: This photograph shows armed soldiers standing guard outside the Fayette County Court House, Washington Court House, Ohio, in mid-October 1894. A crowd of onlookers is facing the soldiers; inside the court house, dozens of people are standing the windows observing the activity outside.
Rioting erupted at the Fayette County Courthouse following the trial of William Dolby, a biracial man accused of raping a white woman in Washington Court House, Ohio. Dolby pleaded guilty and was sentenced to twenty years at the Ohio Penitentiary. The crowd, however, demanded that Dolby be lynched for the crime. Governor William McKinley, who later became president of the United States, sent out the National Guard to protect Dolby. On the morning of October 17, 1894, the National Guard troops, led by Colonel Alonzo B. Coit, ordered the crowd to disperse. The crowd continued to shout and began ramming the courthouse doors. Coit and his troops fired at the crowd through the doors of the courthouse, killing six men and wounding a dozen others. Bullet holes are still visible in the wooden doors of the courthouse.
Colonel Coit was indicted for manslaughter but 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.
: AL06618 Subjects
: Riots; Lynching; McKinley, William, 1843- 1901; Fayette County (Ohio); Courthouses Places
: Washington Court House (Ohio); Fayette County (Ohio)