Tom Weaver was an African American man born in Kentucky in January 1868. He moved around adjacent counties, and according to the 1900 Census, he resided in Herndon, Christian County as a boarder of the Blair family. He was a farm laborer who gathered tobacco and other crops. He did not marry and had no known family members, and thus his more mobile lifestyle was made possible.
The lynching of Tom Weaver may have been connected to the “Tobacco Wars” in Kentucky in the early 1900s. The Tobacco Wars were located in western Kentucky, in a region known as “the Black Patch,” referring to the rich soil that produced tobacco and other crops. Though comprised mostly of skirmishes, the Tobacco Wars were fiercely fought by night riders and terrorized towns in western Kentucky for almost ten years, from 1904 to 1914. For more information on the Tobacco Wars, please click here for the link to “A Brief History of the Tobacco War,” on the Museums of Historic Hopkinsville website.
In 1908, he was working as a packer in a prizing house for a tobacco association in Canton, Trigg County. In the village of Golden Pond on March 24, Weaver was pulled from his bed by a large band of Night Riders. They whipped him, then set him in the road at distance from themselves and demanded that Weaver begin running. When the 40 year old hesitated, they began shooting at him. Weaver was hit in the shoulder and the hip, and left dying on the road, where he was found by neighbors in the morning, still alive and able to tell his story.
Weaver was taken to his father (not mentioned in the Census) in Canton, where he died three weeks later from his wounds. He died on April 9th, 1908.