Posts filed under 'Children'

1941: Sheyna Gram and the Jews of Preili

Add comment August 9th, 2017 Meaghan

(Thanks to Meaghan Good of the Charley Project for the guest post. -ed.)

On this date in 1941, less than two months after Germany invaded the Soviet Union, fifteen-year-old Sheyna Gram and her parents and younger brother were murdered, together with approximately 1,500 Jewish people from the town of Preili in the occupied Latvian SSR. Nearly the entire Jewish population of Preili was wiped out by the ever-diligent Einsatzgruppen.

During World War II the Nazi death squads moved from town to town in Poland and Eastern Europe. They had one job and they performed it very well, slaughtering Jews and other “undesirables” by their thousands, most notably at Babi Yar outside of Kiev in Ukraine, where 33,771 people were killed in two days.

Preili, one of the oldest Jewish settlements in Latvia, was a much smaller community than Kiev; when the German invasion began, it had a population of less than two thousand, around half of whom were Jewish.

Latvia as a whole had a prewar Jewish population of just under 100,000. Only a few thousand of them survived, mostly those who were evacuated deep into Soviet territory and beyond the reach of the Wehrmacht. Of all the Jews in Preili, only six survived the war.

Preili was no different than any of the other Soviet Jewish communities wiped out in the Holocaust, but we know details about what happened there because Sheyna Gram left a diary behind. She chronicled the day-to-day events of the German occupation from June 22, the day the Nazis invaded the USSR, until August 8, the day before she and her family were killed.

Shortly after the war, noted Soviet journalists Ilya Ehrenburg and Vasily Grossman traveled all around the USSR, interviewing people and collecting eyewitness testimonies, letters, diaries, and other documents to bear witness to the Soviet Jewish experience during the German occupation. The result, titled The Complete Black Book of Russian Jewry, was the first major documentary work on the Holocaust. However, it wasn’t actually published until 1993, and even then it was nowhere near “complete.” In 2008, Indiana University Press translated and published The Unknown Black Book: The Holocaust in the German-Occupied Soviet Territories, which consists of accounts and documents that didn’t make it into the first Black Book; the second book is nearly as long as the first.

Among the documents included in the second volume is Sheyna Gram’s diary, translated from Yiddish. It somehow survived the war even though its author had not, and even seventy-plus years later, Sheyna has not been forgotten. Several books about the Holocaust in Latvia have referenced her diary, comparing its writer to Anne Frank, and at least one play based on the diary was performed in Latvia in around 2012.

Per The Unknown Black Book, the Gram family consisted of Itzik, a 60-year-old tailor, his 52-year-old wife, and their four children: sons Gutman, 18, and Leyba, 12, and daughters Freya, 20, and Sheyna. Evidence in the diary suggests they were not a particularly observant Jewish family.

The Unknown Black Book reports that Gutman survived the war, serving in the Red Army, but Yad Vashem’s Central Database of Shoah Victims has a page of testimony for him stating he was killed in military service. Although Mrs. Gram is unnamed in The Unknown Black Book, a search of the Database of Shoah Victims turns up a Sara Gram née Zangvil who lived in Preili and was the right age. The same person, Shmuel Latvinskiy, submitted Sara and Gutman Gram’s testimonies, and Sheyna’s as well; he names himself as Sara Gram’s nephew, Gutman’s cousin, and Sheyna’s relative, making it all but certain that Sara Gram was Sheyna’s mother.

What little information is available about Sheyna indicates she was an ordinary enough teenager. She was a good student, “an intelligent girl of good spiritual development,” and had just finished the sixth grade at school when war broke out. She started her diary that very day with a few sentences, and wrote entries regularly until her death:

June 22. At twelve o’clock, the radio announced, “Germany has declared war on the USSR. At four o’clock this morning, German aircraft bombed several Russian cities.”

Toward evening, I went to Ribenishki [seven kilometers from Preili]. I sit by the radio all the time until midnight. They tell you how to protect yourself from an air raid.

The next day, Sheyna recorded that Daugavpils* had been bombed and “a state of siege has been declared.” Wanting to do her part to help with the war effort, she signed herself up for first aid lessons. “New people are coming into town all the time,” she wrote. “Each person has something new to report. The Germans are successfully advancing.” Over the following days there was an 8:00 p.m. curfew and various new rules: radios were confiscated, freedom of assembly was curtailed, and windows had to be covered.

By July 2, the Germans had arrived in Preili. The following day Sheyna wrote,

The first day went quietly. On the second day, the Germans smashed the shops and looted everything. They broke into the synagogue, hauled out the Torah scrolls, and trampled on them. In other streets, they go on various sorts of rampages. […] We are living in a state of great fear. Many Germans have stopped in our town. There are some proper gentlemen among them as well. They keep on reassuring us that they are not going to touch the workers. A decree is published that Jews and Russians do not have the right to fly their national flags. Walking on the street is permitted until 10:00 p.m., but no one dares poke their head out the door.

As per standard operating procedure, the Nazis ordered Jews to wear a six-pointed yellow star, “twelve centimeters wide and long. Men are to wear it on their backs, their chests, and their legs, just above the knee. Women will wear them on their chests and on their backs.” For the rest of the month, Jews were regularly rounded up for forced labor. Sheyna was assigned to a work party cutting peat; roll call was at five in the morning and work didn’t stop until 7:00 p.m.

Except when she was working, she didn’t leave home. She whiled away the empty hours sleeping, studying Russian, reading back issues of the Jewish magazine Yidishe bilder, and writing in her diary.

On July 27, she wrote:

This is a bloody Sunday for the Latvian Jewish people.

Morning. All the Jews in Dvinskaya Street are ordered to put on their best clothes, take some provisions with them, and go out into the street. Searches of the homes are carried out. At twelve o’clock, all the Jews are herded into the synagogue. One group of young Jews is sent to dig graves behind the cemetery. Then the Jews of two more streets are driven into the synagogue.

It is 3:30 in the afternoon. All the Jews are chased out beyond the cemetery and shot there. All 250 Jews: men, women, and children.

This is terrible. We did not expect things to end this way. The handful of survivors expects death at any moment.

Iossif Rotchko’s untranslated book about the Holocaust in Latvia describes in detail what happened that terrible day. According to his account, the killers were not German but Latvian, local collaborators, and he names names:

The unfortunate [Jews] were ordered to stop at a stone quarry. They were ordered to take off their clothes and remain in underclothes, then they were led to the edge of the pit by groups of 8-10 persons. The executioners killed them by firing at their backs, as if they were afraid to look in their eyes a final time. After all, they were neighbors. The killers were conducted to the killing ground by carts driven by the farmers I. Prikulis, J. Litaunieks, as well as others…

Whomever the perpetrators were, this was the first such massacre Sheyna was personally affected by, although she’d probably heard rumors of others. One of her friends had been among the victims, and she was understandably terrified. “We look at each other,” she wrote, “and are amazed that we are still alive.”

On July 30, she reported that the Germans had said “they are not going to touch the Jews again. They are satisfied with the 250.” She was skeptical, however, writing the next day:

Every day there are new persecutions, and there is no end in sight. We have lived this long, but we do not know whether or not we will manage to survive. They send Jewish girls to clean freed-up Jewish apartments for those who have been killing them. They do not take me. But when they clean out the apartment of my murdered friend Mery Plagova, which they are preparing for a police officer, I go. I gather up her photos and keep them with me. I cannot believe that my friends the Plagovas are dead.

The Jewish holiday of Tisha B’av on August 3 found the young diarist still contemplative.

I have never fasted on this day or ever fasted at all. Today, however, a week after the great catastrophe, after that bloody Sunday, when so many innocent victims fell, I have decided, keeping it a secret from the authorities, of course, to fast the entire day. At 1:30, they come to see me and register me for the peat work. Mama orders me to eat something, otherwise I will not be able to work. I obey her. Then they change the list and send my little brother instead of me.

Three days later the Gram family was ordered out of their apartment, but “there are no apartments to move to. It is as though we are living up in the air … Yet another commission comes and decides that we can stay where we are.”

August 8 was her last entry:

The peasants say that lots of airplanes flew over during the night. At seven o’clock we go to wash the floors of the police station. The boss is in a bad mood today. It rains the entire time. At twelve o’clock they arrest three Jewish representatives. They demand that they send thirty people out to work. Twenty-one turn up, leaving nine short. The commandant demands the nine; otherwise things will go badly. The nine have hidden themselves. We are all dreadfully worried.

Rain the entire day. They want to select nine other Jews, but he insists only on the ones from before. From the moment, the representatives are under arrest. No one knows when our sufferings will end. I feel as though the next awful thing is getting closer and closer to me.

Her intuition was right: the next day, the 1,500 Jews from Preili and the surrounding area were murdered in the Jewish cemetery, among them Sheyna, Itzik, Sara and Leyba Gram. The Unknown Black Book notes that Freya Gram survived for another week: she was “kept back after work that day by the commandant, who, when he had had his fill of her, had her killed on August 16.”

A memorial with Latvian, Hebrew and English text, marks the spot where the Preili Jews died. It was funded by David Silberman, a Holocaust survivor from Preili, and dedicated on August 8, 2004, sixty years almost to the day after the massacre. The central obelisk has a quote from Sheyna Gram’s diary, and buried beneath it is an urn with a list of the names of the victims, pieced together by the aforementioned Shmuel Latvinskiy, who wrote pages of testimony for the Gram family. Additional photos of the memorial can be seen at the bottom of this page.

* Sheyna calls this city by its Yiddish name, Dvinsk. An 832-page list of Jewish people from Daugavpils who died in the Holocaust can be found here.

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Entry Filed under: 20th Century,Borderline "Executions",Children,Disfavored Minorities,Execution,Germany,Guest Writers,History,Jews,Latvia,Mass Executions,No Formal Charge,Occupation and Colonialism,Other Voices,Shot,Summary Executions,USSR,Wartime Executions,Women

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1944: The Wola Massacre begins, during the Warsaw Uprising

2 comments August 5th, 2017 Headsman

On this date in 1944, a weeklong German slaughter of Polish civilians and resistance fighters began in the Wola district of the capital city Warsaw.

