1916: Benjamin De Fehr, fragging driver 1853: John Hurley, medicalized

1874: Private Joseph Michaud, the first in Manitoba

August 26th, 2013 Headsman

The Canadian province of Manitoba logged its first judicial hanging on this date in 1874.

Private Joseph Michaud, an artillery gunner, earned the distinction with one of the classic criminal archetypes, the ill-advised bender. Having snuck out on the town — Winnipeg, in this case — a progressively more belligerent Michaud found himself by the wee hours slashing with his knife one of his fellow duty-derelicters.

That other soldier wasn’t the murder victim: it was, instead, a passerby who saw Michaud brandishing his weapon and attempted to intervene. The boozy artillerist chased that poor man down and left the Good Samaritan a bloodied corpse in the street, pocked with thirty or more knife wounds.

Once he sobered up, Michaud was as appalled as anyone. At his trial, his plea was “coupable dans mon coeur et je merite la morte.” (“Guilty in my heart and I deserve to die.”) In a similar vein, Canada’s temperance movement seized on the case of the remorseful young man driven to an act of madness by drink. “The miserable end of this young man Michaud ought to be a lesson to our young men to keep away form the temptation of strong drink.” (That quote and a longer summation of the trial are here.)

Also on this date

Entry Filed under: 19th Century,Canada,Capital Punishment,Common Criminals,Crime,Death Penalty,Execution,Hanged,History,Milestones,Murder,Soldiers

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2 thoughts on “1874: Private Joseph Michaud, the first in Manitoba”

  1. Meaghan says:

    I’m surprised their first hanging came that late in the day.

  2. JCF says:

    Canadians are, generally, more civilized. I could as easily say, “I’m surprised they hadn’t banned the death penalty by then.”

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