This week in 1865

July 21st, 2013 by admin

“Please don’t let me fall.”

— Mary Surratt, convicted of conspiracy to murder, hanging, Washington, D.C.
Executed July 7, 1865

Surratt was convicted as a conspirator in the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, along with Lewis Powell (alias Lewis Paine or Payne), David Herold, and George Atzerodt. The prisoners received their death sentences only the day before they were set to hang. Surratt was the first woman executed by the federal government. She was never allowed to testify at her own trial, in which she was accused of using her tavern as a meeting place for the conspirators.

President Andrew Johnson signed her death warrant and was reputed to have said, “She kept the nest that hatched the egg.” In some accounts of the execution, Powell said from the gallows, “Mrs. Surratt is innocent. She doesn’t deserve to die with the rest of us.”

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