The Wola Massacre marked the start of the Reich’s counterattack against the Warsaw Uprising, the heroic and suicidal rising mounted by the Polish Home Army as the Red Army’s summer offensive brought it to the banks of the Vistula.

Aiming to claim some foothold upon which to influence events in the soon-to-be Soviet-occupied Poland, the Home Army enjoyed initial success in the first days of August. But German reserves from the Replacement Army — the vehicle by which the Valkyrie plotters had attempted their coup against Hitler just days before, and now as a consequence answering directly to Heinrich Himmler — were quick to the scene and would turn back the rising in weeks of bloody urban warfare. Himmler’s authority in crushing the Warsaw Uprising would also allow him to give rein to his SS for a campaign of atrocities intended to cow the populace into speedy submission.

Himmler wasn’t a battlefield commander, of course. Chief on the scene would be Erich von dem Bach-Zelewski; for this purpose he would enlist some of the more notorious units on the eastern front, such as the lawless Sonderbataillon Dirlewanger and the “Russian National Liberation Army” of Bronislav Kaminski. They were just the types to implement Himmler’s brutal orders* for a city they were soon to lose anyway:

  1. Captured insurrectionists shall be killed whether or not they fight in accordance with the Hague Convention.
  2. The non-fighting part of the population, women, children, shall also be killed.
  3. The whole city shall be razed to the ground, i.e. its buildings, streets, facilities, and everything within its borders.

The outcome rates as perhaps the largest battlefield massacre of World War II.

On August 5, Bach-Zelewski’s forces began a coordinated push into the western suburb of Wola. Himmler’s orders were implemented immediately, as attested by numerous civilian witnesses and lucky survivors:

I lived in the Wola district at No. 8, Elekcyjna Street. At 10 a.m. on Aug. 5, 1944 a detachment of SS-men and Vlassov’s men entered. They drove us from the cellars and brought us near the Sowinski Park at Ulrychow. They shot at us when we passed. My wife was killed on the spot: our child was wounded and cried for his mother. Soon a Ukrainian approached and killed my two-year-old child like a dog; then he approached me together with some Germans and stood on my chest to see whether I was alive or not – I shammed dead, lest I should be killed too. One of the murderers took my watch; I heard him reloading his gun. I thought he would finish me off, but he went on further, thinking I was dead. I lay thus from 10 a.m. until 9 p.m. pretending to be dead, and witnessing further atrocities. During that time I saw further groups being driven out and shot near the place where I lay. The huge heap of corpses grew still bigger. Those who gave any sign of life were shot. I was buried under other corpses and nea rly suffocated. The executions lasted until 5 p.m. At 9 p.m. a group of Poles came to take the corpses away. I gave them a sign that I was alive. They helped me to get up and I regained sufficient strength to carry with them the body of my wife and child to the Sowinski Park, where they took all the dead. After this sad duty had been performed they took me to St. Laurence’s Church at Wola, where I remained till next day. I cannot state the exact number of the victims, but I estimate that those among whom I lay amounted to some 3,000 (three thousand). I met a friend in the church who had gone through the same experience as I, having lost a boy of 8, who had been wounded and died calling for his father. I am still in hospital and the image of death is constantly before my eyes.

And another:

On August 5, 1944, between 12 and 2 p.m., I saw from a window on the first floor of Wola Hospital Germans dragging women out of the cellars of No. 28, Plocka Street. They shot them in the courtyard with machine-guns. Almost at the same time, I saw in the courtyard of No. 30, Plocka Street the hands of more then 20 people raised and visible over the fence (the people themselves could not be seen). After a volley of shots these hands fell down: this was another of the executions in Wola.

And the agonizing testimony of Wanda Lurie:

I stayed in the cellar of No. 18 until August 5, when, between 11 and 12 noon, the Germans ordered all of us to get out, and marched us to Wolska Street. This march was carried out in dreadful haste and panic. My husband was absent, taking an active part in the Rising, and I was alone with my three children, aged 4, 6 and 12, and in the last month of pregnancy. I delayed my departure, hoping they would allow me to remain, and left the cellar at the very last moment. All the inhabitants of our house had already been escorted to the “Ursus” works in Wolska Street at the corner of Skierniewicka Street, and I too was ordered to go there. I went alone, accompanied only by my three children. It was difficult to pass, the road being full of wire, cable, remains of barricades, corpses, and rubble. Houses were burning on both sides of the street; I reached the “Ursus” work’s with great difficulty. Shots, cries, supplications and groans could be heard from the factory yard. We had no doubt that this was a place for mass executions.

The people who stood at the entrance were led, no, pushed in, not all at once but in groups of 20. A boy of twelve, seeing the bodies of his parents and of his little brother through the half-open entrance door, fell in a fit and began to shriek. The Germans and Vlassov‘s men beat him and pushed him back, while he was endeavouring to get inside. He called for his father and his mother. We all knew what awaited us here; there was no possibility of escape or of buying one’s life; there was a crowd of Germans, Ukrainians (Vlassov’s men), and cars. I came last and kept in the background, continuing to let the others pass, in the hope that they would not kill a pregnant woman, but I was driven in with the last lot. In the yard I saw heaps of corpses 3 feet high, in several places. The whole right and left side of the big yard (the first yard) was strewn with bodies. We were led through the second. There were about 20 people in our group, mostly children of 10 to 12. There were children without parents, and also a paralysed old woman whose son-in-law had been carrying her all the time on his back. At her side was her daughter with two children of 4 and 7. They were all killed. The old woman was literally killed on her son-in-law’s back, and he along with her. We were called out in groups of four and led to the end of the second yard to a pile of bodies. When the four reached this point, the Germans shot them through the backs of their heads with revolvers. The victims fell on the heap, and others came. Seeing what was to be their fate, some attempted to escape; they cried, begged, and prayed for mercy. I was in the last group of four. I begged the Vlassov’s men around me to save me and the children, and they asked if I had anything with which to buy my life. I had a large amount of gold with me and gave it them. They took it all and wanted to lead me away, but the German supervising the execution would not allow them to do so, and when I begged him to let me go he pushed me off, shouting “Quicker!” I fell when he pushed me. He also hit and pushed my elder boy, shouting “hurry up, you Polish bandit”. Thus I came to the place of execution, in the last group of four, with my three children. I held my two younger children by one hand, and my elder boy by the other. The children were crying and praying. The elder boy, seeing the mass of bodies, cried out: “they are going to kill us” and called for his father. The first shot hit him, the second me; the next two killed the two younger children. I fell on my right side. The shot was not fatal. The bullet penetrated the back of my head from the right side and went out through my cheek. I spat out several teeth; I felt the left side of my body growing numb, but I was still conscious and saw everything that was going on around me.

I witnessed other executions, lying there among the dead. More groups of men were led in. I heard cries, supplications, moaning, and shots. The bodies of these men fell on me. I was covered by four bodies. Then I again saw a group of women and children; thus it went on with group after group until late in the evening. It was already quite, quite dark when the executions stopped. In the intervals between the shootings the murderers walked on the corpses, kicked them, and turned them over, finishing off those who still gave any sign of life, and stealing valuables.

German soldiers too recorded wholesale executions in their diaries and correspondence; while the accounts above are all specifically attributable to the 5th of August, those that follow are undated snapshots of environment:

Policemen with rifles under their arms trudged along. All of the police from occupied Poland came together there to show off their bravery and also to enrich themselves on the side. I did not see this activity, but others did. They saw how these policemen executed those from the procession who could not keep up, those who were sick and lagging behind, and right in front of their compatriots. What was particularly troubling about this misery is that unlike in Russia what was occurring was not a matter of a completely poor, and in any event already moaning, mass of people; rather these were people of our own social class, women in fur coats, cute children who up until two days before had been fully cared for. This memory has always caused me anguish during my short stopovers in Warsaw: the look from so many hostile eyes, people of our culture, who knew exactly what I knew. For that reason I was always glad never to have been deployed in the West. And now I stood beside these people in bitter agony, and I was shocked.

Now we arrived at the command post of the SS-commander. There were two buses parked on the right side of the street. We reported to the SS-commander, a medium-built stringent man with a sharply chiseled face. With a cold glance at the procession of women and children that was passing no farther than 10 meters from us, he said, “You see, this is our biggest problem. These refugees! I don’t have enough ammunition to kill them all!” He said this quietly and with a remorseful shrug of the shoulders, this elegant officer with the Iron Cross and pleasant manners. Meanwhile tears fell down my cheeks. What kind of human being was he?

-Hans Thieme

And another:

Before each daily operation I reported to the SS commander. During one visit I witnessed an event, which sickened me to my very core. The SS officer’s office was on the upper floor of a building and had a balcony that overlooked a large courtyard. The SS had lined up near a wall about 40 or so Polish men, women, and children of all ages. I distinctly recall a young woman holding hands with two small children. It was clear to me what was about to happen. I confronted the SS commander as to why these people were about to be shot. His reply was that they were being executed as a reprisal for the Germans that had been killed in the Uprising. He informed me that it was also none of my concern. Shortly, thereafter the hostages were shot before my eyes. I was disgusted by what I had witnessed and after 60 years later it still haunts me.

-Eberhard Schmalz

And another:

I was setting explosives under big doors, somewhere in Old Town. From inside we heard Nicht schiessen! Nicht schiessen! (Don’t shoot! Don’t shoot!). The doors opened and a nurse appeared with a tiny white flag. We went inside with fixed bayonets. A huge hall with beds and mattresses on the floor. Wounded were everywhere. Besides Poles there were also wounded Germans. They begged the SS-men not to kill the Poles. A Polish officer, a doctor and 15 Polish Red Cross nurses surrendered the military hospital to us. The Dirlewangerers were following us. I hid one of the nurses behind the doors and managed to lock them. I heard after the war that she has survived. The SS-men killed all the wounded. They were breaking their heads with rifle butts. The wounded Germans were screaming and crying in despair. After that, the Dirlewangerers ran after the nurses; they were ripping clothes off them. We were driven out for guard duty. We heard women screaming. In the evening, on Adolph Hitler’s Square [now Pilsudzki Square] there was a roar as loud as during boxing fights. So I and my friend climbed the wall to see what was happening there. Soldiers of all units: Wehrmacht, SS, Kaminski’s Cossacks, boys from Hitlerjugend; whistles, exhortations. Dirlewanger stood with his men and laughed. The nurses from the hospital were rushed through the square, naked with hands on their heads. Blood ran down their legs. The doctor was dragged behind them with a noose on his neck. He wore a rag, red maybe from blood and a thorn crown on top of the head. All were lead to the gallows where a few bodies were hanging already. When they were hanging one of the nurses, Dirlewanger kicked the bricks she was standing on.

