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Frank Dodd (Lynching of)

Frank Dodd was lynched in DeWitt (Arkansas County) on October 8, 1916, by a mob of about 300. He had reportedly insulted two white women the previous day. Dodd was the second man taken from the jail at DeWitt and lynched in as many months, though the previous mob had taken its victim to Stuttgart (Arkansas County) to be murdered.

The exact identity of Dodd is difficult to determine, however. In the 1910 census, there is an African-American man named Frank Dodd living in Drew County with his wife, Isabella, but by the following census year she is living with her family and going by her maiden name; he apparently disappears from the record.

According to the Arkansas Gazette, Dodd encountered “Mrs. Dave Sever” and Blanche Roach on October 7 as they were driving to DeWitt and requested a ride in their wagon. Sever’s first name is likely Edith, as there is a David Seiver listed in the 1910 Census as unmarried and living in Stanley Township of Arkansas County; he is listed in 1920 with the name Siever and married to Edith. Blanche Roach inhabited LaGrue Township in 1910 and would have been about eighteen years old in 1916.

During the course of his ride with the two women, Dodd reportedly “began to talk insultingly to Miss Roach” and refused to leave the vehicle when ordered out. A passerby, farmer John Lacotts, succeeded in driving Dodd from the wagon, but he reportedly continued to annoy the women as soon as Lacotts left the scene. The Arkansas Democrat, however, reported that Blanche Roach had been driving alone when Dodd began to accost her, that her cries attracted the attention of people who were able to repulse Dodd, and that Dodd then fled into the woods before being arrested.

By the time Dodd reached DeWitt, he had been arrested. As stories of the arrest spread, officers began to fear imminent mob violence and hid Dodd elsewhere. Believing that matters had calmed down enough, the officers transferred Dodd back to the jail on Sunday night. However, their actions were witnessed by some members of the public, and a mob quickly gathered and forced jailer Terry Miller to surrender his keys. Dodd “was then taken to the negro section of the town and hanged to a tree” and then subsequently shot. By 3:00 a.m., the body was taken down. The Pine Bluff Daily Graphic reported that the body had been turned over to an undertaker, while the Gazette reported that it had been delivered to Dodd’s wife (although it is unclear if he was married).

For additional information:
“DeWitt Mob Takes Negro from Jail and Lynches Him.” Arkansas Gazette, October 9, 1916, p. 8.

“Lynched for Annoying Woman.” Washington Herald, October 11, 1916, p. 1.

“Negro Is Lynched by Mob at DeWitt.” Arkansas Gazette, October 10, 1916, p. 1.

“Negro Is Lynched by Mob at DeWitt; Body Is Left on Tree.” Pine Bluff Daily Graphic, October 10, 1916, p. 1.

Guy Lancaster
Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture

Last Updated 3/2/2018

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