1963: Abd al-Karim Qasim, Iraqi Prime Minister 1869: Patrick Whelan, Canada’s first assassin?

1905: Samuel McCue, mayor of Charlottesville, Virginia

February 10th, 2008 Headsman

On this date in 1905, the former mayor of Charlottesville, Va., was hanged in the city’s jail for the murder of his wife, Fannie — a sentence he may have accepted to protect his mistress from taking the rap.

This fascinating and little-known tale of local color is extensively explored in the Charlottesville weekly The Hook. For a gripping and off-the-beaten-path true crime mystery, the full story is well worth digesting.

Here’s an excerpt:

The City of Charlottesville congratulated itself on the afternoon of February 10 when it read in a special edition of the Daily Progress that J. Samuel McCue had confessed to his crime just hours before he was hanged. With a collective sigh of relief, the citizens could go about their lives knowing that they had done their duty.

But let us look carefully at Sam’s “confession.” Being an attorney, he always chose his words with care. His last words before the judge, after his conviction: “I am as innocent as any other man in the courtroom.”

Then before going to the gallows, he allegedly made a confession.

“J. Samuel McCue stated this morning in our presence and requested us to make public that he did not wish to leave this world with suspicion resting on any human being other than himself; that he alone is responsible for the deed, impelled to it by an evil power beyond his control; and that he recognized his sentence as just.

Signed: George L. Petrie, Harry B. Lee, John B. Turpin”

Are we to believe that a guilty man, just hours from death, was worried that someone else might later be suspected of the crime? He had been tried and convicted of it. What would make him worry that after his death anyone would look for another suspect, thereby proving their own mistake? Who would take responsibility for such an error, and why would Sam care?

Mysterious indeed.

McCue’s was the last legal hanging in Albemarle County.

On this day..

Entry Filed under: 20th Century,Botched Executions,Capital Punishment,Crime,Death Penalty,Execution,Hanged,History,Murder,Politicians,Scandal,Sex,USA,Virginia,Wrongful Executions

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6 thoughts on “1905: Samuel McCue, mayor of Charlottesville, Virginia”

  1. lisa anderson says:

    My great grandfather, William Hurley testified at Samuel McCue’s trial. He a Liveryman and worked for him. This was rare for an African American during that time

    1. Michele Wijegoonaratna says:

      I am researching Bill Hurley for an exhibition I am working on. Will explain if you can contact me directly. mwije@katonahmuseum.org.

  2. darby g says:

    sorry for the miss spelling my nerves are a little shakey right now please send me some letters mailing address 5712camellia LN wilmington north carolina area code 28409 thankyou so much long lost family please contact me please

  3. darby gillespie says:

    my great great great great grand father is samuel mcque my grand mother is polly hiler my mother is kitty maiden name hiler my grand father richard hiler cousin greg mcque ben mcque 3great aunt mary white jacobs my grand mother has paintings of my 4great grandmother fannies pictures/paintings she was beatiful when i was growing up i allways heard the story about what happend and how there son my 3great grand father commited to kill his self after seeing his mother dead in the bath tube after being beated with a baseball bat and being shot with a twele gage shot gun there is a lot of my family i have not meet yet im from roanoke va thats were i was born and raised until my grand father passed away in 1997 please send me some letters if your kin to me polly hiler is my grand mother family greg mcque mary white jacobs milldred mcque that way you know i am not lieing

  4. M. D. McCue says:

    My father was born in 1898 and told me that he and his brother rode over to Charlottesville with my grandfather to witness the event as it was to be the last “legal” hanging in the State of Va. Sam McCue was my grandfathers’ cousin. The family legend paints a diffenent picture of the trail.

  5. Anna Greene says:

    It has been speculated that Sam McCue may have made this confession to avoid others thinking the woman he was having an affair with was involved.

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