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Article Archives: Articles: Executions and Executioners
Gazette & Courier - Monday, September 6, 1875
6 executions at once
6 executions at once - 6 murderers, all young in years but old in crime, were hung on one gallows at Fort Smith, Arkansas Fri. These are their names: James H. Moore, Daniel H. Evans, John Whittington, white; Edward Campbell, colored; Samuel W. Favey, one quarter Cherokee, and Smoker Moonkiller, full blood Cherokee. Eight were originally sentenced, but one was killed while trying to escape, and the sentence of another was commuted to imprisonment for life.
Gazette & Courier - Monday, August 16, 1875
Black King of Niam Niam
In an account of his adventures in the Upper Nile, Col. Long of the Egyptian Army, says that the black king of Niam Niam decapitated 30 of his subjects in honor of the visitor, who also accepted a girl as a royal gift. Through an interpreter she said "I want very much to go with you, but it must be on condition that you will not eat me". The colonel said he wouldn’t eat her on any consideration.
[This little gem appears to be taken from a book entitled "Centennial skyrockets: a series of flights, fancies and facts" by Rev. Titus Joslin. Wikipedia has an explanatory page about the Azande: "This name is probably of Dinka origin, and means great eaters in that language (as well as being an onomatopoeia), supposedly referring to cannibalistic propensities. This name for the Azande was in use by other tribes in Sudan, and later adopted by westerners. Naturally, today the name Niam-Niam is considered pejorative"].
Gazette & Courier - Monday, August 16, 1875
Deacon Peck has quite a no. of city boarders from all parts of the country, which seems to suit first rate, and make things quite lively in the northeast part of the town, while the southeast is kept lively by the railroad excitement. The men who worked for Ward & Hagan have been greatly excited about their pay, and threatened to stop all the work upon the road and blow up the stone work if they were not paid immediately.
Mon. morning Mr. Hill, the State Overseer, was hung in effigy with a coffin nearby, surmounted by a red flag which caused much excitement, but it seems more quiet of late. Many of the men declare they will not work until they are paid up in full. It seems too bad that the honest farmers should lose their bills for board.
Gazette & Courier - Monday, August 9, 1875
A mystery cleared up
Discovery of the mutilated remains of a missing man - The people of the quiet farming village of Petersham were greatly excited Sat., by the discovery that a most horrible murder had been committed in their midst by a farmer named Frost, a recent settler in the neighborhood, the victim being his own brother-in-law, named Frank Towne. The particulars of the bloody affair are as follows:
About 3 years ago the man Frost settled on a farm in the south part of the village, his family consisting of himself, wife, 4 children and the above named Towne, who was employed as hired man. This Towne, after laboring about a year, went off, it being generally understood that he had been unable to collect of Frost the amount of $300 due him for work. Last spring Towne reappeared, and made arrangements with Frost to hire the farm and work it himself. He restocked it, adding considerably to its value. Under the new arrangement matters went on until the 4th of July last, upon which morning both men went to the barn to milk the cows.
Returning alone shortly thereafter, Frost said Towne had gone on the hill to salt the cattle. As days passed and Towne did not appear the surprise of the neighbors was aroused, but Frost allayed temporarily all suspicion by saying that Towne had gone to Worcester where he, Frost, was to meet him to settle with him. Several incidents, however, together with Towne’s non-appearance, and the bad terms which were known to exist between the two men, led to suspicion and finally to quiet examinations and inquiries.
Frost in the meantime conducted himself in a rather strange manner not calculated to allay the suspicion of his neighbors. He was often mysteriously employed at the barn nights, never giving satisfactory accounts of the nature of his work there. This state of affairs continued up to last Friday when Frost was seen mysteriously engaged in digging a cornfield. A colored man seeing him thus at work went up to the place the next night, Sat., and found a fresh mound of earth and a piece of sack sticking out of it. Remembering the reports concerning Frost, and suspecting at once he had clue to the mystery, he gave alarm and in a short time 30 or 40 neighbors were assembled in the cornfield.
Examination was made, the sack dragged out and in it was discovered the ghastly, worm-eaten remains of a human body, or part of it, consisting of the trunk and upper part of the legs. The horrified searchers made further examination and found, several feet distant, the head of the unfortunate man, badly worm-eaten, and having behind one ear the marks of a terrible wound. The mystery was unraveled. The remains were at once identified as those of Frank Towne, and no doubt existed in any mind as to the identity of the murderer.
