|Type of Place||Independent City or Town|
|Metro Area?||Independent City or Town|
|Politics c. 1860?||Don't Know|
|Unions, Organized Labor?||Don't Know|
|Sundown Town Status|
|Confirmed Sundown Town?||Surely|
|Year of Greatest Interest||1925|
|Was there an ordinance?||Perhaps, Some Oral Evidence|
|Still Sundown?||Probably Not, Although Still Very Few Blacks|
|Tell Dr. Loewen More About This Town|| |
|Method of Exclusion|
|From Richard Ulibarri, "Utah's Ethnic Minorities," in Stanford Layton, ed., Being Different: Stories of Utah's Minorities (SLC: Signature, 2001): 6/18/1925, Robert Marshall was hanged twice in one day in Price, Utah, "by some 1,800 men, women, and children." "During the 1920s and 1930s, the Ku Klux Klan was active and, as elsewhere, blacks were the chief target." Today, seven census tracts in central SLC "contain about 80% of the city's blacks, and in the central city area of Ogden, five census tracts show about 98% of the black population." (Ulibarr 7)
From: "Utah Town Remembers 1925 Lynching," The Associated Press, 4/5/1998:
PRICE, Utah (AP)
"Craddock Matthew Gilmour was 15 years old when a mob lynched a black coal miner accused of killing a marshal.
On Saturday, the 88-year-old Gilmour was able to put the past behind him as residents of this south central Utah community of 9,000 dedicated a headstone at the previously unmarked grave of Robert Marshall.
"It was absolutely wonderful, beautiful; a lot of tears fell here and there," Gilmour said.
He organized a ``Day of Reconciliation'' for Marshall to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the assassination of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.
About 300 people, including several religious leaders, took part in a ceremony inside the Notre Dame school gymnasium.
Afterward, the crowd walked two blocks to the Price Cemetery to dedicate the headstone, which read: "Robert Marshall, lynched June 18, 1925, a victim of intolerance. May God forgive."
Hundreds of people witnessed the lynching that was in retaliation for the murder of J. Milton Burns, a marshal in the mining town of Castle Gate.
Two children said they saw a black man running from the scene of the crime.
The killing outraged many residents of predominantly white Price, particularly members of the Ku Klux Klan who were then active in the area.
Three days after the murder, Marshall was caught by mine company officials at a cabin and taken to the Price jail. But he never made it to a cell.
Gilmour remembers stopping at a store with his father and seeing a man with a rope who said, "We're going to hang him."
While the lawmen were inside the jail building, a crowd reportedly took over the car in which Marshall was sitting and drove out of town. By the time deputies arrived, Marshall's body was hanging from a tall cottonwood tree.
About 1,000 people gathered at a tree between Price and nearby Wellington to watch Marshall die.
The deputies cut the rope and as Marshall groaned the crowd reportedly yelled, "String him up again." The officers were overpowered and Marshall was rehanged.
Later, Marshall's body was put on display at the funeral parlor. Photos of the hanging were sold for 25 cents.
Eleven men were arrested for the lynching. But when it came time to present evidence before a grand jury, none of the 125 people called to testify would identify the participants.
Because of the lack of evidence, murder charges against the men were dismissed. As for Marshall, little evidence ever surfaced linking him to the lawman's murder.
Gilmour, who now resides in Salt Lake City 100 miles to the north, said the commemoration "was a cleansing, if you want a word for it."
"It not only lifts a great burden off me, but off of a good many people," Gilmour said. "It was a joyful ending. Everybody couldn't really understand how it could have happened."
Not everyone felt that way, however.
Maurine Dorman, whose father was one of the 11 men arrested and then freed, stayed home Saturday, saying she was displeased.
Now 80, Dorman declined to explain her dissatisfaction or discuss the matter further, saying only that "a lot of people in town feel the same way. I'm not going to say anything more about it."
