Maryland’s governor on Saturday posthumously pardoned 34 victims of racial lynching in the state dating between 1854 and 1933, saying they were denied legal due process against the allegations they faced.

It was a first-of-its-kind pardon by a governor of a U.S. state.

Gov. Gary Hogan signed the order at an event honoring Howard Cooper, a 15-year-old who was dragged from a jailhouse and hanged from a tree by a mob of White men in 1885 before his attorneys could file an appeal of a rape conviction that an all-White jury reached within minutes.

“My hope is that this action will at least in some way help to right these horrific wrongs and perhaps bring a measure of peace to the memories of these individuals and to their descendants and their loved ones,” Hogan said.

Hogan and other state officials attended a ceremony in Towson, Maryland, next to the former jailhouse where Cooper was held. A historic marker was unveiled at the site in a partnership with the Baltimore County Coalition of the Maryland Lynching Memorial Project, the Equal Justice Initiative, and Baltimore County.

House Speaker Adrienne Jones, the state’s first Black and first female House speaker, described it as an important day when the governor, Attorney General Brian Frosh, and Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski — all White men — came together to “say that this was wrong … in order to move forward into the next chapter.”

“Memorializing the site where Howard Cooper was lynched gives us the opportunity to courageously confront the injustices of our past,” Jones said.

Earlier this year, the Maryland Lynching Memorial Project and students at Loch Raven Technical Academy petitioned Hogan to issue the pardon for Cooper. After receiving the request, the Republican governor directed his chief legal counsel to review all of the available documentation of racial lynchings in Maryland.

By his authority under Article II, Section 20, of the Constitution of Maryland, and having thought proper the extension of clemency, Governor Hogan has absolved these persons from the guilt of their criminal offenses, and any pains and penalties imposed upon them:

  • David Thomas, who was lynched by a mob in or near Denton on or about October 10, 1854, before he could be transferred to a state penitentiary, a PARDON as to his conviction of manslaughter;
  • “Frederick,” a 13-year-old hung from a tree in or near Cecilton on or about September 1861, a PARDON as to the allegations of attempted rape for which he was arrested;
  • Jim Wilson, who was seized from jail and lynched in or near Oakland, Caroline County, on or about November 4, 1862, a PARDON as to the allegations of alleged murder forwhich he was arrested;
  • Isaac Moore, who, as he was being taken to a hearing before a Bel Air magistrate, was seized by a mob and lynched on or about July 22, 1868, a PARDON as to the allegations of assault, robbery, and attempted rape for which he was arrested;
  • Jim Quinn, who was taken from a train in or near White Hall by 30 men and lynched from a nearby tree on or about October 2, 1869, a PARDON as to the allegations of assault for which he was committed to jail;
  • Thomas Juricks, who, while being transported by constables to Upper Marlboro, was seized in or near Piscataway and lynched on or about October 12, 1869, a PARDON as to the allegations of assault for which he was held in custody;
  • John Jones, who was traveling by carriage, waylaid by a group of men in the woods, and hung in or near Elkton on or about July 29, 1872, a PARDON as to the allegations of arson for which he was arraigned and remanded to jail;
  • John Henry Scott, who was hanged in or near Oxon Hill on or about March 23, 1875,after a deputy gave him to a mob, a PARDON as to the allegations of rape for which he was arraigned and remanded to jail;
  • John Sims, who was seized from jail and lynched in or near Annapolis on or about June 7, 1875, a PARDON as to charges of rape;
  • Mike Green, who was seized from jail by a mob of masked men and hanged outside of Upper Marlboro on or about September 1, 1878, a PARDON as to the allegations of assault for which he was jailed;
  • James Carroll, who was seized aboard a train in Point of Rocks and lynched by a mob from a tree next to the station on or about April 17, 1879, a PARDON as to the allegations of assault and rape for which he was arrested;
  • George Peck, who, as a justice took him to Rockville for trial, was seized in or nearPoolesville and lynched on or about January 10, 1880, a PARDON as to the allegationsof assault for which he was arrested;
  • John Diggs-Dorsey, who was still wearing his leg irons when he was dragged from his Rockville jail cell and lynched outside of Darnestown by a mob that had overpowered the sheriff and sheriff’s deputies on or about July 27, 1880, a PARDON as to the allegations of attempted assault for which he was held in jail;
  • George Briscoe, who was intercepted on his way to an Annapolis jail and lynched in Jacobsville on or about November 26, 1884, a PARDON as to the allegations of robbery for which he was arraigned;
  • Townsend Cook, who, after the sheriff was overpowered, was seized from jail and lynched in or near Westminster on or about June 2, 1885, a PARDON as to the allegations of assault and rape for which he was arrested;
  • Howard Cooper, who, while his case was on appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, was seized from jail and lynched in or near Towson on or about July 13, 1885, a PARDON as to his convictions for assault and rape;
  • Charles Whitely, who was seized from jail and lynched in or near Prince Frederick on or about June 6, 1886, a PARDON as to the allegations of attempted assault for which he was arraigned;
  • Benjamin Hance, who was seized from jail and lynched in or near Leonardtown on or about June 17, 1887, a PARDON as to charges of attempted assault;
  • John Biggus, who was seized from jail by a large mob and lynched on a farm in or near Frederick on or about November 23, 1887, a PARDON as to the allegations of assault for which he was arrested;
  • Asbury Green, who, after a mob overpowered jail guards, was dragged from his cell and lynched in or near Centreville on or about May 13, 1891, a PARDON as to his convictions for assault and rape;
  • James Taylor, who, after a mob stormed a Chestertown jail, was taken away and lynched on or about May 17, 1892, a PARDON as to the allegations of rape for which he was jailed;
  • Isaac Kemp, who, after a mob stormed a Princess Anne jail, was shot dead while still chained in his cell on or about June 8, 1894, a PARDON as to charges of murder;
  • Stephen Williams, who was seized after a one-hour effort to break into the jail and hung from an iron bridge in or near Upper Marlboro on or about October 20, 1894, a PARDON as to charges of attempted assault;
  • Jacob Henson, who, while planning an appeal, was seized from jail by a mob and hanged in or near Ellicott City on or about March 28, 1895, a PARDON as to his conviction for murder;
  • James Bowens, who, on or about November 16, 1895, while awaiting a preliminary hearing before the county magistrate, was forcibly taken from jail and hanged at the same farm in or near Frederick where John Biggus had been lynched in 1887, a PARDON as to the allegations of attempted rape and murder for which he was arrested;
  • Sidney Randolph, who was dragged from jail and hanged in or near Rockville on or about July 3, 1896, a PARDON as to the allegations of assault and murder for which he was jailed;
  • William Andrews, who, immediately after his trial, was taken and lynched in or near Princess Anne by a mob waiting outside the courthouse on or about June 9, 1897, a PARDON as to his conviction for assault;
  • Garfield King, who was seized from jail by a mob, then hanged and shot in or near Salisbury on or about May 25, 1898, a PARDON as to charges of murder;
  • Wright Smith, who fled jail as a mob broke in but, while running away, was shot repeatedly in the street in or near Annapolis on or about October 5, 1898, a PARDON as to the allegations of assault for which he was arrested;
  • Lewis Harris, who was seized from jail by a mob, hanged, and shot in or near Bel Air on or about March 27, 1900, a PARDON as to the allegations of assault for which he was arrested;
  • Henry Davis, who, after a mob overpowered the jail guards, was paraded through the streets, shot, and then hanged in or near Annapolis on or about December 21, 1906, a PARDON as to charges of assault;
  • William Burns, who was seized from jail, beaten, shot, and hanged in or near Cumberland on or about October 6, 1907, a PARDON as to the allegations of murder for which he was jailed;
  • King Johnson, who, after being left unguarded in jail, was seized by eight men, beaten, and fatally shot in or near Brooklyn on or about December 23, 1911, a PARDON as to the allegations of shooting a man to death for which he was arrested; and
  • George Armwood, who was seized from jail before his arraignment and lynched in or near Princess Anne on or about October 18, 1933, a PARDON as to charges of assault.