This week in 1773
“The Lord shewed me, that I had nothing in me that could commend me to God . . . and as I am shortly to die a shameful death, which I brought upon myself, by reason of living so long without God in the world, yet I would die this death, in the condition I am now in, rather than live in this world, to be carnally minded, as usual. I die now to live eternally. Glory be to God for his free grace bestowed on me, vile sinner. I die, though, most unworthy of the title, one of the Israel of God and an heir of glory.”
— Francis Burdett personal, convicted of murder, hanging, colonial New York.
Executed September 10, 1773
Personal had fallen ill and could not work, so his wife, a former prostitute, reverted to her old trade to support them. However, even after Personal recovered his wife continued to spend considerable time away from home. One night she did not come home and her husband went searching for her. Finding her in the company of two men, Personal bludgeoned one of them, Robert White, to death. These last words are taken from an account of his life sold by a printing office in New Haven, Connecticut. Another account describes Personal, age twenty-six, as his wife’s pimp.
This week in 1883
“You young saints and sinners, take warning and let whisky alone. It was whisky that brought me here. I did not kill the man, it was whisky; but I am come here now, and God has pardoned me. My way is clear before me…God bless you all.”
— Henry Dickerson, convicted of murder, hanging, Louisiana.
Executed September 7, 1883
Dickerson was drinking and gambling unsuccessfully with a group of plantation and steamboat workers when he left the dice game and met John Steele, “an uninterested passerby.” After Steele refused to give him a dime, Dickerson shot him through the heart. Dickerson escaped to spend eight days in a swamp but then, having nearly starved, gave himself up. He later found religion in prison.
This week 1993
“I’d just like to say I don’t hate nobody. What I did was wrong. I hope everybody is satisfied with what is about to happen.”
— Richard J. Wilkerson, convicted of murder, lethal injection, Texas.
Executed August 31, 1993
Two weeks before Wilkerson and two associates murdered four employees
at a Houston amusement center, Wilkerson had been fired as a pit attendant from the establishment. For a time Wilkerson laughed about the murders, but before he was put to death by the state he expressed deep regret.