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1733: Sarah Malcolm, murderer, and seven men

Add comment March 5th, 2017 Headsman

The Ordinary of Newgate, His Account of the Behaviour, Confession, and Dying Words, of the Malefactors, Who were Executed at Tyburn, On Monday the 5th of this Instant MARCH, 1733.

Being the Second Execution in the Mayoralty of the Rt. Hon. John Barber, Esq.;
Number II. For the said Year.

LONDON:
Printed and Sold by John Applebee, in Bolt-Court, near the Leg-Tavern, Fleet-street. M.DCC.XXXIII.
[Price Six-Pence.]

Books just printed for T. Worrall, at Judge Coke’s Head over against St. Dunstan’s Church in Fleetstreet.

  1. The HOUSEKEEPER’S Pocket Book, and Compleat Family Cook, containing above 300 curious and uncommon Receipts in Cookery, Pastry, Preserving, Pickling, Candying, Collaring, &c. by Mrs. Sarah Hamson of Devonshire; price 2 s. 6 d.
  2. Friendship in Death in Twenty LETTERS from the Dead to the Living: To which are added LETTERS Moral and Entertaining, in Prose and Verse, in three Parts, by the same Author; price 7 s. 6 d. bound all together.
  3. Twelve SERMONS on several Occasions, by the late Reverend and Learned WILLIAM LUPTON, D. D. Preacher to the Hon. Society of Lincoln’s-Inn , and Prebendary of Durham ; to which is prefix’d the Author’s Effigies; price 5 s.
  4. Advice from a Mother to her SON and DAUGHTER; done from the French of the celebrated Marchioness de Lambert, by a Gentleman; price 1 s. 6 d. sheep, 2 s. calf.
  5. Dr. YOUNG’S true Estimate of Human Life; in which the Passions are consider’d in a New Light. Dedicated to the QUEEN, the 3d Edit. price 1 s.
  6. DALKEITH, a POEM, Occasioned by a View of that delightful Palace and Park, the Seat of his Grace the Duke of Buccleugh; price 4 d.
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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 Honourable John Barber, Lord Mayor of the City of London; the Honourable Mr. Baron Thomson; the Honourable 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, Friday and Saturday, being the 21st, 22d, 23d and 24th, of February, 1732, in the Sixth year of his Majesty’s Reign.

Nine Men, viz. Rowland Turner, Edward Delay, George Dawson, William West, Jonathan Curd, Joseph Fretwell, William Atterbury, Richard Norman and William Chamberlain, alias Cockey Chambers; and one Woman, viz. Sarah Malcolm, were convicted of capital Crimes, and received Sentence of Death.

While under Sentence, they were instructed in the essential Articles of our most holy Christian Faith. I show’d them, that God made Man upright, but that he had found out many inventions: For our first Parents having received a positive Law from God, not to eat of the forbidden Fruit, and transgressing that Precept, by that disobedience, they render’d not only themselves obnoxious to the divine Wrath and Vengeance both in this Life and that which is to come. The Condition of the first Covenant, that of Works being thus broken, by our first Father Adam; then it was, that God pitied Man in this deplorable State, and graciously granted him the Promise of a Messiah, i.e. our Blessed Lord Jesus Christ, the Seed of the Woman, who should bruise the Serpent’s Head, i.e. who was to overturn the Kingdom of Satan, and by offering himself, a perfect Sacrifice of Attonement to the Justice of God, was to bring all his elect Children into Glory. I show’d them, how they were early Dedicated to God in Baptism, having been Baptiz’d in the Name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, and then having renounced the World, the Flesh and the Devil, they solemnly promis’d to obey the Precepts of Almighty God, and the Laws of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ in every thing. From this I took occasion to show them, how far they had come short in performing those solemn Engagements, and that instead of serving their Maker, they had given themselves up to work all manner of uncleanness with greediness. Yet then, notwithstanding all the Inconveniencies, Miseries and Calamities they were invol’d in, I exposed to them the Freedom of God’s Grace, and exhorted them not to despair of God’s Mercy, which is his darling attribute, he having proclaimed himself, the Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping Mercy for thousands, for giving Iniquity, and Transgression, and Sin, and that will by no means clear the Guilty, Ex xxxiv. 6, 7. And therefore I told them to cast their Burthen upon the Lord, and he would sustain them: i. e. to rely upon the Mercy of God in Christ, who is a Saviour, able and willing to save unto the uttermost, all who come unto God through him. Then I earnestly advis’d them to believe in Jesus Christ, as the Son of God and the only Saviour of Sinners, with that Faith which worketh by love, bringing forth many fold Fruits into new Obedience, Holiness and Vertue; and this as I told them, includeth a sincere Repentance for all their Sins, Oiginal and Actual, of Omission and Commission. And because they could not prove their Repentance, by a subsequent Holy Life, I desir’d them to be careful of their Sincerity, since it was not Man but God they had to deal with, therefore I exhorted them, seriously to apply themselves by fervent Prayer to Almighty God, that he who made them might have Mercy upon them, not upon their own Account, but only for the sake of Jesus Christ, who came to take away the Sins of the World; and that he who is the searcher of the Hearts and trier of the Reins of the Sons and Children of Man, who searcheth Jerusalem as with Candles, would be pleased to search and try them, till he found no Iniquity in them. Then I show’d them how necessary it was, to contemn this World and all the Vanities and Pleasures thereof, and to center their Affections and desires wholly upon God, that whereas they had been in love with the Vanities of a present Life, they might love God with their whole Strength, Heart, Soul and Mind; and by this Means attaining some Habit of Holiness and Vertue, they might approve themselves, upon a sincere Repentance, with Consciences void of Offence towards God and towards Men; since without Holiness no Man can see the Lord.

I expos’d to them the greatness and notoriousness of those Sins and Crimes, of which they were convicted and for which they have died; particularly, the Sin of Theft and Robbery, which hath always a train of other base Vices attending it, viz. lying, whoring, drinking, idleing away their time, neglecting the publick and private Worship of God, &c. all of which must of necessity be attended with a bad Conscience, which keeps a Man in perpetual dread and terror, making his Life a Burthen, and Death more eligible than Life.

I instructed them in the Nature of the Christian Sacraments, and that they having broken their baptismal Vows in such a signal Manner, it was their Duty to renew themselves by Repentance, and in Evidence thereof, to partake in the blessed Sacrament of our Lord’s last Supper, where in a visible manner, Christ and all the Benefits of the new Covenant are represented, sealed and apply’d to all true believers.

They all attended in Chapel, and those who could Read made regular Responses, and all of them were very quiet, apparently serious and attentive at Prayers, Exhortations and Singing of Psalms; but they had not those outward Sings of Contrition which are necessary. William Harrison was Sick and confin’d to his Cell for some time, but behav’d himself decently, upon all occasions both publick and private.

Upon Saturday, the 24th of February, Report was made to his Majesty in Councel, of these ten Malefactors, under Sentence of Death, in the Cells of Newgate; when George Dawson, for privately stealing sixty Yards of Printed Lawn, value 4 l. 6 s. the Goods of Thomas Hodges, and Jane Turner, in their Shop, December 29th, received his Majesty’s most Gracious Reprieve. The remaining eight Men, viz. Rowland Turner, David Delly William West, Edward Curd, Joseph Fretwell, Leonard Budley alias Butler, William Harrison, and William Chamblelain, alias Cockey Chambers, were order’d for Execution.

N.B. Sarah Malcolm, convicted of Murther, Burglary and Robbery in the Temple, by a special Order, was appointed to be executed in Fleeet-street, near the Temple Gate, upon Wednesday the 7th, of this Instant March.

Rowland Turner, was Indicted, together with David Delly, for assaulting Francis Turner, in a Field or Place not far from the King’s Highway, putting him in fear and danger of his Life, and taking from him a Bundle, wherein was a quantity of Rice, Indigo and several other Goods, and Nineteen-pence Half-penny, the Goods and Money of the said Francis Turner, on June the 15th.

1. Rowland Turner, about Twentyone Years of Age, of honest Parents in the Parish of St. Anne’s Westminster, who gave him good Education at School in Reading, Writing, &c. which he no ways improv’d, but idled away his Time in playing in the Streets for Money, and thus deluded his Parents, who being in a mean way of Life, could not have a strict Eye over him, but believ’d that he went to School, when he employ’d his time in the worst of Black-guard Company, about the Streets: This was the Origine of all his Misfortunes, for having contracted a Habit of Idleness, and an Intimacy with the most abandon’d Wretches, he never cared for applying himself to any settled Business, but his Father being a Coachman, sometimes in the Service of Noblemen, or Gentlemen, and at other times driving Hackney Coaches, and by such means picking up an indifferent living, for his Wife and Children, and Rowland loving an easy Life, seldom did any thing to gain a Penny for his own Subsistence, trusting all to his poor Parents who could not do much. He never was put to any Trade, but at last wearied with staying at home, and asham’d of an idle Life any longer, went to Sea , on Board one of his Majesty’s Ships, bound for the Mediterranean. If he had been good for any thing, he own’d that in the Man of War, he might have done very well, having had the Favour of his Captain, and the other Officers, who were kind to him, and would have encourag’d him in going to School, to learn Navigation and other things, proper for Seafaring Men to know; but this excellent opportunity he neglected, and chose for his Companions the meanest and vilest Fellows in the Ship, idling away his Time by Sea as he did on Shore, in a silly and insignificant Way. He was present at the Seige of Gibraltar, and was often in the Town, when the Spaniards were shooting most furiously upon it, but all dangers of that kind he escap’d, and was reserv’d to undergo a deserv’d Punishment of an ignominious Death, for his base Crimes, and the villainous Wickedness of his Life. He serv’d also in the Fleet which of late lay at Spithead, and being discharg’d, he served for some time in a Captain’s House; when he was put from that Service, he spent his time as formerly about the Streets, till some time ago hearing that his old Captain was in Commission, he writ him a Letter desiring to be lifted as one of his Men, he sent him down to the Ship to the Muster, but there he was rejected by the proper Officer, and since that time he was in no Business, excepting that sometimes, he wrought with Brickmakers. He said that about this time he fell in with bad Company, particularly of Symonds the Evidence, who (as he alledg’d) was an old Practitioner in raising Contributions on the Highway, and who never left him, till he got him persuaded to go to the Fields, in the Month of June last, and to attack the first Person they met with, who happened to be a poor Man going in the Country, with a small Bundle of Rice, Indigo, and other little Things, which they took from him, after Symonds had first knock’d him down, and wounded him desperately in two or three Places of the Head, and they got only 19 d. Halfpenny in Money, as was sworn against him.

This, as he said, was the only Robbery, or Theft he ever committed in his Life; but his utter Ruin was engaging in the Company of bad Women, who injured him, and disabled him for any Business He intended to have gone with the first Fleet going to the Mediterranean, but being oblig’d to get himself cur’d, he thought upon entering into the Lock, and when he was of this Resolution, Symonds, by Advice of one of the Thiefcatchers, went to a Justice, and gave himself up as a voluntary Evidence, and the very Day before he was appointed to go into the Lock, he was taken up upon Symonds’s Information, and kept in Goal, till he was brought to condign Punishment for his audacious Crime. He us’d to go to Church till of late, when he wholly addicted himself to the vilest of Company, and practised nothing but Cursing, drinking especially Drams in Shops, Whoring, &c. He said he never thiev’d, or stole by Sea or Land, excepting this single Instance of robbing the poor Man in Marybonfields, nigh Paddington. He was very penitent, and wept bitterly, when I examin’d him, and made strong Resolutions of Amendment of Life, declaring withal, that he sincerely repented of that Fact, and intended never to do the like again. He said, he was often sollicited to go upon the Highway, he always refus’d, and resolv’d, as soon as he was recover’d of his Health, to have gone in a Man of War, for a two or three Years Voyage. He declared his Faith in Christ, that he sincerely repented of all his Sins, particularly the scandalous Guilt for which he died; and that he was in perfect Peace with all the World.