Sheriff Bothwell [most probably Sylvander Bothwell] of Barre was notified. On his arrival search was at once began for Frost who had disappeared. His wife was, or pretended to be, ignorant of his whereabouts, but after diligent search the murderer was discovered early Sun. morning, concealed in rubbish in the garret of his house. He took his arrest coolly, refusing to give any account of himself, and insisting that Towne had gone from Worcester to Washington. He was taken to Barre and safely confined.
Putting circumstances together the evidence seems clear that the fateful deed was committed on that July morning in the barn, when a quarrel is supposed to have taken place between the two, Frost finally knocking down Towne with a single blow from a sledge hammer, the wound at the back of the head showing it came from such an instrument. Frost’s frequent night labors in the barn is now accounted for by the supposition that he was then engaged in cutting up and burying his victim.
Becoming alarmed at the suspicion of the neighbors he is supposed to have removed part of the body to the cornfield. He refuses to tell where the rest of the body is concealed. In the cellar of the house a pocket book belonging to Towne was found, and within it a note against Frost for the amount of $300. Closer examination in the barn disclosed clots of dried blood, tufts of hair, and other unmistakable evidences that the dread crime had been committed there. (Athol Transcript).
[Whew! This one was tough to identify. But I finally found an article about it in the Aug. 6, 1875 New York Times online index, under the title "Shocking murder at Petersham Mass." The murdered man is named Frederick P. Towne, and the murderer S.J. Frost or Samuel J. Frost. Frost was the last man executed in Worcester in May of 1876].
Gazette & Courier - Monday, July 26, 1875
News of the week
Lewis Thomson, [also seen as Lewis Thompson], colored, who brutally outraged a young lady at Iuka, Miss. last May, and was sentenced last Mon. to imprisonment for life, was taken from jail Tues. night by disguised men and hanged.
Gazette & Courier - Monday, July 12, 1875
News of the week
No less than 27 murders which occurred in the Indian territory have just been disposed of by the United States circuit court at Fort Smith, Arkansas. Out of this no. 8 were convicted of murder in the first degree, 7 of whom, including two boys, one aged 17 and one 19, will be hanged together on the 3rd of Sept. next. The eighth, a negro, was killed after his conviction, while attempting to escape from the guard. Much outrage prevails in the Indian territory; no less than 10 men have been killed in the vicinity of Fort Smith http://www.legendsof.../AR-IsaacParker.html within a few months.
Tues. night Philip Parr, a German farmer living 7 miles from St. Louis, was murdered, and his wife, who was about to become a mother, brutally ravished by an unknown negro. Intense excitement prevails in the neighborhood, and 20 mounted horsemen have been scouring the woods and fields all day, but at last accounts had found no trace of the murderer. [Read about the execution of the killer, Henry Brown, in the article "Execution at St. Louis" in the New York Times Oct. 23, 1875 edition].
Gazette & Courier - Monday, March 29, 1875
The hanging of the bandit Vasquez
The hanging of the bandit Vasquez [Tiburcio Vasquez] the other day in California, closed a career that in the romance of crimes deserves to be ranked with the stories of Robin Hood, Dick Turpin, Claude Duval and Fra Diavolo. Vasquez had a spice of all these romantic villains in his composition. He joined the delicacy of a woman with the ferocity of a wolf and the courage of a panther. He had the manners of a Spanish don and the morals of a savage.
/ He had committed 37 murders, stolen some thousands of horses, and abducted a dozen or more women, who for the most part were willing to go.
/ He was a California Don Juan. The frontiersmen knew now whether to fear their lives, their herds, or their wives and daughters. Murders, horse thieving and love episodes alternated in the career of the bandit. He has been the leader of several bands of which he has finally remained the sole survivor. A thousand hair breadth escapes seemed to prove that he possessed a charmed life. His first murder was committed at 10, on account of a woman, and he was finally trapped through a fondness for their company. His life of crime lasted for 29 years, though he was but 36 at his execution. His name will be a household word in California for a generation.
Gazette & Courier - Monday, March 22, 1875
News about home (Greenfield)
Washington Hall was not too capacious for the throng of people who attended the mock trial of the Greenfield Lyceum Fri. eve., for every desirable seat in the body of the house was occupied. The witnesses for the prosecution having been examined at the previous session of the court, the defense was opened by Attorney Cooley, and a number of witnesses were put upon the stand, including the prisoners who testified on their own behalf.
/ The plea for the defendants was made by W. Johnson and the summing up for the prosecution was by B.S. Parker. The pathetic eloquence of the counsel, who set forth the points of the case in the brightest color, caused visible emotion among the jurors and the audience.
