Carrollton Courthouse Massacre

In early 1886, an event would take place in Carroll county, Mississippi that would fade from history as quickly as it happened.  In January 1886, Ed and Charley Brown, two brothers who were part Native American and part African American, were delivering molasses.  During the delivery, some spilled on a white man named Robert Moore.  Moore would argue with the brothers over the event but the matter was dropped.  Moore would mention the event to his friend James Lidell.

Lidell would take matters into his own hands in February.  He confronted the brothers and accused them of intentionally spilling the molasses on his friend.  Another argument followed, this was when Lindell tried to strike Ed Brown, witnesses would intervene and stop him.

Lindell left, but found them again after he had been told they were talking about him.  Gunfire was soon exchanged and all three were injured.  The Browns would charge Lindell with attempted murder.  Most whites in the county were not too happy with the charge.

Leading up to the trial, both black and white individuals were warned to stay away from the Courthouse during the trial.  These warnings did not prevent many blacks in the county from attending the trial.  The day the trial was scheduled to begin, a mob of white men entered town and stormed the Courthouse through all four entrances.  Once entering the Courtroom, gunfire began with the blacks in attendance being the targets.  There was no way to escape except through two windows.  Those that jumped out the windows would be shot.  Both Brown brothers were killed with eight others on site.  It is disputed how many others died later from wounds.  Many believe the number to be around thirteen.  All of the victims were black.

Many of the newspapers, including the Clarion-Ledger, were outraged.  Legislators from across the nation called for a federal investigation.   Over time, the event was erased from public memory and is rarely discussed.


Beckwith, Ron De La. “Carrollton Courthouse Massacre.” Frontpage. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 July 2013. <;.

“The Carroll County Courthouse Massacre, 1886: A Cold Case File | Mississippi History Now.” Mississippi History Now. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 July 2013. <;.


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