dec. 30, 1887. During the trial, the other defendants, Cato Sherman [Lula's father], John Reese, and a white man R. Gaylord Eaton were found not guilty, and Henry Bolton received a new trial. Item #64041
The community of Central, South Carolina was troubled over the court decision to hold these two men accountable, and a petition campaign demanding clemency, with thousands of names, plus letters from prominent citizens, numerous news articles in the local papers, as well as detailed reports from the coroner's inquests for both Lula Sherman and Manz Waldrop led the Governor John P. Richardson to pardon them. [see: "Lynch Law Reversed: The Rape of Lula Sherman, the Lynching of Manse Waldrop, and the Debate over Lynching in the 1880s," by Bruce Baker, published in "American Nineteenth Century History 6:3 (Sept. 2005), for an analysis of the complicated nature of this case].