News Article: Iberia Sentinel

August 19, 1937

I Saw a Man Given Twenty Lashes on
His Bare Back at Tuscumbia in 1854

There are very few persons who could relate as many early-day incidents in Miller County as C.J. (Jeff) Smith, formerly of near Tuscumbia, but who is now deceased. At the age of 88 years, his mind was yet clear, and it was while making his home at the Soldiers' Home in St. James in 1929 that he related the following story:

"There are not many who can tell what happened about Tuscumbia in the years from 1850 to 1860. I saw a white man sold to the highest bidder by the sheriff. I saw a man tied to a post and given 20 lashes on his bare back by the sheriff in 1854,: related Mr. Smith. "I saw a crowd gather to lynch Bob Wilson, a northern preacher who wanted to preach at the courthouse. Dan Cummings and Champ Smith persuaded Wilson to leave before the mob arrived on the hill. Those human bones found under the doorstep of the C.P. Tellman home on the Saline clear up a mystery which happened in 1849. I was then nine years old." While Mr. Smith did not explain the matter of the skeleton yet it is said that a woman disappeared mysteriously in that year, and her whereabouts was never determined afterward. She came to this place with a strange man and a woman who were said to be rough characters and her disappearance was attributed to foul play at the time, but there was nothing to confirm the suspicions. The bones were found in a crumpled position, buried under the doorstep of the old Tellman house. Mr. Tellman and H.A. Worthy were digging a pit alongside the old building to construct a foundation for an addition to the house when the bones were unearthed. Apparently the body had been buried in a crumpled position and then covered with a lot of boulders. C.J. Smith's father, Champ Smith, was sheriff of Miller County in the late fifties. Champ's father, Charles Smith, was a drummer boy during the Revolutionary War. A tombstone at his grave, in the Hawken Cemetery two miles east of Tuscumbia, bears the inscription "C. Smith, a Soldier of the Revolution."

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