It makes "hardly a ripple" on the townspeople as a group. In fact, in chapter 25, Scout tells us that it took just about two days for the news to be spread throughout the town, and for Tom Robinson to be forgotten forever. Individual white folks like Miss Maudie, Mr.Underwood and Bob Ewell are deeply stirred in different ways by his death.
Bob Ewell makes a threat as if Tom's death was intentional and he has further intentions to see to others deaths.
Miss Maudie uses it as a lesson to compliment Atticus' teachings to his children.
Mr. Underwood's is probably the most dramatic response. He writes an article likening Tom's death to the innocent killing of songbirds. Who knows how many adults were affected by his article and left their reactions unspoken. These might be some of the defining moments of our history: when individuals read and think.
In the book "To Kill a Mockingbird" the majority of the white people were relieved when Tom Robinson was found guilty of raping and beating Miss Ewell, a white girl. Even though Atticus has made it very clear during the cross examination that Tom was innocent, he had been found guilty because of the closed mindedness of the jury and town.
When Tom was found guilty the white people felt that he had gotten what he deserved. Tom knew the outcome of what his sentencing would be so he tried to escape. His escape was actually a suicide attempt as he had done it in front of the guards. He was killed during his escape attempt. The majority of the white people felt that he had received what he had deserved.
Atticus states the probable response of the white people to the children.
""What was one Negro, more or less, among two hundred of e'm."(269)