-Mathias Schenk

A much larger catalogue of atrocity accounts awaits at warsawuprising.org.

The massacre at Wola would run on to about the 13th at which point Bach-Zelewski abated the civilian massacre order as counterproductive: too many soldier-hours needed for focused bloodbaths were being squandered orchestrating gratuitous ones. Nevertheless, weeks of hard urban warfare lay ahead, and policy continued to embrace the summary execution of captured fighters and of all fighting-age men, resistance or no. Some 200,000 civilians are thought to have died during the Warsaw Uprising.

One legacy was eerily and unknowingly captured by a LIFE magazine photographer in 1948, of a young girl in a school for disturbed children in Poland. Her face a scramble of innocence and madness as it peers into the lens, she illustrates her “home” as an incoherent chalk vortex. It wasn’t known until many years after this photo became emblematic of a generation wracked by horror, but “Tereska” — Teresa Adwentowska — was an orphaned survivor of Wola.

* Per Bach-Zelewski’s evidence to the Nuremberg tribunal. By dint of cooperation, he saved his own life from the Nuremberg gallows.

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Entry Filed under: 20th Century,Borderline "Executions",Children,Execution,Executions Survived,Germany,Hanged,History,Innocent Bystanders,Known But To God,Mass Executions,No Formal Charge,Occupation and Colonialism,Poland,Shot,Summary Executions,Wartime Executions,Women

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1807: Richard Faulkner, scared straight

Add comment July 13th, 2017 Headsman

On this date in 1807 at Wisbech, 15-year-old Richard Faulkner hanged in a truly repentant frame of mind — as described by the Norfolk Chronicle of August 1, 1807:

At Ely assizes, held at Wisbech, there was but one prisoner for trial; viz. Richard Faulkner, convicted of the murder of George Burnham a lad about 13 years of age, at Whittlesea, on Sunday, the 15th of February last, by cruelly beating him to death, for no other cause than to revenge his (the deceased) mother’s having thrown some dirty water upon him.

The prisoner himself was not 16, but so shockingly depraved and hardened, that after condemnation he repeatedly clenched his fist, and threatened to murder the clergyman who attended the gaol, or any one who dared to approach him.

Indeed he was so ferocious that the gaoler found it necessary to chain him hands and feet to his dungeon, where he uttered the most horrid oaths and imprecations on all who came near him; and from the Friday to Saturday night refused to listen to any religious advice or admonition.

At length to prevent the termination of his existence in this depraved state, the expedient was devised of procuring a child about the size of the one murdered, and similar in feature and dress, whom two clergymen unexpectedly led between them, by the hands, into his cell, where he laid sulkily chained to the ground; but on their approach he started and seemed so completely terrified, that he trembled every limb, cold drops of sweat profusely falling from him, and was almost momentarily in such a dreadful state of agitation, that he intreated the clergymen to continue with him, and from that instant became as contrite a penitent as he had before been callous and insensible.

In this happy transition he remained till his execution on Monday morning the 13th inst. having fully confessed his crime and implored by fervent prayer the forgiveness of his sins from a merciful God!

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Entry Filed under: 19th Century,Capital Punishment,Children,Common Criminals,Crime,Death Penalty,England,Execution,Hanged,History,Murder,Public Executions

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1880: Three juvenile offenders in Canton, Ohio

1 comment June 25th, 2017 Meaghan

(Thanks to Meaghan Good of the Charley Project for the guest post. -ed.)

At 11:35 a.m. on this day in 1880, three teen boys were publicly hanged in Canton, Ohio. George E. Mann was sixteen, Gustave Adolph Ohr was somewhere between fifteen and seventeen, and John Sammet(t) had just turned eighteen the day before. Between them, they had committed two murders.

Left to right: Mann, Ohr, and Sammett.

George Mann and Gustave Ohr came from similar backgrounds: both lost a parent in early childhood — George’s mother and Gustave’s father — and both didn’t adjust well. By the summer of 1879, both boys had run away from home. They were riding the rails when they met each other and began traveling with an older tramp, John Watmough.

The trio had reached Alliance, Ohio when, on June 27, 1879, Gustave and George decided to rob Watmough as he slept. They beat him on the head with a railroad coupling pin, mortally wounding him, and the boys took his watch, money and clothes and ran away. Watmough was able to crawl to a nearby house and mumble a few words before dying. His killers were arrested within minutes.

George, although he insisted it was Gustave who’d struck the fatal blows, was convicted of first-degree murder on December 6. Gustave was convicted on December 13. On December 31, both were sentenced to death. George went to his grave saying he was innocent, but his partner-in-crime refused to cinch his clemency argument by taking full responsibility.

According to the Stark County Democrat, while awaiting their deaths, George and Gustave were both able to obtain “many luxuries” by selling copies of the gallows ballads they supposedly wrote themselves. (Mann’s | Ohr’s)

John Sammett, like George Mann, lost his mother at a very early age and lived with his father and stepmother at the time of his crime. Like the Bavaria-born Gustave Ohr, he was of German parentage, although John was born in Ohio. He developed a reputation as a petty thief and was arrested several times, but his relatives always bailed him out of trouble.

In August of 1879, John and a sixteen-year-old friend, Christopher Spahler, broke into a saloon. They were arrested, and Spahler agreed to turn state’s evidence and testify against his erstwhile friend. The burglary trial was scheduled for November 26; the day before, John tracked down Spahler and tried to get him to change his mind. Spahler would not relent, and John shot him in the chest.

People heard the shot and came running; Spahler died a short time later without speaking, but both John and the murder weapon were still at the crime scene. He was arrested immediately, and on March 2, 1880 he was convicted of murder and sentenced to death.

Meanwhile, in a different hanging circus … (widely reprinted wire story via the Milwaukee Journal of Commerce of (despite the dateline) June 23, 1880.

This Akron Law Review article notes,

The public hanging of Mann and Ohr, along with John Sammett, was the occasion for a community-wide extravaganza. People came to the small town of Canton in eastern Ohio by excursion train from as far away as Chicago and Pittsburgh to witness the event. A circus was part of the extravaganza [literally, Coup‘s circus was in town at the same time -ed.] and the night before the hangings included much music, cannon firing, speech making and similar merriment. The next morning, Mann and the other two teenaged boys were hanged in the city square of Canton before an estimated crowd of 10,000 people!

After the triple hanging, sheriffs deputies placed the three bodies in the jail corridor and permitted the entire crowd to file through and view the bodies. The public viewing lasted almost four hours, with the doors being closed at 3:30 p.m.

This was the first time the state of Ohio had executed minors.

These three young killers were featured in Daniel Right Miller’s 1903 book The Criminal Classes: Causes and Cures, which remarks (speaking of Ohr specifically) “that parental neglect, impure literature, and vicious companions were all responsible for this ruined life and forced death.”

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Entry Filed under: 19th Century,Capital Punishment,Children,Common Criminals,Crime,Death Penalty,Execution,Guest Writers,Hanged,Milestones,Murder,Ohio,Other Voices,Public Executions,Theft,USA

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1985: Kent Bowers, the last hanged in Belize

Add comment June 19th, 2017 Meaghan

(Thanks to Meaghan Good of the Charley Project for the guest post. -ed.)

On this day in 1985, murderer Kent Bowers met his death by hanging at Belize Central Prison in Hattieville. Only seventeen on the date of his crime, he had reached legal age by the time of his death.

On July 4 of the previous year, Bowers had gone to the Sueno Beliceño restaurant in Belize City, where Francis and Dora Codd were having a private party to celebrate their 25th anniversary. Bowers hadn’t been invited to the party, and he was asked to leave. The Codds’ son Robert escorted him to the door, but outside, a struggle ensued and Bowers stabbed Robert in the chest and abdomen. The victim died within minutes and Bowers was arrested.

He pleaded self-defense at trial, but this argument went nowhere. An appeals court noted,

On the evidence of the prosecution witnesses it can hardly be said that the accused in producing a knife and stabbing indiscriminately was acting in self defence. None of the persons around him were armed, two were women and their efforts were directed to separating the appellant and the deceased rather than to attacking the appellant. Indeed it was never suggested to any of the witnesses in cross examination that anyone had struck the appellant or threatened him.

Kent Bowers was convicted on October 23; the death sentence was mandatory. 2,500 people signed a petition for clemency, but it was denied.

Bowers’s crime and execution were fairly forgettable, but for one detail: as of this writing, he remains the last man to have been hanged in Belize.

The death penalty is still on the books, however. Glenford Baptist was the most recent death row prisoner; he was convicted in 2001, and in 2015, his death sentence was commuted to 25 years.

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Entry Filed under: 20th Century,Belize,Capital Punishment,Children,Common Criminals,Crime,Death Penalty,Execution,Guest Writers,Hanged,Milestones,Murder,Other Voices

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1622: Sultan Osman II

1 comment May 20th, 2017 Headsman

On this date in 1622, the deposed Ottoman Sultan Osman II was strangled in Yedikule Fortress.

A boy-emperor still in his 18th year at death, Osman had been the subject of a strange succession dispute: his father died in 1617, but with multiple underaged princes available to succeed him, the throne had been placed in the hands of a mentally disturbed uncle instead.

Osman was able to depose this man, but at his age — and without the steadying maternal hand* so necessary in the “Sultanate of Women” era — he was always an underdog to the Porte’s political snakepit.

Osman would be an early casualty of an intractable administrative problem for the Ottomans: curbing the Praetorian-like power of that clique of European-born warrior elites, the Janissaries.

