First memorial to lynching victim unveiled in Loudoun County

LEESBURG, Va. (FOX 5 DC) -- In 1889, Orion Anderson's story was: "They hanged him," but on Wednesday, the community remembered him.

Anderson, who allegedly put a sack on his head and scared a white girl, was jailed but never given the opportunity to go to trial.

A mob of adults broke the 14-year-old out of jail, hanged and shot him at the nearby train depot.

On Wednesday, descendants of Anderson's brother were presented with the permanent marker that documents the spot where Anderson was killed. It tells the story of his life, as well.

"History has written Orion Anderson out, but the community has come together to tell his story," said Michelle Thomas of the Loudoun County chapter of the NAACP. Thomas' research determined that Anderson was 14 when he was killed, despite news reports at the time of his death suggesting he was as old as 20.

Anderson's relatives, who still live in Northern Virginia, say they just found out about his story last week.

"This is our legacy. This is our history so yes it's a big shock you know to have all this happen to have him recognized," said Michelle Lane, Anderson's relative.

"He just would have been somebody that was lynched, but now this right here, everybody knows who he was," said James Howard, another relative.

The marker to Anderson is the first of three that will be put up to the three victims of documented lynchings in the county.