/ Chief Justice Lee's charge to the jury gave a plain outline of their duty. He cautioned them not to let any tender sympathy or pity for the prisoners, bias or warp their convictions of justice. The jury retired under the charge of Sheriff Owen; they returned once for instruction on a doubtful point, but soon found a verdict of guilty. The prisoners stood up and received their sentence. The penalty for their misconduct was to pay for a supper to be partaken of by the officers of the court at Richardson's, and failure to comply they were to be burned at a stake before the monument on the Common. Thus ended the trial which had furnished some decidedly rich developments, and was attended with only less interest than the case of Tilton vs. Beecher. The programme of the next meeting to be held at Grand Army Hall next Fri. eve. will include a criticism of the trial by Newell snow, and the discussion of the question, "Resolved: that poverty develops character better than wealth", with P. Field to open the affirmative, and W.D. Chandler the negative.
Gazette & Courier - Monday, February 8, 1875
Singular circumstance - In 1747, a man was http://wesley.nnu.ed...701-0800/HDM0712.PDF broken alive on the wheel at Orleans for a highway robbery; and not having friends to bury his body, when the executioner concluded he was dead, he was given to a surgeon, who had him carried to his anatomical theater as a subject to lecture on. The thighs, legs and arms of this unhappy wretch had been broken, yet, on the surgeons coming to examine him he found him reviving, and by the application of proper cordials he was soon brought to his speech. The surgeon and his pupils, moved by the sufferings and solicitations of the robber, determined on attempting the cure; but he was so mangled that his two thighs and one of his arms were amputated. Notwithstanding this mutilation and the loss of blood, he recovered, and in this situation the surgeon by his own desire, had him conveyed in a cart 50 leagues from Orleans, where as he said, he intended to gain his living by begging. His situation was on the road side, close by a wood, and his deplorable condition excited compassion from all who saw him. In his youth he had served in the army, and he now passed for a soldier who had lost his limbs by a cannon shot. A drover returning from market, where he had been selling cattle, was solicited by the robber for charity; and being moved by compassion, threw him a piece of silver. "Alas!" said the robber, "I cannot reach it; you see I have neither arms or legs", for he had concealed his arm, which had been preserved behind his back, "so for the sake of heaven put your charitable donation into my pouch". The drover approached him, and as he stooped to reach up the money, the sun shining, he saw a shadow on the ground which caused him to look up, when he perceived the arm of the beggar elevated over his head and his hand grasping a short iron bar. He arrested the blow in its descent and seizing the robber, carried him to his cart, into which having thrown him, he drove off to the next town, which was very near, and brought his prisoner before a magistrate. On searching him a whistle was found in his pocket which naturally induced a suspicion that he had accomplices in the wood; the magistrate therefore instantly ordered a guard to the place where the robber had been seized, and they arrived within half an hour after the murder of the drover had been attempted. The guard having concealed themselves behind different trees, the whistle was blown, the sound of which was remarkably shrill and loud, and another whistle was heard from under ground, 3 men at the same instant rising from the midst of a bushy clump of brambles and other dwarf shrubs. The soldiers fired on them and they fell. The bushes were searched and a descent discovered into a cave. Here were found 3 young girls and a boy. the girls were kept for the office of servants and the purpose of lust; the boy, scarcely 12 years of age, was son to one of the robbers. The girls in giving evidence deposed that they had lived 3 years in the cave, that they had been kept there by force from the time of their captivity; that dead bodies were frequently carried into the cave, stripped and buried; and that the old soldier was carried out every dry day and set by the road side for 2 or 3 hours. On this evidence the murdering mendicant was condemned to suffer a second execution on the wheel. As but one arm remained, it was to be broken by several strokes in several places, and a coup de grace being denied, he lived in torture for near 5 days. When dead his body was burnt to ashes and strewed before the winds of heaven.
