Description: Riot of 1894. Deputies moving William Dolby into the Fayette County Courthouse for trial as a crowd surrounds the building.
Reminiscent of the 1960 Harper Lee novel To Kill a Mockingbird, a plaque outside the court house described the event. On October 16, 1894, a crowd gathered outside the courthouse with the intent to lynch alleged attacker William "Jasper" Dolby. Ohio Governor William McKinley ordered the Ohio National Guard troops to the premises in order to prevent the crowd from attacking the accused. The mob was initially ceased, but on October 17, while Dolby awaited transportation from the jail to the courthouse, the riots intensified (see photo).
Even though Dolby pleaded guilty to rape and a 20-year sentence, the crowd sought vengeance. They rushed the courthouse doors, and were warned by the guard to "disperse or be fired upon." The rioters ignored the warning and continued to batter the doors.
Colonel Alonzo B. Coit ordered his troops to fire through the courthouse doors, which resulted in five men killed. Colonel Coit was indicted for manslaughter and was acquitted at trial. After the trial, Governor McKinley stated, "The law was upheld as it should have been...but in this case at fearful cost... Lynching cannot be tolerated in Ohio." View on Ohio Memory. Image ID: AL06614 Subjects: Lynching; Riot control; Courthouses Places: Washington Court House (Ohio); Fayette County (Ohio)
Description: This photograph captures a scene from the 1884 Cincinnati Courthouse Riot. A group of armed Ohio National Guard troops stands behind a barricade of overturned wagons on Court Street. The Cincinnati jail is visible in the background. The photo surface has two handwritten notes in white ink: "Court St. looking to Jail" (lower left) and "RAG Photos" (lower right).
"RAG" refers to Rombach & Groene, Cincinnati-based photographers and engravers.
In March 1884, public confidence in Cincinnati law enforcement was extremely low. The public believed that murderers and other serious offenders were not brought to justice promptly or received little punishment. Civil unrest was brought to a boil when seventeen-year-old William Berner was sentenced to only twenty years' imprisonment for manslaughter rather than murder. Berner had been charged with savagely beating his employer to death after being caught in the act of stealing $285. On March 28, 1884, thousands of citizens stormed the county jail and courthouse. The rioting, which lasted three days, required forces from the sheriff’s office, city police, and local and state militia to restore order. Fifty-four people were killed and more than 200 wounded. The courthouse and jail suffered enormous damage, and valuable records were destroyed from the assault and fire. The riot gained international notoriety and helped pave the way for removal of political favoritism and a larger police force. View on Ohio Memory. Image ID: AL05826 Subjects: Cincinnati (Ohio)--Riot, 1884; Riots; Riot control; Cincinnati (Ohio)--History; Ohio History--Military Ohio; Ohio. National Guard; Places: Cincinnati (Ohio); Hamilton County (Ohio)
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