John Moss &

George Hart

Location of Lynchings:

Canaan Church/Cemetery, Waverly (Jamesville)

 

Dates:

John Moss: November 3rd, 1886

George Hart: November 5th, 1887

 

Age:

While exact ages are unknown, John was “no more than twenty years”, and George was between

20-22 (The Times, Opelika, November 3rd, 1886)

 

Brief:

John and George were cousins and, in 1886, worked on the Waldrup family property. John Moss and George Hart were accused of killing Ed Waldrup Jr. (age 21) after John, as a part of a search party, successfully located the missing body of Ed Waldrup Jr. After hearing a lynch mob was forming, both John and George fled for safety. John was tracked and captured near Wetumpka by a white mob and taken to Canaan church near Waverly. That evening 50-60 armed white men broke into the church. Despite his pleas of innocence, the white mob hanged him and burned his body.

 

George Hart was captured near Birmingham and taken to the Montgomery jail due to a high threat of violence in Lee County. He was held in Montgomery for a year before transferring to the Opelika jail two weeks before his trial. When the news broke that he was in Opelika and projected to be cleared of charges, armed white men broke into the Opelika jail and kidnapped George Hart. The same white mob hanged George Hart from the tree still scarred from the lynching of John Moss. They pinned a placard to his back to further threaten and terrorize the Black community. No one was held accountable for the lynching of John Moss or George Hart.

PRIMARY SOURCES REFERENCED IN SUMMARY