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Andrew Johnson escapes a lynching

Tennessee senator Andrew Johnson's denunciation of secession made him rather unpopular in the southern states during the post-Civil War Reconstruction period -- so much so, in fact, that his life was often endangered by unruly mobs. While passing through Virginia on his way home to Greenville, Tennessee, one day, several angry men dragged him from his train and were about to hang him when a quick-thinking gentleman in the crowd intervened. "His neighbors at Greenville have made arrangements to hang their senator on his arrival," the man delared. "Virginians have no right to deprive them of that privilege."

[Johnson was released -- and later became America's 17th president. The aptly-named town in which Johnson narrowly escaped? Lynchburg.]

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