October 9, 1915
Charles Rackely is shot and killed following a dispute in which he was not involved
Before the shooting, two employees of the Winsley sawmill had gotten into a confrontation with a boy or young man named Evans. As Evans was Black while the employees were white, it was speculated the incident was racially motivated. A group of men, angry at the treatment Evans’ had received, visited the sawmill with the intention to shoot and kill the men involved. They encountered Rackely first. Rackely was shot and killed, the remaining employees at the lumber camp scattered, and the shooters left. It was later revealed Rackely had not been a participant in the altercation with Evans.
Several men were arrested in connection with Rackely’s murder, three of whom — Sam Hardin, Jake Turner, and Guy Young — were sentenced to death less than 3 weeks after the shooting. Two more, whose names were not recorded in newspapers, pleaded guilty to being accessories and received sentences of 1 year in a chain gang (a group of prisoners chained together, tasked with manual labor including breaking rocks, building roads, or driving in spikes for railways).
Hardin, Turner, and Young were executed together on November 8, 1915, just under a month after Rackely’s shooting. None of the condemned men left behind a recorded final statement, though each reportedly quietly prayed in their last moments.
Hearn, Daniel Allen. Legal Executions in Georgia. Jefferson: McFarland & Company, Inc., 2016
“Triple Hanging in Georgia.” St. Albans Daily Messenger. November 8, 1915
“Murder at Lumber Camp.” The Indiana Progress. November 3, 1915
“Shot in Georgia.” The Morning Star [Wilmington, North Carolina]. October 13, 1915
“Taliaferro Black Is Taken From Jail For Safekeeping.” The Constitution [Atlanta, Georgia]. October 12, 1915