This week in 1797

September 26th, 2012 by admin

“When I think how I have sinned against the great God, my heart breaks and tears run from my eyes . . . I forgive every body, and hope that God will have mercy on me. Now in the 28th year of my age, I commit my spirit in to the hands of a merciful . . . God and hope he will receive me for his great mercy’s sake. I die in peace with all mankind, and beg that all people will take warning by my awful end.”

— Stephen Smith, convicted of arson and robbery, hanging, Massachusetts.
Executed October 12, 1797

A slave born in Virginia and owned by William Allen, Smith ran away from his master and robbed houses. He claimed that his father was a religious man but his mother encouraged him to steal. In Boston he was indicted for arson and robbery, then sentenced to death.

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