Gazette & Courier - Monday, February 1, 1875
Cannibalism at sea
Cannibalism at sea - The http://research.yale...iewdetail.jsp?id=768 Friend of India has received intelligence from Batavia [now Jakarta] regarding the sufferings of some of the survivors from the British ship http://www.clydesite...iewship.asp?id=15137 Euxine [which is the Greek name for the Black Sea], bound from http://portal.pohub....cument.pdf?p_id=1201 Shields to Aden , which caught fire and was abandoned in the South Atlantic. Two boats, containing the captain [ http://www.reach.net/~sc001198/ShipsE1.htm T. Cockburn ] and a member of the crew, reached St. Helena, but a third boat, containing the second mate and several men, remained for 3 weeks in the open sea, being ultimately sighted by a Dutch ship, but not before one of the sailors had been sacrificed to provide his suffering companions with food. "On the 12th of June last, the iron ship Euxine sailed from Shields with a cargo of coal and a crew of 32 men and excellent provisions. Everything went well till the 3rd of August, on which date a storm tossed the vessel about so violently that her cargo was shifted to the starboard side; one man was washed overboard, and considerable damage done to the sails and rigging. All endeavors to right her were fruitless, and after large quantities of the coal had been thrown overboard traces of fire were discovered. Although every hatch and opening was closed as tightly as possible, the flames made such headway that on the 8th the same month the Captain decided on abandoning his ship, whose living freight left in 3 boats; the Captain and 13 men in the long boat, the first mate and 8 others in the second, and the second mate and 7 seamen in the third. It was known that St. Helena was 850 miles distant, and it was determined to make for the island. During the first night the boat commanded by the Second Mate lost sight of the others, and at dawn was alone upon the wide ocean. The little vessel was upon the life boat principle, about 30 ft. long, her sides being protected with a bulwark of sailcloth. She had 10 airtight cases, two masts, besides a foreboom, and carried a set of sails and necesary cordage. The provisions comprised 2 cases of biscuits, a ham, a cheese, 12 tins of meat and two small casks of drinking water. By the 9th day the Mate came to the conclusion that he had beens steering too far to the westward, but as the wind and sea did not admit of any change being made, it was decided to go on as heretofore, in the hope of meeting with a vessel, or reaching the coast of South America. The rations were diminished to half a biscuit and a glass of water once a day, and thus the 24th of August approached with no sign of rescue or land. On this date a stiff breeze sprang up as darkness drew on, and at midnight, while a man named De Jager was at the helm and the rest were asleep, the boat capsized, and its occupants suddenly found themselves struggling for their lives. How the accident occurred is not known, but it is surmised that De Jager placed his charge against the wind, as it is certain that he already threatened to "knock a hole in the raft to put an end to the misery of all". Anyway, he "put an end" to himself and another named Reynolds, both sinking, notwithstanding help rendered them by their more fortunate comrades, who had found safety on the upturned keel. In the morning the boat was righted, but all the food was gone. In order to prevent capsizing in future the masts were cut down and only a small sail set, so that the boat might be steered right before the wind. Hunger and thirst characterized the day - a Sunday - and 24 hours later it was agreed that lots should be cast to see which of the number should be sacrificed for the benefit of the remainder. Early on the same day one Muller, after drinking large quantities of salt water, declared that he offered his body as food for the others, and entreated them to kill him. After a time - we quote from the affidavit of James Archer, Second Mate - Manus Schutt proposed that they should cast lots who should fall as a sacrifice for keeping the others alive. To this all consented. Having no other means to make a lottery we hit upon using small sticks of different sizes, deciding that the one who drew the smallest should be the victim. After having made the sticks ready, I held them in my hand while the others drew. On comparing them together, I found that the Italian, Francis Shufus, held the smallest stick. Having also agreed that the lottery should be thrice repeated and that when it should prove that either two or three of us had drawn the shortest stick, these should cast lots among themselves so that the victim should be singled out, we found that the same man had for a second time picked out the same object. Francis Shufus, when his turn came for the third drawing, hesitated to join, and would not draw, upon which the man Sandstrom proposed he would do it for him. This he did, and the shortest stick was found in Sandstrom's hand. Shufus bore it with great calmness, and showed the utmost resignation. He was left alone for some two hours, while we now and then eagerly looked round the horizon to see whether a sail could be perceived, or any help would come; we stood upon the thwarts. Shufus prepared himself to meet his fate by praying and speaking in Italian. He gave us no parting message to be sent to his friends, most probably as he hardly knew English than to say yes or no. His bearing was that of a man whose mind was made up. Since we were past help and feeling that our hunger and thirst had grown beyond further endurance, we saw ourselves driven to sacrifice Shufus. He laid himself down, but before that August Muller had told him that he would take his place and die for him. This Shufus refused, and laying himself down in the bottom of the boat gave hinself up to be tied; then one man held an empty tin, so as to catch in it the blood. Muller on saying that now someone must die for the others, passed the knife round the man's throat. He did not struggle or scream. The blood was drunk by us all. Muller then cut out his liver and heart. These were cut into small pieces, and we ate them mixed with the blood and salt water. At the last moments of Shufus I was at the helm. The head and feet were thrown away; the trunk and limbs were put into one of the airtight tins of our boat which we had opened. We continued on our way. It might have been 2 o'clock in the afternoon when the man Shufus died. Some 3 hours after a ship was seen which, perceiving the boat, made for us. This vessel turned out to be the Java Packet, bound for Amsterdam, and her commander, Captain Trappen, did all in his power to relieve the misery of the 5 unfortunate waifs - James Archer, August Muller, Victor Sandstrom, Manus Schutt, and Alexander Vermenden, who had been 23 days at sea in an open boat and sailed fully 2000 miles.
