US pardons Irishman hanged for murder 150 years ago as victim of 'anti-Catholic bigotry'

John Gordon, who in 1845 was the last person to be executed in the state of Rhode Island, was hanged for supposedly murdering Amasa Sprague, a wealthy mill-owner from an important local family.

Lincoln Chafee, the Governor of Rhode Island, said that Mr Gordon had been “put to death after a highly questionable judicial process and based on no concrete evidence”.

Mr Sprague was the brother of the one-time state governor and US Senator William Sprague. His killing inflamed tensions between Rhode Island's ‘Yankee’ protestant majority and the newly-arrived Irish population.

After Mr Sprague's body was found brutally beaten on a snowy road on New Year's Day 1844, Mr Gordon and his two brothers, Nicholas and William, were quickly placed in the frame....

comments powered by Disqus

Subscribe to our mailing list