Thursday, October 17, 2019

"Warm Supper"

"Warm Supper"

The day I [John Green Lea] was arrested I was carried to Yanceyville and all the prisoners had been sent over to Graham except a few from Alamance who had confessed being Ku Klux. I was carried over to Graham the next day and all the other Caswell boys started to Raleigh next morning.

Late that afternoon Judge James Boyd, United States Judge, came and asked me how I would like to take a walk; that he had permission to take me out provided I would agree to come back. I agreed, so we walked awhile, finally coming to his house. he asked me to have a seat on the porch.

In a few minutes the bell rang for supper. I told him I had plenty to eat at the courthouse, that my friends had sent it to me, Mr. Banks Holt and others, but he insisted on my taking a warm supper and as soon as we finished eating he said to me, "Lea, I was a Ku Klux. I have disgraced myself and my little wife." I asked him how. "I turned State's evidence." Why did you do it? He replied "Moral cowardice."

When Kirk's men hung Murray up by the neck and they let him down he was apparently dead (he lived 20 years after this, but really died from the effects of this injury), they then came to me and put the rope around my neck and I wilted." He and his young wife both cried like a baby and Boyd said, "Lea, I will never expose you. I know you are the county commander in Caswell." I said, "Oh no, there are a great many Leas in Caswell; I am not the one."

Source: John Green Lea 1919/1935 "Confession" to the killing of John Walter Stephens.

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