1829: George Chapman, besotted

2 comments May 28th, 2013 Headsman

On this date in 1829, George Chapman became the first person hanged in Waterloo, N.Y.

According to the July 29, 1829 New York Spectator, the tailor Chapman “had a quarrel with Daniel Wright, laborer (both excessively intemperate drinkers),” but the two sorted it out.

“According to a vulgar custom, however, they must ratify their treaty of amity over a bottle of whiskey”: in drinking their accord the drunks promptly fell back into dispute, leading Chapman to fatally clobber Wright across the head with a shovel.

This article refers soberingly to the perpetrator’s “inevitable doom”, and so it was.

The following spring (according to this pdf memoir which misstates the year of the event), thousands came by foot, by boat, by ox-cart, sleeping under the stars to witness the strange spectacle of Chapman’s public execution. “Trees around the spot were so filled with sight-seers that they looked as if they were covered with blackbirds.”

On this day..

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

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