Irritated by a battlefield reversal in Europe, Osman showed his young backside to the Janissaries by having their officers discipline them and exploring the feasibility a replacement force of Muslim-born Anatolians.

Thus while Osman prepared for an expedition to the southern reaches of his realm, the disaffected infantrymen answered their sultan’s ire with a rising of its own, one which Osman imperiously refused to pay in the customary coin of executed courtiers and policy concessions. He was accordingly deposed for that same disturbed uncle he had supplanted, and the unhappy Osman

was thrust into a cart by the wrestler Bunyan and strangled within the walls of the Seven Towers. The Jebbehji-bashi cut off one of his ears and carried it with the news of his murder to [new regime Grand Vizier] Davud Pasha. His body was buried in the At-maidân in the mausoleum of Sultan Ahmed Khan [Osman’s father]. He was cut off by fate before he could leave any monument of his reign. (Source)

Allegedly (via this detailed pdf breakdown of his fall), Osman cried to the mob as the cart hauled him to his dungeon, “Yesterday morning I was a sultan, now I am naked. Pity me, learn a lesson from my misfortune! This world shall not stay yours forever!”

* His European mother was either dead or in exile; she does not factor in Osman’s story; it was most typical during this period for a harem mother to sustain a prince in power by mastering Topkapi Palace’s labyrinthine internal politics.

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Entry Filed under: 17th Century,Borderline "Executions",Children,Execution,Heads of State,History,Ottoman Empire,Royalty,Strangled,Summary Executions,Turkey

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1947: Garlon Mickles, the last hanged in Hawaii

1 comment April 22nd, 2017 Headsman


Seattle Times, April 22, 1947.

On this date in 1947, U.S. Army Private Garlon Mickles was hanged at a place called “execution gulch” in Honolulu’s Schofield Barracks.

Mickles had enlisted three years before, the 16-year-old son of a St. Louis laundress. (“Tell my mother I died like a man,” were his reported words to the chaplain.)

According to Associated Press reports, army engineers frustrated peeping eyes by “put[ting] up a smoke screen to shield the gallows from the view of the curious.”

He was convicted of raping and robbing a female War Department employee on Guam, where he was stationed with the Twentieth Air Force — from which staging-point the unit conducted bombing raids on mainland Japan. (The Enola Gay, which dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, was part of the 20th.)

Mickles appears to be the last person ever executed on the Hawaiian islands, and also an unusual overlook by the Espy File of U.S. executions, from which he’s totally absent.

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Entry Filed under: 20th Century,Capital Punishment,Children,Crime,Death Penalty,Disfavored Minorities,Execution,Guam,Hanged,Hawaii,Milestones,Racial and Ethnic Minorities,Rape,Soldiers,Theft,U.S. Military,USA

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1731: Six malefactors at Tyburn

Add comment March 6th, 2017 Headsman

The Ordinary of Newgate, His Account of the Behaviour, Confessions, and Dying Words, of the Malefactors, Who were Executed at Tyburn, On Monday the 6th of this Instant March, 1731.

Being the Third Execution in the Mayoralty of the Rt. Hon. Francis Child, Esq;
Number III. For the said Year.

LONDON:
Printed and Sold by JOHN APPLEBEE, in Bolt-Court, neat the Leg-Tavern, Fleet-street. M.DCC.XXXI.
[Price Three-Pence.]

The Ordinary of Newgate, His Account of the Behaviour, Confession, &c.

At the King’s Commission of Oyer and Terminer, and Goal-Delivery of Newgate, held (before the Right Hon. Francis Child, Esq ; Lord Mayor of the City of London; the Hon. Mr. Baron Thompson, Recorder of the City of London; the Hon. Mr. Justice Lee; the Worshipful Mr. Serjeant Urlin, Deputy Recorder of the City of London, and others his Majesty’s Justices of Oyer and Terminer, for the City of London, and Justices of the Goal-Delivery of Newgate, holden for the said City and County of Middlesex) at Justice-Hall in the Old-Bailey, on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, being the 23d, 24th and 25th of February, 1731-2, in the Fifth Year of his Majesty’s Reign.

Seven Men, viz. Thomas Smith, Thomas Faxton, Thomas Past, Thomas Edwards, Edward Dale, Thomas Andrews and Samuel Burrard; and one Woman Jane French, were by the Jury capitally Convicted, and receiv’d Sentence of Death.

When under Sentence, they were Instructed in the first Principles of Religion, that the great God of Heaven and Earth created them for excellent Ends and Purposes, to glorify him, and to enjoy him forever: and that the Way to glorify God was, to serve him sincerely and with uprightness of Heart, to dedicate themselves wholly and without reserve, Souls and Bodies unto God, as a living Sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is their reasonable Service; to order their Lives and Conversations aright in a present, evil World, with consciences void of Offence towards God and towards Man; to abstain from every appearance of Evil, hating even the Garment spotted by the Flesh, as the Apostle expresseth it, i.e. abhoring and forsaking all manner of Sin, consenting to nothing forbidden by the Law of God, but endeavouring to please him in every Thing, to Walk before him as Enoch did, in all our Actions, to behave our selves as in the Presence of God, whose all-seeing Eye is still over us, and however we may conceal our doings from Men, yet they will one Day be expos’d before Angels and Men, by Almighty God who hath appointed one to judge the World in righteousness: And as we ought to abstain from all Evil, so it is our Duty to work righteousness, to perfect holiness in the Fear of God, to advance and make progress in the Ways of the Lord, from Grace to Grace, until in End Grace be consummated in Glory. I told them particularly, that this is life eternal, to know the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom he hath sent; to know God in his nature, that he is the Sovereign Supream Being, existing independantly in and of himself, who is the same to Day, Yesterday and forever; and in his attributes, that he is infinite in all his perfections of holiness, and therefore where-ever he beholds a pure Creature, endow’d with this excellent divine Quality, he loves the same, as the Resemblance of his own Image of justice, and therefore he takes vengence upon the Transgressors of his Laws, in inflicting deserved Punishments upon them, though Hand join in Hand, The Wicked shall not be unpunished: Prov. xi. 21. of his goodness, in Relieving the Oppressed, Sympathizing with the distressed, and Comforting the Comfortless, so that he hath promised to be a Father to the Fatherless, Husband to the Widow, and to help them who are Oppressed and Distressed, &c. I taught them that it was absolutely necessary to believe in Christ, this is to know hi whom God hath sent, for him hath God the Father sent to reveal and interpret the Mind and Will of God unto the Blind, ignorant World, him hath God exalted at his right Hand, to the highest Dignity in the Heavens, to be a Prince and a Saviour, to give Repentance and Remission of Sins unto his People, this is the only Mediator betwixt God and Man, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave himself Ransome for all, to be testify’d in due Time; as St. Paul saith, He came into the World to save Sinners, of whom I am chief: While he was in the World, he went about doing good, and made it his constant Business and Employment to do Good unto the Bodies of Men, and unto their Souls; for so it is written of, him, He came to seek and to save that which was lost: He healed those who were oppressed with the Power and Possession of the Devil; he took Pity upon all those who were in Distress and Calamity, in curing all of them of their Infirmities and Diseases; and therefore it is said of him, How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost, and with Power; who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the Devil; for God was with him. Acts 1[0]. 38. And not only did he thus heal Men of their bodily Diseases, but his great Work was, to rectify their Mistakes in Matters of Religion, and to reclaim them unto the Knowledge of the Truth, from which they were then turned aside, having degenerated into Idolatry, Superstition, and gross Ignorance: This he did, that their Souls in the Great Day of the Lord might be happy; and this was not only his Business, but his Delight: I delight to do thy Will, O my God, Psal. xl. 8. Yea, he took such Pleasure in this blessed Work, that he expresseth himself as afraid that he had not Time for Accomplishment thereof; I must work the Works of him that sent me, while it is Day; the Night cometh when no Man can work, St. John ix. 4.

Having instructed them in those first Principles of all Religion, and particularly of Christianity, to be holy in Heart and Life, as God is holy, and blameless in all manner of Life and Conversation; to imitate our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Example of those who through Faith and Patience have inherited the Promises: Then I show’d them, that this manner of Life was the only Way to Happiness; for without Holiness no man can see the Lord, Heb. xii. 14. This is the Way to Eternal Life; to trace the Steps of the Blessed Jesus: Holiness and Virtue, in endeavouring to keep ourselves pure and unspotted from the World, to be beneficial to the Souls and Bodies of Men, is that eternal Life begun here, the Consummation whereof is to be in Heaven hereafter, where all Sorrow and Tears shall be wiped away from our Eyes. This is the secondary, the great, the main End of our Being, to enjoy God for ever; to be eternally happy in Heaven, in the immediate Vision and Fruition of Almighty God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, of Jesus the Mediator of the New Covenant; in the Company of Blessed Angels and Spirits of just Men made perfect, World without end.

Having thus represented unto them that Life which becomes a reasonable christian Man, I took occasion, in applying this Doctrine, to show them, what an irregular, vicious, abominable and corrupted Life they had led, contrary to the Light and Law of Nature, to all Revelation, and especially to our most holy Christian Faith; and therefore I exhorted them to renew themselves by a sincere Repentance, to turn unto God with their whole Hearts, to put on firm Resolutions of new Obedience, and to employ the few remaining Moments of their time in fearing, praising, and loving God, which Duties they had neglected in the preceding Part of their Lives, and which Negligence, to their Grief, Sorrow and Perplexity, had now expos’d them to all those miserable Misfortunes, Calamities and Inconveniences which they were lying under.

I likewise expos’d to them the Evil of Theft and Robbery, how contrary it was to, and how destructive of all human Society and Conversation; and therefore the Laws of all well-ordered Kingdoms and Commonwealths had found it necessary to enact Penalties against those who commit such Crimes; and how fatal it was in its Consequences, as being commonly attended with Murder, which one of themselves, (viz. Past) had been guilty of in one of his wicked Adventures, as he himself declared.

I endeavour’d also to instil into them some Knowledge of the Christian Sacraments, by showing how proper it was to participate in Christ’s Body and Blood, by receiving the Blessed Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, as a good mean to dispose and prepare them for a better World.

