Race and Reckoning in Forsyth County

1912-2020

The Lynchings

On the evening of September 10, another lynch mob formed outside of the Cumming jail. After Sheriff Reid (who later joined the Klan) abandoned his post, the mob easily overpowered Deputy Gay Lummus and dragged Rob Edwards, a twenty-four-year-old farmhand from South Carolina, out of jail and around the town square. Punches, bullets, and crowbar blows rained down on his body before the mob placed a noose around his neck and hung him from a telephone pole.

While Ernest Knox and accused accomplice Oscar Daniel survived that day, they were later convicted by all-white juries in rushed trials on October 4. Judge Newt Morris (who later participated in the infamous Leo Frank Case) sentenced them to death the following morning.

The hangings took place on October 25. Sheriff Reid had placed the gallows in a natural depression ringed by three hills, and a 15-foot privacy fence mysteriously burned the night before. Although Georgia no longer allowed public executions, an estimated 5,000 white people cheered as Knox and Daniel died.