2. David Delly, about 22 Years of Age, of honest but mean Parents, his Father having been a Journeyman Shoemaker in the Parish of St. Ann’s Westminster, educated him at School, but he was so careless, that he had forgot all. When young, he stay’d with an Uncle, but applying to no Business, he was careless of every thing Turner and he being born in the same Neighbourhood, were acquainted from their Infancy, and continued inseparable Companions to the last. He was never put to any Trade, but serv’d in Alehouses, and about Taverns, and at other Times went of Errands ; and as he affirm’d, he was always honest, and never blam’d for any criminal Action. By Means of Turner, he got Acquaintance with Symonds, who enticed them both, after they had frequently convers’d and drunk too liberally of Geneva, to take themselves to the Highway, and for that single Robbery in Marybonefields, both he and Turner, upon the Information and Evidence of Symonds, were try’d, convicted and executed; and as both of them solemnly averr’d, they were never guilty of robbing, or thieving at any other Time.

When I spoke to him, he wept bitterly, and show’d a deal of Contrition, and, as in Charity may be judg’d, of a sincere Repentance, and made strong Resolutions of Amendment, if he had been spar’d. He confess’d, that he was a great Sinner in Drinking, Swearing, Whoring, Idleness, Sabbath-breaking, &c. He behav’d under his Misfortunes christianly and decently, at all Times own’d the Justice of his Sentence, according to Law; declar’d his Faith in Christ, as the Son of God, and only Saviour of Sinners; that he was a true Penitent for the many and scandalous Offences of his Life; and that he died in Peace with all Mankind.

Leonard Budley, alias Butler, and William Harrison, of St. Giles’s in the Fields, were indicted for assaulting John Hand, upon the Highway, putting him in Fear, and taking from him a silver Watch, val. 40 s. and 4 Shillings and 2 Sixpences in Money, the Property of John Hand, January the First.

3. Leonard Budley, 22 Years of Age, of honest Parents in Stepney Parish, who gave him good Education at School, in Reading, Writing and Arithmetick, to fit him for Business; and had him instructed in Christian Principles. When of Age, he was put Apprentice to a Master Currier , whom he serv’d honestly for the Space of four Years; but not agreeing well with his Mistress, he left him about that Time, and then he serv’d an Uncle of his own for some Time, who giving up Business, he went to a Master in Fetterlane, where being in Company with his Father of the same Business, he had very good Encouragement for a young Man of his Standing: Yet not satisfy’d with his Lot, and desirous of a licencious Freedom, he left his Master, and the good Company of his Father, who always readily gave him the best of Advice, counselling him to live as becomes a Christian. And at Christmas last, having contracted Familiarity with some who belong’d to the vilest Gang of Thieves, he went to live by himself upon picking of Pockets, Stealing, Robbing, House-breaking, &c. He own’d his keeping too much Company with lewd Women, which prov’d a very great Snare to him; but he did not blame them, as having any concern in his Stealing or Robbing. He said it was his Loss, that his Master was too indulgent to him, and him he commended for a very good Man. His first Fault was, when he got any Money, to stay whole Nights with idle Company, Drinking and Debauching: His Master observing him irreclaimable in this obstinate and wicked Way, was content to let him go about his Business. He kept the Church till of late, when he renounc’d all that was Good.

Three or four Weeks ago, after he had commenc’d Street-Robber, he married a Wife; he had been very negligent of his Book, and knew but little of religious Principles, but was very desirous of instruction, which I imparted to him in the most familiar Way. He was very humble and penitent, under a deep Sight and Sense of his Sins. He own’d the Justice of his Sentence according to Law, and that they robb’d the Gentleman in Lincoln’s-Inn-Fields, as was sworn against him; and said that he was never guilty of another Highway Robbery, only that the Night following they attach’d another young Gentleman in Lincoln’s Inn Fields, who told them he had no Money, and as they were stripping him of his Cloaths, and what things he had about him, Company coming up, they were oblig’d to fly for their own Safety. He own’d also that he was guilty of a great Number of Petty Thefts in Picking of Pockets, and stealing small things out of Shops, but that he never committed any notorious Facts, but these which we have mention’d. On Tuesday Evening, the 27th of February, when I was visiting his Partner Harrisson, who was lying Sick in the Cell, Budley came up crying most bitterly and loudly; afterwards he told me the Reason was, that he had parted with his Mother and a vertuous young Woman, with whom he was in Terms of Marriage, and who told him, if he had perform’d his promises to her, that might have prevented his miserable Fate. He always behav’d decently and well, seem’d to be a young Fellow capable of Business, but who was at once ruin’d by bad Company. He declar’d his Faith in Christ; that he repented of all his Sins, and died in Peace with all the World.

4. William Harrison, Twenty-two Years of Age, of honest Parents in the Parish of St. Andrew’s Holbourn, who took care of his Education at School, to prepare him for Business, and instructed him in the Principles of our Holy Religion. When of Age he went Apprentice to a Founder , but did not serve out his time, being the most disobedient, cross and obstinate Boy to his Parents and Master in the World; who gave him a good Example, and were willing and desirous of affording him the best of instructions. Being wearied of confinement in an honest Way, at last Bartholomew-tide, he renounced all Business, took his last fair well of his Parents, Master and all that was good and vertuous and took on the Profession of a notorious Thief, Robber and Pick-Pocket, joyning himself to the most villanous Gangs about the Town, and shunning the sight of all honest People who knew any Thing of him. About this Time he married a Wife, who was his private Companion. He confessed the above nam’d Robbery with Budley, and no more of that kind; both of them blam’d Essex the Evidence, as their Promptor and Adviser to undertake such a wicked Course of Life. He own’d innumerable Thefts in Shop lifting, and every little Thing he could lay his Hands upon; as also that he was a great Drinker, Gamester, and very much giving to Women. He was very Sick and Penitent, in Evidence of which he shed Tears plentifully. He had more Knowledge of Religion than any of his Companions. He died in the Faith of Christ; Penitent, and in Peace with all Men.

William Chamberlain, alias Cockey Chambers, was indicted for assaulting (with Joseph Lambert, not taken) Richard Hull on the Highway, and taking from him a Silver hilted Sword, value 30 s. and 12 s. in Money, Feb. 2 d.

[5.] William Chamberlain, alias Cockey Chambers, of honest Parents in the Parish of St. Mary Overs in Southwark, who gave him good Education at School in Reading, Writing and Arithmetick for Business; and had him instructed in Christian Principles. When of Age, he did not go out Apprentice, but living with a Plaisterer, of him he learn’d the Business, and serv’d honestly ’till wearied of close Confinement to Business, he Ship’d himself on board a Man of War, and went to Lisbon, Gibraltar, and some Places in the Mediterranean: When he return’d, and had spent his Money, he was willing to do nothing, but took himself to the most abandon’d Life imaginable, and chose for his Companions the wickedest Thieves, Robbers and Whores. He own’d that he was guilty of innumerable Robberies and Thefts, and one of the most abandon’d Wretches in the World. He married a Wife also, tho’ he had no other way of Subsisting but by Theft and Robbery. He was inclin’d to all kind of Vices. He confess’d the Robbery in St. Paul’s-Church-Yard, of which he was convicted. He had been wholly given to up to a reprobate Sense, yet he appear’d very Penitent and humble for his heinous Sins and Crimes, and talk’d with a deal of assurance in the mercy of God through Christ. He declar’d his Faith in Christ; and sincere Repentance for his many Offences and villainous deeds; and that he freely forgave all the World.

Edward Curd, and William West, of St. Martin’s in the Fields, were indicted for breaking and entring the House of Richard Greener, and stealing 2 Gowns, val. 20 s. 2 Petticoats, val. 2 s. 6 d. 2 pair of Sheets, val 15 s. 2 Pieces of Silk, val. 10 s. a gold Ring, a Trunk, 3 Shirts, 2 Shifts, 2 Girdles, 3 Caps, a silk Mantle, 24 Clouts, 2 Aprons, a Coat, and a Pair of leather Breeches, the Goods of William Walker, December the 24th, about 12 at Night.

[6.] Edward Curd, 18 Years of Age, born of honest creditable Parents, in Newport market, who gave him good Education at School, in Reading, Writing, Cyphering, and such Things as were needful to accomplish him for Business; and instructed him in our Holy Religion. When of Age, he was bound Apprentice to a Goldsmith, who was a good Master, and he no less an insufficient Servant; for soon wearying of Confinement to close Business, he left his Master, after two Years, and went to Sea in a Merchantman , which went to Lisbon, Gibraltar, Barbadoes, and some other Places. He thus employ’d his Time at Sea, in this, and another Voyage, about 2 Years; and coming home with the same wicked Dispositions which he carried out with him, he took to no Business, but turn’d a profess’d Thief, left his Parents, Relations and Friends, and joyn’d to a Set of the most notorious Thieves and Robbers in or about the Town. About 4 Months ago, a little after he came home, following the Advice of such worthy Counsellors, he commenc’d this Manner of Life, and had no other Way of subsisting himself, but by Thieving and Robbing, till such Time as he was taken up, for the Burglary of which he was convicted. He went to Church till of late, when he abandon’d all the Paths of Vertue. Amidst his other Vices, he kept Company with ill Women. He imputed his Misfortunes to the wicked Conversation and Advice of 3 or 4 young Men, which utterly ruin’d him. He did not pick Pockets, but liv’d by Shoplifting for 3 or 4 Months past. He never committed any Street-Robberies, nor Burglaries, excepting that one for which he died. He said the Evidence against him went into the House, and handed out to him a great Bundle of Linnens, Gowns and other Things, and these they sold off. He complain’d upon his Partner, who made himself a voluntary Evidence, without (as he nam’d it) any Necessity; but him and all others he freely forgave. I represented to him the Atrociousness of his Crimes, as having no Pretence of Excuse, because he had good Friends to provide him every Thing. This he acknowledg’d, with Plenty of Tears in his Eyes, and trickling down his Cheeks, and declar’d himself most Penitent, owning the great Kindness of his Friends, his own excessive Wickedness, and very deserv’d Sufferings. He died in the Faith of Jesus; a Penitent for his many Sins, as having been a most obstinate and incorrigible Boy; and in Peace with all Men.

Joseph Fretwell, was indicted for assaulting Henry Madding, on the Highway, putting him in fear, and taking from him 3 d. Half-penny.

He was a second Time indicted, for assaulting Mary Child, on the Highway, putting her in fear, and taking from her 6 d. Jan. 31.

7. Joseph Fretwell, 21 years of Age, of honest Parents in Westminster, who gave him good Education at School, in Reading, Writing and Arithmetick, to accomplish him for Business; and caus’d him to be instructed in the Christian Faith: But this he made no right Improvement of, being from his Childhood a most disobedient, untractable, foolish and unadviseable Boy; so that he had almost forgot all he learn’d in his younger Years, and knew little of Religion, having reduc’d himself in some manner, into a State of insensible Stupidity; as to every thing that’s virtuous or praiseworthy. When of Age, his Father being a Pipe maker, he wrought with him for some Years, but lov’d the Streets and black-guarding ways so well, that he could never keep himself to close Work, and in disobedience to the express commands of his Parents. He often run out and stay’d away whole Nights, in the mean while associating himself with the vilest and basest Companions, that could possibly be found in the whole Town. Three or four Years ago he turn’d so perverse, having so often and so grievously provok’d his Father, who, he said, inclin’d rather to indulgence, than severity; that he was forc’d to withdraw his Bowels of compassion towards him, and let him go where he had a mind to, since by no means he would be govern’d or directed by him; for a long time he had play’d the black-guard about the Street; he went on Board a Man of War, and was in Sir Charles Wager’s Fleet, appointed to carry Don Carlos to Leghorn.