While many such Exhortations were given, all of them behav’d with Decency and Gravity; Past, Andrews, and Brown, al. Burrard, made regular Responses; Edwards and Dale could not read, but were quiet and attentive; Thomas Smith was opprest with Sickness, but otherwise carried himself well; Jane French came to Chappel when she was able, and was apparently serious; Faxton never came to Chappel, not being able to rise from his Bed, by reason of excessive Sickness: When I first visited him, he heard nothing; so after I had prayed for him, I was oblig’d to go away without getting Speech of him; but when he recovered his Senses, he declar’d himself penitent, and was very desirous of Prayers and Admonitions.

These three, who were sick in the Cells, when they were visited, they express’d no small Concern and Penitence; the rest did not seem so affected, as might be thought necessary; only Andrews, in coming to and going from Chappel, and in the Cells, after the Dead Warrant came out, cried and wept very much; but whether out of a sincere Repentance, or Fear of Death, we leave it to the Readers to judge upon.

Upon Friday, the 3d of March, 1731, the Report of the said 8 Malefactors was made to his Majesty in Council; when Edward Dell alias Dale, of the Liberty of the Tower, for breaking and entering the House of John Davis, and taking from thence a silk Hankerchief value 3 s. on the 11th of February about eight at Night; and Jane, alias Catherine French, for stealing 7 Moidores, 3 Broad-pieces, 2 Guineas, 2 Gold Rings, value 20 s 2 Handkerchiefs, value 3 s. and 2 Tin Canisters, value 18 d. the Money and Goods of John Smith, February the 7th, receiv’d his Majesty’s most gracious Reprieve: The other six, viz. Thomas Smith, Thomas Faxton, Thomas Past, Thomas Edwards, Thomas Andrews, and Samuel Burrard were order’d for Execution.

I. George Brown, alias Samuel Burrard, alias Johnson, (whose true Name as he said was Chairman Borrowstown) was indicted, for that he, in the 3d Year of his present Majesty, was ordered for Transportation, and that he did return before the Expiration of seven Years.

George Brown, alias Samuel Burrard, near 22 Years of Age, as he said, of honest respected Parents, born in the City of Bath, though afterwards his Father liv’d in Bristol; had good Education at School in reading English, in Latin, Writing, Arithmetick, Book-keeping, &c. to fit him for Business. When of Age, he was put on Board a Man of War to train him for the Sea, and there he served three Years with Approbation; and afterwards he serv’d in inferiour Stations in other King’s Ships, but had not patience to wait for Preferment: He also went some Voyages in Merchant-men, and at times had been over great Part of America and the West Indies, and at many other Places of the World; but he was naturally of too roving a Disposition, to keep one constant and honest Employment, being the most avow’d Imposter, Cheat, and Lyar that ever was born; so that it is a great Question, if any of the Accounts he gave of himself be true, since he brought himself into such a gross Habit of Lying, that he could scarcely speak a true Word, as he himself did own, and as I found out in some Instances. His Father observing his wicked and vicious Temper, advised him to go in the Dutch East India Service; but he said he lov’d the Air of Old England best, and that he always thought that the properest Place for the Scene of his Rogueries. However, he gave the old Man the Slip, and went a Voyage to Guinea and the West Indies; and when he came home, his next Voyage was to Turky; and, as he said, he had not been in London above two or three Days before he was taken up for returning from Transportation. He said also, he was in a fair Way to get a Ship trading to the Mediterranean or Turky, if he had been at Liberty. He likewise said, that he had served as Master of a Sloop to Boloign in Normandy; and that he was Mate of a Sloop laden with Salt, which went to Cromarty-Firth in the North of Scotland; and that at one time or other he had been over most of South and North Britain, having visited most of the eminent Cities and Towns, as Edinburgh, York, Leith, &c. so that it may be thought he had more Business by Land than by Sea, and that, according to the Accounts he gave of himself, he must have been some Years older than he gave out.

As to the Fact of which he was Convicted, he denied that he took any such Coat as they swore to, and as to the Horse he was taken up for, he said he was Lame and could not carry him out of the Way, and that he only left him with a Black-Smith to be shoed, and that upon calling for him they got him again: Otherwise he own’d that he was transported, but that he made his Escape and never went Abroad. The Cause of his Transportation was, as he said, the Pawning of the Pinnate of a King’s Ship in the River for 2 or 3 Pots of Beer, but he was so noted for lying, that he scarce knew how to speak a true Word: so that if there be any inconsistence in his Accounts, it must be imputed to his Way of Speaking. He sadly lamented his unluckly Fate, alledging that he was of better Parents than ordinary, and saying that he particularly repented of his Disobedience to his Parents, and dispising his Father’s good Advice. He behav’d always very well in Chapel and professed a deep Penitence. He said that he was an unworthy Son of an Hon. Gentleman: I sent to some Persons in Town, who knew that Family, to enquire about the Truth of this; they told me, that they knew of no such Man; upon which I concluded that he had told a Lye: And upon questioning him he own’d the Same. He came once to a Publick House in Town very well dressed asking for Lodgings; the Master of the House straiten’d for Room, recommended him to the Company of another Gentleman: No sooner was the Gentleman Asleep but he stole his Breeches, slipt down Stairs, open’d a Sash Window, gutted the Breeches of a Silver Watch, 2 Guineas and other little Things he thought convenient for him, and then he went off. This Gentleman coming to Newgate-Prison knew him; but he denied all with a Face of impudence, and abus’d the Gentleman with saucy Words; although afterwards he own’d to me that it was all true. Two or three Days before he died, three Gentlemen came from Bromley in Kent, to inquire about a Silver Watch, a Cloak and some other Things; he gave them some Satisfaction, and told them were they might recover some of their Things, one of the Bromley Men said, if he had demanded it, he would have trusted him with 500, and another with 50 or 100l. so well did he Act the Impostor. His Way was to go finely drest, with silver or gold Lace upon his Cloaths, with a fine Sword, Wig, &c. mounted upon a fine Horse, and that only borrow’d to serve his Occasion, and then in strange Towns to insinuate himself into the Company of the Richest Gentlemen or Inhabitants, from whom by cunning and artifice coming to the Knowledge of their Circumstances, he often extorted and cheated them of large Sums of Money. He always pretended that he was of great Parents and had very good Relations, having a Stock of Impudence to personate from the Prince to the Beggar.

He appeared to have been a young Man capable of Business, but own’d that he was sunk in Vice; that he was rotten with the Foul Disease;* that he had been one of the most notorious Livers and Impostors ever was; so that he may be compar’d to one who is still a living Monument of Misery, for the innumerable Villanies and Impostures of his past Life. He said, that he was such a wicked and profligate Youth, that he died justly, and did not desire to live longer. He declar’d his Faith in Christ, that he repented of all his Sins, and died in Charity with all Men.

2. Thomas Edwards and Thomas Past were indicted for assaulting Edward Prior, Clerk, on the Highway, putting him Fear, and taking from him a Hat, value 15 s. a Hatband, value 1 s. 6 d. a silk Scarf, value 6 s. and 4 s. in Money, January 26.

Thomas Past, 23 Years of Age, of honest Parents in Twittenham, had Education at School in reading, writing and Accompts to fit him for Business, and was instructed in religious Principles. When of Age, his Father bred him to his own Business of making of Bricks ; when he was weary of this, he learned to be a Waterman, and he followed either of these Employments when he thought fit, but neither of them to any Purpose. He used to dress himself neat for a Man of his Station, and to go to Houses in the Mint, where he met with Companies of young Women, with whom and others he spent his Time in drinking and dancing. This Practice becoming habitual made him love Idleness, and was the Foundation of his utter Ruin and Destruction; for the Companions he met with in these ill Houses advised him to the Highway, and all Sorts of wicked Courses. For three Years past he was one of the most profligate and abandon’d Wretches in the World, having spent all the Day in drinking, whoring, and gaming, and the Night in going out upon his unlawful Purchases, minding nothing of Religion or any thing that was good. He exclaimed mightily against wicked Women, and blam’d them for his Misfortunes. He married two Wives, one in Twittenham and another in Town, with whom he cohabited of late, but neither of them own’d him under his last Calamity: Besides these, whom he called his Wives, he was familiar with great Numbers of other Women. He was one of the most notorious Street-Robbers, having committed, as he believ’d, above an hundred Street-Robberies. At length he was taken up, and admitted an Evidence against Yates and some others, who were executed last Year; and he was only let out of Prison, nine or ten Weeks ago, upon his Parents and Friends promising to send him forthwith to Sea, they having provided a Captain for that Purpose; but as his Parents and some of his nearest Relations were in a publick House, intending immediately to put him on board, he went to the Door, pretending to make Water, and ran away, and they never saw him again ’till after he was taken up and capitally convicted; when last Week his old Father and Aunt coming to see him, they cried out bitterly in a Flood of Tears, whilst he stood obdurate; and his Mother, as they told me, who made him her Fondling, and indulg’d him above all her other Children, is now turned almost crazy, and cannot come Abroad, being inconsolable with Grief. Being asked by one, how he could appear so hardened when his Father and Aunt were so greatly concern’d for him? he said, he had unspeakable Grief and Vexation upon his Mind, though he could not express it outwardly. He gave an Account of some of his Villanies in writing, the Substance of which is as follows.

His own Account in writing.

Being Apprentice, I went to London to receive my Christmas-Box: At Hammersmith I met with one Mary Monny, and staid with her about a Week. My Money being spent, I went home to my Master, who receiv’d me. A Fortnight after I went to her again, but my Father brought me to my Master, and then I consented to go to Sea, and went on board; but she coming down persuaded me to leave the Ship, which I did, and liv’d with her about half a Year: after this we married, and then I went on board again, and staid till the Ship was paid off. Coming home I ply’d to my Business half a Year, but my Master would employ me no longer. Coming to London, I lodg’d in the Mint, where I broke open a Box, and took away a Wig, but no more, though several other Things were in it; for my Heart failed me: Next I went over to Shoreditch, and got in with M. V. and then I went upon the Highway.