From Steve Lacy, The Lynching of Robert Marshall (---, Castle Press, 1978): 7:30PM, 6/15/1925, Robert Marshall shot Deputy Sheriff J. Milton Burns; he died in hospital. (Lacy 3, 7)
"The entire county of Carbon was being turned upside-down to find the negro [sic] man. It must be said that negroes were not a very common sight in the mining towns of Carbon County, even though the towns were comprised of many different nationalities such as Italians, Greeks, poles, mexicans, and Indians." "After several days of searching, Robert Marshall was still at large." (Lacy 7) Marshall took refuge with "an elderly negro man named George. (Lacy 7) The next morning "George Gray walked the mile to the company store to purchase his bacon and flour. He was about to leave the store, when he overheard two ladies talking. 'I heard they haven't caught that nigger that shot Deputy Burns yet. They ought to get rid of all the niggers in the county so this will never happen again.'" (Lacy 12) So "George" turned him in. A posse arrived at Gray's cabin, took him into custody. (Lacy 14) Drove him to Price. 40 cars by the time they got to Price. "Many people rushed to gather up their families and to pack a picnic lunch, just in case there might be a lynching." The sheriff tried to stop the crowd, was overpowered. (Lacy 18) They took him 2 1/2 miles out of town between Price and Wellington, took him to a big cottonwood tree. "The crowd had by now grown to 800-1,000 people, with a mixture of men, women, and children. The noose was put around Marshall's neck, and he was given instructions by the mob leader. 'Don't you dare put your hands up to your neck to loosen that rope. Just as soon as you make a move to do that, we will cut your hands off! You're goin' to suffer a long and lingering death for what you have done.' A dozen men began to haul the man to the top of the tree." He used his hands, was threatened, "Marshall put his hands down to his side. He hung there for just over nine minutes." Sheriff Deming drove up, "cried 'Oh my god, get him down!' As soon as the sheriff began to remove the noose, a sound began to come from Marshall's throat. A lady yelled out, 'Lynch him! He isn't dead yet!' The mob again overpowered the sheriff and proceeded to string up Marshall one more time. He was raised about three feet off the ground and the rope was tied to the base of the tree. Then he was pulled to the top of the tree and the slack was let loose, causing Marshall to have his neck popped. This was done seven times. Afterwards, the body was pulled about halfway back up the tree and tied off, so that pictures could be taken." (Lacy 23)
On the evening of 6/24, "a group of about 20 people in white hoods with fiery torches rode up to a small house that contained a negro family. The group was called the Ku Klux Klan. The leader yelled out, 'You come out, you niggers!' A man and woman came out. The woman was holding a baby. The negro man asked very nervously, 'What do you want?'
"The leader replied, 'Take a good look at this picture. If you get out of line, the same thing will happen to you.'
"The picture was of Robert Marshall hanging from a tree.
"'We don't have to listen to you. We're free.'
"'Shut up!' bellowed the leader. 'If any one of you talks, w won't give any speeches or scare the hell right out of you. We will just KILL, KILL, KILL, and then we will take your body and put it up on a building ....
"The group didn't stop with just the negroes. They went on to threaten all of the minorities in the county." (Lacy 28)
Eleven men were indicted for the lynching. (Lacy 34) All charges were dropped, because none of the 125 witnesses could see who did it! The District Attorney F. W. Keller denounced "the disgraceful mockery of the law and order..." (Lacy 40)
From Shane Johnson, "Read No Evil." Salt Lake City Weekly, 9/25/2003, available at slweekly.com/editorial/2003/feat_2003 09 25.cfm, 10/2003:
"On June 18, 1925, a mob of seemingly respectable Price citizens, including members of the Ku Klux Klan, overpowered police and kidnapped Robert Marshall, a black itinerant mine worker arrested on suspicion of murdering a white deputy sheriff. About two and a half miles outside of town, more than 800 watched as Marshall was hauled up a tree at the end of a rope. Ten minutes later he was lowered back to the ground, but when leaders of the lynch mob saw Marshall still showing signs of life they hung him again, this time making sure to snap his neck. None of 125 subpoenaed witnesses would testify before a grand jury that they saw who killed Marshall, compelling the state to scrap indictments against several suspects.
"It would seem to me that a thorough historian would include it," said the Rev. France A. Davis, pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Salt Lake City. Davis attended a 1998 ceremony in Price, which aimed to salve open wounds that have endured since the lynching. But the reconciliation gesture was not well received by many in Price where, as one elderly resident told /The Salt Lake Tribune/, "There wasn't more prejudice than any other place back then, and there's not now." But including it in the textbook "would give [students] a sense of the fullness and completeness of their own history, both the good and the bad," Davis said. "If we don't know the past, then we are likely to repeat it."
