1937: Pavel Vasiliev, peasant poet 1300: Gerard Segarelli, Apostolic Brethren founder

1798: Henry Joy McCracken

July 17th, 2011 Headsman

On this date in 1798, Henry Joy McCracken was hanged by the British for that year’s Irish Rebellion.

The Belfast Presbyterian and cotton trader co-founded the republican Society of United Irishmen in 1791, and spent that revolutionary decade trafficking in ideas that the British crown did not approve at all.

He got busted in 1796 for his radical politics, but ill health prompted his release from prison shortly before the misfortunately ill-organized rising.

McCracken led an attack on Antrim — he dated his call to arms with a French Revolution-esque calendar reboot, “the first year of liberty” — but lost the fight and was captured a few weeks later.

He spurned offers of clemency in exchange for informing on his comrades and was parted at the gallows from his sister, Mary Ann McCracken — herself one of Ireland’s best renowned social reform activists. (She lived to the ripe old age of 96, a furious anti-slavery activist to the end.)

Say what you will about those Irish Republican revolutionaries, they know how to commemorate a body in song:

On this day..

Entry Filed under: 18th Century,Activists,Arts and Literature,Capital Punishment,Death Penalty,England,Execution,Famous,Hanged,History,Ireland,Martyrs,Notably Survived By,Occupation and Colonialism,Power,Public Executions,Revolutionaries,Separatists,Treason

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