1920-1929 Wythe

Raymond Byrd in Wythe

Victim ID: VA1926081501
Victim Name: Raymond Bird
Race: Black
Sex: Male
Age: 31
Job: Farm hand
Method of Death: Shot, beaten and hanged
Accusation: Criminal assault on a 19 year-old white girl
Date: 1926-08-15
City: Wytheville
Mob Composition: Masked


Summary: A mob of 50 masked men lynched Raymond Byrd, a 31-year-old black farm hand, on August 15, 1926 in Wytheville. The mobshot him to death in his cell and then hanged his body. Byrd was accused of assaulting a young white girl.

Around August 10th, 1926, Raymond Byrd, often referred to as Raymond Bird, was arrested for the assault on the young daughter of a Wythe County farmer, and put in jail in Wytheville (Danville Bee). A masked mob of about 50 men entered the Wytheville Jail early in the morning of August 15th by putting on a ruse; once the masked mob found Byrd, they shot him to death in his cell. The mob then took Byrd’s body, tied it to an automobile and dragged it for 12 miles to the scene of the alleged crime, where they hanged his body to a tree (Danville Bee).

A special grand jury was empaneled in Wytheville to investigate the lynching of Raymond Byrd. Many witnesses were questioned and it took some time before they got the name of one individual to arrest. On September 6th, 1926, Herbert Huddle was arrested in Bluefield in connection with the lynching, as his initials were carved in the tree where Byrd was hanged (Harrisonburg Daily News Record), but was later released (Danville Bee). On September 9th, Governor Byrd offered a $1,000 reward for the arrest and conviction of any other member of the mob responsible for the lynching of Raymond Byrd (Harrisonburg Daily News Record). On January 13th, 1927, the special grand jury indicted Floyd Willard for the killing of Raymond Byrd; no other member of the mob was indicted (Danville Bee). However, in September 1927 Willard was acquitted, the jury returning its verdict after ten minutes of deliberation (Danville Bee).


News Coverage: Danville Bee; Harrisonburg Daily News Record

Article Link (from Danville Bee published on 1926-08-16)
Article Link (from Danville Bee published on 1926-08-31)
Article Link (from Danville Bee published on 1927-01-13)
Article Link (from Danville Bee published on 1927-09-12)
Article Link (from Harrisonburg Daily News published on 1926-08-26)
Article Link (from Harrisonburg Daily News published on 1926-08-31)
Article Link (from Harrisonburg Daily News published on 1926-09-02)
Article Link (from Harrisonburg Daily News published on 1926-09-03)
Article Link (from Harrisonburg Daily News published on 1926-09-04)
Article Link (from Harrisonburg Daily News published on 1926-09-07)
Article Link (from Harrisonburg Daily News published on 1926-09-10)
 
1 Comment
  • Richard Johnston
    May 5, 2018 at 10:17 am
    Reply

    Thank you for reminding us of the brutality of lynching.

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