Walter and William Jones
Ethnicity Mulatto (both)
Born ca. 1893 (Walter)
ca. 1895 (William)

September 28, 1913 (both)
Harriston, Mississippi, United States

Cause of death Lynching
Attack information
Date September 28, 1913
2 a.m. – 10 a.m.
Location(s) Harriston, Mississippi, United States
Killed 8+
Injured 14+
Weapon(s) Double-barreled shotgun

Walter and William Jones were two American brothers who killed at least eight people and wounded at least 14 others in Harriston, Mississippi, United States on September 28, 1913, before they were captured and lynched.[1][2][3]



Walter and William Jones were the sons of Maggie Jones and a white man, who allegedly ran a store in Harriston. At the age of 14 William killed a black man by shooting him in the face after a petty quarrel, though he got out of trouble with the help of circuit court clerk Orrin Gillis.[5][6]


The exact sequence of events is unclear since several different versions were reported by various newspapers, though it appears that during the night from September 27 to September 28 William Jones was at the home of Johanna Aiken in the negro quarter of the town, drinking whiskey, consuming cocaine, and playing craps with others. Some time between 1 a.m. and 2 a.m. he got into an argument with two other black men over his losses, whereupon he armed himself with a double-barreled shotgun and 25 buckshot shells and killed both men and Johanna Aiken, before going out into the street and shooting at everyone who crossed his path. At one point he apparently went back home to team up with his older brother Walter, and at another he called merchant Shaw Millsaps to the door of his home, asked him for some water, and told him to stay inside.[5][7][8]

Jones went to the house of constable B. F. Kinstley, called him to the door, and when he opened, killed him with a shot to the head. He also fired at Kinstley's son, Reynolds, when he reached for a gun, hitting him in the hand, and afterwards made his way to the nearby Yazoo & Mississippi Valley Railway (Y&MVR) station, where a train from Natchez had just arrived. There he killed Claude Freeman, who was waiting for a train to Fayette, and then shot into the Kinnison restaurant, killing a black man on the gallery, and wounding conductor Edward Appleby, flagman William Bond, William McCaleb, and several others. According to some witnesses the shots were fired from two directions, indicating the involvement of Walter Jones. Jones also fired at the Natchez train and a parked sleeping car without hitting anyone, then ceased shooting, and apparently sought refuge at a cottonseed house of the Harriston oil mill together with his brother and two other blacks, Robert Patterson and Johnson Prophet, the latter who was from Illinois and lived with them at their home.[5][7][8]

Meanwhile two special trains were prepared at the Y&MVR yards in Natchez, which arrived in Harriston at 3 a.m., and carried the wounded back to Natchez. Sherriff Groves Hammett and other citizens of Fayette, including Orrin Gillis, were notified of the shooting via telephone and by William Dennis, who had arrived with one of the special trains. The group returned to Harriston around 5 a.m. and immediately set out to find the murderer. When they approached the house of Maggie Jones, William Jones fired two shots from behind one of the buildings of the nearby oil mill, killing sherriff Hammet with the first, and seriously wounding Gillis with the second. While the other members of the posse fired several rounds in the direction the shots came from, William Dennis ran up the railroad track and encountered Jones when coming around the building. Both of them fired their guns, wounding each other, as well as railroad yardman Purnell Lee, who was apparently hit by Dennis's shot. Jones, wounded in head and leg, was subsequently subdued.[5][7][8]

Around that time more people from Fayette and other nearby towns began to arrive, so by 7 a.m. around 300 armed men were at the scene. Headed by Judge Jeff Truly, they cordoned off the area around the board house, where Walter Jones and the others were hiding, and commenced shooting into the building until the front was riddled with bullet holes, but without any further effect. Thereupon a call was sent to governor Earl Brewer for troops. It was reported that around that time Joe Weeks, a black man sitting on a nearby coal chute, was killed by Walter Jones with a shot through the heart.[5][7][8]

Around 10 a.m. George Grayson, an old black man, agreed to enter the building. After a while he managed to convince Walter Jones, Robert Patterson, and Johnson Prophet to surrender and leave their hiding place, thus rendering the additional forces, arms, and dynamite that arrived with a special train from Natchez at the time unneccessary.[7][8]

