This week in 1826

July 20th, 2013 by admin

“Your husband is dying happy! For you I lived, for you I
die! I hear you groan! I hope you may yet be recovered!
If you are, live till it is God’s will to take you, and prepare
to meet me in a better world!”

Your dying husband,
J. O. Beauchamp

— Jereboam O. Beauchamp, convicted of murder, hanging, Kentucky.
Executed July 7, 1826

Beauchamp murdered Kentucky legislator Solomon P. Sharp after the state representative denied paternity of a child by Anna Cooke, whom Beauchamp wed after the birth of the child. Rumors circulated that Sharp claimed the child was a mulatto and the product of a Cooke family slave. Vowing to avenge his wife’s honor, Beauchamp stabbed Sharp to death at his home. But this was not the end of the tragedy. While awaiting execution, Beauchamp was joined in his cell by his wife, at her request. Despite two suicide attempts, the couple was allowed to stay together. On the day of execution, both he and Anna stabbed themselves. The above note was written to Anna as Beauchamp was hauled to the gallows, before he could bleed to death. Anna died of her wounds.

This incident, known as the Beauchamp-Sharp Tragedy, inspired Edgar Allan Poe’s unfinished work “Politian” and novelist Robert Penn Warren’s “World Enough and Time.”

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