A project which began in 2009 will culminate Saturday with the dedication of a memorial during a “repast” event at the Robert Caldwell Plaza on the grounds of the Salina City County Building.
A small group gathered Friday evening at the Gypsum Hill Cemetery at a marker for Dana Adams. The marker for Adams was dedicated in 2009. He had never received a proper burial after being hanged during a lynching in Salina in 1893.
The Salina Daily Republican reported Adams was one of four Black men ordered to leave the Union Pacific train depot by a white worker who was cleaning early on the morning of April 20th, 1893. Adams got into a confrontation with the railroad employee and cut him with a razor.
Adams was arrested, plead guilty, and sentenced to serve prison time all on that same day.
The Saline County Sheriff hearing rumors about people wanting to lynch Adams, escorted him to a train headed to Leavenworth. The train sat at the station long enough that someone uncoupled the car that Adams was in, leaving it stationary on the tracks as the train pulled away.
A crowd of people overpowered the sheriff and his deputies and dragged Adams from the train to a telegraph pole near the Union Pacific depot and hanged him to death.
No one was ever arrested for the lynching.
Adams’ father refused to assume responsibility for the burial, saying the white people had killed him, and they should bury him. He also feared mob reprisal.
Adams was buried by the city in an unmarked grave.
At the Union Pacific Depot in Salina a tree that was located near the lynching still stands today. It is known as “the witness tree”.
On Friday the Smoky Hill Museum in Salina put on display a jar that has soil in it taken from the location of the lynching. The museum says “this important jar will be on display for the next week or so in honor of the Dana Adams project 1893.”
In conjunction with other Salina Juneteenth events, the Friday evening cemetery remembrance was the beginning of two days of events to remember Adams. A “repast” event is planned Saturday at Caldwell Plaza, beginning at 1:00 in the afternoon. It includes a meal, and culminates at 3:00 with a speaker and the dedication of the memorial. The public is invited to attend