Executions in the Yard

Executions in the Yard (HM15Q0)

Location: Warrenton, VA 20186 Fauquier County
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Country: United States of America
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N 38° 42.816', W 77° 47.772'

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The Gallows

It is possible that early executions were carried out here in the exercise yard, however it is equally probably that they occurred in front of the jail, close to the courthouse or at another public location. Hangings were public in Virginia before the General Assembly passed the Criminal Punishment Law in 1879. In Fauquier County, the first executions under the new law were the hangings of John Williams and Winter Payne in the early hours of July 11, 1879. The two men were sentenced for the murder of Howard Holtzclaw. Newspaper articles provided a clear description of the execution. The attraction of the private execution drew a large crowd. "The crowd about the door was large and eager to enter. About thirty persons were admitted?", reported The Solid South.

The Washington Post reported a description of the scaffolding used for the execution of Payne and Williams. "The structure is of yellow pine, and is nailed and tongued together, without any finish, but in a firm and substantial manner. The platform is six feet, six inches from the ground, and the beam fourteen feet. Seven steps lead from the jail side to the platform, in the centre of which is the drop, which is formed by two hinged doors, held in position, first, by a trigger, then by a temporary prop. The cross-beam is 4x6 inches as is it's supports, the corner-stanchions being only 3x4 inches."
HM NumberHM15Q0
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Thursday, October 9th, 2014 at 8:12am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 256877 N 4288707
Decimal Degrees38.71360000, -77.79620000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 38° 42.816', W 77° 47.772'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds38° 42' 48.96" N, 77° 47' 46.32" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)703, 540
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 2-18 Ashby St, Warrenton VA 20186, US
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