When he came home and had spent his Money in an idle, foolish Manner, without going near his Father or Mother, he went another Voyage in a Merchants Ship, and return’d again in two Months time, and after that living in his former wicked Way, and delighting in the Company of none but the meanest Black-guards and Kennel rakers, he fell into extream Misery. Upon the intercession of some Friends his Father met, but would neither speak to nor drink with him, only gave him an old Coat, a Sixpence, and some inconsiderable Triffles, and since that time he never saw or spoke with any more.

He own’d he had been a most vile young Fellow in drinking, especially of Drams, Gaming, Picking of Pockets, Whoring, Thieving and Stealing, but for the most Part they were small things, to the value of Six-pence or little more, for the supply of present Necessity. He own’d the Street Robbery for which he died, and said he got no more Booty, but to the value of a Six-pence, that he never attempted any such an audacious Fact at another time. He commended his Father, and Mother in Law as good, kind Parents, and imputed the whole of his Misfortunes to his own uuaccountably wicked Dispositions, and took Shame and Confusion of Face to himself, for his abominable Crimes and Villanies. He was Sick and much disperited, yet always came to Chapel, and behav’d himself very decently and christianity: He shed abundance of Tears and wept when I spoke to him, declar’d himself most Penitent for the most grievous Sins and Crimes of his Life, and that he firmly resolv’d to serve God for the Future, and he said, if it had not been for the Strangers coming to Chapel, who gave him Pennies in Charity, or else he had certainly perish’d of Famine. He died in the Faith, hoping to be sav’d by the Mercy of God in Christ, and in perfect Peace with all the World.

William West, of St. Martins’s in the Fields, was indicted for the same Burglary with Edward Curd, December the 12th, about 12 at Night, and found Guilty of the same.

8. William West, 16 Years and 6 Months old, of mean Parents in St. Giles’s Parish, his Father drove a Cart, and his Mother went a Scouring, put him to School a little, when he was very young; but he was naturally of such a wicked Disposition, that he was not willing to keep the School, or to be learn’d any Thing that’s Good; so that from his Infancy he became a meer Blackguard. Booth, and some others of his Companions, taught him to pick Pockets and steal, as soon as he was able to go about or do any Thing, when he was but 10 or 11 Years old; nay, he scarce remember’d at what Age he commenc’d Thief. He was bound to a Fisherman , and stay’d with him a Year or two, but he prov’d so barbarous (as he said) and cruel, that he left him, and his Master never sought after him again, being perhaps glad to get rid of him, for he own’d himself of such a covetous Temper, that every Thing he saw or touch’d naturally stuck to his Fingers. Then he join’d himself to a Company of the most mischievous Thieves and Miscreants about the Town, and the House they haunted was nigh St. Giles’s in the Fields, where there were commonly 20 or 30, and sometimes more, of the most notorious Pick-pockets, Street-robbers, House breakers, Shoplifters and common Strumpets, that could be found in or about London; and there they spent their Time in Gaming at Skittles, Shuffleboard, Cards, Dice, &c. in drinking hot Pots, and other strong Liquors, such as Drams, to an extraordinary Pitch. Bad Women (as he said) often entic’d him, but he kept free of them, only he sometimes treated them. The Landlord of that House lock’d them all up, in their Rooms, and at such a Time, he let them out again, as so many unchain’d Dogs, or Fiends going about, like the Devil, and seeking whom they may devour. His great Companions were Booth, Mead, Patrick, and some other young Fellows, who often advis’d him to go out upon the Streets and Highways, but thinking himself too young, he always rejected these Proposals; although, if he had not been cut off in the Bud, he own’d, that he would have been drawn in to go along with the rest. He gam’d and drunk at a prodigious Rate, for one of his Size; for though he frequently, in his Way of Business, purchas’d to the Value of 20 s. in a Day; yet by the next Night, when he was to go out again, it was all spent and lavish’d away, in an extravagant Manner, upon Drinking and Gaming. He was often drag’d by the Mob in Horse Ponds and at Pumps. when taken in picking Gentlemen’s Pockets; for his daily Business was to steal Handkerchiefs, Snuff-Boxes and other small Things, in which way he succeeded pretty well, till the Halter put an end to it. He told of two young Women, whom he call’d Sisters, one of them married some time ago, who live by bnying up all the Handkerchiefs they bring to them, and exposing them to publick Sale in the other end of Town. He was once Prisoner in Newgate, once in the Compter, and frequently committed to the Discipline of the Bridgwells, both in Clerkenwell and Turtel-Fields, Westminster; and in other Prisons. He went to all the Fairs near the Town, and there made Purchase of what he could steal, or pick out of Men or Women’s Pockets in the Crowd. Of all the Boys I have seen, he gave the strangest Account of himself, and his wicked Adventures.

He was a most unlucky Wretch, having been depriv’d of his Parents, who were but very poor, and could do little for him in his Childhood; and being wonderfully wicked in Disposition, he then associated himself with those abominable young Creatures, whose Company was his only Pleasure, and whom he never left, till Life left him. As is said, he only pick’d Pockets, or carried away small Things, but denied, that he ever was concern’d in Street or Highway Robberies or Shop-lifting, unless in very small Things, which sometimes might stick to his Fingers. He complain’d upon the Evidence, who (as he said) swore falsely against him; he having had no concern in the Burglary, but who, in all other Respects, was a most vicious Criminal; and Edward Curd, who was convicted with him, and suffer’d for the same Fact, told me, that William West was not with him that Night, and knew nothing of the Matter; and took the whole Blame upon himself and Smithson the Evidence. West was grosly ignorant of God and Religion, having been a poor young Creature void of all vertuous Principles: I endeavour’d what I could, and as the shortness of the Time would allow to instruct him; but he was dull of hearing, and slow of Understanding. He declar’d, that he hop’d for Salvation through the Mercy of God in Christ; that he repented of all his Sins, and was in Peace with all the World.

At the Place of EXECUTION.

THEY all appear’d with great Devotion and Seriousness, both at Prayers and singing of Psalms, and adher’d to their former Confessions. William Chamberlain, desir’d me to take notice, that there are three Men in Newgate, one of them is nam’d Kemp, and two others; against whom (as he was certainly inform’d, as he said) Powers, who was Evidence against him, design’d to Swear next Sessions, with respect to the Robbery he was convicted of, which he confessed, and for which he died; but that the said Kemp and the other two Men, are innocent of that Fact. This also, he declar’d openly to the People, after I left him. William West, with Tears trickling down his Cheeks, declar’d that he was not concern’d in the Burglary, for which he died, as Smithson swore against him, neither did he know any thing of it; and this Andrew Curd, who died for the same Fact, declar’d also, as he did oftener than once to me before, upon the Words of a dying Man and a Christian. Afterwards West and he declar’d also, this to the People, that he was not in Company when the Robbery was Committed. They all kiss’d each other, and went of the Stage in charity with all Men, and Praying fervently to Almighty God to Pardon their Sins, and to receive their Souls, and saying Lord Jesus receive my Spirit.

N.B. The eight Men before Mention’d, were Executed at Tyburn, on Monday the 5th of this Instant March, George Dawson, for stealing some fine Linnen out of a Shop, having been graciously Reprieved for Transportation; and Sarah Malcolm, because of the atrociousness of her Crimes, by a special Order, and for Terror to other wickedly disposed People, was appointed to be Executed in Fleet-street, at a Place nigh where her henious Crimes were committed.

While under Sentence, she enjoy’d the Benefit of the same Instructions, with the rest of her Fellow Sufferers, and she having been of the Romish Communion, tho’ her Profession, considering the vast depravity of her Disposition, is to be made little account of; yet I advis’d her seriously, to rely only upon the Merits of Christ’s Sufferings and Death, for Life and Salvation, seeing there is no other Name given under Heaven among Men, whereby we must be saved, but the Name of Jesus, and him crucified, as we have it Acts, iv. 12. Informing her withal, that neither her own good Works, which she could not have the least Pretence to, nor Works of Supererogation, nor any thing else which she could possibly do, could be of the least avail to justify her before God, who only can Pardon Sin which is chiefly committed against himself, and therefore I exhorted her, assiduously to employ her time at the Throne of Grace, that God who made her might have Mercy upon her, for the Sake of Jesus Christ who came to take away the Sins of the World. I instructed her also in the nature of a saving Faith in Christ, that it was not merely believing, that Christ is the Son of God and that he died for Sinners, for the Devils also believe and tremble, as saith St. James, but a believing that Christ died for me, and in applying the Merits of Christ’s Death and Sufferings to my Soul, for Justification and Salvation; which Faith must be operative and productive of good Works, for Faith without Works is dead being alone, as saith the same St. James: And this Faith being the cardinal Christian Grace and Vertue, upon which all others depend, I show’d her also that it was her Duty to believe in Christ as the only Mediator between God and Man, For there is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time, 1 Tim. 2, 5, 6. Wherefore I desir’d her to be careful of praying fervently to Jesus Christ, who is our only Mediator, to mediate with God the Father for the pardon of her Sins, and that of his infinite goodness and Mercy he would give her the Gift of his holy Spirit, to lead her in the Paths of goodness, and to inspire her with a true Faith, which is the Gift of God; For by Grace are ye saved, through Faith, and that not of your selves, it is the gift of God, not of Works, least any man should boast. Eph. ii. 8, 9. Next I exhorted her to a sincere Repentance, which never fails to be a necessary concomitant of saving faith, and consisteth in a forsaking of all our Sins, and turning unto God with our whole Hearts. We ought to forsake our Sins, so as to loath, detest and abhor our selves in Dust and Ashes because of them; and to resolve, by the Grace of God, that if we have done iniquity and Sin, we shall do so no more; and in this we ought to pray unto God, that he would effectually draw us unto himself. I took occasion to exhort her to an ingenious Confession of her Sins, according to the advice of the wise Man. He that covereth his Sins, shall not prosper: But whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have Mercy, Prov. 28. 13. I show’d her the necessity of confessing her Sins, especially in case of heinous offences committed, from Scripture example in the case of Achan, the trouble of Israel, since thereby we glorify God, and take shame and confusion of Face unto our selves, for having offended so good and gracious a God, so merciful and indulgent a Father: And from Scripture precept, for our blessed Saviour commandeth us to confess our Sins to the Church, St. Mat. 18. and St. James saith, Confess your Faults one to another. And this, upon the highest Reasons, hath been esteem’d and practised as necessary, in all ages of the Church; more especially, that we may die in the Peace, and obtain the regular Absolution of the Church, which is a special Means of obtaining our absolution from, and the Favour of Almighty God.

While these, and many such like Exhortations were advanc’d, she always behav’d decently, and made regular Responses, tho’ she was of a different Communion, excepting once, she sate sullen all the Time, and look’d upon a little Book of her own. Sometimes she wept bitterly, and was in violent Commotions; which made the Generality of them who saw her, think, that there were some inward Thoughts in her Breast, at which she was frequently perplex’d: But this she would by no Means be perswaded to communicate to others.

Sarah Malcolm, alias Mallcombe, was indicted for the Murther of Ann Price, Spinster, by wilfully, and maliciously giving her with a Knife, one mortal Wound on the Throat, on the 4th of February last, of which Wound the said Ann Price instantly died.

She was a second Time indicted, for the Murther of Elizabeth Harrison, Spinster, by strangling and choaking her with a Cord, on the said 4th of February; by Reason of which strangling and choaking the said Elizabeth Harrison, she instantly died.

She was a third Time indicted, for the Murther of Lydia Duncomb, Widow, by strangling and choaking her with a Cord, on the said 4th of February, by which strangling and choaking the said Lydia Duncomb instantly died.

She was likewise indicted on the Coroner’s Inquisition for the said Murthers.