After a brief interrogation of the three, Patterson and Prophet were arrested, while Walter Jones was taken by a crowd to a coal chute and hanged on one of the timbers. His brother William had already been lynched in the same manner on a signal post near the Little J. track, in front of Kinnisson’s restaurant. According to newspaper reports he disclosed in his final statement that he had committed the crime alone and his brother Walter hadn't shot anybody. Asked why he had killed these people he replied: "Because I didn't like them; there were four others I wanted to get."[5][7][8]

Ver 1Edit

Shooting started at 2 a.m., ended 10 a.m. Jones brothers were high on cocaine three white men, four negro men, a negro women killed riot lasted six hours, white and black shot at each other on sight Company of National Guardsmen arrived from Natchez, arrest all outside their homes Will Jones strung up and riddled with bullets.

Walter Jones, 20, began shooting in the negro quarter, killed woman, Thead Grayson, went home aroused his brother William, 18. Ran through main street firing at everyone in sight. Went to home of fromer Constable Frank Keinstly, knocked at the door, killed him with a shot through the head, wounded his son William by a shot to the hand, when he reached for a gun. Brothers made their way to the Yazoo & Mississippi Valley Railway station nearby, shot conductor Appleby and flagman W. C. Bond, killed Claude Freeman, who was waiting for a train, then fired at a train arriving from Natchez, then ran to a cottonseed warehouse, hiding. Sherriff Hammet and former sherriff Gillis arrived from Fayette at abou 5 a.m. Warehouse surrounded by posse. Hammet led men to warehouse, Will Jones dashed out, hiding in grass, shot and killed Hammet. Gillis wounded by shot from seedhouse. Call for troops was sent to Governor Brewer. Will Jones tried to dash towards a nearby coal chute, was killed, body then strung up to a telegraph pole and riddled with bullets. Walter Jones killed Tom Weeks sitting on the coal chute with a shot through the heart. Train from Natchez arrived with guardsmen. Posse stormed seedhouse, found Walter Jones, hanged him. Posse then made way to the brothers home, found two men, wanted to lynch them. Milita officers persuaded them to let them go. Shooting apparently was planned. According to their mother one ot them talked about "shooting up" town, she thought he was joking[9]

Teller Warren found in hut in negro quarter, apparently one of the first victims. Walter Jones killed Johanna Aiken and Thead Grayson in negro quarter Wounded: Orrin Gillis, Ed Appleby, William McCaleb, William Keinstly, W.C. Bond, William Dennis[10][11][12][13][14][15][16][17][18][19][20]

Ver 2Edit



Ver 3Edit



There who was critically injured, though neither the Fayette Chronicle, nor most of the other sources confirmed this.[37][38] It seems not implausible to assume that he survived, since a Edward B. Appleby, who died in 1946, is buried at a cemetery in Slaughter, Louisiana about 80 miles south of Harriston.[39]

It is also unclear who killed Joe Weeks, if his supposed time of death is correct and William Jones told the truth when saying that his brother had nothing to do with the shooting. Finally, it was not specified if the wounded Bob Patterson is the same Robert Patterson who hid with Walter Jones and Johnson Prophet in the cottonseed house, and if so, if he received his injuries during the fusilade prior to his surrender.

Reported killed by the Fayette Chronicle were:

  • Homer Aiken, black
  • Johanna Aiken, black
  • Claude Stewart Freeman, 28, white[40]
  • Fayette Grayson, black
  • Groves Benton Hammett, 34, white, sheriff[41]
  • Benjamin Franklin "Frank" Kinstley, 40, white, constable[42]
  • Teller Warren, black
  • Joe Weeks, black

Also killed according to other reports were:

  • Jesse Thompson, black
  • Dewey Haywood, black, shot in abdomen[43]

Among those wounded were:

  • Al Aiken, black
  • Edward B. Appleby, white, shot through left lung, shoulder and groin
  • William C. Bond, white, shot in leg and thigh
  • William D. Dennis, white, shot in hand and leg
  • Orrin Sterling Gillis, 36, white, shot in right shoulder and chin[44]
  • C. S. Hill, black
  • Reynolds Ellis Kinstley, 20, white[45]
  • Purnell Lee, white
  • William McCaleb, white, shot in the back
  • John Nash, black
  • Bob Patterson, black
  • Thad Ross, white, flesh wound in hand
  • John Wiggins, black, right eye shot out and scalp wound