Gazette & Courier - Monday, January 25, 1875
(Erving) Our last Lyceum settled the following resolution in the negative: "Women have more influence over Man than Money has". Both sides were well supported. Dr. Litch, on the negative, worked sple
(Erving) Our last Lyceum settled the following resolution in the negative: "Women have more influence over Man than Money has". Both sides were well supported. Dr. Litch, on the negative, worked splendidly. Subject at next meeting: Resolved, that capital punishment should be abolished". Elder D.J. Weaver was appointed to open in the affirmative, but being contrary to his views, Rev. Mr. Stowell, on the negative, can have him in full power.
Gazette & Courier - Monday, January 25, 1875
(Greenfield) We understand that there is a movement set on foot by a gentleman recently prominent in our local politics, for a new deal at our annual March meeting. There are a number of heads which
(Greenfield) We understand that there is a movement set on foot by a gentleman recently prominent in our local politics, for a new deal at our annual March meeting. There are a number of heads which he has decided must come off.
Gazette & Courier - Monday, January 25, 1875
G.W. Ellery was arrested for rape on a girl aged 9 years old near Urbana O. on Thursday the 12th, was hanged Sun. morning the 17th, by a mob of 4
G.W. Ellery was arrested for rape on a girl aged 9 years old near http://carmazzis.tripod.com/history.htm Urbana O. on Thursday the 12th, was hanged Sun. morning the 17th, by a mob of 40 men who went to the jail, captured and bound the guards, battered down the doors, took out the prisoner, and after giving him a chance to pray, hanged him to a tree...A large crowd gathered...hung for an hour before removed by the coroner.
Col. Olcott thus relates his first connection with the affair: In 1859 I was one of the two agricultural editors of the New York Tribune, having as little to do with politics as any man in the city; and perhaps as unlikely as any to see or care to see the execution, the preparations for which agitated the whole American people. Although connected with the leading abolitionist journal, I was scarcely an abolitionist, but rather what might be called a congenital Whig. That is to say I came of a Whig ancestry, and caring far less for politics than scientific agriculture, I was content to let others fight their fill of the slavery question, while I attended to the specialty whose development was my chief care.
But events at last happened which aroused all my interest in the topic of the hour. The people of Virginia, led away by a blind fanaticism, and by blind fanatics like Wise, declared war upon the New York Tribune as the representative of the principles John Brown held most dear. One after another, 3 gentlemen were driven out of Charlestown and Harper’s Ferry on suspicion that they were the correspondents who supplied that journal with its vivid accounts of the local occurrences, and when in spite of all this the letters still continued to appear, they gave out that they would hang the mysterious unknown to the nearest tree on sight.
Then the liberty of the press was for the first time practically destroyed in this country, and mob rule asserted itself. Our correspondent, who had sent his letters under the guise of money packages by express, at last found things so hot that he was forced to leave the neighborhood of Charleston, and from Baltimore sent such reports as he could gather upon the arrival of the train. The fatal 2nd of December was fast approaching, and it seemed as if the paper would be forced to let the day pass without having a correspondent on the ground to tell http://www.answers.com/topic/john-brown John Brown ’s friends how he met his doom. Distressed to see the perplexity of my dear friend Horace Greeley, I went to the managing editor and volunteered to undertake the job if he would allow me to do it in my own way. With some remonstrance about the risks I would run, he at last consented and gave me carte blanche to go and come and do as I chose.
After considering many expedients, I finally concluded to go to Petersburg and make that my base of operations. So taking passage by steamer I found myself, late one night, safely landed in the house of a dear old friend in that ancient city. He was a fire eater of fire eaters, an uncompromising, rank, out and out secessionist, in whose mind Divine right and State rights were convertible terms, and who, as I soon found, hated http://www3.iath.virginia.edu/jbrown/master.html John Brown with the perfect hatred that the devil is said to bear to holy water. Tired and sleepy as I was, he would not let me go to bed until he had cursed the hoary old abolitionist from crown to sole, heaping a separate and distinct malediction upon each particular hair of his head and each drop of blood in his veins.
