Ben Patterson, a thirty-year old black man from Memphis led a cotton strike of twenty-five men, probably influenced by the call for strike by the Colored Farmer's Alliance. On September 25 a fight broke out between Patterson's men and workers on a plantation that refused to join the strike. Two pickers were killed. In the last week of September, local planters crushed the strike, killing fifteen of the strikers. Nine others were captured as they attempted to make their way along the Mississippi River to Memphis and were under the custody of two deputy sheriffs when they were overtaken and lynched. According to the Nashville paper, the masked party [that overtook the deputies and prisoners] were determined. . . as they outnumbered the deputies twenty-five to one, and took charge of the nine prisoners, marched them into a thicket and hung them until they were dead.'