(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. 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.)
“For God’s sake, don’t do that again.”
– Danforth Hartson, convicted of murder, hanging, California.
Executed July 15, 1857
Hartson (aka Sailor Jim) claimed self-defense in a fight that followed his argument with “estimable citizen” John Burke, whom he knocked to the ground and then shot in the chest. Burke was able to make a full statement, naming Hartson as the murderer, before he died.
Hartson’s last words came after he slipped through the noose and fell through the trap door.