‘At the hand of persons unknown’ — once again

On this day in 1933: Dock Rogers, a black man accused of shooting and wounding two white people, is lynched in Pender County. The incident began when Rogers supposedly insisted on eating breakfast with a white farm family.

A sheriff’s posse surrounded Rogers’ house, shot inside it for several hours, then set it afire. When Rogers came out, he was struck down in a fusillade. Still alive, he was captured and driven toward the jail in Burgaw. The truck stopped en route, however, and Rogers was dragged into the road and shot 150 times. In Burgaw the posse dragged his lifeless body around the courthouse square before delivering it to an undertaker.

A coroner’s jury rules that Rogers died “at the hand of a person or persons unknown,” a common verdict in Southern lynchings. The inquest was conducted by A.C. Blake, justice of the peace, acting coroner and one of the leaders of the posse.


2 thoughts on “‘At the hand of persons unknown’ — once again”

  1. Dock Rodgers real name was John Anthony Rodgers; he had a
    second wife who lived nearby named Mayfield Rodgerswith a son named Odell (3 years) and daughter, Dollie (5 years) according to 1930 Census. I am his grandaughter 70 years old and have been researching the killing & lynching of Dock Rodgers for years. I figured out who Dock Rodgers really eas after reading book, LYNCHINGS IN NORTH CAROLINA —A History 1865-1941 by Vann R. Newkirk My father never talked about the death of his father & how he was brutally shot & mutilated his body by a posse. A distance relative told me that my grandfather had been lynched. A white man Thomas Piner,who lived nearby Dock Rodgers at the time & his white wife took Docks money & refused to give it back & refused to give him the liquor he bought from Thomas Piner. Dock got mad & demanded his money, according to description of incident in Newkirk’s book

    1. My family is from Burgaw, Wilmington, and surrounding areas. I am in the process of writing a book about these types of things and remembered my grandfather telling me about a lynching that took place in the courthouse square in Burgaw and as well as the massacre in Wilmington (this was before it became well known in thr media). I would like to interview you or highlight your grandfather’s story in my book so that your grandfather is never forgotten. kamargore@yahoo.com is my email

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