Commemorating Black History: Sheriff, Deputy Sheriff and prisoner killed in 1915 by mob

Courthouse rendering by Pelham Lyles.

WINNSBORO – On the morning of June 14, 1915, Fairfield County Sheriff Adam D. Hood, Deputy Sheriff Raleigh Boulware and several other deputies were escorting a black prisoner, Jules Smith, to court when an angry white mob who it is said were attempting to lynch the prisoner, shot and killed Hood and Smith and mortally wounded Boulware. Three other deputy sheriffs were also shot but survived. Sheriff Hood and the deputies returned fire, killing one of the assailants – Clyde Isenhower.

Smith, the black prisoner, reportedly had been charged with criminal assault of a white woman a couple of months earlier. Following his arrest, Smith was taken to the state penitentiary in Columbia for the purpose of being kept safe until his trial.

A newspaper account of the courthouse killings stated that Sheriff Hood, accompanied by several deputies, went to Columbia on the fateful morning and brought Smith to the courthouse in Winnsboro to stand trial for his life. When the Sheriff, the prisoner and deputies started up the steps to the Courthouse, the mob began shooting.

After the killings at the Courthouse, Gov. Manning immediately ordered out the militia. The Adjutant General came to Winnsboro and took charge of the local military company. A race war was feared, however, soon after killing the prisoner, the mob dispersed and the town remained calm.

Isenhower allegedly killed Sheriff Hood. Four members of the mob were arrested. One member of the mob was charged with Deputy Boulware’s murder, but was tried and acquitted.