Sunday, August 28, 2016

Denounce Lynching
Chamber of Commerce Goes on Record as Opposed to Mob Violence

An argument over a debt of six dollars between James Bearden and Caby Brynes quickly escalated, ending in the deaths of two brothers, James and Stanley Bearden who were lynched by mob violence on 29 Jun 1928, in Brookhaven, Mississippi.

Caby Byrnes was born`22 Jul 1897, son of William Reese Byrne and Laura Criscoe, all Mississippians. He and his family remained in Brookhaven after the lynchings. Caby was the proprietor of an auto repair shop, his wife Mary Ford Byrne was the bookkeeper for the business. The couple had at least two children, Virginia and Caby, Jr. The senior Caby died 16 Sep 1955 and is buried in the Rosehill Cemetery, Brookhaven, MS.

The following paragraph was published in the second printing of the local newspaper since the lynching of the brothers. There is nothing like green power, money, to make folk repentant.

W. D. Davis, the President (Brookhaven Chamber of Commerce) referred to the terrible affair of June 29, when the law was trampled under foot. He spoke of the affair with feeling, both of the deed itself and its consequences on the actors themselves, on society and on the good name of the county for law and order.

The 1930 and 1940 Federal Censuses for Lincoln County, MS
Findagrave - Rosehill Cemetery
The Lincoln County Times
Brookhaven, Mississippi
Thursday July 12, 1928
Page 6

Photograph Courtesy of
Lincoln-Lawrence-Franklin Regional Library
100 S. Jackson St
Brookhaven, MS 39601


  1. Of what was W. D. Davis president?

    1. He was president of the Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce.

  2. I would hate to think he spoke out for financial reasons, but lynchings would be bad for business. I should think a Chamber-led petition against them would have been in order, but it appears that no one wanted to go too far in condemning them.

  3. I wonder how often it happened that businessmen spoke out against lynchings.

    1. This was a first for me to see businessmen speak out publicly against lynchings.

    2. Who did, then, on the local level speak out publicly against lynchings?

      You wrote that there’s nothing like greed to make people repentant, but it seems to me that this puts anyone who might realized a monetary gain from speaking out against evil as being damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t.

    3. No one spoke out publicly against lynchings/murders of Negroes, judging from the newspaper reports of the time period, unless there was an economic reason.

      The person speaking out against evil knows his true motivation. If Davis had spoken anywhere else, I might have a different opinion. The Chamber of Commerce - a bunch of business men sending a message to their good customers it was safe to shop in Brookhaven.