Coleman Gillespie

Another more ET: Coleman Gillespie, hanged in 1900 for the robbery and murder of 77-year-old Christina Edson. Christina’s farm had been burned down and her husband and three small sons (along with 20 other pioneers) murdered by Rogue River Indians in Oregon in 1856. Decades later, the government’s Indian Depredation Fund awarded her compensation in the form of a monthly pension. She got her very first check on September 18, 1899, and the next day Coleman Gillespie tortured and killed her for it and burned down her house. So she was, sort of, the last victim of that long-ago massacre.

I suppose you could say Coleman Gillespie was actually the last victim, since he wouldn’t have committed the robbery/homicide were it not for the massacre. But his execution was his own fault. Christina was a truly innocent victim.

My first Executed Today entry of 2012

There will be several ET entries by me this month, five in all I think. This is the first: Louisa Masset, hanged on January 9, 1900 for the brutal murder of her three-year-old illegitimate son. It was apparently premeditated and it was horrific: she beat him with a brick in a train station bathroom, then suffocated him.

The author John J. Eddleston, in whose book I first read about Louisa, lists her in another book he wrote about wrongful executions. That is, he suggests she may have been innocent. Not having read this particular book, I’m not sure why he thinks this. The evidence, though circumstantial, seems conclusive enough.