Transcribed by : Tina Easley


Source - March 5, 1873 - Morning Republican


William Watkins for killing Willim A. Swaggerty and Brown Brewer (col.) for killing Charles Balley (col.) will be hung on the 25th of April next.

Wm. Watkins his two sons were indicted last court for the murder of Wm. A. Swaggerty . They were caught and imprisoned in our county jail , one of the sons escaped , leaving the old man and his son Jack for trial. Both were tried at this court. Wm. Watkins the father of the boys was tried first Messrs Cypert and House ably defended him and no doubt but the jury concluded as we did that every ground of palliation was shown clearly by these able counsel.

Jack Watkins acknowledged his crime of murder in the second degree and was sentenced to seven years imprisonment in the penitentiary.

Judge Whytook told William Watkins that he had been convicted and found guilty of a most brutal crime. That his example and conduct had involved his sons , that his life had been fruitless for good , and that the gallows must end his career on the 25th day of April , between sunrise and sundown.

Brown Brewer received his sentence of death this morning.


Source - December 21, 1886 - Arkansas Gazette

When Hangings Should Take Place

Only about one half of the governors of hanging states now observe Friday as hangmen's day . If the remainder had the sense to make a change the ill luck which still attaches to the day in many minds would sound dissipated. All murderers should be hung on the first of the week.


Source - March 13, 1911 - Jonesboro Evening Sun


Will be the first legal Hanging in Craighead County since January , 1897.

In the circuit court Saturday the new trial in the case of the State of Arkansas against Wilbur Perkins , convicted of murder in the in the first degree , was denied by the court . Judge Smith then sentenced Perkins to hang on May 12th.

The negro Robt. Shaw will be taken to the state penitentiary to serve a term of ten years.

The hanging if it takes place will be the first legal hanging in Jonesboro since January 7th , 1897 , when Ellis Rose , a negro was hung by R. L. Collins , who was sheriff at that time . He killed another negro in Crittenden county and the case was tried in this county on a change of venue. This will be the third legal hanging in this county since the county was established. There have been several hangings by mobs.


Source - August 4, 1899 - Arkansas Gazette

To See Maxey Hung

Sheriff Branson has had more applications for tickets to the execution of John Maxey than fourteen hangings could supply . The law permits only 25 persons to witness an execution and there have been many dozens asking for permission.


Source - July 16, 1891 - Arkansas Gazette



He Admits That He Committed the Crime But Says He Did Because the Preacher Assaulted His Wife

Pine Bluff , July 15 - This morning at 11:30 o'clock , Sheriff Silverman cut the rope which held the platform upon which stood Robert Williams . The body of the murderer of Albert Hayes shot down seven feet and at the end met eternity. Robert Williams neck was broken at the first fall.

At 10:50 Elder Rose and Rev. J.C. Battle entered Williams cell and conducted religous services for ten minutes . The result was saintary.

At 11 o'clock he was dressed for execution and simultansously the curiosity seekers were driven from the jail yard. Sheriff Silverman then called over a list of those invited which included twenty-five , the lawful number and the press.

At 11:20 the procession from the jail began led by Elder Rose and Rev. J. O. Battle . Williams was supported on either side by Deputies . His brother brought up the rear , followed by Sheriff Silverman , Deputy Sheriff Parse and Sheriff Hamilton , of Camden , who happened in town , and was invited by Sheriff Silverman.

Once upon the scaffold Rev. J.c. Battle led a hymn in which everyone joined and the Elder Rose prayed fervently for the soul which was soon to be launched into eternity. Sheriff Silverman then read the death warrant , including the sentence , the respite the confirmation by the Supreme Court and the setting of today , July 15. During the reading Williams remained with his eyes closed.

After the reading the warrant Sheriff Silverman whished to know if he had anything to say. He said:

" I have nothing more to say. I have God's pardon and I do not fear death. I am willing to be sacrificed as an offering , as it is God's will. I am ready and willing . I thank everyone for their kindness and I thank my friends for what they have done. I am pardoned."

When Williams had finished Undertaker O.B. Richards , who will have charge of the interment of the remains, adjusted the rope which was to confine his arms and legs . This was done at the request of Sheriff Silverman.

When the arms and legs had been tied and the black cap had been adjusted , Mr. Richards said , "ready." At that Sheriff Silverman said: "May God have mercy on your soul ."

With that he cut the rope. The body of Robert Williams made a lurch downward of seven feet, and at the end of the rope his soul was launched into eternity.

Dr. Banks , Dr. Taylor and Dr. E.L. Beech were present. Dr. banks took the pulse and the Gazette correspondent timed it for him.

The drop fell at 11:30 to the minute and but with a convulsion or so of the entire frame , Robert Williams died.