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George Washington Peck's Journey of Remembrance (with map)

JANUARY 10, 1880

"A Negro's Swift Punishment", Baltimore Sun, January 13, 1880

George W. Peck, a 22-year-old Black man who lived and worked in Beallsville, Maryland, was lynched near this site by a white mob in an act of racial terror. On the morning of January 10, 1880, Mr. Peck was accused of assaulting a white girl on the farm where he worked.

A local constable arrested him and brought him to the Odd Fellows Hall in Poolesville. Throughout the day an angry crowd gathered but eventually dispersed after dark, only to reappear before midnight.

The crowd of somewhere between 35 and 100 persons--some masked, some not--then seized Mr. Peck as he was being moved to another location. Securing a noose around his neck, they dragged Mr. Peck to a vacant lot across from the Poolesville Presbyterian Church. Denied his rights to judge and jury, he was hanged from a locust tree.

The following morning, as parishioners arrived for Sunday services, Mr.

Peck's body was finally cut down and buried unceremoniously in an unmarked grave. A jury of inquest found that Mr. Peck died "at the hands of parties unknown." In an act of solidarity, local Black residents later reinterred his body in the consecrated grounds of a nearby African-American churchyard.

On November 3, 2019, inspired by the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI), the wider community gathered to collect soil from the site of Mr. Peck's lynching as a gesture of racial healing.

On Sunday, October 22, 2023, residents of Montgomery County and friends gathered to rekindle his story in the name of remembrance and reconciliation, dedicating a new historic marker in his name in the center of Poolesville, across from the field where it is believed he was lynched.

To learn more about that day, please view the map, below, which has been created to help us visualize the final journey of Mr. Peck.

Map of the lynching journey of Mr. George W. Peck


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