He talked so fast and swore so hard as to leave him little time before day light to ascertain my own sentiments, although, for the matter of that, I was quite ready to express my honest conviction that http://www.zinkle.co...13255285/pg_2?pi=znk John Brown ’s raid was an inexcusable invasion of a sovereign State. I was Whig enough then to be quite willing to have virginia hang him if she chose, and those at the north who thought otherwise were in a decided minority. See how we trimmed and shuffled and paltered with the south until the first cannonball smashed against the walls of Sumter, and so smashed through our http://www.everything2.com/index.pl?node=Txikwa doughface-ism upon this patriot adamant beneath. - Col. Olcott joins the Virginia soldiers - At this night session with my fire eating friend, I learned that some recruits for the company of http://mikelynaugh.c...th/page/image11.html Petersburg Grays , then doing duty at Charleston, were to go forward the next day, and expressing my desire to assist at the hanging of the great agitator, I received permission to join the party.
Behold, then the agricultural editor of the Tribune transformed into a Virginia militia man, his editorial plowshare, so to speak, turned into a sword, and his pruning hook into a spear. And just here, for fear of being misunderstood, let me say that in joining the Virginia soldiers I meant to do my duty, to fight if there should be occasion to fight, and not turn my back upon my new colleagues. I can’t say that I thought there would be any opportunity for us to display our valor, for, in common with all New York, I discredited the absurd idea that any organized body of Pennsylvanians would attempt John Brown’s rescue. Nevertheless, I took service in good faith and all the chances with it.
This matter being satisfactorily settled, my friend at last showed me to my room, and I slept the sleep fo the weary. - The colonel narrates two narrow escapes from recognition on his way to the scene of the execution, and continues - The fatal morning - The morning of that memorable 2d of December dawned at last, and the first gray streak saw us stirring. Wise had seized the Winchester and Potomac railraod on the 29th of November for military purposes, and issued his proclamation to the people of the State. He cautioned them to remain at home or on guard or patrol duty on Dec. 2d, and to abstain from going to Charlestown. Orders, said he, are issued to prevent women and children, and strangers are hereby cautioned that there will be danger to them in approaching that place or near it on that day. If deemed necessary martial law will be proclaimed and entered.
These were his very words, and I submit if they don’t show how badly scared the great State of virginia was! The field of execution - a plot of about 40 acres, half in sod and half in corn stubble, was directly opposite our house, and the gallows stood on a rising ground not 100 yards away from the porch. A military force of between two and three thousand troops - artillery, cavalry, and infantry - had been concentrated at the place; the whole country for 15 miles around was guarded by mounted and foot soldiers; all intercourse between town and country was stopped. A field piece, loaded with grape and cannister had been planted directly in front of, and aimed at the scaffold, so as to blow poor Brown’s body into smithereens in the event of attempted rescue; other cannon commanded the approaches to the modern Aceblema [?], and all Virginia held breath until the noontide should come and go.
The most stringent precautions had even been taken to prevent the towns’ people from approaching the outermost line of patroling sentries, for the authorities were determined to choke their prize malefactor without giving him a chance to make any seditious speeches. The December sun had risen clear and bright, but soon passed into a blank of haze, and I was afraid we should have a stormy day of it. By 9 o’clock, however, as beautiful an azure sky hung over us as man ever saw, and winter as it was, the sun became so hot that doors and windows were flung wide open. The ground had been staked the day before, and fluttering white pennons all around the lot marked the posts of the sentries, who came on the scene at the hour above named. Then a strong force of volunteer cavalry, wearing http://www.vmi.edu/a...il_War/jbjtlplt.html red flannel shirts and black caps and trousers, rode up and were posted, 50 paces apart, around the entire field; and then the guns and caissons of the artillery rumbled up; then more cavalry and infantry came; and then a solemn hush settled over the awful scene, and no sound was heard but the twittering of some birds, the sigh of the south wind among the tree branches, and the occasional impatient stamp of a horse’s hoof on the greensward.
All eyes were turned to the jail, a scant half mile away down the road, but nothing could be seen but the gleam of bayonets and gilt buttons and straps in the bright sunshine until of a sudden, the mass opened right and left, and a wagon, drawn by two white horses, came into view. In it, seated on a long box of fresh-cut deal, was an old man of erect figure, clad in a black suit with a black slouch hat on his head and blood-red worsted http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/USASbrown.htm slippers on his feet. The melancholy cortege formed and advanced toward us. There was the one helpless old man, suffering from 5 saber and bayonet wounds, going to his death under escort of - Major Loring’s " http://www.libraries...ld/HTML/redpath.html Battalion of Defensibles ", Captain William’s "Montpelier Guard", Captain Scott’s "Petersburg Grays", Captain Miller’s "Virginia Volunteers", Captain Rady’s "Young Guard". -
The last scene - The cortege passed through the triple squares of troops and over the hillock, and wound around the scaffold to the easterly side, and halted. The body guard - our company of Grays - opened rank, and John Brown descended, with self possession and dignity, and mounted the gallows steps. He looked about at earth and sky and people, and remarked to Captain Avis, his jailor, upon the beauty of the scene. It was beautiful indeed. The sun shone with great splendor, and the gleaming guns and sparkling uniforms were strongly relieved abainst the somber tints of sod and woods. Away off to the east and south, the splendid mass of the Blue Ridge boomed against the sky, and shut in the horizon. Over the woods towards the northeast, long thin strips of clouds had gradually accumulated, foreboding the storm that came in due time that evening; while looking towards the south, there lay an undulating, fertile country, stretching away to the distant mountains. Brown’s eye lingered wistfully upon the few civilians who had been permitted to gaze from a distance upon the tragedy, as if, so it seemed to me, he longed for a glimpse of one friendly face; then, with another glance at the sky and the far away Blue Ridge, he turned to the sheriff, and signified that he was ready.