She was again indicted for breaking and entring the dwelling House of Lydia Duncomb, and stealing 20 Moidores, 18 Guineas, 1 Broad-piece, val. 25 s. 4 Broad-pieces, val. 23 s. each, 1 half Broad-piece, val. 11 s. 6 d. 25 s. in Silver, a silver Tankard, val. 40 s. a canvas Bag, val. 1 d. and 2 Smocks, val. 12 s. on the 4th Day of February last, about the Hour of 2 in the Night of the same Day.

She pleaded not Guilty to all these Indictments; but upon her Trial, she own’d herself Guilty of the Felony and Burglary, and denied all the Murthers.

She was first indicted for the Murther of Ann Price, the young Servant Maid, and upon evident circumstantial Proof, found Guilty of the Indictment. Death.

Sarah Malcolm, 22 Years of Age, in the End of May last, descended of honest, creditable Parents in the County of Durham. Her Father (as she said) had a pretty Estate, about 100 l. a Year, which he soon ran out, and then with the Reversions of it, his Wife, her Mother, being an Irishwoman, went to Dublin, and there purchas’d a publick Place of the City, liv’d in good Credit, and gave her very good Education at School, in Reading, Writing, and such other Things, as are proper for a Girl, above the meanest Rank of People. She liv’d with her Father and Mother, who made much of her, because of her sprightly Temper, a considerable Time; till some Years ago, her Parents coming to London about certain Affairs, she came with them; and some Time after that, approaching nigh to Woman’s Estate, she went to Service, and was, as I had Information, in several good Families, where she did her Business to the Satisfaction of her Mistresses, and was never blam’d for Dishonesty. Her Father returning to Dublin, where his settled Business was, a little after that her Mother died, and then unluckily for Sarah was left to her own Shifts; about which Time, by Acquaintance, she got herself made one of the Laundress es, or Chairwoman of the Temple , where she serv’d some Gentlemen for a considerable Time. Before this, she was in a Place call’d the Blackhorse Alehouse, where she cultivated her former Acquaintance with Mrs. Tracey, and where she contracted Aquaintance with the two Brothers, Thomas and James Alexander.

And she said, that Tracey and these young Men often advis’d her to rob her Master, and this she always refus’d to do. The younger of the Brothers propos’d, to go to her Mistress, and say, that Sarah having been familiar with her Master, had provided Poyson to dispatch her Mistress, thinking if such a Thing were done, the Master would marry her: But all this was only with such an Amusement, to impose upon and extort Money from the Mistress, who was too wise to be bit with such Pretences; and seeing they could get nothing, they left her, and return’d to Sarah, calling the Mistress an old cunning Woman, Cursing her, and giving her ill Names. This gave Occasion of the Story passing through the Town, that she intended to poyson her Mistress, which Thought never enter’d into her Mind, she having been against their going to her on that Account; but her allowing them to go on such a villainous Errand, certainly show’d the great Wickedness of her devilish Disposition. They alledg’d also, that she was the Person who murther’d an old Man of the other End of the Town, for which, 2 or 3 Years ago, a Barber was convicted, and who went to Death denying the Fact. She said, that there was not the least Ground of entertaining any such Suspicion upon her, but that she must be content to bear with such Censures and Reproaches, although it was hard upon her, as that the World should make her much more wicked than she really was.

As to the Murthers, Burglary and Robbery, of which she was indicted and found Guilty, the Account she gave me was to the purpose following. Having been acquainted with Mary Tracey, who had been much Abroad following her Husband in the Army, in diverse Countries, and concern’d in many desperate and wicked Exploits for above five Years past; the said Mary and she contracted a great intimacy, and were often together, and Tracey often importun’d her to rob one or other; and she being in that way of Business already mention’d, in the Temple, and having serv’d the Deceas’d Mrs. Duncomb sometime before Christmass last; Tracey often press’d upon her to rob her old Mistress, who she knew never wanted a considerable Sum of Money, and several valuable Goods in the House. She was not averse to this Proposal, but heisitating upon it, she said, she should be taken and Hang’d for the same, and that it was impossible for her to do it, without the Assistance of some others. Upon this, Tracey nam’d the two Brothers Thomas and James Alexander, with whom she had been acquainted about a Year before; at last Sarah was prevail’d upon to consent, and all the four meeting together, they concerted their wicked Plot, and put it in Execution, as is too well known. On Sunday the 28th of January last, the Sunday before the Murder was committed, she met with Tracey, and treated her with Coffee in her Master’s Chambers, for he was out of Town, and there the whole of their Conversation run upon the robbing Mrs. Duncomb’s Chambers, which they agree to do, either upon that or the following Week; and in the mean time, getting the two Alexanders to engage and concur with them: They put their Design in Execution, upon Saturday Night, or Sunday Morning ensuing, which happen’d to be upon the 4th day of February last; when pretty late at Night they all met according to Appointment; and Sarah got James Alexander, the younger of the two Brothers, convey’d into the Chambers, where he hid himself under a Bed, till Mrs. Duncomb, and her old and young Maid were all compos’d to rest, and then about two in the Morning, Thomas open’d the Door and let in Mrs. Tracey and James Alexander into the Chambers, while Sarah Malcolm herself waited upon the Stairs to take notice, that no body should come to Interrupt them in their villainous Design. She insisted she knew nothing of any design of Murther, and she doubted, if they really had any such Intentions, and that the occasion of it must be accidental; after they found some of them awake, fearing a Discovery, or, if any Noise were made, that they should be apprehended in the Fact; the Devil concurring with their own wicked Minds, employ’d about such monstrous Works of Darkness, they then proceeded, in a Hurry, to the utmost Height of Wickedness, to murther three innocent Persons, the good old Lady Madam Duncomb, and her two Servants, Elizabeth Harrison and the young Maid Ann Price, who was lately come into the Service; and this they did in a very barbarous Manner, by cutting the Throat of the Maid Ann Price, from Ear to Ear, after she had made no small Struggle for her Life; and by strangling the old Gentlewoman and her ancient Maid, who were both sick, and could not make much Opposition, with a small cord; and all the three they left, in this pitiful Condition, lying upon their own Beds, and in different Rooms.

Sarah affirm’d, that she knew nothing of all this, till about two o’Clock that Sunday afternoon, about which Time the Murtherers were first discover’d. Upon which they immediately proceeded to the plundering and rifling the House, out of which (as she said) they took to the Value of 300 l. in Money, besides several other small Things, and then they immediately came out, with the Rewards of Iniquity in their Hands, and divided the Plunder pretty equally among the Four, under a Lamp in a Temple. I objected to her that there was not Time to divide such a Sum of Money equally among four, and that under a Lamp; for they might be discovered: Then she alleg’d, that they had made their Divisions in the Chambers, and came down in Haste, and threw above 50 l. Value and the Tankard in her Lap, and then left her abruptly, without telling her any Thing of the Murther, only that they had gag’d all the Three, as had been formerly agreed upon, before the Execution of their most mischievous and wicked Plot: And this she always held by, though with a small Variation: I told her, that certainly she was guilty of the Indictment, thus far, that she was one of the principal Persons in laying the whole Scheme of robbing the Chambers, that she introduced them to the Chamber, and watched while they went in, with a Design to gagg them, and then that she was a Partaker of the Spoil; which makes her accessary, and consequently a principal Person, both in the Murthers and Robbery: But how to judge upon the other Three unlucky Persons whom she blamed, and who are still detained upon the same Account, we must refer the Determination thereof to Divine Providence, which, in most Cases, brings to Light such hidden Works of Darkness. I endeavour’d, what I could, to bring her to a plain Confession of her Sins, but she always denied that she was concern’d in actually imbruing her Hands in the Blood of these three innocent Persons; alleging still, that she knew nothing of any previous Design, nor any Thing of the Murtherers, till Sunday the 4th of February, about two o’Clock in the Afternoon.

On Sunday the 4th of March Instant, when I preach’d upon the Subject of Murther, in the Forenoon, when I mentioned several Examples of God’s Vengeance upon Murtherers, insisting upon the Case of Cain’s murthering his righteous Brother Abel, she wept and cry’d most bitterly; but whether for Fear of Death, or the Shame she was to be expos’d too, or the Remorse of her Conscience, upon Account of her being really Guilty of Murther, and a due Sense of her Guilt, is what we cannot decide, and leave the same to the heart-searching God, who knows all Things.

She was a most obdur’d, impenitent Sinner, and gave no reasonable Satisfaction, with respect to her own particular Case; and what Communion she was of, having at first declar’d herself of the Romish, we cannot positively say. She was certainly of a most bold, daring, boisterous and wilful Spirit, void of all Vertue and the Grace of God; which Disposition led her from one Sin to another, till at last she was so far deserted of God, by forsaking Him and his Ways, that she fell into those abominable and vile Crimes, for which she deservedly suffer’d.

At the Place of EXECUTION.

SHE appear’d at first pretty serene and calm, reading upon a Book; and as I went to wait upon her in her last Moments, another Gentleman was their also who came, to officiate upon that Occasion, as I also desir’d him very earnestly to do, but this Request he would by no means comply with; and then, as bound in Duty, I pray’d for her, and she in Appearance was very serious in complying with the Devotion, but she could not well Compose herself, and cryed most bitterly, and pour’d out a flood of Tears all the Time: When Prayers were well nigh over, I ask’d, if she would have a Psalm Sung, as they commonly desire, but this she refus’d; and then as I was concluding the Prayers, and recommending her Soul to Almighty God, at the point of Death she fainted away, and was a good while before she recovered. What I here deliver to Mr. Applebee to publish, is the Substance of her own Words and solemn Declarations to me, upon the Sincerity (as she at least pretended) of a dying Woman, and of one who was immediately to appear before, and answer at the Tribunal of the great God: If there be any Thing Contradictory, or what may seem disingenious in this Account, it is owing to the unhappy Temper of this unfortunate Wretch Sarah Malcolm, who often varied in her Declarations concerning this barbarous Murder; but this may be depended upon, that I have here delivered my Sentiments as Comprehensive to the World as the Case of this unfortunate Woman would permit me.

Just before the Cart drew away she look’d towards the Temple, and cryed out Oh! my Master, my Master! I wish I could see him; and then looking up to Heaven often cryed, Lord have Mercy upon me, Christ have Mercy upon me, Lord Receive my Spirit, and then the Cart withdrew.

This is all the Account given by me,

JAMES GUTHERIE.
Ordinary of Newgate.

POSTSCRIPT.

AS soon as she entred Newgate she proved a true Foreseer of her own Fate, by her immediatly crying out, I am a Dead Woman. She way conveyed to the old condemned Hole, as the most proper Place for securing her, and there a Person was appointed to watch her from an Apprehension that she intended to take away her own Life. These Fears were occasion’d from her appearing to be exceedingly ill and out of order, her Sick Fits succeeded by Vomitings of gloted Blood, and her persisting during these extraordinary Ails to take any Thing which might Comfort, or even support Nature; but Mr. Snowd a Surgeon after examining into her Case, declaring his Opinion that her Illness might be occasioned by a Preternatural Hurry of Spirits, and was not Dangerous: However she would sometimes fall into strange Agonies, rouling her Eyes, clinching her Hands, &c. particularly once when a Gentleman who had been her Master came to see her, she fell into an extraordinary Disorder, grasping the Keeper’s Legs, so as scarce to be got from him, when she came to herself all the Reason she assigned was, that she could not endure to see any of her Acquaintance.

When she was informed that Mary Tracy and the two Alexanders were seiz’d, she appear’d pleased, and smiled, saying with seeming Satisfaction, I shall die now with Pleasure, since the Murtherers are taken. When the Boys and the Woman were shewn to her that she might see whither they were the Persons whom she accused, she immediately said, ay, these are the Persons who committed the Murther. And said to Mary Tracy, you know this to be true, which she pronounced with a Boldness which surprized all the Spectators. Then turning to her again, and said So Mary see what you have brought me to, it is thro’ you and the two Alexanders that I am brought to this Shame, and must die for it, you all promised me you would do no Murder, but to my great surprize I found the contrary.

Some Gentlemen who came to see her in the Press-Yard, importuning her to make a frank Discovery of the Murder, she answered with some heat, After I have been some time laid in my Grave, it will be found out. Some People of Fashion asking her, if she was settled in her Mind, and resolved to make no further Confession; she said, That as she was not concerned in the Murder, she hop’d that God would accept her Life as a Satisfaction for her manifold Sins.

On Sunday about Six o’Clock in the Afternoon as some People were with her in her Room, she fell into a grievous Agony, which lasted for sometime, with all imaginable Signs of Terror and Fright; one of the Keepers coming in said, Sarah what’s the Matter? What has happened to put you into this Disorder; she pretended it was occasioned by her being told at Chapel that she was to be hanged in Fleet-street among all her Acquaintance, which she said gave her inexpressible Pain! The Keeper replied, I’m afraid Sarah that is not the Truth, when the Dead Warrant came down I acquainted you that you were to die there, so it is not probable that should surprize you so much now. Take my Advice, make a full Confession, and you’ll find your Mind much easier, to this she said not a Word!

When the Bell-man came into Newgate to give Notice to the Prisoners who were to die on Monday, somebody called to Sarah Malcolm, and bid her Mind what he said, she looking out of her Window, answered that she did, and as soon as he had done, said, d’ye hear Mr. Bellman, call for a Pint of Wine, and I’ll throw you a Shilling to pay for it, which she did accordingly.

Sunday Night about ten o’Clock, she called to Chambers, one of the Prisoners who were to die the next Day, and who was in a Cell over against her Window, she bid him be of good Comfort, and ask’d him if she should pray along with him, he answer’d, do Sarah with all our Hearts, upon which she began to pray very fervently, and continued to do so for the best part of the Night, untill all her Candles was burnt out, then she exhorted them not to go to sleep, but to pray to God to forgive them their past Offences; your Time, added she, is short, as well as mine, and I wish I were to go with you: As to the ignominy of your Fate, let not that Trouble you, none but the Vulgar will reflect either on you or your Relations; good Fathers may have unhappy Children; and pious Children may have had unworthy Parents, neither are answerable for the other, as to the suddeness of our Death, consider we have had Time to prepare for it, whereas many die so suddenly as not to have Time to call for Mercy; having finished her Speech to these her unhappy Companions, she shut her Window, and laid her self down on her Bed.

The following Letter was written by the abovemention’d Sarah Malcom.

SIR,

YOU can’t but know that Sadness is the Rack of an Affliction not to be expressed, a Judgment more prejudical than the wor’st Revenge from an Enemy’s Hand, it is like a venemous Worm, which not only Consumes the Body, but eats into the very Soul: It is a Mouth that feeds on the very Marrow and Vitals, a perpetual Executioner, torturing the Soul, and exhausting her Spirits. So, Sir, if Conscience has touched you in the least; It must certainly leave Sadness on your Spirits; and as it behoves every one at their last Hour to die in Peace with God and the World. I freely forgive you and all the World.
Sarah Malcolm.

Feb. 26th, 1733.

ADVERTISEMENTS.

This Day is Publish’d, Price 3 s. 6 d.

With a Frontispiece of the famous Jack Shepherd‘s Escape out of the Condemn’d Hole of Newgate.

THE LIVES of the most remarkable Criminals, who have been condemn’d and executed, for Murder, Highway, House-breaking, Street Robberies, Coining, or other Offences, from the Year 1720 to the present Time: Containing particularly, the Lives of, Mrs. Griffith for the Murder of her Maid, Kennedy the Pyrate; Molony and Carrick, Highwaymen; Brindsden who murder’d his Wife; Levee, and the rest of his Gang, Street Robbers; Capt. Massy for Pyracy; Roch for Pyracy and Murder, a full Account of the Waltham Blacks, the famous Jack Shephard; his Companion Blueskin; and Towers who was hang’d for setting up the new Mint. Collected from Original Papers and Authentick Memoirs. To which is prex’d, a Preface, containing a general View of the Laws of England, with respect to Capital Offences.

Printed and sold by John Applebee in Bolt Court, Fleet Street; A. Bettesworth, and C. Hitch, at the Red-Lion in Pater Noster Row; John Pemberton, at the Golden Buck against St. Dunstan’s Church, J. Isted, at the Golden Ball near Chancery-lane, in Fleet-street; E. Symon in Cornhill; R. Ware, at the Bible and Sun in Amen-Corner near Pater-Noster Row; W. Mears, at the Lamb the Corner of Bell Savage Inn on Ludgate Hill; and Richard Wellington, at the Dolphin and Crown, without Temple Bar.

The Publick may depend on the Accounts publish’d in this Work, as containing a just and faithful Narration of the Conduct of these unhappy Persons, and a true State of their respective Crimes, without any Additions of feigned and romantick Adventures, calculated meerly to entertain the Curiosity of the Reader.

N.B. Vol. II. is in the Press, and will be Publish’d with all convenient Expedition.
Where may be had of the Printer of this Paper,

The Life and Actions of JOSEPH POWIS, who was Executed on Monday the 16th of October last at Tyburn Written by himself, during his Confinement in the Cells. Price 1 s.

Taken by Execution, and to be SOLD On Saturday the 10th of March

(The very lowest Price being fix’d)


ALL the Houshold Goods, together with all the rich Stock in Trade, of Mr. Thomas Tennant, an eminent wholesale Dealer in all Manner of Houshold Furniture: The Whole consisting of Standing Beds and Bedding, fine large Glass con, Pier Glasses and Chimney Glasses in carv’d and gilt Frames, ditto in plain Walnut tree Frames, and Dressing Glasses of all Sorts; fine Walnut-tree, Mahogany, and other , Book Cases with Glass Doors; several Walnut-tree Chests upon Chests Walnut-tree Writing Desks, Buroe Dressing Tables, Walnut-tree or Mahogany; fine Walnut-tree Tables, and several curious Tables of Divers Sorts not yet expos’d; Mahogany, Dining Tables of all Sizes, Breakfast Tables, Box Tables, Corner Tables and Night Tables, Marble Tables of all Sorts and Du Waters; several fine Mahogany Chests for Cloaths; a large Quantity of fine and course Chairs, Walnut-tree, Mahogany, &c. from one Shilling a Chair to five Pounds, several fine Dressing Chairs, Shaving Chairs, Closestool Chairs, Easy Chairs, Setes and Set: Beds, fine white Callico Quilts and printed Quilts of all Sorts: fine new Whitney Blankets of all Sizes; several very good new Eight Day Clocks, Table Clocks, Stove Grates, Carpets and Pictures: And, for Conveniency of Sale, the Goods are brought from Mr. Tennant’s Warehouses in Long Lane, to Surman’s Great House in Soho Square, St. Anne’s. At the same Place is Sold the very best new white hard Metal Pewter, call’d French, Pewter, or change new for old; and for conveniency of the Buyer the Goods shall be safely deliver’d to any part of the Town on Board any Ship, or to any Inn or Place, according to Directions, within three Miles of the Place of Sale, without any Charge to the Buyer. Likewise at the same Place any Merchant or Dealer may be furnish’d with any Quantity of any of the Goods abovemention’d or truck for Mahogany Carpets or China.

N. B. If any Gentlemen, Ladies, or others, have a House of Goods to dispose of, or any Parcel of Houshold Goods. Plate, Linnen, Pictures or China, by directing to Surman’s as abovementioned, you may have a good Price and ready Money. Likewise he changes new Goods for old.
Note, He sells for ready Money, and the Sale will continue all the Winter Season.


Scorbutick Humours, is recommended, THE Antiscorbutick Purging Ticture of Scurvygrass, to be taken any Time of the Year, but more especially Spring and Fall.

It is an effectual Remedy against the Scurvy, and all scorbutick, salt, brinish, and watery Humours, and is an experienced Remedy for purging the Blood in the Spring, giving it a due Circulatian, and totally consuming any venomous Matter that may lie lurking in the Body or Blood, after the last great Sickness in the Winter, which undoubtedly may bring many intolerable Distempers upon the Body, by putrifying the Blood, and bringing Go agutation of Humours, without such an universal Cathartick and Diuretick as this is.

Its an excellent Purge for Choler, Flegm, Melancholy, windy and watery Humours, drawing them from the Head and Joints: It purges gently, and is safe in all Ages, Sexes, and Constitutions, begets an Appetite, helps Digestion, and stops Fumes from afflicting the Head, chears and comforts the Spirits, and being often used, prevents the Stone, for it alters the Morbid State of the Juices, purifies the Blood, weeten all the Fluids, cleanses them from Impurites, and many more Arthrick and Rhmatick Ailments.

Prepared and sold by the Author, a Chymist, the second House on the Right Hand in Bride-lane, next Fleet street. ‘Tis likewise Sold at Mr. Robotham’s Toyshop, near White-chapple-Bars; at Mr. Neal’s Toyshop, opposite the White-Hart-Inn, in the Borough of South wark, and Mr. Greg’s, Book seller, next Northumberland House, Charing Cross, at One Shilling a Bottle.

Where is also Sold, The Original, Inestimable, Angelical Electuary; universally esteemed for a speedy Cure of Coughs, Colds, Asthma’s, Phthisicks, Wheezings, difficult Breathing, shortness of Breath and Consumtions. One Shilling a Pot, Both Sealed above.


On Saturday next will be publish’d No. LIV. (containing two sheets in Folio) of

THE Works of Flavius Josephus which are Extant, containing.

I. The History of the Antiquites of the Jews in Twenty Books.
II. The Life of the Author, Flavius, Josephus, Writted by Himself.
III. The Wars of the Jews. In Seven Books.
IV. The Defence of the Jewish Antiquities against Apion. Two Books.
V. Of the Maccabees. One Book.

Translated from the Original Greek, according to Dr. Mudson’s Edition.

By JOHN COURT; Gent.

To which are added, a Dissertation on the Writings and Credit of Josephus, and Christopher Noldius’s History of the Life and Actions of Herod the Great, never before rendered into English. With Explanatory Notes, Tables, Maps, and a large and accurate Index.
Proposals in Substance are as follows, viz.

It is proposed whilst the said Work is Printing to deliver two sheets of it every Week, (at the Price of Two-pence) to the Subscribers own Houses.

That the above Work will contain about 200 sheets, Printed on a good Letter, and superfine Genona Paper

Note, Those who don’t care to take the above Numbers all at once, may have them deliver’d as they please, by giving in their Names as underneath.

London Printed and Sold by R. PENNY; in Wine-Office-Court, Fleet-Street; and J. JANEWAY, in White-Friars, Where Subscriptions are taken in.

Part of the Themed Set: The Ordinary of Newgate.

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

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1685: Thomas Fallowfield at Leicester Square and numerous others at Tyburn

Add comment March 4th, 2017 Headsman

The Behaviour of the Condemned Criminals in Newgate

viz. William Rawson, Charles Buckler, Ralph Harrison, and Henry List, As Also The Last Dying Words OF Thomas Fallowfield for Murdering of Mary Smith alias Hunt, who was Executed at LEICESTER-FEILD, Joseph Coates for Felony, Cap. George Baker, George Saunders, and William Mullins, for Robbing on the High-way, was Executed at TYBURN. On Wednesday the 4th. day of March, 1684.

IT is sad to Consider, (that notwithstanding the frequent Examples of publick Justice on Capital Offenders, for the warning of all others, to Avoid the same Crimes, yet) that in the short Intervale of time from the former sessions, there should be such a Confluence of persons now Condemned. It is probable, that they did presumptuously hope for a General pardon at this sessions, tho they did Gracelesly antidate an Act of Royal Grace and Mercy to Incourage themselves in their Impieties.

