Chisley Park is a tiny park located in the center of Downtown Pensacola across the street from the Pensacola Historical Society building. It was once a site of prostitutes hawking their wares to rich businessmen and sailors on leave, but today is a place for one to cool the barking dogs after a day of walking, sightseeing, and shopping in Downtown Pensacola. As Jim our guide was speaking, I was taking pictures of our surroundings, and when I turned my back to the group to try to get a shot of one of the old 5-story buildings, Jim goosed me in the back with his cane. Of course, I squealed and the picture was off focus. After that, I didn't turn my back on our guide. It was the first time I have ever been goosed by a tour guide!
Around the time of World War I, Pensacola was a port of call for many sailors for sailors and soldiers getting ready to go to war or were on leave. Being the South, it was also a hotbed of racism and segregation and vigilante justice was common for crimes against the hard-working populace.
Around 1918, a woman who lived near Bayou Texar around 9th Street was doing her housework when a homeless African-American man came to her door for food. He waited for the woman to open her door and then proceeded to attack her with a knife stabbing her many times. The woman managed to survive the attack long enough to crawl all the way to the railroad tracks where someone found her crying for help. She died enroute to the hospital, and the man who stabbed her was immediately arrested and taken to the Pensacola Jail.
A white woman being stabbed to death by a black man enraged many Pensacolans, and many residents wanted this man dead before he could go on trial. The Pensacola Police sensed this tension and immediately doubled the guards and policemen at the station while this man was in custody there. They wanted him to have a fair trial and then be executed, but a small group of vigilantes had other ideas.
One night the mob assembled in front of the Pensacola Jail screaming for the killer's head and tried to barge in the front door but were held back by the police, but the police didn't know that some other vigilantes had broken into the back of the jail and gotten to the killer's cell killing a couple of policemen in the processs. They dragged the killer from his cell and dragged him outside and across the street to Chisley Park where they had set up a gallows at one of the trees that lined the park. The killer was strung up and used as a living pinata as he slowly strangled to death with the noose around his neck. When the killer was autopsied after the lynching, over 500 stab wounds were found on his body.
Today, a statue and obelisk of Andrew Jackson sits in Chisley Park along with many benches. It has been said that the ghost of the killer wanders around the park.