The first Robbery we did was beyond Newington, where we took from a Footman about 12 s. We Robbed also another Man and two Women. We met also with a Man near the same Place, and stopping him he run away; he that was with me said, Shoot him, I Shot at him, and am afraid I kill’d him. A great many Robberies we did that way. Between Islington and London, we Robbed a Brewer of 13 d. 1/2 d. but missed 15 Guineas, which we hear’d he had sow’d up in the Waste-band of his Breeches. On the other side of the Water, we Robbed a Man of 8 s. then I left that Partner, and got acquainted with William Yates and John Armstrong, and went out with them. We Robb’d a Coach beyond St. Giles’s-Pound, of 13 s. and a Gold Watch; and coming into Holbourn, we Rob’d another Coach, and stopped two more Coaches, but the People crying out, we were forced to run away; and then William B. was taken. William Yates and I went to Hockley in the Hole, where we stopp’d a Chariot and Four, and took from the Gentleman 4 s. a silver Watch and a silver hilted Sword; then I was taken up, and admitted Evidence against Yates, &c. when I got out again, I and another stopp’d and rob’d a Coach by Hogsdon. After which I was soon taken up, upon George Mason’s Information. After I got last out, I went with Tom P. and Thomas Edwards and James Triplam, and Rob’d a Squire of his Hat and Wigg, and snatch’d of Hats off of Mens Heads in the Streets, especially in Bishopsgate-street. We rob’d a Parson of 4 s. and his Hat and Scarf, for which I Die.

In Shore Ditch there I did Dwell,
Where many People knows me well;
In Brandy Shops I did use,
And lewd Women I did choose.
A wicked Sinner I have been,
In Whoring and in other things;
Two Wives I have been Married to,
Which now alas! does make me rue.
I freely forgive every Body,
And hope they will forgive me.

The Man whom he says he Shot at Newington, he said, that he heard that he died of his Wound; so that he was guilty of Murther, which troubled his Conscience very much; and he could not Die in Peace till he made Confession thereof; although he at first denied it to me, that he had ever been guilty that way. I exhorted him to Repent of that Sin in particular, and to pray to God, that he might be wash’d in the Blood of Jesus, which speaks better things than that of Abel; that all his Sins, particularly that of spilling innocent Blood might be Pardon’d. He declar’d his Faith in Christ, that he repented of all his Sins, and died in Peace with all the World.

3. Thomas Edwards, not full 16 Years of Age, Born in Spittle-Fields, of honest Parents; his Father left him young, and his Mother took care of his Education, but he was of such a perverse disposition, that, although they put him to School, he would learn nothing, and continu’d in great Ignorance of Christian Principles. They put him to a Weaver, which was his Father’s Trade, but not willing to follow that, they put him to another Business, which he likewise quickly left off, and took himself to Black-guarding, Picking, Stealing, Shop-lifting, Drinking, &c. And he also got in with some infamous Women, who were so base as to bear him Company, though he was but a Child, and to advise him to those wicked courses, which speedily brought him to the Halter. He lov’d to visit the Prisoners in Newgate, where he got acquainted with Past; and after he got last out of the Prison, when they met and drank together, Past advised young Edwards to go with them upon Street-Robberies. Edwards, void of all grace and virtue, and formerly accustom’d to nothing but Pilfering, Thieving, Shop-lifting, &c. and being a villain ingrain’d, readily complied with this hellish advice; and Providence favour’d him so far, that he was prevented from doing farther mischief, he being apprehended for the first and last Fact ever he did, which was the Robbing Mr. Prior the Minister; for which both Past and he were deservedly brought to conding Punishment. He was an obstinate, obdur’d Boy, and utterly corrupted in his Morals from the Cradle. Among other things he confessed, that he was a great Drinker of Drams, and that he was often in Company with lewd Women, both before he was taken up, and in the Prison before his Trial; and that he only delighted in the company of Whores, Thieves and Robbers, and shun’d the conversation of all good and virtuous People. He professed Penitence, and sometimes cried a little. He declared that he believ’d in Christ, and died in Peace with all Mankind.

4. Thomas Andrews, of Bishop’s-Gate, was Indicted for breaking and entering the House of John Wragg, and Stealing 8 Plates, value 9 s. 7 Dishes, value 14 s. a Tea-kettle, value 3 s. 3 brass Candlesticks, value 18 d. a Woman’s Cloak, a at, a Cloth-Coat, and other things, the Goods of John Wragg, the 17th of January last, about two in the Morning.
Thomas Andrews, 23 years of Age, of honest Parents in Shadwell-Parish, was educated at School to fit him for Business, and instructed in religious Principles. When of Age, he serv’d his Time honestly to a Glazier; and then kept a little Shop in that Parish, where the Neighbourhood look’d well upon him. Some time ago Drinking with some Soldiers, they persuaded him to take on. After this, he said, he never did more good, but gave up his Shop, and left that part of the Town. Meeting with a Country Girl, he fell in Love with her, and they agreed to Marry, and had a good Dinner provided; but the Morning of the intended Marriage Day, the Brides Mother came to Town and hurried away to New-Market; upon this disappointment, he made merry with his Friends, and Solemniz’d the nuptual Feast; but when he came to reflect on the affront he had met with, he turn’d quite crazy, and could not well apply himself (as he said) either to the Duty of a Soldier, or to his own employment. He once behaved undiscreetly to his Officer, but they looking upon him as little better than Mad, inflicted no punishment, but order’d him home to his Quarters. He said, that he never was a Thief nor Robber, although some of the evidence against him declar’d, that they suspected him Guilty of Pilfering and indirect Practices, before he committed the Burglary for which he died. He own’d the Fact of which he was convicted, as it was Sworn against him, and alledg’d that he had a mind to make away with himself, but rather chose to commit a Robbery or Burglary, which was sure way to get himself rid of the World by the Hands of another.

As to the murthering of his Uncle, he declared he never intended any such Thing; and if he spoke any Word to that Purpose, that he was certainly out of his Senses and knew nothing of it. Notwithstanding his pretended Weariness of Life, yet he often cried and wept like a Child when he saw he must die; and being asked the Reason, he could give no Account thereof, but that it was a terrible Thing to look Death in the Face. He behaved always very well in Chappel, and was apparently devout and serious; he owned that he had been a great Sinner in whoring, drinking, and Company-keeping, though not so desperately wicked, as commonly these abandon’d Wretches are: He declar’d that he believ’d in Jesus Christ his only Saviour; that he sincerely repented of all his Sins, and forgave all Injuries done him, as he expected Forgiveness from God.

5. Thomas Faxton and Thomas Smith of Hackney were indicted for assaulting William Davis on the Highway, putting him in Fear, and taking from him a Hat, value 3 s. and 9 d. half-penny in Money, the 30th of January last.

Thomas Smith, 19 Years of Age, of honest Parents, his Father dying and leaving him young, the Mother Educated him at School, but he being a vicious, sensless and cross Boy, did little or no good that Way, only when he pleased, he sold any small Thing, or went about doing any little Matter for his Mother. When of Age, his Mother put him to a Stocking-Weaver, but he not liking that Trade, soon wearied of it, vex’d and teas’d his poor Mother and left it. Then she bound him to a Fish-monger, with him he stay’d for some Time, and then his Master dying, his Mistress resolv’d to turn him over to another, but he by no Means could be persuaded to engage with a second Master, but went to Sea on Board a Man of War, was in the Fleet at Spithead, and stay’d out about three Years, having serv’d with Approbation, till such Time as the Ship was discharg’d. Then coming home, he went no more Aboad but stay’d with his Mother, and went about the Streets with a Basket, selling Pololian Puddings or Sasuages, which the Mother made for Sale. This Way he got his Bread and might have done very well, till some more settl’d Business had presented, but being of a vicious Disposition, and in his straggling Way, meeting with all sorts of idle, wicked People, he could not be content, but though beholding the miserable Fate of vile Miscreants every Day, yet he resolv’d to forsake all industry and virtue, and to follow thieving, stealing and robbing on the Highway and Streets in the City. In Prosecution of this villainous Purpose, falling into the Company of Thomas Faxton new come from Sea, they contracted an intimacy, and keeping themselves in a Merry Mood, they resolv’d to go a robbing and stopping People upon the Highway: Accordingly being a little elevated with Gin, they went out with a desperate Resolution of attacking the first Person they met with, and in the Hackney Road, they first happen’d to re-encounter with William Davis the Prosecutor, whom Smith commanded Faxton to fall upon with a drawn Knife; Faxtons Courage failing, or his Conscience checking him, upon undertaking such a desperate Attempt, Smith swore furiously at him, D-d him if he did not stop that Man, he would stab him Dead, having a sharp Knife ready drawn in his Hand for that Purpose, with which he threaten’d him; Faxton hovering, and in doubt what to do, yet in accomplishment of their wicked Resolution, and perhaps fearing that Murder might fall out between themselves, he stop’d the Man, and swore he would cut his Throat, or kill him Dead, if he did not immediately deliver, while Smith was standing by ready to receive, or take from him, what Money or Goods Davis had about him. Mr. Davis forc’d to obey, gave Smith a silver Groat, and Five-pence Half-penny, and then he took his Hat and gave him another worth nothing. This happened about Eleven o’Clock, or towards Midnight, yet William Davis meeting with some People on his Way, they pursued and took them immediately. Faxton confess’d before the Justice, hoping to be allow’d as an Evidence against Smith; on which Account, when they were going to Newgate, Smith, said, you whiddling Dog, now you have hang’d yourself and me too, but if I had a Knife, I’d cut your Throat. At an other Time, Smith expressed himself that if he were hang’d, he (meaning Faxton) should be hang’d too. And when Faxton confessed before the Justice Smith clasp’d his Hands together and said, D-m his precious Eyes and Limbs, – that Word has hang’d us both, but I won’t be hang’d alone. If I had a Knife, I would stick you this Minute, and will do it before next Sessions. Smith also said to the Prosecutor, Old Man if you’ll give me a Groat in Half-pence, I’ll tell you where you may find your silver Groat. Mr. Davis gave him what he demanded, and by his Directions he found the silver Groat at a Place in Hackney. This is the first and last Highway Robbery either of them ever committed. Faxton alledg’d that he was perswaded by Smith to go upon the Highway. I ask’d him if it was so? He called him a lying Rogue, and said they were both equally culpable. Both of them took up with Women the Night before this happen’d, and after one Nights enjoyment of their sweet Choice, they were both taken up, and their Mistresses saw them no more. They were provided with no Weapons but Knives, yet if they had liv’d, they were fully resolved to continue in the wicked Courses they had begun. Smith was very ignorant of Religion; I endeavour’d what I could to instruct him, but he was so sick and deaf, that it cannot be suppos’d, he could attain much Knowledge. He behav’d always very well both in Chapel, and when I visited him in the Cells. He had been a disobedient, cross, wicked, vicious and evil-dispos’d Boy. He declar’d that he hop’d for Salvation through the Mercy of God in Christ; that he was heartily sorry for, and sincerely repented of all the Sins of his Life; and that he was in perfect Peace with all Men.

