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Submitted By:  Yvonne Lay Logue

(Harrodsburg Democrat, Harrodsburg, Mercer Co, Ky Fri Aug 19, 1898)

 

The Stanford Hanging

George Stevens, colored, aged 17 years, was hanged at Stanford yesterday morning at 9 o’clock. The condemned man was cooler than any of those who witnessed the execution. Leaving the jail the prisoner made only one request, that he should not see his own coffin; and walked without a tremor from the cell to the scaffold. On mounting the platform he addressed the fifty persons within the enclosure and the hundreds on the outside that could see and hear him, saying:" I want to tell this congregation that I feel all right. I am going to die and go to a resting place with Jesus, for God has pardoned me of my sins. It makes me love everybody- even my enemies. I hope to meet all you good people in heaven. This is all I have to say," Rev. Gillispie, colored, then offered a fervent prayer. As the preacher said amen the prisoner, still retaining his composure and as erect as a soldier on dress parade, marched to the center of the platform and stood on the trap-door. The noose having been carefully adjusted by Sheriff Sam Owens, the trap was sprung and in a moment the prisoner was suspended in the air. His neck was not broken by the fall and the man died of strangulation in twenty-two minutes. The sheriff had tested the rope used in the hanging and had calculated for the stretch of the six feet fall, but the weight of the prisoner caused a greater stretch than was calculated and the prisoner’s toes were nearly on the ground. The crime for which Stephens paid the penalty of his life, was committed July 4, at Crab Orchard. At a flag raising that day he had an altercation with a white man, and was heard to say that he would kill some one before night. Soon after that he shot a white boy, thirteen years old, without cause or provocation. That day he was arrested, and the next day, Tuesday, was indicted by the grand jury and on Thursday the trial jury rendered a verdict of murder in the first degree, fixing the penalty at death by hanging. Sheriff Owens was highly complimented by many for the manner in which he conducted the execution and the good order that prevailed. The representatives of the Democrat present on the occasion are not only indebted to the Sheriff for kindly attention but also to his deputies, Messrs. J. B. and Cabell Owens, and to Messrs. W. P. and E. C. Walton, of the Journal.