6th January 1861


The pantomime at the Great Yarmouth Theatre had a melancholy finale on Friday night week. After the harlequinade was over, the clown, named Algae, went to the dressing-room, but before he had changed his clothes he was seized with sickness, and lay down and died almost immediately.

A medical gentleman was summoned from the boxes, but death had supervened before any aid could be rendered. It seemed that the poor fellow was suffering from disease of the lungs for some time past, and that he was absolutely dying during the whole of the evening he was endeavouring to set his audience in a roar with his jokes and drolleries.

Deceased was only 35 years of age. Four years ago another actor, named Russell, dropped dead on this stage while performing in the “Hunchback.”


A respectable-looking man named William Smithyman, a native of England, and for several years a resident of Wisconsin, arrived in Missouri on Tuesday. Mr Smithyman was driven from Missouri last week, after suffering severe injuries for crimes alleged against him, but of which he declares his entire innocence.

He worked for several persons, dressing millstones, and met with no opposition from any person whatever, until a week ago yesterday, when he started from Looxahomie, De Soto county, for Senatobia station, on the Tennessee–Mississippi railroad, seven miles distant, employing a negro to carry himself and trunk in a waggon to the railroad.

Arriving at Senatobia after dark, he proceeded to look up some freight for the negro’s owner, and in doing so, went into the freight depot. While there three or four persons approached him and asked him where he was going and what he was doing. They charged him with being an Abolitionist and a suspicious person and seized and threw him into a freight car, which they locked, and then went up into the village to tell the story.

The negro was also arrested and, as afterwards appeared, was threatened with instant death if he didn’t confess that the man in the freight car had endeavoured to persuard him to run off. The negro, thinking, probably, to save himself form torture, said that such was the case, but notwithstanding the confession, he was severely flogged.

About ten o’clock, a crowd of 30 or 40 returned to the railroad station, took Smithyman out and marched him into the woods. There they stripped him naked, notwithstanding the weather was intensely cold, and gave him a large number of stripes, the victim thinks 200, with a think leather belt, sometimes flat and sometimes the edge. A man who appeared to be a doctor then advised them to desist, saying they would finish the job the next day.

They then put him back in the freight car with nothing but his clothes and an old rug to protect him in the night. In the morning, an armed force, styling themselves “minute men” took him into custody afresh, went into the woods again, made him strip, tied his hands around a tree, and then shaved his head as close as they could. The crowd urged him to tell all about his doings in the interior, said that they knew he was guilty of exciting slaves to insurrection, had tampered with them, and all that.

Three or four said that if he would confess his life should be spared, but that if he did not he would be strung up. By this time Smithyman was half dead from exhaustion and fright, and believing that it was his only chance of safety from hanging, he boldly avowed that he had tampered with slaves.

With a shout the eager listeners seized him and some were for hanging him right off. An attempt was made to get a rope around his neck, but others were so anxious for another operation that the would-be executioners failed. Smithyman was stripped and liquid tar, almost hot enough to scald, was poured over his head and, half blinded as he was, the victim was not allowed to put his hands to his eyes to keep the tar from blinding him altogether. They then stuck him all over with loose cotton. After this was through they told him that he must start for Memphis immediately—40 miles off—and not stop till he reached that city.

They gave him five minutes to put on his clothes and while he was trying to pull off some of the cotton several of the mob stood by kicking his limbs with their thick boots black and blue. They then allowed him to start.

Smithyman walked all the way to Memphis and took the boat to Missouri, where he gave the above statement, for what it is worth.


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