Illinois Genealogy Trails

WILLIAM BROWN

The last man to be "Legally" hung in Massac County.
Submitted by Ann Laird

William Brown (Center) right before his hanging.  The last man to be legally hung in Massac County, IL

William Brown (center) was arrested December 18, 1926 for the axe murder of Sadie Harris and Georgianna Caldwell the night before at Brookport. He was indicted for the murder of Sadie Harris January 11, 1927. His trial began February 21, with twelve witnesses testifying for the prosecution. None were called in the defendants behalf. On February 22 the jury found William Brown guilty of the murder of Sadie Harris with the punishment as death. He was never tried for the murder of Annie Caldwell. In December, invitations to the hanging were sent out by Sheriff Risinger. The rope was ordered from St. Louis, MO and the gallows was brought in from Saline County, IL. A professional hangman was brought in from Epworth, IL. On the morning of December 16, 1927, he was hung in front of about 400 people in the court yard in Metropolis. Eighteen minutes later he was pronounced dead. His funeral was held the next day. He is buried at the Kidd Cemetery in Metropolis. Photo taken December 16, 1927.


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