This may convince obdurate Sinners of that Secret Atheism which Reigns in their Hearts, by Crying up false peace and safety to themselves, whereby they are frequently made Exemplary in a publick and shameful Death. 34. of Job 26. 27. Ver. He strickes them, as wicked men in the open sight of others, because they turned back from him and would not consider any of his ways.

Thus ye Hypocrite in Heart, such who are heartily in their Hypocrites, and thereby Confirm’d in Athism heap up wrath, so that they Dye in youth, and their Life is among the Unclean 36. of Job 13, 14th

After the Sentence of Death past on the aforesaid Criminals on Friday the 27th. Instant February, they were Visited on Saturday, to bring them to a Conviction; of their Sinful and Deplorable Convictions; and in order to their more serious preparation, for those Prayers and Exhortations, which were to Follow on the next Lords Day.

In the Forenoon a Sermon was Preached on the 17. of Genesis, and the first Verse: Walk before me, and be Perfect or Upright.

In the Afternoon of the same Day, a Sermon was Preached on the 11. Chap. of the first Epistle to the Cor. and the 31. Verse: For if we would Judge our Selves, we Should not be Judged of the Lord.

From which Text, the Ordinary offered to their Consideration, that self Judgment and self Condemnation, in the Impartial Acknowledgement of the Equity of the Divine Law-giver in his process of Judgment, tho most Severe, as the Righteous Demerit and result of the least. Sin, is the only ready and sure way to escape that Divine Wrath, which is Impendent over the Heads of Sinners.

In the Progress of that discourse, especially at the practical Improvement of it, to the present Condemned, they seemed to be much awaked from their Security in a Sinful state, to preserve Increase any signs of Contrition, the Ordinary Visited them again on Munday, and after Payer, for them, Exhorted them to search their own Hearts, that they might discover for what special secret Sins, God had been provoked to withdraw his preventing Grace, so as to leave them to commit those Hinous Crimes, in which, they have wilfully insnared themselves.

On Monday and Tuesday, the ordinary after Prayers, Inquired into their former manner and course of Life, and how they now stand affected under the Sentence of Death, and prospect of that Eternity into which they are Launching: whither they Repent of their Sine and the Excesses of their Youth and a Debauched Life, be as bitter and Loathsome as at any time before they were Delightful.

Of which Conferences with them apart, which are most affective of them, the Ordinary now proceeds to give a True and Impartial Account, taken from their own Mouths in Wrighting.

William Rawson, he was Born in Cumberland, is 27 Years of Age; he was Educated at School by his Parents, in order to have been sent to the University, as being of Good Natural Parts, and was hopeful in the Improvement of them: But his Parents not being afterward of Estate Sufficient, to perfect their Intention of forming him for an University, himself also growing Remiss in his Learning, he came to London, where he stayed for some time with a Gentleman of Good Repute: but not answering his Expectation, he went back into his own Country: where continuing for some good space of time; he lived in Idleness; yet presumed at last to Marry, tho he knew not how to provide for the necessary support of that Condition: so becoming very Poor, he faith he sought for Imployment in London; but about a Month past, he was so unhappy as to grow acquainted with Bad Company, who Tempted him to many Miscarriages; particularly to associate himself with them in Robbing on the Highway. He confess’d himself guilty of the Crime he stands Condemned for, yet being g’d to make Acknowledgement how long he had used Highway Robbing, and who Tempted him first into such a Dissolute course of Life, he made no other reply, but that they were fled beyond Reach and would not name any particular Person, tho he ought to have broke the Combination by a Discovery.

He said he had been many ways Sinful, but he hoped by Repentence through christ’s Merits, the Lord would Pardon him, and receive him to his Mercy.

George Saunders, he was Born in Ireland, of Protestant Parents, in Limbrick; by them he was sent to School, to sit him for future Imployment; but there he behaved himself like a very Unlucky Lad; afterward he was put an Apprentice to a Weaver, in whose Service he remained for some time, but leaving it off, he Waited on a Gentleman: whom deserting he eutred himself into the Kings Service, and was a Soldier in Tangier for the Space of four Year: after that, he Lifted himself in the Queens Regiment, but meeting with ill Company, he was enticed out of that Imployment; and said it is not past three weeks or a Month since he left that Service. He Acknowledged that he had been given to Intemporance, and had often taken God’s Name in Vain, yet he Prayed to God sometimes to keep him from Evil Courses. It repented him that he left the former Imployment of a Soldier, saying that was the occasion though Idleness of exposing him to be Tempted to Rob on the Highway. He also particularly confess’d the Crime he stands Condemned for. He much Lamented his illspent Life, and gave the ordinary very Hopeful signs of the Truth of his Contrition, earnestly desiring him to pray for him, and promised to be very Compliant with his Directions, in order to Eternal Life.

William Mullins, was Born in London, of Godly and Religious Parents; he was well instructed and Educated by them and thereupon Acknowledged his Sins to have been the Greater and more Aggravated because be had Sinned against much Light and Knowledge: for he said Where much is Given, there also is much Required. He Confess’d furthermore that he had been a great Neglecter of God’s Worship and Service on the Lord’s Day; a frequenter of and associate of ill Company; and for that he had omitted a due Attendance on those two great means of Grace and Salvation, Prayer and Preaching, he judg’d it was for that God had left him to himself, and suffered him to become Guilty of so great a Sin as that he was Condemned for. And being urg’d to a more Particular Confession of his Crimes, he said they had been so sundry and so many, that he could not enumerate them: but as for the particular sinful Fact for which he was now to Dye, he owned he was guilty of it; yet withal added that ’twas the first Felony he was ever engaged in. He Reproved one of his fellow Condemned Criminals for the lightness of his Spirit, in smiling when press’d to a free Ingenuous confession of his Offences, and said, I am afraid he has little sense of his Sins; ’tis hope of a Reprieve which makes him less Serious, but persons do ill who give him those Hopes, for it may make him backward in the works of his Conversation: and were he fit to Dye, he were the siter to Live, He said he acknowledged the Justice of a Righteous God, in bring in him to this his deserved Capital Punishment, and that he little mattered Temporal Death, so that he had Comfortable Expectations, that would prove, unto him an entrance into Eternal Life: and added moreover that he was now equally desirous of Inward Sanctification and Holiness, as of endless Glory and Happiness.

In short, he shewed great outward signs of a True and Internal change of Heart, and Godly sincere Sorrow for his manifold Transgressions; hoping for the forgivenes and remission of the guilt of is them, in and through the alone Merits and satisfaction of his Crucified Saviour.

Joseph Coates, was Born in York-shire, he is now 31 Years of Age; he was educated at York, and Tadcastle, as himself called it, where he went to School: afterward he lived in the Service of Squire Thyn for the space of six years; after that, he went with the Lord Orory into Ireland, and stayed with him only half a Year: after that he served the late Earl of Essex, as his Footman, in Ireland: afterward he came into England and Served, Col. Fitz Patrick, but left his Imployment Under him. Two Years last past he Was an Horse-Course; after he laid down that way of Livelyhoods he intended to go into Staffordshire for Imployment, but altering his purpose, he fell into bad Company, upon neglecting the Service of God, soon after he grew very Wicked, was given to Excessive Drinking and Swearing; at last he was acquainted with three Men, who Tempted him into the Burglary, for which he stands Condemned, but expressed not their Names to the Ordinary. Being asked what hopes he had of a future Happy State, he replied that he had been a great Sinner, but now his Heart was through God’s Mercy made to Relent, more for his Wicked Practices than for the fear of Death, and he hoped if he might be spared, that he should become a new Man: of which he gave at present very probable Signs.

Ralph Harrison, he was Born in Shoreditch Parish, being now about 20 Years of Age. He was placed an Apprentice to a Broad-Weaver, with whom he tarried two Years, and then Run away from his Master: he said that for two Years past he had been enticed into Bad Company, who brought him into the acquaintance of Lewd Woman, which was the cause of his breaking the Sabbath; and by that means gave himself over to all manner of Exceess; as Drunkenness, Swearing, &c. But if he might escape for this time, he would go to Sea to avoid such evil Courses.

Henry List, was Born in Stepney Parish, being now 19 or 20 Years of Age, he said that he was not educated upto Knowledge, and therefore could not so fully express himself in Religious Matters, he served a Weaver for some time, who gave him the residue of it, in which he was Bound to him: that his own Father being Dead, his Mother and Father in Law, gave him all the good Counsel they could, but he would not be ruled by them; for which, he said, God had justly brought upon him this Punnishment; which if he should Escape, he would amend those Evil course of Life: he farther said that he was not acquainted with Harrison till after the Burglary committed by him.

The next Person whom the Ordinary Visited as well in his Chamber, as exhorted and Prayed with him among the other Criminals, was Cap. George Baker, who did not make so large a Confession as the forementioned Criminals: yet this he acknowledged that he was Born of creditable Parents, who were of a plentiful Estate, and brought him up not to any Employment, only he lived a Life of Ease as a Gentleman, which was his Misery, especially his Parents declining afterward in their Estate: so being reduced to Straits for a Livelyhood he served formerly as a Voluntier beyond Sea, and so signalized his Valour, that meeting with six French, who Confronted him riding toward Nancy, he Killed one of them, and put the rest to Flight. The Ordinary asked him how long he had beset Travelors in England; he did not state the set time, but said, he had used that course of Livelyhood for some time, yet he never Murthered any Person: the Ordinary replied that he was more oblieged to thank God for his preventing him in such an horrid Act, than to impute it to any thing else. There was some Discourse used with him to convince him of the Heinous Crime of Robbery; tho it were occasioned out of Poverty even therein; a Person Assaulting another must first offer Violence to his own Conscience, and the Laws of humane Society: but it is an Aggravation to Rob out of Wantonness of Spirit, to furnish with Materials to indulge themselves in Luxury, and to follow the chase of Robbing as a Trade or accustomary Delight. He said he repented of his evil Life, but he had confess’d his particular Sins to God, and, hoped, had made his Peace with him, through the satisfaction of Chirst’s Death: yet he said that he feared not Death, for he was assured of Eternal Life. The Ordinary replied the Hearts of Men are apt to Deceive themselves, and therefore the surest way would be to mistrust his own Heart in such Assurances, in as much as he could never enough repent him of his Sins.

The next Person that confess’d to the Ordinary, was Tho. Fallowfield, who Murthered a Young Maid: see the ground of his Malice in his Trial. The Ordinary would have taken him apart to have made him sensible, but the Crime is very Soul hardning; and so it proved with him; for he refused to give any account of his former course of Life; and tho Exhorted to Repent, shewed little or no signs thereof; so he must be left to the Tribunal of God, to pass his deteminate Judgment upon him.

About 9 or 10 of the Clock in the Morning Thomas Fallowfeild, was put into the Cart at Newgate, he seemed very Penitent all the way he went to Leicesterfeilds, where the Ordianry [sic] Prayed with him and Sung a Psalm, after which he was Executed, the rest of the Prisoners where put into the Cart about 10 or 11 of the Clock, they all seemed very Penitent all the way they went; when they came to Tyburn Mr. Ordinary Prayed with them and Sung a Psalm, after which, they Exhorted the standers by to take warning by their Dismal Ends of the Effects of Sin; which had brought them to that Place. And they all Prayed earnestly to God that he would forgive them their Sins, and desired the People to Pray for them, after which they were all Executed.

Dated the 4th. day of March, 1685. Samuel Smith, Ordinary.

LONDON, Printed by George Croom, at the Sign of the Blue-Ball in Thames-Street, over against Baynard’s-Castle. 1684.

Part of the Themed Set: The Ordinary of Newgate.

