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Urbana, Ohio is the county seat of Champaign County and has been since the county's creation in 1805. William Ward, who founded the town, named it after the word urbanity, which means courteousness and refinement of manner, with a secondary definition of urban life. In the summer of 1897, the residents of Urbana formed a lynch mob and broke into the town jail, removing Charles Mitchell, a black man accused of killing a white man. The crowd had been forming for a couple of days in front of the jail. The state militia, summoned by the Sheriff, arrived and were in the courthouse when someone in the mob fired into the jail. The militia returned fire, killing one of the men in the mob and wounding a few others. When the crowd breeched the jail at about 2:30 in the morning, the militia and the sheriff retreated to an upper floor. The mob hanged Mitchell in the courtyard of the courthouse.

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