1879--Theodore Daniels Accused of Assault and Lynched


1879--Theodore Daniels Accused of Assault and Lynched
Sep 1879
Formatted date
Event type
Very little is known about the life of Theodore Daniels. To date, no one of this name or similar names has been found in the 1870 census. Due to the fluid nature of African American surnames during this period, combined with record-keeping problems, it’s possible he was missed or his name entered differently in official records. There were numerous African Americans in the counties adjacent to Boone with the surname “Daniels” in the 1870 census; a possible connection.

A woman named Fanny Daniels was living in Cincinnati in 1870, according to the census that year. She was born in Kentucky and lived with several daughters and a man named George Frazier. Later census records show her living with family members named “Huey.” Both the Huey and Frazier names appear in the Union area of Boone County and several of these families held enslaved people prior to the end of the Civil War; it’s possible there is a family connection between Fanny and Theodore Daniels and the appearance of these other names in Fanny’s circle may explain why Theodore was working in the Union area.

Theodore Daniels worked as a laborer on the farm of Fielding Dickey, who owned a large amount of property on U. S. 42, near Union. On September 3, 1879, Daniels was accused of the attempted rape of the adopted daughter of Dickey, a 15-year old girl named Georgia Billiter.

Theodore Daniels was mis-identified in news accounts as “Willis Jackson” and his alleged victim, Georgia Billiter was also mis-identified as “Ella Kearney.” These names appear in Jefferson County, Kentucky records, so it’s possible another incident was confused with the events in Boone County, around the same time.

Daniels escaped immediate capture, but was caught near the Kenton County line and returned to the Union town hall. Mr. Dickey was prevented from shooting Daniels upon his return, but local tensions ran high, and the constables were unable to protect their prisoner from the mob and allow justice to proceed.

The planned transfer of Daniels to the county seat never occurred. The men guarding Daniels were outnumbered by a mob that had gathered in the night. The mob forcibly took Daniels out of the hands of officials to a location on the outskirts of town. Once at the chosen destination, Daniels was tied to a tree and shot; the members of the mob were never identified.
African American(s): Theodore Daniels
Other participant(s): Georgia Billeter
Union (Ky.)
Related resource
Billeter family
Daniels family