6. Thomas Faxton, about 19 Years of Age, of honest Parents in Town, who gave him very good Education at School, in reading, writing, and Cyphering, to fit him for Business; and got him instructed in Christian Principles. When he was of Age, they bound him to a Sea Captain, whom he serv’d with Approbation for some Years, and then he went some Voyages to Sea, in Ships of War, and Merchant-men to different Places. All this time, as his Father-in-law, and Mother told me, he was still a good Child, and carried himself decently both towards his Parents, Relations and Others. Being lately come from Sea, and having Lodgings in White-Chapel, or Shoreditch Parish, he met with Thomas Smith in Brandy Shops, where they contracted their Acquaintance; and Smith gave those wicked Advices to Faxton, as is above Narrated, which suddenly brought them both to a speedy Destruction. Thomas Faxton was grievously Afflicted with Sickness, both before, and after his Conviction; so that he was never able to come to Chapel, nor to rise off of his Couch, all the short time they were under Sentence, till the Morning they died, when they carried, or help’d him up and down Stairs. As I visited him in the Cell, he could not move, was Senseless and could hear nothing, till within a day or two of his Death, he recovered a little, and seem’d somewhat better; then he could speak but little, and all the Account he gave of himself was, that he had not been so Wicked, as a number of other ill-dispos’d young Men are; and that he had always been Industrious in following his Employment; honest in all his Dealings, and respectful to his Parents; and that he went to Church sometimes, and was desirous to live in the fear of God: And the only thing Ruin’d him was, his meeting with a Company of base Valets in drinking Places, and Thomas Smith advising him to engage in such desperate Courses, as we have formerly given Account. As to the Robbery and Circumstances thereof, and their Amours preceeding the same, as is above mentioned, he could not deny the Truth thereof. He acknowledg’d, that he had been too negligent of God and Religion, and that therefore the Lord had in Justice Afflicted him for his first Crime, which prevented a great many Villainies and abominable Crimes, he probably might have committed. He appear’d to be a young Fellow of some good Dispositions, but was at once Ruin’d by bad Company. He seem’d to be a true Penitent, and declar’d his Faith in God’s Mercy through Christ: That he was heartily grieved for all the Sins of his Life, particularly those heinous Crimes for which he Suffer’d; and that he died in Peace with all the World.

At the Place of EXECUTION.

They all appear’d apparently, in a devout Manner. Thomas Past, upon his entering into the Cart at Newgate, addressed himself to the numerous Spectators in the Street, who were waiting their coming out, and earnestly desir’d all young People to take example from him, who was now to Suffer most justly and deservedly, for the unaccountable naughtiness of his Life; for his notorious disobedience to indulgent Parents, whose favours he had made an occasion of habituating himself to vile Company, which afterwards brought him into the Commission of those Crimes, for which his Days were in the Prime cut short. At the place, he own’d that he had been a most flagitious Sinner, but hop’d he had made his peace with God. When Prayers and all were over, he spoke to the Multitude, to the same purpose as before.

And last of all, he deliver’d a Paper clos’d up to some Person, but it was not to be open’d, till they came to the House where they carried his Body. Thomas Edwards, own’d himself to have been one of the most Villainous, naughty Boys that ever was. He wept and cry’d in great plenty, as he had frequently done before. Mr. Brown, said he had been a most wicked young Man, but that he sincerely repented of all his Sins, and hop’d for mercy from God, through the merits of our blessed Redeemer. Andrews, Smith and Faxton, had no more to add to their former Confessions, only that they sincerely Repented, and were in Peace with all Men. They went off the Stage, crying to God to have mercy upon them; and that the Lord Jesus would be pleas’d to receive their Spirits, Amen.

This is all the Account given by me,

JAMES GUTHRIE,
Ordinary of Newgate.

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This Day is publish’d,
(By Order of the Lord Mayor)

THE Proceedings at the Sessions of the Peace, and Oyer and Terminer for the City of London and County of Middlesex, held at the Old Baily, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, the last Week in February: Containing, the Tryal of Mr. Atkinson for the Murder of his Mother, by flinging her down Stairs, (which Tryal lasted four Hours, the Evidences on both Sides being so very long) with the Tryals of the eight Persons that receiv’d Sentence of Death, viz. Thomas Edwards and Thomas Past, for robbing the Rev. Mr. Prior in the Street; Thomas Smith and Thomas Faxton, for robbing Mr. Davis on the Highway; Jane French, for Stealing out of Mr. Smith’s House 14 l. 10 s. in Money, and two Gold Rings; George Brown (with two or three alias’s to his Name) for returning from Transportation; Thomas Andrews and Edward Dale, alias Dell, for Burglary. Also the Tryals of James Tripland, for a Street-Robbery; and John Tapper for the Murder of John Cannon; with the several other Tryals of the Sessions.

Printed for J. Roberts in Warwick-Lane. Price 6 d.

Where may be had,
The former Sessions Papers of this Mayoralty. The First Contains, The Remarkable Tryals of Seven Street-Robbers, all (young Fellows) and Three notorious House-Breakers, (who were all Executed at Tyburn) also the Tryal of Duvries the Jew, for Forging an Acceptance to a Bill of Exchange for 450 l. on Peter Victorin, (for which he was sentenc’d to pay a Fine of 200 l. to stand in the Pillory at the Royal Exchange, to be Imprison’d for a Year, and to give Security for his good Behaviour for two Years more) with the Tryal of Cherry, for the Murder of Peter Longworth, in the Artillery Ground; Of Francis Hitchcock, a Hackney Coachman , for the Murder of Daniel Hickson; Of Ellis, the Turnkey of the Gatehouse, for a Rape; and of Mr. Miller, for having two Wives; wherein is shewn the true State of the Fleet Marriages, and their Clandestine Manner of doing them; with their Method of Granting Certificates, and other Trials.

Also, The Second Sessions Paper, Part I. Containing the Trial of Middleton, for stealing Leaden Coffins, and Brass Handles and Nails from Coffins, in Bow Church Vault, &c. Also the Trial of Robert Hallam, for the barbarous Murder of his own Wife, by flinging her out of the Window, when big with Child, (for which he was Executed.) Of Corbet Vezey, for locking his Wife up in a Garret, upwards of a Twelve Month, whereby she was starved to Death: And the Trial of George Scroggs, who was Executed at Tyburn, for robbing the Rev. Mr. Bellinger on the Highway, at Tottenham, and other Trials. Price 6 d.
Likewise, The Second Part, which contains a remarkable Trial of Conway and Quan, for a Street-Robbery in Fleet-Street; of Elizabeth Caton, for stealing a Gold Watch from Benj. Chaplin, be having pick’d her up. Also, the Trial of Peter Noake, for the Murder of M. Turner, by shooting him into the Head, at the King’s-Arms Tavern in the Strand, with other Trials. Price 6 d.

N.B. These Trials are taken in a fuller and larger Manner than ever any Trials yet were done in the Sessions-Paper; therefore wou’d be of great Use to Lawyers, &c. to collect together, and bind up at the Year’s End.


An ADDRESS to the GENTLEMEN, By Dr. GREGORIUS, (Noted for his Skill in Surgery and Anatomy, as well as Physick and Chymistry.)

Who having observ’d the many specious Advertisements in the News Papers, of one and another Single Medicine, said to cure all Sorts of Gleets, and Seminal Weaknesses, which their Authors confound together, as if there were no Difference between them, has been prevail’d upon, by his Friends, in this Publick Manner, to inform, and undeceive those who have unwarily been brought into either, (or both together, as it sometimes happens, of these perplexing, draining Imbecilities.

That where the Gleeting is only from a Laxity of the Glands in the Urethra, what leaks and drills away ie sensibly from them, through the Urinary Passage, and pots or smears the Linnen, although it may be yellowish yet being without Pain, or any ill-condition’d Disorder, is no more than Mucus, and must be cured one Way.

And where it is a Seminal Weakness, that which slips away involuntarily, though it be thin, watery, and unelaborate, either by itself, in the Day-time, or a Nights too frequently, or profusely in the Sleep, or with the Upine, or upon Stool, whether from an Acrimony, or Derravity of the Juices, or by over straining the Spermatick Vessels, or both, is Seed, and is to be remedied as nother, inasmuch, as that Medicine which will cure the one, will not cure the other, and (vice versa) as every Practitioner that knows the Nature, Make, and different Situation of the Parts ministring to Generation, will allow; and that for want of this due Distinction, and right Application, it is, that so many People are disappointed of Cure; and by Continuance of the Gleetings, are drain’d, as they are, into Impotencies, or Infertilities, which as it hinders their Marying, gives them great Anxiety, and the more, when attended, as in some, with Pain and Weakness in the Back and Reins; or as, in others, with Difficulty, or Dribblings of the Urine in, or after making it, which at Length comes away either foul, sharp, slimy, &c. with oftentimes much worse disorders.