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1852: Samuel Treadway

1 comment March 1st, 2017 Headsman

Hartford Courant, Nov. 20, 1852


Newark Daily Advertiser, Jan. 4, 1853


Baltimore Sun, Jan. 12, 1853


Philadelphia Inquirer, Jan. 21, 1853

Philadelphia Inquirer, March 4, 1853

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Entry Filed under: 19th Century,Capital Punishment,Common Criminals,Crime,Death Penalty,Execution,Hanged,Murder,New Jersey,Public Executions,USA

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1902: Joe Higginbotham, criminal assailant

Add comment February 24th, 2017 Headsman

On this date in 1902, Joe Higginbotham was hanged for raping and slashing the throat of a Mrs. Ralph Webber.

The State (Columbia, S.C.), Jan. 24, 1902

This headline-making outrage occurred in Lynchburg, Virginia, and the town was on the verge of living up to its name before officers spirited the black janitor away to Roanoke for safekeeping; in Roanoke, military guardsmen were scrambled for security against a rumor that Higginbotham’s life would be attempted even there.

One might well wonder why the bother, as the formal proceedings against the culprit blessed by the law entailed very little deliberation beyond Judge Lynch. Mrs. Webber survived her injury and once her condition stabilized, she was brought to the jail on January 21 to make an identification. “She at once identified him as the man who assaulted her. The negro broke down and confessed to the crime with which he is charged, and further stated that he had attempted some months ago to assault a white girl who was a patient in a Lynchburg hospital.” (Charlotte Observer, Jan. 22, 1902)

Two days after that meeting, Higginbotham pleaded guilty at a short trial under heavy guard back in Lynchburg. The sentence was imposed for exactly one month out — plus one more day so as not to fall on a Sunday — and it went off as scheduled, undisturbed by any appeal or reprieve.

The Higginbotham name will be distinctive to students of 20th century American law, as it was borne by Judge A. Leon Higginbotham, one of the greatest jurists never to reach the Supreme Court.* (Higginbotham was reportedly considered for the seat Thurgood Marshall eventually received.) Since it appears from this message board that Higginbotham descendants in the Lynchburg and Amherst County part of Virginia count the judge among their kin, we couldn’t help but wonder whether, like radio host Tom Joyner discovered, there might be an execution hidden in the family tree.

Resident genealogist and occasional guest poster Golde Singer did some research on this proposition.

Judge Higginbotham grew up in New Jersey but census records confirm that his father Aloysius was in fact born in Virginia to a family with deep roots in Amherst County. Aloysius’s move to the Trenton, N.J. area in the first decade of the 20th century would have put him on the leading edge of the Great Migration of southern blacks to northern industrial cities.

Suggestive as that might be, Golde’s search through Aloysius’s family did not appear to turn up any clear link to a Joseph Higginbotham; indeed, Higginbotham the criminal assailant was reportedly himself an adopted or foster child whose lineage appears obscure. The trail from this point dissipates in history’s marshes. The Higginbotham name is quite widespread in the Lynchburg area; family ancestries for the African-American Higginbothams appear to trace back to slavery among the white family of Captain John Higginbotham, a Revolutionary War officer whose own father relocated to Amherst, Va. from Barbados. (Different English Higginbothams made good in India.)

A generalist site such as ours leaves off short of the close reading of archival records or research into family lore that would required here. (Perhaps there are some readers prepared to shed some light?) In the end, of course, any hypothetical family connection between these two very different men would count as little more than historical curiosity.

* Full disclosure: this author never had the privilege of meeting Judge Higginbotham, but counts as a mentor to his death penalty interest one of the judge’s proteges.

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Entry Filed under: 20th Century,Attempted Murder,Capital Punishment,Common Criminals,Crime,Death Penalty,Disfavored Minorities,Execution,Hanged,History,Racial and Ethnic Minorities,Rape,USA,Virginia

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1807: John Holloway and Owen Haggerty, sworn away

Add comment February 23rd, 2017 Meaghan

On this date in 1807, John Holloway, 39, and Owen Haggerty, 24, were hanged outside Debtors’ Door at Newgate Prison for the murder of John Cole Steele five years earlier. They died alongside murderer Elizabeth Godfrey, who had stabbed a man.

Steele was 35 at the time of death and was noted for his “amiable character.” He had a warehouse in London and a lavender plantation in the country at Feltham, and business was going well.

On Friday, November 5, 1802, he set out from his London townhouse to Feltham. He didn’t say exactly when he was coming home, but it was his wife’s birthday on Sunday and the family assumed he’d be back by then.

He didn’t arrive home by Saturday, and everyone figured he’d stayed overnight at his plantation. But when he missed his wife’s birthday party the next day, they got worried. On Monday they sent a messenger to investigate.

Steele, it turned out, had arrived in Feltham, and by 7:00 Saturday evening he was ready to return to his London house. He wasn’t able to procure a carriage, however, and decided to walk across Hounslow Heath, then a notorious haunt of bandits and highwaymen. It was not the sort of place a man with money — Steele was carrying about 26 shillings on him — should be at night.

He had paid for his want of caution with his life.

Searchers subsequently found Steele’s bloodstained coat on the heath, in a gravel pit ten or fifteen yards off the road. His corpse was under a clump of trees in a ditch 200 yards from the road. It had not been buried, but turf had been laid over it to conceal it. He’d been beaten and strangled to death, and the leather strap used to choke him was still tied tightly around his throat. His boots and hat were missing, his pockets had been cut away from his clothes and all his money was missing.

The coroner’s jury recorded a verdict of willful murder against some person or persons unknown. Forensics in the early 1800s basically didn’t exist, and with no witnesses to the crime, it seemed very unlikely that Steele’s murder would ever be solved. As Linda Stratmann records in Middlesex Murders,

Letters were sent to justices in Rutland and Leicester, urging that the most strenuous efforts should be made to apprehend [suspects], but they were never found. Steele’s family placed an advertisement in the newspaper offering a reward of £50 for information leading to the capture of the murderers. Several known criminals were arrested on suspicion, but after questioning they were released. Four years went by and all hope of finding the guilty persons was gone.

But then…

In 1806, 26-year-old thief Benjamin Hanfield was sentenced to seven years’ transportation. While awaiting transfer to a convict ship to take him to Australia, he mentioned Steele’s murder to some other prisoners and said three men were involved in the slaying.

Word got around to the authorities, and they took him to Portsmouth by coach for questioning. He implicated John Holloway and Owen Haggerty. It had been Holloway’s idea, he said; he’d somehow found out that a gentleman with money would be at Hounslow Heath on Saturday, November 6, and had recruited the other men to help him commit a robbery.

The three of them went to Hounslow Heath that Saturday, as according to plan, and waited for Steele. When Hanfield accosted their mark and demanded money, Steele was cooperative at first, handing over his cash. But when the robbers demanded his pocketbook as well, he claimed he didn’t have it and begged them not to hurt him. Holloway struck him with his stick, and as Steele began to struggle, Holloway said, “I will silence the bugger,” and beat him several times about his head and body.

They left him lying dead on the heath.

Hanfield ran away first, ahead of the others. He waited for nearly an hour at The Bell public house for them to catch up. After his accomplices arrived, they all went to an inn, the Black Horse. It was midnight and inn was closed for business, but its proprietor was still awake and the three men convinced him to serve them. They shared half a pint of gin there before parting ways.

Hanfield’s story had some evidence to support it. While he was being transported to Portsmouth for questioning, the coach passed the place where Steele had been killed and Hanfield pointed it out. After confession, he was taken back the heath and pointed out the clump of trees where Steele’s body had been located. This was enough to get Holloway and Haggerty arrested. Both men, when apprehended, said they were innocent.

By December 8, Haggerty and Holloway were brought together and Hanfield’s statement was read to them. The two men denied knowing each other, denied any knowledge of the murder, and denied having ever been on Hounslow Heath in their lives.

Hanfield’s story had another problem: he said Holloway knew well in advance that Steele would be on the heath that fatal Saturday. But, although Steele visited his Feltham plantation regularly, he didn’t have a fixed day of the week for doing it, and his own family wasn’t sure when he would be returning when he left London on Friday.

But in spite of the discrepancies, the flat denials from the alleged accomplices, and the lack of evidence supporting Hanfield’s statement, the authorities were sure they had the right men — tunnel vision that presents in many wrongful convictions. Hanfield was granted a free pardon for turning King’s Evidence against his co-defendants, and his previous sentence of transportation was commuted. At the trial, he was chief witness for the prosecution.

The defense argued that Hanfield was a liar and a professional criminal who had implicated innocent people for personal gain. But the defendants could not prove where they had been on a random autumn night five years earlier, and both had clearly lied about being strangers to each other.

Multiple witnesses testified that Haggerty and Holloway had known each other for many years. One of those witnesses was Officer Daniel Bishop, who worked at the jail. The two prisoners had been placed in separate cells side by side, and the partition between them was so thin that they could easily converse with each other. This had been a trick, and Bishop had been hiding in a nearby privy, writing down everything they said. From Haggerty and Holloway’s conversation it was obvious the men were good friends.

That much was true. But it was also true that when they thought they were alone together, neither of them implicated themselves in Steele’s slaying, and in fact they said Hanfield was a liar and that he, and not they, should be hanged.

As the Newgate Calendar said, “There was a great body of evidence adduced, none of which tended materially to incriminate the prisoners, except that of Hanfield, the accomplice, who, under the promise of pardon, had turned King’s evidence.”

The verdict, nevertheless, was guilty, after fifteen minutes’ deliberation. The sentence was death.

Holloway and Haggerty went to the scaffold invoking God and insisting they had not been involved in Steele’s murder. The execution was a memorable one; the Reaper got a bountiful harvest that day. Linda Stratmann describes the awful events in detail:

The crowds that assembled were unparalleled and estimated at about 40,000 people. By 8 a.m. there was not an inch of ground around the scaffold unoccupied. Even before the prisoners arrived the crush was so great that people trapped in the crowd were crying out to be allowed to escape …

At the corner of Green Arbour Lane, nearly opposite the Debtors’ Door, two piemen were selling their wares when one man’s basket was knocked over. He was bending down to pick up his wares when surging crowds tripped and fell over him. There was an immediate panic, in which people fought with each other to escape the crush. It was the weakest and the smallest in the crowd who suffered. Seven people died from suffocation alone, and others were trampled upon, their bodies mangled. A broker named John Etherington was there with twelve-year-old son. The boy was killed in the crush, and the man was at first thought to be dead and placed amongst the corpses, but he survived with serious injuries. A woman with an infant at her breast saved her baby by passing it to a man and begging him to save its life. Moments later she was knocked down and killed. The baby was thrown from person to person over the heads of the crowd and was eventually brought to safety …

Gradually the mobs dispersed and the bodies, thirty in all, were taken up in carts, twenty-seven to Bartholomew’s Hospital, two to St. Sepulchre’s Church and one to The Swan public house. Numerous others were injured, including fifteen men and two women who were so badly bruised that they were taken to the hospital, one of whom died the following day.

As it turned out, the landlord of The Bell didn’t remember any strangers coming to the pub on the night of the murder, and the landlord of the Black Horse didn’t remember three men coming at midnight and asking for gin. There were no details of the murder in Hanfield’s confession that he couldn’t have learned from common gossip. Furthermore, he had a history of making false confessions. A lawyer, James Harmer, actually compiled a pamphlet (Google Play | Google Books) of evidence that supported Haggerty and Holloway’s innocence.

But none of this exculpatory evidence surfaced until after the executions.

In yet another twist, in 1820, John Ward, alias Simon Winter, was indicted for John Cole Steele’s murder. Ward had a bad reputation in the area and was suspected of robbery and livestock theft. It was said he participated in the search for Steele, and one witness said he had seemed to be trying to lead the search party in the opposite direction from where the corpse was found.

The paper-thin murder case against Ward was dismissed for lack of evidence, and rightly so. But by indicting him in the first place, the authorities had as much as said Haggerty and Holloway had been wrongfully convicted.

“The fate of Holloway and Haggerty,” Stratmann notes in her book, “was often referred to in subsequent trials as an example of how little weight could be given to accomplices to a crime. The tragedy which had attended their execution also gave rise to considerable anxiety for many years.”

