Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Article about Elizabeth Reed Published in 1845

One hundred seventy years ago May 23, the first woman was hanged in Illinois....actually in our own county.  As you can see the news spread as far away as Boston.

Publication: The Liberator, a newspaper published in Boston, Massachusetts
Date: June 20, 1845

EXECUTION OF MRS. ELIZABETH REED. A few days since, we published a report, which was current in our exchanges, that this human fiend, who was under sentence of death in Illinois, had cheated the gallows by eating glass. The Charleston (Ill .) Reporter contradicts this report, and gives a minute account of her execution, pursuant to sentence. She was hanged at Lawrenceville , (Ill .) on the 23d ult. She stated on the gallows, that she felt an interest in the redeeming blood of the Prince of Peace, and died out to live forever in a state of bliss made perfect to the glory of God the Father. She was very unwell on the morning of the execution, and with a weak and feeble step she was conducted to the scaffold, and hung in the presence of eight thousand spectators. After her spirit had taken flight to another world, her body was taken down and dissected by the physicians. Her stomach, upon examination, was found to contain a number of pieces of brick, as large as a pea, and pulverized glass, by which she had in vain attempted to save herself from an ignominious and public death. It is justly presumed that she could have lived but a few days longer. She has made her confession, which, with the trial, speech of Mr. Linder, (her counsel,) and the sentence of the court, (pronounced by Judge Wilson,) is published at Charleston. In it are related the circumstances attending the murder of the husband, consummated by administering poison by the wife. The story is said to be one of thrilling interest and deep horror.

Ed Note:  W F Linder later became a prominent attorney in Chicago law circles.  August C. French who assisted him as Elizabeth's attorney became Governor of Illinois in 1846.