Aftermath and motiveEdit

Johnson Prophet and Maggie Jones were initially suspected of having instigated the shooting, claims that apparently could not be substantiated, since Prophet, together with Robert Patterson, was released from Natchez prison in October 1914.[5][46]

William Jones apparently planned the shooting for two years, telling another black boy: "We'll get guns and shoot everybody we see on the street." According to their mother one of them talked about "shooting up" town, she thought he was joking. He bought the buckshot shells used for the shooting at a hardware store in Fayette.[5][8] At the time the shooting was largely blamed on cocaine.


  1. Crazed mulattos kill 8, injure 20, Lake Benton Valley News (October 1, 1913)
  2. Twelve killed in affray, The Christian Science Monitor (September 30, 1913)
  3. Outrage in America - Negroes lynched, The North China Herald (October 4, 1913) (p. 8)
  4. Reign of terror - Drink-crazed Negroes Run Amok, Poverty Bay Herald (November 15, 1913)
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 Race riot at Harriston, Miss., The True Democrat (October 4, 1913)
  6. Carnage at Harriston;8 Dead and 14 Wounded at (January 17, 2012)
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 Carnage at Harriston; 8 Dead and 14 Wounded, Fayette Chronicle (October 3, 1913)
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 8.6 10 dead, 20 hurt in a race riot, The New York Times (September 29, 1913)
  9. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named NYT
  10. Two drug-crazed negroes in saturnalia of killing, The Lewiston Morning Tribune (September 29, 1913)
  11. Youths kill 9; lynched, The Pittsburgh Press (September 29, 1913)
  12. [1], The Meriden Daily Journal - Sep 29, 1913 ()
  13. [2], The Day - Sep 29, 1913 ()
  14. [3], The Rochester Sentinel - Sep 29, 1913 ()
  15. [4], Evening Tribune - Sep 29, 1913 ()
  16. [5], The Calgary Daily Herald - Sep 29, 1913 ()
  17. [6], St. Joseph News-Press - Sep 29, 1913 ()
  18. [7], The Lewiston Daily Sun - Sep 25, 1913 ()
  19. [8], The Calgary Daily Herald - Sep 29, 1913 ()
  20. [9], New Oxford Item - Oct 2, 1913 ()
  21. [10], Greensburg Daily Tribune - Sep 29, 1913 ()
  22. [11], Youngstown Vindicator - Sep 26, 1913 ()
  23. [12], Youngstown Vindicator - Sep 26, 1913 ()
  24. [13], The Pittsburgh Press - Sep 30, 1913 ()
  25. [14], Rome Tribune-Herald - Sep 27, 1913 ()
  26. [15], The Evening Record - Sep 29, 1913 ()
  27. [16], The Telegraph-Herald - Sep 30, 1913 ()
  28. [17], Flushing Daily Times - Sep 29, 1913 ()
  29. [18], Warsaw Daily Times - Sep 29, 1913 ()
  30. [19], Herald-Journal - Sep 30, 1913 ()
  31. [20], The Deseret News - Sep 29, 1913 ()
  32. [21], The Rochester Sentinel - Sep 30, 1913 ()
  33. [22], The Telegraph-Herald - Sep 30, 1913 ()
  34. [23], Portsmouth Daily Times - Sep 29, 1913 ()
  35. [24], Easton Free Press - Sep 29, 1913 ()
  36. [25], Boston Evening Transcript - Sep 29, 1913 ()
  37. Dozen shot dead; many wounded, The Democratic Banner (September 30, 1913)
  38. Eleven killed in southern race war, Rogue River Courier (October 3, 1913)
  39. Edward B. Appleby, at
  40. Claudie S Freeman at
  41. [26]
  42. Benjamin Franklin "Frank" Kinstley at
  43. The World News in Brief, Gulfport Daily Herald (October 7, 1913)
  44. [27]
  45. Reynolds Ellis Kinstley at
  46. Patterson and Prophet released, Macon Beacon (October 16, 1914)

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