His slouch hat was removed, his elbows and ankles pinioned, and a white hood was drawn over his head. The world was gone from his sight forever, and he and eternity were face to face. One would have thought that, after all their indecent haste to get him tried, convicted, sentenced, and hung, they would have dispatched the poor old man as quickly after that as possible; but not a bit of it. There was still the shadow of a possibility that some http://www.arts.uwa..../MP1901dpCadmus.html Cadmus sown soldiers might spring out of the dull sod of that field, and stampede the prize, so there must be movements of troops hither and thither, marchings and counter marchings, and I stood there, watch in hand, for 8 minutes, that seemed centuries before Colonel Scott, losing patience, gave the signal. Then sheriff Campbell cut the rope, the trap fell with a wailing screech of its hinges, and John Brown’s body hung twirling in the air.
You could have heard the sigh of satisfaction that passed over the whole armed host, so dead was the stillness that brooded over it. There was but one spasmodic clutch of the tied hands, and a few jerks and quivers of the limbs, and then all was still. After the thing had dangled in mid-air for 20 minutes, the Charleston surgeons went up and lifted the arms and dropped them like lead; and placed their ears to the thing’s chest, and felt the wrists for a pulse. Then the military surgeons had their turn of it; and then after a consultation they stepped back, and left the body to dangle and swing by its neck 18 minutes more, while it turned to this side or that, swinging, pendulum like, from the force of the rising wind. At last the lion was declared dead, and the body, limp and horrid, with an inch deep groove cut in its neck by the Kentucky hemp halter sent as a special donation for the occasion, was lowered down and slumped into a heap. It was then put in a http://www.law.umkc....brown/brownbody.html black walnut coffin , fitted into the wagon again, the body guard closed in about it, the cavalry took the right of the column, and the mourning procession moved off.
Gazette & Courier - Monday, January 25, 1875
Gen. Sheridan's summary of murder and outrages in Louisiana
http://www.sniksnak.com/la/chron.html Gen. Sheridan's summary of murder and outrages in Louisiana - New Orleans. W.W. Belknap, Secretary of War, Washington - Since the year 1866, 3500 persons, a great majority of whom were colored men, have been killed and wounded in this State. In 1868 the official record shows that 1884 were killed and wounded. From 1868 to the present time no official investigation has been made, and the civil authorities in all but a few cases have been uanble to arrest, convict and punish the perpetrators. Consequently there are incorrect records to be consulted for information. There is ample evidence to show, however, that more than 1200 persons have been killed and wounded during this time on account of their political sentiments. Frightful massacres have occurred in the parishes of Possier [i.e. http://www.rootsweb....ossier/boscensus.htm Bossier ], http://www.caddo.org/ Caddo , http://www.answers.c...ula-parish-louisiana Catahoula , St. Bernard, St. Landry, Grant and Orleans. The general character of the massacres in the above named parishes is so well known that it is unnecessary to describe them. The isolated cases can best be described by the following instances, which I take from a mass of evidence now lying before me, of men killed on account of their political principles...On Aug. 30, 1874, 6 parish and State officers named Twitchell, Divers, Holland, Howell, Edgerton and Willis were taken, together with 4 negroes under guard to be carried out of the State, and were deliberately murdered. On Aug. 29, the White League tried, sentenced, and hanged 2 negroes. On Aug. 28, 3 negroes were hanged and killed at Brownsville. Just before the arrival of the United States troops in the parish, the White Leaguers rode up to a negro cabin, and called for a drink of water. When the old colored man turned to draw it, they shot him in the back and killed him. The courts were all broken up in this district, and the district Judge driven out...P.H. Sheridan, Lieutenant General.
