‘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.