1920-1929 Wise

Dave Hurst/Hunt in Wise

Victim ID: VA1920111401
Victim Name: David Hunt
Race: Black
Sex: Male
Age: 25
Job: Unknown
Method of Death: Hanged
Accusation: Attempted assault on a 60 year-old white woman
Date: 1920-11-14
City: Kent Junction
Mob Composition: Unknown

Summary: Dave Hurst, a 25 year-old black man, was lynched by hanging on November 14th, 1920, near Kent Junction in Wise County for the alleged assault on an elderly white woman.

On Friday, November 12th, 1920, Dave Hurst, often reported as David Hunt, allegedly attacked a 60-year-old white woman at her home in Wise County (Alexandria Gazette). She lived near a train station and when a passenger train passed through, she flagged down the crew and reported what had happened to her and that the man that attacked her was walking nearby. When the crew saw Hurst walking along the railroad tracks; they started the train after him. When Dave Hurst realized he was being followed, he took off into the woods and some crew members left the train and ran in pursuit. Hurst was quickly captured (Alexandria Gazette). Dave Hurst was in jail in Wise on November 14th, when a mob of about 75 men overpowered the jail guard by breaking down doors. The mob took Hurst and put him into an automobile and drove him to a bridge near Kent Junction in Wise County. Once there, the mob hanged Dave Hurst to the bridge. The mob dispersed after the lynching and no arrests were immediately made (Alexandria Gazette).

A year later, one of the lynchers, a white man named Shayler B. Tate, was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to three years in prison (Big Stone Gap Post); he was the first white man in Virginia to be convicted for a lynching (Norfolk Journal and Guide). A second man, A. L. Napier was later on also convicted to two years in the penitentiary (Norfolk Journal and Guide). The Governor of Virginia, E. Lee Trinkle, at first refused to pardon Tate and Napier (Norfolk Journal and Guide), but after they had served about half of their sentences, Trinkle eventually agreed to pardon both of them.

News Coverage: Alexandria Gazette; Big Stone Gap Post; Clinch Valley News; Norfolk Journal and Guide; Richmond Planet; Richmond Times-Dispatch

Article Link (from Richmond Times-Dispatch published on 1920-11-15)
Article Link (from Alexandria Gazette published on 1920-11-16)

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