Gazette & Courier - Monday, December 21, 1874
The Man on the Cellar Door
The Man on the Cellar Door - a Picture True to Life - [A sordid tale about a man who became a drunk, abused his wife, and beat his child, who then ran away. The man sobered up and years passed, but there was no word from the son. Then one day the man went to an execution, of a man who had murdered several people, and the killer shook his hand, and whispered that he was his son. The man fainted, then went home and told his wife. The news killed her, and the man was a knockdown drunk from that day forward].
Gazette & Courier - Monday, December 7, 1874
A Mormon tragedy
A Mormon tragedy - A special dispatch to the San Francisco Chronicle from Beaver, Utah, dated Nov. 13 says: "This quiet village is at present the focus on which all Utah eyes are now concentrating, for it is here that the notorious colonel http://ucjeps.berkel...magehtml/col-86.html John D. Lee , the leader in the http://www.utah.com/schmerker/2000/southwest2.htm Mountain Meadow massacre , is confined. The feeling here, as may be imagined, is intense. It is a matter beyond dispute that there are in this immediate neighborhood many of the rank and file of that band of disguised murderers, who under the command of http://www.onlineutah.com/massacre.shtml John D. Lee , 20 years ago, butchered in cold blood all the men and women, and all but two of the children of a passing emigrant train. From a personal interview with United States Deputy Marshal William Stokes, and Mr. Dye, who witnessed the affair, I am enabled to give you the particulars of Lee's arrest. Last Sat. the Marshal - having received information that Lee was at Pangwitch [actually http://utahtravelcenter.com/cities/panguitch/ Panguitch ], a small Mormon settlement on the Sevier River, 35 miles southeast of here - sent one of his posse, Frank Fish, to reconnoiter, and Fish having ascertained that Lee was then at Pangwitch on Sun. night, Stokes, with Fish, Thomas Winn, R.S. Rogers, David Evans and Thomas Lefevre, drew near Pangwitch and secreted themselves undr a hill for the night. The whole posse entered the town just after daybreak on Mon. morning. But early as they were, and secretly as their movements had been conducted, information of their presence had reached Lee, and suspecting their business, he had concealed himself. After thoroughly searching the houses where the criminal was supposed to be, the officers directed their attention to the outbuildings, and their labors were soon rewarded by finding Lee in a chicken coop loosely covered with straw. Stokes, who was the first to discover his man, advanced to the coop, pistol in hand, and covering Lee with his weapon from a hole in the roof of the coop, ordered him to come out. There being no reply to this demand, Will was ordered to enter the assassin's hiding place and disarm him, Stokes informing him that he would "shoot his head off" if he moved. As the muzzle of the officer's pistol was not more than two feet from Lee's head, saw that it was not a vain threat, so before Winn had time to obey the order of his chief, Lee said "I'll come out" and immediately emerged with a pistol in his hand. While Stokes was parleying with Lee, one of the numerous wives of the latter, Rachel, covered Stokes with a shotgun - a double barreled one - and threatened to fire. She, in turn, was covered by the revolver of Fish, and as Lee came out she was disarmed. No further resistance than this was offered by Lee's relatives or numerous friends. When Lee found himself in the hands of the Philistines, he evidently made up his mind to make the best of his misfortune, for he pleasantly and cordially invited the officers to breakfast with him, which invitation they gratefully accepted. Lee displayed an immense amount of sang froid when resistance was useless. He spent some time writing out directions for the management of his property during his forced absence, and seemed to overlook none of those details which a man in his position might reasonably be expected to forgo. Stokes overhead him say to one of his sympathetic neighbors who evidently believed that the head of the church had been derelict in his duty toward his subaltern, "President Young is not interested in this matter". The Marshal, with his prisoner, reached here on Tues., when he was immediately lodged in jail...John D. Lee is 62 years of age and has had 60 children, 54 of whom are still living. He has 15 grown up sons. He admits having 18 wives. One wife only, the faithful Rachel, accompanied him to http://www.go-utah.com/Beaver Beaver . She is here under the protection of one of her husband's numerous son-in-laws. He was very reticent on the subject of the charges made against him. That he feels indifferent to the result of the investigation would be asserting almost too much, but no one can talk with him without being impressed with the idea that he does not expect to meet the punishment of a murderer [He was executed]. He was born in Randolph County, Idaho, son of an Irish mother, whose maiden name was Doyle, and a father who he claims is one of the Lees of Virginia. He is 5'9 1/2" high, and weighs 165 lbs. He has a large head, blue eyes, and gray hair (once black). In Pangwitch and Beaver, and indeed, throughout the southern part of the Territory, he has been known for his liberality and kindness to travelers and the poor, notwithstanding the terrible and well known story of the Mountain Meadow massacre, for his alleged participation in which, he is now in chains.