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Fredonia Censor, December 7, 1842

Lockport [Niagara County], Nov. 30 [1842]
The Execution – The execution of David DOUGLASS has just taken place within the walls of the new Jail in this village.

Within a few minutes of two o’clock, the prisoner, clad in his grave habiliments, was led under the gallows, and commended to God, in prayer, by Rev. M. Curry. Rising from his knees, DOUGLAS then addressed a few words to the spectators, affirming that he and the man he was to suffer for, were good friends – he had, no spirit of animosity against CUNNINGHAM, and did not intend to take his life. He said that he forgave all men – that he had been treated kindly by the Sherif[f], Mr. STONE – that his counsel, Messrs. CARTER and HUNT, had also been very kind in what they had done for him without pecuniary reward. He closed by reiterating his denial that he had any intention of killing CUNNINGHAM.

The moment he concluded the weight fell – the prisoner was suddenly drawn up, and passed beyond the reach of human tribunals to his last account. After hanging some twenty minutes, the body was cut down, and conveyed to Cold Spring Cemet[e]ry for burial.

The appearance of the prisoner was up to the last moment cool and self possessed. Not a sign of fear was discoverable. From the moment of his sentence his conduct had been variable – at times manifesting a spirit of penitence, and relapsing into the most hardened obduracy. The evening before his execution, he hade an attempt to hang himself, and from his whole demeanor there is too much reason for apprehending that he met his fate an unrepenting man. – Courier.


Notes:
•  A local doctor in need of a cadaver unburied it and used it for medical research.
•  This was the only hanging in Niagara County. Alfred Holmes was the prosecuting attorney and Washington Hunt defended David Douglas. This execution led to John Greenleaf Whittier writing the poem Human Sacrifice condemning capital punishment.
•  The 1840 census tells us that David had 1 female 20-30 in house
3 males besides himself he was 30-40
2 males 5-10 1 male under 5
also there Asa Douglass 40-50 with family


Sources

 

Sources for this article include:

•  Fredonia Censor

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