This week in 1855

January 30th, 2014 by admin

“I am perfectly willing to die. The man you have got in jail for aiding me is perfectly innocent, and ought to be let go; but that Blair deserves all I’ve got. He was as much to blame as I was. . . . Yes; I hate this world and my own life and I’m going to leave it. I’ll be in Paradise before sundown. Now, farewell, farewell, meet me in the other world. I want to see you all in Heaven. Whisky brought me to this—I expect you along in a few days. Farewell, all my friends.”

— Stephen Short, convicted of murder, hanging, Kentucky.
Executed January 19, 1855

An inebriated Short shot a Mr. McFarland, his employer at Clinton Furnace, who had fired Short’s son and, according to a newspaper report, “endeavored to keep his hands from drinking whisky.” 

The Blair mentioned in his final speech was, according to Short, the man who told him to shoot. Short spent the time before his execution hanging rats in his cell and “speculating on the analogy between the death struggles of these animals and men.” More than six thousand people were present to witness the double execution of Stephen Short and fellow murderer William Hanning, who parted with “I haven’t got anything against any man in the world. I hope nobody’s got anything against me now.”

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