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The Last Days of Andrew McKnight's (D. 22 June 1889) Life

This blog post was written on behalf of the Union County Community Remembrance Project (UCCRP) which seeks to document and recognize the history of lynching and racial terrorism in Union County. We seek to foster ongoing collaborative education, justice, and healing.


Contact: Nate Johnson, Park Manager

Rose Hill Plantation State Historic Site

South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism

2677 Sardis Road

Union, SC 29379

864-427-5966

SCPRT.com



The Weekly Union Times of Union C.H., South Carolina ran an article about the lynching of Andrew McKnight on 22 June 1889. It was entitled "Lynching a Worthless Negro." I had to take a long pause before writing this article. In fact, I had to take days. I could not tell you why Andrew McKnight was killed. Neither could I tell you why the newspaper called Mr. Andrew McKnight worthless. He was a citizen of Union County, SC just like those who wrote about his death and those who caused it. "... the worth of souls is great in the sight of God," Doctrine and Covenants 18: 10.


Here's the article:

The weekly Union times. [volume] (Union C.H., South Carolina) 1871-1894, June 28, 1889, Image 2, <https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84026918/1889-06-28/ed-1/seq-2/>


Thursday


The article does not say why Andrew McKnight was riding in the buggy with Dan Gallman who supposedly was going to drop him off at home. The article claims that Andrew caused some damage to Gallman's dashboard of his buggy. Gallman told him he had to pay for it.


The article claimed they continued fighting and Gallman drew his knife and cut the throat of Andrew McKnight "not hurting him." Andrew McKnight jumped from the buggy after this.


Gallman emptied his shotgun into one of Andrew McKnight's arms and breast. Still the article downplays the wounds to Andrew McKnight saying they were slight and the shots were small.


Saturday


Two days later Andrew McKnight according to the article went to a friend physician, Solomon Cook, near Kelton to have the bullet removed from his arm and breast. That night a group of men came to the house of Solomon Cook. I turn to testimony given by the wife of Andrew McKnight:


"Came late last night and got him. I jumped and went to the door and caught it, it had no hinges and I was afraid it would fall on the bed where my baby was lying on the floor, I ... out I saw them through the crack, they said get up Andrew we have got a warrant for you, I said Lord what you got a warrant for, and they said to take him to jail up to Kelton, he stepped back to the back of the room, that one what had the pistol said, hold up your arm we have got to tie you, they commenced to tie him and he said don't hurt my arm, the one was shot, and they said, O stand up up we have got to take you to jail, and that what had the pistol looked like he was going to shoot him, and I commenced hallowing and he said O be quiet I am not going to hurt, we are only going to take him to jail, and the one that was on the left side of him told one on the right side side of him to examine him and see if he had a knife or a pistol, after they examined him they said he haint got nothing, he said I have, feel in my hip pocket and get my pocketbook and give it to my wife, and they got it and gave it to me, and they said: Come on and let's go, the one that had his face smutted done the talking, they started and pulled him out and he said let my wife give me my coat, the smutted one pulled him on and they said: No, Come on. I did not know them, the man that was smutted favored Mr. John Gallum, but I am not certain, I am sure he was not a black man but smutted - I saw only these men but I saw more tracks below the house. Adaline McKnight"

Adaline McKnight Testimony, Union County, South Carolina Coroner Inquisitions page no. 343, 23 June 1889, B. F. Gregory, Coroner of Union County, South Carolina.



The coroner's report was copied just as it appeared with the commas instead of periods. After Andrew McKnight was taken from Solomon Cook's house, he was later found dead in a nearby colored cemetery after the shooting was heard.


Adaline McKnight was left to raise the baby. We would like to find family members and descendants if you know any.


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