The Lynching of Isaac Moore

On July 22, 1868, a black man by the name of Isaac Moore and an accomplice Ben Preston were accused of robbing and assaulting a woman crossing Bynum’s Run Bridge on Church Hill Road in Harford County, Maryland. Not much can be recollected about Moores personal details. It is reported that Moore and Preston waited for the woman at the bridge, drug her a good distance away to some shrubs and proceeded to rob her for $24 in cash she had on her. It is alleged that the two men also attempted to assault her, but her screams frightened them away. This woman happened to be the daughter of William Oldfield, a man with great respect in Harford County so once the news broke out that Miss Oldfield had been robbed, the town was in an uproar.

The clocks seemed to stop in Bel Air that morning; work was halted as blacksmiths, carpenters and storekeepers began a search for the two men. Moore was later arrested and held at the local jail when he confessed that the assault was premeditated. He had planned for some time to rob someone, but Miss O frequently had company alongside her up until the morning of the assault. Moore had a history of similar assaults, one of which occurred in March of 1861 when he was convicted of rape. He was then old out of state for a length of 10 years but had permission to come back during the war. In 1866, Moore again appeared in court for assault allegations but faced no consequences as the victim fled state rather than appear in court. It is alleged that Moore attacked a group of women in a carriage, and drug one of the women into the woods to assault her. Moore had not only a history of attacking white women but black women as well, leading the town to unite against him. The Bel Air neighborhood deemed Moore a “terror”. The afternoon Moore assaulted Miss O, he was being taken before a magistrate when an angry mob carried him away and lynched him naked at the scene of the assault. Preston was taken to jail and avoided a lynching though they drove him past Moore’s hanging body. Over 150 years after the death of Moore, Maryland’s governor Larry Hogan issued Moore a posthumous pardon for his lynching.