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Dan Oliver (Lynching of)

On July 28, 1884, an African-American man named Dan Oliver was shot by a mob near Roseville (Logan County) for allegedly attempting to assault the daughter of a local white man identified only by his last name, Amos.

Amos, whom the Arkansas Gazette called “one of the best citizens of Logan County,” was probably Elisha Amos. According to public records, Elisha Amos was born in Tennessee in 1841, and by 1860, he and his parents were living in Arkansas. He married Malinda Ann Pendergraft in Franklin County in 1862, and served in the Civil War. In 1870, he and Malinda and two children, Jesse (three years old) and Emily (six months), were living in Sebastian County. Elisha Amos was living in Logan County in 1886 when his son Arthur Sylvester Amos was born, and he died in Booneville (Logan County) in 1918.

There is no information on any African American named Dan Oliver living in Logan or surrounding counties during this time. According to the first detailed story about the incident, published in the August 1, 1884, Fort Smith Elevator, Oliver, “a burly negro,” had visited several homes near Roseville on the night of July 27, “and in each case disturbed the young lady occupants with villainous intent.” He was captured on Monday and jailed in Roseville. On Monday night, residents heard a number of gunshots, and on Tuesday morning, Oliver’s body was found in the Arkansas River with several bullet holes in it. According to the Elevator, “No one appeared to know anything about it and appeared to care less.”

On August 2, the Arkansas Gazette published two articles that provide more information. Amos apparently heard a commotion in the adjoining room occupied by his daughters, ages thirteen and fifteen, and went to investigate, whereupon a black man made his escape through a window. The perpetrator, a “sable son of Afric’s sunny shore,” ran through a horse lot belonging to a neighbor named Woods, who recognized the man as Oliver. Woods was unable to catch him, but he was captured the following day, Monday, July 28. Authorities decided to hold an examination of the situation on Tuesday, but on Tuesday morning the door to the jail was found open, and Oliver was gone. Oliver’s bullet-riddled body was found in the river on Tuesday evening and was buried on the riverbank. According to the Gazette, “No excitement is being manifested. The lynchers are unknown.”

For additional information:
“Lynched in Logan.” Arkansas Gazette, July 30, 1884, p. 1.

“Points from Paris.” Arkansas Gazette, August 2, 1884, p. 5

“Roseville: Particulars of the Lynching of Dan Oliver.” Arkansas Gazette, August 2, 1884, p. 2.

“State News.” Fort Smith Elevator, August 1, 1884, p. 2.

Nancy Snell Griffith
Davidson, North Carolina

Last Updated 12/31/2018

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