As this is so in Fact, and the Doctor well known to have experienc’d, in numberless Instances, the noble and neverfailing Effects of Two particular Balsamick Electuaries, which he spared no Pains or Expence to find out, the one to restrain the Mucus, and the other, the involuntary shedding of the Seed, by their respectively bracing up the Fibres, and restoring the Tone and Springiness of the relaxed Glands and Seminals, invigorating the Genitals, and fertilizing the Seed, was also perswaded to recommend their Use, that those, who, for a long while together, had tried Others Medicines for the same Weaknesses, and by their not succeeding, concluded themselves incurable, might be convinc’d by their speedy Amendment and Recovery by these, that it was not the Incurability of their Malady, but the wrong Method they had been in for Cure,

But yet, in either of the said Two Weaknesses, or where it happens that they are complicated, and have proceeded, either from Self-Abuses, excessive, or over straining Coitions, or from over Purgations in Venereal Cures, or any other Cause, as a Flux of Humours generally falls down and settles upon all weakened Parts, rendering them still the weaker, and these tender nervous Parts more especially: The first Step to be taken in order to make way for a regular and substantial Cure, (and without which it is not to be accomplished) must, in a pecular Manner, be to correct, and gently divert those Humours; and the only Medicine he could ever rely upon to do this effectually, that is to overcome the Cause, and introduce the Cure of the most difficult of these Weaknesses, (even where the Vessels had been obstructed, Manhood greatly enfeebl’d, and in some, wel igh extinct, or at least not able to touch a Woman, but ad primum labiorum contactum, semen emittunt;) has been his Preparing Pills, of which when the Patient has taken only three Doses, at due Distances he is to be gin (and not before) with one or t’other (or both together, as the Case may chance to be) of the said Two-Electuaries, which how to distinguish in, and how to proceed with, the printed Directions, wrap’d up with the Pills, do so plainly shew, that no Persons, even of the meanest Capacities, can be any Loss to understand them; but will, by their observing the easy Rules therein laid down, have their Blood and whole Body, well cleans’d and purified, the debilated Parts strengthened, and by Degrees, compleatly, and lastingly invigorated and restored, so as to be enabled quickly, and safely to Marry, without the least Need of any further, or other Advice or Medicine.

They are to be had, Price 7 s. 6 d. the Box, sealed up, ready to be deliver’d to any Messenger, upon only asking for, A Box of Pills, at Mr. Payn’s, a Bookseller, at the Crown, near Ivy Lane, in Paternoster Row; and will also; upon being taken as the Directions show, certainly and quickly Cure all fresh Injuries.

Note, The said Two Electuaries, viz, Numb, 1 for Gleets, and Numb. 2 for Seminal and Genital Weaknesses, are to be had there also Price 7 s 6 d each Pot and are likewise sealed up and to be asked for by Electuary Number 1, or Electuary Number 2.

Electuarium Mirable; or the Admirable Electuary, which infallibly cures all Degrees and Symptoms of the Secret Disease, with more Ease, Speed, and Safety, than any Medicine yet published. Any old Running, &c. tho’ of several Years standing, whether occasion’d by an Overstrain, Weakness of the Seminals or the Relicts of a former Infection, is certainly cured in a short Time, without a Minutes Confinement, Suspicion, or the Use of Astringents; being a Medicine so wonderfully pleasant and easie in its Operation, that the nicest Palate, or weakest Constitution may take it with Delight. Two Pots are generally sufficient to compleat Cure in most Cases, To be had (with Directions at large) holy of the Author, Dr. C A M, a graduate Physician, who has published it Thirty Years, and is constantly to be advised with at his House, at the Golden-Ball in Bow-Church-yard, Cheap side, at Half a Guinea the Pot.

N.B. Since nothing is more requisite, in the Cure of any Distemper, than for a Patient to have free access to his Physician; therefore beware of buying Medicines from Toy-shops, Book-sellers-shops, &c. the Authors of which are always conceal’d, and not to be Spoke with, on any Occasion: And tho’ by their specious Pretences) you are promised a cheap Cure, you’ll certainly find it very Dear in the End.

Verbum sat sapienti.

See his Books lately publish’d, viz. His Rational and Useful Account of the Secret Disease. Price 1 s. His Practicae Treatise; or Second Thoughts on the Consequences of the Venereal Disease. In Three Parts. viz. I. On the Simple Gonorrhaea Gleets and other Weaknesses, whether from Venereal Embraces Self-pollution, improperly call’d Onanism, or Natural Imbecility. II. On the Virulent Gonorrhaea, or Clap. III. On the Venereal Lues, or Grand Pox, &c. Price 2 s. His Essay on th Rheumatism and Gout. Price 6 d. His Discourse on Convulsions. Price 6 d. And his Vindication of the Practice of Salivating. Price 1 s. All sold by G. Strathan in Cornhil, E. Midwinter in St. Paul’s Church-yard, and at the Author’s House before-mentioned.


BOOKS Printed and Sold by John Applebee, in Bolt Court, near the Leg Tavern in Fleet-Street.

I. The Life of Catherine Hayes (who was Executed at Tyburn on the 9th of May, 1726, for the barbarous Murder of her Husband) giving a true and perfect Account of her Parentage, Birth, Education, &c. from the Time of her Birth, to the Hour of her Death: Together with every minute Circumstance relating to that horrid Affair. To which is added, the Lives of Thomas Wood and Thomas Billings, the two Persons concern’d with her in committing the said Murder; the Whole taken from the Mouths of the several Criminals themselves, during their Confinement in Newgate. Price Six-pence.

II. An Account of all the Robberies, Escapes, &c. of John Sheppard, giving an exact Description of the manner of his wonderful Escape from the Castle in Newgate, and of the Methods he took afterwards for his Security. Written by himself during his Confinement in the middle Stone-Room, after his being re-taken in Drury-Lane. To which is prefix’d, a true Representation of his Escape from the Condemn’d Hold, curiously engraven on a Copper Plate. Price Six-pence.

III. A true and exact Account of the Lives of Edward Burnworth, alias Frasier, William Blewit, Thomas Berry, and Emanuel Dickenson, who were Executed at Kingston on the 6th of April 1726, for the barbarous Murder of Thomas Ball in St. George’s Fields. Price Six-pence.

IV. A genuine Narative of the memorable Life and Actions of John Dyer, a notorious Highwayman and House breaker, who was Executed at Tyburn on Fryday the 21st of November, 1729, Price Six-pence.

* “The foul disease” is most easily presumed to be syphilis, but Kevin Patrick Siena cautions against glib retroactive application of modern diagnoses. “One single diagnotic term — ‘the venereal disease’ — served to describe a host of conditions that we now separate. There was one recognized venereal disease, the pox, which had a plethora of ‘symptoms,’ which included conditions like gonorrhea. It is impossible to say what individual patients ‘actually’ suffered from … [the term syphilis] was hardly ever used in the period. Far more common were the terms ‘the veneral disease,’ ‘lues venerea,’ ‘the pox,’ ‘the French Disease’ or ‘the foul disease,’ all of which stood for the same single disease-concept.”

Part of the Themed Set: The Ordinary of Newgate.

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Entry Filed under: 18th Century,Capital Punishment,Children,Common Criminals,Crime,Death Penalty,England,Execution,Hanged,History,Mass Executions,Public Executions,Theft

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1942: The massacre at the Pit

Add comment March 2nd, 2017 Headsman

On this date in 1942, the start of Purim,* Nazi forces occupying Minsk massacred approximately 5,000 Jews from the Minsk Ghetto at a site known simply as Yama, “the Pit”.

The site, which hosts memorial events every March 2, was marked with a somber obelisk in the immediate postwar years; unusually for a Stalin-era monument, it is overt about the Jewish character of the victims — for Soviet propaganda often obfuscated this with a technically-correct formulation such as “Russian citizens”. In this case, the 1940s memorial obelisk remarkably had a Yiddish inscription to mirror its Russian one. (The sculpture of a column of faceless people tragically descending the slope into the pit was added in the post-Soviet period.)


All images (cc) Dennis Jarvis.

Minsk’s pre-war Jewish population of more than 50,000 was almost entirely annihilated during World War II.

* It was not the only place in the Reich’s occupation to mark Purim with blood.

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Entry Filed under: 20th Century,Arts and Literature,Belarus,Borderline "Executions",Children,Disfavored Minorities,Execution,Germany,History,Jews,Known But To God,Mass Executions,No Formal Charge,Occupation and Colonialism,Russia,Shot,Summary Executions,USSR,Wartime Executions,Women

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1943: Dora Gerson, cabaret singer

1 comment February 14th, 2017 Headsman

Jewish cabaret singer and silent film actress Dora Gerson was gassed with her family at Auschwitz on this date in 1943.

IMDB credits the Berlin entertainer (English Wikipedia entry | the more detailed German) with two silver screen roles,* both in 1920 and both now believed lost.**

Gerson’s cabaret career was the more robust through the roaring twenties but with benefit of retrospection we admit with Liza Minelli that from cradle to tomb, it isn’t that long a stay.

And the ominous next act would not belong to Weimar Jews.

After being elbowed off German stages by Reich race laws, Gerson recorded several songs in German and Yiddish; her “Vorbei” (“Beyond Recall”) hauntingly commemorates the lost world before fascism — “They’re gone beyond recall / A final glance, a last kiss / And then it’s all over.”

Gerson fled Nazi Germany to the Netherlands; once that country fell under its own harrowing wartime occupation, she tried to escape with her family to neutral Switzerland but was seized transiting Vichy France. Gerson, her second husband Max Sluizer, and their two young children Miriam (age 5) and Abel (age 2) were all deported to Auschwitz and gassed on arrival on Valentine’s Day 1943.

* Her first marriage was to film director Veit Harlan, who would later direct the notorious anti-Semitic propaganda film Jud Süß — based on an executed Jewish financier. From the German-occupied Netherlands, Gerson unsuccessfully appealed to this powerful ex for protection.

** Future horror maven Bela Lugosi also appeared in both Gerson films, Caravan of Death and On the Brink of Paradise. Gerson’s German Wikipedia page also identifies her as the voice of the evil queen in the 1938 German-language dub of Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.

On this day..

Entry Filed under: 20th Century,Artists,Arts and Literature,Borderline "Executions",Capital Punishment,Children,Concentration Camps,Death Penalty,Disfavored Minorities,Execution,Gassed,Germany,History,Jews,Mass Executions,Netherlands,No Formal Charge,Poland,Summary Executions,Wartime Executions,Women

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