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In Their Own Words

August 03, 1739

Executions Recorded in Journal

William Stephens had to oversee one of his more unpleasant duties on this day:

“Friday. This was the fatal Day, which called those wretched Criminals for Murder, out of Prison to Execution … and Gallows now were prepared, at the Place where Orders had been given about it… . Before the Hour of Execution came, the Magistrates met, to consider farther [sic] of Levett’s Case; whose Sickness and Weakness at the Time when the Murder was committed, inclined Abundance of People to believe that he was not one who actually gave any of the Wounds to the Deceased… Wherefore it was resolved to reprieve him for two Months … At the Gallows, Brixy, the Master, behaved very resolutely, confessed nothing, nor absolutely denied any Thing… He went up the Ladder more nimbly than the Hangman, and fastened the Rope to the Beam himself: Then turning about to the Spectators, he told them he was satisfied to die (which was interpreted variously by several) and after a short Prayer, he was turned off. Cozens owned himself to have been a very wicked Man; for which, he said, God’s Vengeance had overtaken him: He behaved with Penitence in Prison, and now also; but made no confession of the Guilt from which he suffered… . Levett was conducted to the Foot of the Ladder, after the other two were turned off, before his Reprieve was declared: He made great Lamentation for his former Course of Life, and appeared under much Terror; but continued to deny he saw the Wounds given; and was so affected with his unexpected Reprieve, that he was very near losing his Life by an excessive Return and Flow of Spirits … .”

Source: William Stephens, A Journal of the Proceedings in Georgia (London: 1742) as reprinted (no city cited: Readex Microprint Corp.,1966) Vol. II, pp. 81-83.