Saturday, March 28, 2009

40 Days of Lent: Day Thirty Two

Another John Hanlon, Hanged Man

The following is from the February 2nd 1871 New York Times. My friend Colette discovered it by doing a google search for my name and "hanged man." Happily, this blog comes up first. The below article is third, and then some links to John Hanlon, New Zealand hippie folksinger.

Execution of a Murderer

John Hanlon Hanged Yesterday in Philadelphia - The Legal Number of Witnesses Only Present.

Philadelphia, Penn., Feb. 1. -- Preparations for the execution of John Hanlon were completed yuesterday. The gallows had been erected within the corridor of the prison building in anticipation of bad weather, and also to secure entire privacy, which could not be the case in the prison yard, as some buildings in the neighbordd overlook the inclosure, and many previous executions have been witnessed from roofs and tree-tops. Hanlon bid his wife and relatives farewell yesterday, expressing himself ready to die, and had no expectations of a respite. After the religious ceremonies, Father Barry said that Hanlon had nothing to make public, but wished to return thanks to the officers of the prison and the inspectors and keepers. Hanlon then stepped to the front of the platform, and in a firm and distinct voice said:

"To those who have ever injured me or have ever done me any wrong, I forgive them and ask God to forgive them; and all whom I have injured in any way whatever, or against whom I have had any ill feeling, I ask their forgiveness and God to forgive me."

The execution took place at 11:18 this morning. The law limiting the number of witnesses was strictly enforced by Sheriff Leeds. His body has been given to his relatives for interment.

The Crime.
The murder of the child, May Mohrmann, for which Hanlon was hanged, was committed on a Sunday evening, nearly two and a half years aago. At the time no one but the guilty man knew that the foul deed had been done. The mother of the child and the neighbors knew that she was missing, and supposed that she was lost and would soon be found again. It was not until the Tuesday morning following that the city was startled by the news that the dead body of the little girl, who was only about six years old, though large for her age -- not old enough, at all events, to incur the serious displeasure of any human being -- had been found in a pool of water in an open let near her former residence in the upper part of the city. The appearance of the body made it very evident that she had been most horribly murdered under circumstances of the most fiendish atrocity....

For some time after the discovery no clue could be found to the murderer, though public opinion, especially in the immediate neighborhood, was at a high state of excitement. Suspicion pointed to the man John Hanlon, who kept a barber-shop on Fifth street, a few doors from Diamond.

To be continued, though I'd just like to point out that I wish newspapers were still written like this.

No comments: