1920: Frank Campione, “are they really going to hang me?”

(Thanks to Robert Elder of Last Words of the Executed — the blog, and the book — for the guest post. This post originally appeared on the Last Words blog here. Fans of this here site are highly likely to enjoy following Elder’s own pithy, almanac-style collection of last words on the scaffold. -ed.)

“Are—they—really—going—to—hang—me? Don’t— let—them. Save me. Jesus—Mary—Joseph. My little baby! My wife! . . . I’m—going—my—rest. Take— care—me. Where are you, Mr. Meisterheim [his jailer]? Talk to me.”

Meisterheim: “Be brave, Frank. It’ll be over in a minute.”

“Shake hands once more then. Are they—really going—to hang me?”

— Frank Campione, convicted of robbery and murder, hanging, Illinois.
Executed October 14, 1920

Part of the Cardinella Gang, Campione and company were responsible for more than four murders and 250 holdups and burglaries, according to authorities. The gang killed Albert Kubalanzo for $6.30.

During the months he was in jail and on trial, Campione sang lullabies to his pillow night and day. Even when admitting that he had been feigning madness, Campione held the pillow. “I’ll die happy if you let me keep this pillow with me,” he said. “It reminds me of my baby son.”

4 thoughts on “1920: Frank Campione, “are they really going to hang me?””

  1. Well, I will have a look at the book in the library before I check it out. Some books on my to-read list wind up getting rejected after I take them off the library shelf, have a look and decide naah, this doesn’t look so good after all.

  2. Meaghan, I’ve read one of the Amazon reviews and the guy writing says he reckons only 15-20 of the “last words are worth reading”. It made me decide not to bother. I must admit, from what I’ve read elsewhere, last words are rarely memorable. Frank Campione’s is, though …so sad.

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