Hanfield disappeared without a trace after the murder trial; it’s unknown whether he continued his criminal ways.

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Entry Filed under: 19th Century,Capital Punishment,Common Criminals,Crime,Death Penalty,England,Execution,Guest Writers,Hanged,History,Murder,Other Voices,Pelf,Theft,Women,Wrongful Executions

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1828: Uriah Sligh

Add comment February 22nd, 2017 Headsman

From the Charleston Courier, March 29, 1827.

PENDLETON, MARCH 21. — We regret to announce that Captain Jehu Orr, who was stabbed on the 12th of February by Uriah Sligh, died on Sunday morning last of the wound.

Captain Orr has been long an inhabitant of the district, and has been very generally esteemed as an upright man and respectable citizen. His sufferings from the period of the infliction of the wound to that of his death, are represented to have been severe, and to have been borne with the most Christian fortitude.

Sligh, who was some time since admitted to bail, has been recommitted, and will probably be tried at the ensuing Court, which will commence on Monday next.

From Poulson’s American Daily Advertiser (Philadelphia, Pa.), March 13, 1828:

Pendleton, (S.C.) February 27, 1828.

On Friday last pursuant to the sentence of the law, Uriah Sligh was executed at this place for the murder of Jehu Orr.

As usual on such occasions, a large concourse of people assembled to witness the last pangs of a suffering fellow creature. It is certainly a strange curiosity which prompts people to attend the execution of a criminal, but it has so happened that the three occurrences of the kind which have unfortunately taken place here within two years, have severally collected together a more numerous assemblage than we have observed on any other occasion.

The following has been handed us by a gentleman who was present; the address being as nearly as can be remembered in the words uttered by the criminal on the eve of execution: —

After some religious exercises, he rose and addressed the crowd as follows.

Fellow-Citizens of Pendleton District — You see me in this situation. It is intemperance has brought me here. I was an honest and industrious man and strove to maintain my family in honesty and comfort.

I have no recollection of the action for which I am now suffering. I never had any ill-will or intention of killing that man.

And I now warn all of the danger of a habit of intemperance; particularly the poorer class who have it not always in their power. When they have an opportunity they will go to great excess.

I would exhort all to seek religion as the only sure guard against such awful practices. If you were always in the discharge of your duty and serving your God, you would be in no danger of coming to an end like mine.

He then knelt down and prayed with much earnestness that the Lord would pardon his sins and receive him to happiness; expressing a strong hope that as the blessed Saviour had promised that none who came to him should be cast out, he would also receive his spirit, and cleanse him by his blood.

On this day..

Entry Filed under: 19th Century,Capital Punishment,Common Criminals,Crime,Death Penalty,Execution,Hanged,Murder,Public Executions,South Carolina,USA

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1944: Missak Manouchian and 21 French Resistance members, l’Affiche Rouge

Add comment February 21st, 2017 Headsman

On this date in 1944, 22 members of the anti-Nazi French Resistance’s “immigrant movement” Francs-tireurs et partisans – main-d’œuvre immigrée (FTP-MOI) were executed by firing squad on the outskirts of Paris.

Comprised of foreign communists whose backgrounds amply motivated them to desperate resistance, FTP-MOI was a notably aggressive partisan unit; a few months before this date’s executions, it had stunningly assassinated SS Col. Julius Ritter on the streets of Paris. Risky tactics, including larger-scale operations like the one that claimed Ritter (these required more partisans to know each other) entailed greater risk of penetration, and the November 1943 arrest of the Armenian commander Missak Manouchian and his group devastated FTP-MOI. After the customary interlude of torture, these were subjected to a show trial with 23 condemned to execution.*

As a gaggle of foreign terrorists, heavily Semitic, this clique looked to the occupation like a marvelous tar with which to blacken the Resistance. To that end the Germans produced a scarlet poster denouncing the Resistance as an “Army of Crime,” its soldiery labeled with strange names and alien nationalities converging on the swarthy Manouchian.**

Soon known as l’Affiche Rouge, the poster instead apotheosized its subjects. In the postwar period it became an emblem of the best of the Resistance — its multinational unity, France as an idea powerful enough that men and women of distant birth would give their lives for her. (Not to mention the postwar French Communists’ claim on le parti des fusillés.)

To this day in France, the backfiring propaganda sheet is one of the best-recognized artifacts of the Resistance.

The executions were naturally conducted quietly; the Germans strictly forbade public access to or photography of Resistance heroes in their martyrdoms for obvious reasons.

That made it especially surprising when a few pictures of this execution surfaced recently, surreptitiously snapped from an overlooking vantage by German motorbike officer Clemens Rüter, who kept them hidden for decades. They are to date the only known World War II photos of French Resistance members being executed.

* The 23rd, and the only woman in the group, was Romanian Olga Bancic, also known by the nom de guerre Pierrette; she was not shot on this date but deported to Stuttgart and beheaded there on May 10, 1944. There was also a 24th, a man named Migatulski, who was initially part of the same trial; he was instead remanded to French custody. (See coverage in the collaborationist La Matin from Feb. 19, 1944 and Feb. 22, 1944.)

** We’ve noted before that a Polish Jew named Joseph Epstein who was part of the same cell (and a prime candidate for racist demagoguing) avoided a place on l’Affiche Rouge thanks to his preternatural talent for remaining mum under interrogation.

On this day..

Entry Filed under: 20th Century,Capital Punishment,Death Penalty,Disfavored Minorities,Execution,France,Germany,History,Jews,Martyrs,Mass Executions,Murder,Occupation and Colonialism,Power,Racial and Ethnic Minorities,Ripped from the Headlines,Separatists,Shot,Soldiers,Terrorists,Torture,Treason,Wartime Executions

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1906: Robert E. Newcomb and John Mueller

Add comment February 16th, 2017 Meaghan

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

On this day in 1906, Robert E. Newcomb and John Mueller were hanged together in Chicago, Illinois. Both were multiple murderers, with six deaths between them.

Newcomb, who was, described as “crazed” and “maddened,” hanged for the murder of Chicago police sergeant John Peter Shine.

On October 10 the previous year, Shine heard reports of a gunman terrorizing people on the streets of Englewood. Newcomb had already shot three people and one, a woman named Florence Poore who was the wife of Newcomb’s friend, was dead. Shine found out the gunman had barricaded himself in his apartment. Although he was off duty, he decided to make the arrest himself.

When he knocked on the apartment door and demanded entry, however, Newcomb simply fired through the closed door, hitting Shine in the abdomen and mortally wounding him. The officer died two hours later at Englewood Union Hospital, at the age of 42. Walter Blue, one of the others Newcomb had shot, also died of his wounds.

After Shine was shot, over 100 police officers surrounded Newcomb’s apartment and fired into it, hoping to apprehend or kill the gunman. After a long siege, Newcomb surrendered to an equally certain death in the judiciary.

Little is known about John Mueller or his crimes. Daniel Allen Hearn, in his book Legal Executions in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky and Missouri: A Comprehensive Registry, 1866-1965, describes Mueller as “a drunk and a loser who went berserk when refused money with which to buy liquor.” The 32-year-old slaughtered his wife, Annie, and their two daughters, two-year-old Martha and 18-month-old Mary, by shooting them and slashing them repeatedly with a razor.

The two killers were executed in the Cook County Jail. It was an integrated execution: Newcomb was black and Mueller was white.

On this day..

Entry Filed under: 20th Century,Capital Punishment,Common Criminals,Crime,Death Penalty,Disfavored Minorities,Execution,Guest Writers,Hanged,Illinois,Murder,Other Voices,Racial and Ethnic Minorities,USA

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1818: Samuel Godfrey, American picaro

Add comment February 13th, 2017 Headsman

“The day was remarkably calm, serene and placid, for the season — as was also, the mind, the countenance, and the conduct of the prisoner” on February the 13th of 1818 when “more than ten thousand persons” witnessed the execution of Samuel Godfrey on Woodstock (Vt.) Green.

That’s per A Sketch of the Life of Samuel E. Godfrey, which is reproduced in full in this post; some version of the publication was sold on Woodstock Green on the day of the hanging, presumably without the final appendix actually reporting the execution’s result.*

Alternating between mariner and hatter, with frequent brushes against authority and a keen feel (up to and including the transaction that cost him his own life) for the injustices visited upon him by the powerful, Samuel Godfrey emerges episodically as an American picaro on the Canadian frontier — which he is made to cross thanks to the hated British practice of seizing and impressing American seamen.

Although the man’s personal history is impossible to audit, the historical events in which he situates his autobiography were quite real: the dramatic naval battle of the HMS Cleopatra and the Ville de Milan is narrated here; there were American-British skirmishes at Odelltown, Quebec during the War of 1812; and certainly his audience would have been familiar with the flood that devastated Woodstock in 1811.

* Despite the extensive prepared “valedictory address” printed in the document in this post, Godfrey’s scaffold statement was actually quite cursory thanks to a planning snafu. According to the Amherst, N.H. Farmers’ Cabinet (Feb. 21, 1818), he said only: “I have no remarks to make, only that I declare before God and man, that I am innocent of the crime for which I am about to suffer. I had an address prepared for the occasion, but it is not here; if it was, I should be glad to have it read.”

On this day..

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

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1956: Elifasi Msomi, witch doctor

Add comment February 10th, 2017 Meaghan

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

On this date in 1956, Zulu witch doctor Elifasi Msomi was executed in at Pretoria Central Prison in South Africa for the murders of fifteen people.

The devil made him do it, he said. Or, rather, Tokoloshe, an evil spirit in Zulu folklore.

Msomi had not been successful in earning a living at witch-doctoring, so he consulted an experienced colleague for advice. According to Msomi, the man introduced him to Tokoloshe and said, “Get me the blood of 15 people.”

Over the next year and a half, Msomi stalked KwaZulu Natal, slaughtering victims as the demon pointed them out, and collecting their blood in bottles. He would attack them with a knife, hatchet or knobkierie after luring them to an isolated area.

The first victim was a young girl. To prove to the demon just how dedicated and obedient he was, Msomi hacked his victim to death in front of his girlfriend. Tokoloshe was delighted, but the girlfriend was horrified. She went straight to the cops and had Msomi arrested. Then he escaped from custody … with Tokoloshe’s help, he said.

Msomi followed up on his first act by slaying five children. In April 1955, he was linked to multiple murders and arrested again, but again he escaped and picked up where he’d left off.

In his book Murder By Numbers: The 100 Most Deadly Serial Killers From Around The World, Robert Keller says,

Serial killers seldom stop killing of their own accord, but that is exactly what happened with Elifasi Msomi. Having collected the blood of his fifteenth young victim, he said that Tokoloshe thanked him for his service, then bathed with him in the river before they parted company.

Without Tokoloshe to help him anymore, Msomi soon came to police attention again when he was arrested for petty theft. In custody once more, he freely confessed to the murders and led authorities to some bodies, but he said he wasn’t responsible for his actions and was only following Tokoloshe’s orders.

There was, however, the problematic fact that he had raped some of his victims and robbed others; Tokoloshe hadn’t requested THAT. At the trial, two psychologists testified that Msomi was very intelligent and got sexual pleasure by causing pain to other people.

Writing of this case in Real Vampires, Night Stalkers and Creatures from the Darkside, Brad Steiger says,

Such was the reputation of the witch doctor’s power of channeling the Tokoloshe that prison officials granted permission to a deputation of tribal chiefs and elders to view Msomi after he had been hanged on February 10, 1956. These men were thus able to return to their respective tribes and proclaim that the witch doctor was really dead and that Tokoloshe had left him to seek out another host body.

On this day..

Entry Filed under: 20th Century,Capital Punishment,Common Criminals,Crime,Death Penalty,Execution,Guest Writers,Hanged,Murder,Other Voices,Rape,Serial Killers,South Africa,The Supernatural

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