John Rex Scott was born in about 1913 to John and Lydia Scott. At the time of the 1913 census Rex Scott was unemployed but his father worked at mine in Hazard KY. Rex attended school and is able to read and write according to the census. As of 1930, Scott still lived with his parents in Hazard.

On Jan 24, 1934 Scott allegedly hit Alex Johnson over the head with a pipe, sending Johnson into a coma who died the same night the Scott was lynched. According to some newspapers, within the hour of Scott. Arrested the same day Scott was taken to Perry County jail were he was held until a masked mob of up to 100 stormed the jail and forced the Jailer Troy P. Combs to turn over the key to Scott’s cell. Due to Kentucky’s lynching laws Combs was fired pending investigation. The mob (or neck-tie party as the UP called it) took Scott over to the adjacent Knott county via motorcade. The Sheriff of Perry County, Filmore McIntosh, organized a counter-posse in order to attempt to prevent the lynching but they were too slow. Once the mob arrived at the graveyard in Sassafras, Knott County, they attached the rope to his neck before they made him pray the Lord’s prayer. According to La Nacion, the “priest” there did not find Scott’s prayer acceptable and led him in reciting it to an acceptable standard. After this Scott was hung and riddled with as many as 40 bullets. The mob scattered as McIntosh arrived, and he cut down Scott’s body. 

After the lynching of Rex Scott, the first of 1934, the black miners of the town threatened to burn down Hazard, but 100 white men were sworn in as deputies to protect Hazard. Only 7 of the 100 there were indicted after pressure was put on Governor Lafoon to enforce the state’s anti-lyching law. Of those seven, the first one to try is immediately acquitted by the jury of his peers. An editorial from Knoxville claims that Rex Scott was a pardoned criminal and that less pardons would lead to less lynchings but no other source substantiates that claim. In an end of year round up by the Kentucky advocate shows that two of the men involved in the lynching were executed along with commiting other crimes.

Location of the Lynching