PORTLAND, Maine — Joseph Drew was an enormous man and a blacksmith by commerce. Used to wielding heavy hammers, he made his residing smiting red-hot steel, pounding it time and again.
Perhaps that’s why it solely took Drew two blows with a wood membership to kill Cumberland County Deputy Sheriff Ebenezer Parker in January 1808.
The homicide befell when the deputy chased a person wished for a petty crime into Drew’s Portland store, breaking down the door within the course of. Although the blacksmith didn’t know the person Parker was after, Drew defended him with lethal power.
Six months later, Drew, 24, was hanged within the metropolis earlier than a big crowd. He was the third particular person to be hanged in Portland and the sixteenth put to dying by a authorities in Maine.
Born on Oct. 9, 1783, within the York County city of Shapleigh, Drew was apprenticed to a blacksmith in Limerick as an adolescent.
After about three years studying the commerce, he arrange store in Limerick. However he discovered enterprise and life there uninteresting. Earlier than lengthy he moved to Saccarappa, or what’s now Westbrook.
That’s the place Drew stated he first fell into unhealthy firm.
“I discovered examples of swearing, ingesting, gaming, quarreling, profaning the sabbath and neglecting public worship,” he said in his confession, written the day earlier than his execution and browse aloud on the gallows. “In a short while, I used to be wiser than my academics in sin.”
Being a vigorous, strapping younger blacksmith, Drew stated he was usually enlisted in different males’s bodily quarrels as muscle.
“Which added gasoline to my corrupt and irascible passions and quickly matured the cruelty and malignity of my mood,” he stated.
On January 11, 1808, Drew was working in a blacksmith store in Portland. That’s the place his mood, added together with his bodily power, lastly equalled homicide.
The earlier December, Sheriff’s Deputy Parker had arrested a person named Levi Quinby for being a debtor and failing to pay his payments.
Parker marched Quinby to jail, however the incarcerated man should have been a easy talker. Quinby quickly satisfied the jailer to let him go dwelling, swearing he would resubmit to arrest peacefully if ever convicted.
However he was a liar.
Quinby armed himself with a wood membership, telling anybody who would hear that he was undoubtedly not going again to jail.
Quickly, Parker was after him once more, chasing him by means of Portland’s streets.
“Quinby all of the sudden ducked into Joseph Drew’s place of work,” wrote Daniel Allen Hearn in his e book “Authorized Execution in New England,” printed in 1999. “He then bolted the door behind him and begged Drew for refuge.”
Drew advised Quinby to cover.
When the deputy started pounding on the blacksmith’s door, demanding to be let in, Drew advised him Quinby wasn’t there.
Parker didn’t imagine him and busted down the door.
Drew flew right into a rage.
“The blacksmith took pink sizzling horseshoes from his forge and flung them on the deputy,” Hearn wrote. “Dodging the barrage, Parker stated he would have his prisoner.”
The 2 males then commenced combating, fists flying.
Quinby tossed his membership to Drew. The blacksmith raised it, swung and bashed Parker’s head.
“I repeated the stroke,” Drew stated, “with out understanding on the time the horrible results of the primary blow.”
The 2 hits had been sufficient to crack open Parker’s cranium. He lingered for every week, then died.
Drew went to trial in Could. Convicted of homicide, he was sentenced to dying on the twenty eighth.
Awaiting his destiny, Drew harbored hopes for some sort of pardon and stated he didn’t actually really feel any regret. That modified as his execution date drew nearer.
“When all hope of escape was gone, I desired to bless God,” Drew stated.
Like many condemned prisoners earlier than and since, Drew sought to make peace with himself, the folks he’d wronged and his maker.
“I sincerely ask forgiveness of all individuals whom I’ve injured,” he stated in his closing assertion, “particularly the widow and kids of Ebenezer Parker.”
At 1 p.m. on Thursday, July 21, 1808, the Cumberland County Sheriff — and all his deputies — led Drew out of jail, to the close by place of execution. The prisoner was wearing a white gown and the noose was already tied firmly round his neck. Drew carried the remainder of the rope’s size coiled on his left arm.
“He at first was vastly agitated on the view of his coffin laid in a cart,” states a pamphlet which described the scene and printed later that 12 months. “He burst into tears and cried out: Life is good! Life is Candy!”
The sheriff then learn Drew’s dying warrant. Likewise, the blacksmith’s confession was learn, together with a prolonged, written sermon by famed native minister Elijah Kellogg, who was too unwell to evangelise it himself.
A couple of minutes earlier than 3 p.m., after standing silent on the gallows for almost two hours, Drew was lastly hanged.
“He fell and hung by his neck strung, in just a few moments died,” wrote people poet Thomas Shaw of Standish, who was within the crowd that day. “His physique lifeless, his soul has fled, to judgment to be tried.”
Quinby, the debtor Drew died defending from the legislation, was additionally charged with Parker’s homicide however was acquitted.
This story is a part of an ongoing collection analyzing Maine’s historic use of the dying penalty.