Archiver > INGREENE > 2009-02 > 1234308666

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Subject: Re: [INGREENE] William Bland - Murder - Mid 1800s
Date: Tue, 10 Feb 2009 23:31:06 -0000

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Author: mwrankins2006
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>From Goodspeed's 1884 "History Of Greene & Sullivan Counties..." pages 97 & 98:

In September, 1850, Hiram Bland was indicted for murder. He was charged with the murder of William Walker. Contrary to the usual practice, and in opposition to the opinion of one of his attorneys (Maj. Livingston), he entered upon his trial at that term of court. The State was represented by A. L. Rhodes, and the defense was conducted by George G. Dunn and H. L. Livingston. It was a clear and aggravated
case of murder. He murdered his victim in daylight, for revenge. The main effort in the defense was to save the defendant's life. He was found guilty, and sentenced to be hung by the neck, on the 15th day of November next following. This is the only case in the county where the accused has had the death penalty pronounced upon him. On the 28th of October, 1850, at night, the defendant broke jail and escaped. He was concealed near his house, and did not make an effort to escape from the county. Great efforts were made to find him, but for a long time they appeared unavailing. His hiding place was finally revealed by one
of his pretended friends for the price of a new saddle, and on the 2d day of January, l85l, he was retaken. His hiding place was in a corn pen, in the center of which was a place prepared for the purpose. The corn pen was against the house in which his family lived, and he had a secret passage under the floor from one place to the other. At the April term, 1851, a motion was made for a new trial, and affidavits were read contradicting several particulars in the testimony that was given by the State on the trial. Mr. George G, Dunn made a powerful effort to procure a new trial, but it was unavailing. The court pronounced judgment
that he should be hanged on the 25th day of April following. On that day an immense concourse of people assembled to witness the execution (in that day executions were public), but it was postponed by the Governor until the Supreme Court could review the decision of the Circuit Court. The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Circuit Court, and Mr. Bland expiated his crime on the gallows on the 13th day of June, 1851. On that day, another large body of men, women and children assembled
to witness the execution. The gallows was erected a short distance southwest of the place where the southwest corner of the depot now stands, and from it, in public view, the unfortunate man was suspended by the neck until he was dead. The land on which he was executed belonged to Peter C. Vanslyke, who now resides in Bloomfield, and it was made a part of the contract of permitting the execution there that the gallows should, after execution, remain on the ground until it disappeared by decay, and it was left standing until it rotted down. William J. McIntosh was Sheriff at the time, and conducted the proceeding with intrepidity, and great credit to himself. One thing that contributed largely toward bringing about the death penalty in this case was the turbulent character of the accused. He and several brothers were powerful men physically, and when drinking were very quarrelsome and dangerous. When
not under the influence of intoxicating liquor, as a rule, they were peaceable. Then this trial came off when the public mind was excited to the very highest pitch, and it is impossible for jurymen to be different from other men. All persons become excited over a sudden and seemingly
unprovoked murder. If the advice of Maj. Livingston had been
taken, and the case had been continued one term, the probabilities are that, after the first burst of excitement abated, the Jury would have sent him to State prison for life. During this year, Hiram S. Hanchett, James
McConnell, W&s hT. Hamilton, William P. Hammond and Aden U.
Cavins were admitted to practice. Mr. Hanchett was a student in the office of the Rousseaus, and soon after his admission to the bar moved Weet. W. P. Hammond was afterward Governor of the State."

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