Holzapfel said he weighed those concerns against the sensibilities of impressionable seventh graders in deciding not to deal with the lynching directly. When he started work on the textbook in 1993, he co opted his own children as a focus group. "Today, maybe it wouldn't be bad to focus in on it as an act of violence, but you know, you don't want your kids to go home with nightmares," he said, adding "I wanted the book to tell a fairly upbeat story."
Dancing around the crux of history, Holzapfel alludes to the Marshall lynching with the account of Howard Browne Sr., a black man who settled with his family outside of Price in 1929. Without telling why, Browne stated, "Price, well, that was off limits to blacks."
Marshall's lynching is remarkable only because it was the last of about a dozen in Utah and Utah Territory, said University of Utah history Professor Larry Gerlach. Utah's official state history Website deals with the 1883 Salt Lake City lynching of Sam Joe Harvey. A black ex soldier, Harvey was beaten to a bloody mess by police after being arrested for gunning down City Marshal Andrew Burt in broad daylight. No one would ever learn what set Harvey off that day, because before the marshal's body was cold, lawmen turned the killer over to a seething mob gathered in front of City Hall. More than 1,000 furious vigilantes summarily stomped, whipped, hung and paraded Harvey through the streets of Salt Lake City.
From Ronald G. Coleman, "Blacks in Utah History," in Helen Z. Papanikolas, The Peoples of Utah (SLC: Utah State Historical Society, 1981), :
"Since the turn of the century a majority of Utah Blacks have lived in the cities of Salt Lake City and Ogden. Employment opportunities for Blacks have been greater... Despite the tendency of Blacks to settle in urban centers, wherever employment opportunities existed in other parts of the state, Black workers willingly moved there. In the period between 1920 and 1930, Carbon and Emery counties had a number of Blacks working in the coal mines and other related industrial activities. The Black population in these areas declined when employment was reduced. For many years the majority of Blacks residing in SL and Weber counties were primarily employed in domestic and personal services for the civilian population." Also railroads. (Coleman 132)
"Blacks in Utah ... were excluded from participating in the general social and cultural life and consequently developed their own churches, fraternal organizations, a literary club, a press, and a community center." (Coleman 133) They played on industries' semi-pro baseball teams in the 1920s, such as on the Denver and Rio Grande Western Rail Road team. ""He was a fine player and a gentleman. When we went out of town, he didn't come with us."" - nowhere to eat or stay. (Coleman 134) Utah also had an Anti-Miscegenation Law, 1898-1963. (Coleman 136)
"In 1869 a Black was shot and hanged at Uintah in Weber County. The reason given was 'he is a damned Nigger.' In 1925 Robert Marshall was taken from his jail cell in Price by a mob and hanged 'in slow stages.' The rope was pulled until he lost consciousness; he was then revived by burning his bare soles with matches. The pulling and burning continued until Marshall died to the cheers of men, women, and children who smiled for a photographer while the dead Black swung from the hanging tree in the background."
"In 1939 Salt Lake City commissioners received a petition with one thousand signatures asking that Blacks living in Salt Lake be restricted to one residential area. This area would be located away from the City and County building where visitors to the city would not come in contact with a sizeable number of Blacks. The petition was initiated by Sheldon Brewster, a realtor and bishop of a Mormon ward.... Blacks rose up in indignation and marched to protest Brewster's action. When the petition failed to get the approval of the commissioners, a restrictive covenant policy was used to limit Black opportunities in housing. Real estate companies inserted a Form 30 clause in real estate contracts. (Coleman 137-138)
From a Utah Librarian:
"Blacks are mentioned in the histories of the mining towns and as proprietors of stagecoach stops, so I know some were here in the 1800s, but I've never heard of ordinances forbidding them from living in any communities. We have a quite famous or infamous "Nigger Liza" who lived in Pioche, Nevada, and ran a stagecoach stop in our county. The name shows up on our USGS maps marking "Nigger Liza Canyon" but has recently been made politically correct, so new maps show "Negro Liza Canyon." I've seen this similar name on maps in nearby counties. The railroads likely brought blacks to southern Utah in the early 1900s. The first tracks to go from Salt Lake City to Los Angeles were connected in 1905. However, the train siding towns were quite remote from the cities."