On October 10, 1896, Henry Cyat was lynched by a mob after being seized following a confession coerced from another man, James Anderson, prior to Mr. Anderson being lynched. Mr. Cyat’s and Mr. Anderson’s lynchings followed the death of Randolph Falls, a white farmer from the small town of Toadvine, Alabama. Mr. Anderson and Mr. Cyat were lynched by what were believed to be two different mobs after they were accused of attacking and robbing Mr. Falls, who ultimately succumbed to his wounds. The mob that seized Mr. Cyat said they would take him back to Toadvine; however, they did not make it that far. Instead, they lynched Mr. Cyat. The bodies of Anderson and Cyat were found about a mile apart from each other.
Mr. Falls had given a ride to two black men as he returned from selling cotton in Birmingham on a Wednesday. They were still about 10 miles from Toadvine when it started getting dark, so they stopped near Taylor’s Ferry to sleep for the night. A man passing by saw two men on Mr. Falls’ wagon with him and later, on his way back, the same man saw them asleep next to Mr. Falls. The following morning Mr. Falls was found unconscious, almost dead, his body suffering several axe wounds. Mr. Falls soon succumbed to his wounds.
Quickly following Mr. Falls’ death, a few black men were accused of being connected to the murder, but they were found innocent and let go. On Friday, the police settled on James Anderson, arresting him as one of two possible suspects. Before Mr. Anderson could be brought to jail, a mob lynched him. In a forced confession as he pleaded for his life, Mr. Anderson named Henry Cyat as his partner in this crime, and soon thereafter Mr. Cyat too was captured and lynched.
“The Lynching Bee,” The Montgomery Advertiser, October 13, 1896, page 3.
“Their Bodies Bullet Ridden,” The Times: Philadelphia, October 11, 1896, page 1.
“Two Negroes Shot to Death,” The New York Times, October 11, 1896, page 3.