Victim Name: Wyche Drumgoole
Method of Death: Shot
Accusation: Murder of a married white woman
Mob Composition: Disguised
Summary: On January 28th, 1870 a group of disguised persons forced their way into the Brunswick County Jail, shooting Wyche Dromgoole and possibly Harrison Hammock, both black men. Dromgoole and Hammock were both accused of having killed the wife of Basset Rawlings, Lilly Rawlings, on January 24th, 1870.
In January 1870 a black woman employed by the family of Mr. Basset Rawlings was discharged from her employment; on January 24th, 1870 Mrs. Basset Rawlings was “shot through the window of her chamber, while nursing her infant, and instantly killed” (Alexandria Gazette). Though the perpetrator of the “cold-blooded murder” made his escape unseen, the suspicion of the crime was put on Harrison Hammock, the husband of the discharged black woman (Alexandria Gazette). Harrison Hammock was quickly apprehended and shortly thereafter, his brother-in-law, Wyche Dromgoole, was also tied to the murder and apprehended. On February 4th, 1870 the Alexandria Gazette reported, “Wyche Dromgoole, a colored man, has confessed to the murder of Mrs. Basset Rawlings, in Brunswick County, several days ago”. Dromgoole gave details to the murder and claimed his sister’s husband, Harrison Hammock, hired him. Both Dromgoole and Hammock were held in the country jail located in Lawrenceville, Brunswick County, until their court day. On February 28th, 1870 while awaiting trial “the jail was forced by unknown persons – all disguised – and they were shot in their cells. They were left for dead, though on the following day both were still found to be alive. The murderer Wyche has since died, and the probability is that Hammock will die also” (Alexandria Gazette). The Alexandria Gazette commented that “there is not the least suspicion, we hear, who the attacking parties were, nor is it even known whether they were white or colored”.
News Coverage: Alexandria Gazette; Richmond DispatchArticle Link (from Alexandria Gazette published on 1870-03-07)
Article Link (from Alexandria Gazette published on 1870-02-04)
Article Link (from Richmond Dispatch published on 1870-03-07)