A Hanging in Detroit: Stephen Gifford Simmons and the Last Execution under Michigan Law

A Hanging in Detroit: Stephen Gifford Simmons and the Last Execution under Michigan Law

by David G. Chardavoyne
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0814331335

ISBN-13: 9780814331330

Pub. Date: 06/15/2003

Publisher: Wayne State University Press

The first historical study - and a riveting account - of the last execution in Michigan.

On September 24, 1830, Stephen G. Simmons, a fifty-year-old tavern keeper and farmer, was hanged in Detroit for murdering his wife, Levana Simmons, in a drunken, jealous rage. Michigan executed only two people during the fifty-year period, from 1796 to 1846, when the death

Overview

The first historical study - and a riveting account - of the last execution in Michigan.

On September 24, 1830, Stephen G. Simmons, a fifty-year-old tavern keeper and farmer, was hanged in Detroit for murdering his wife, Levana Simmons, in a drunken, jealous rage. Michigan executed only two people during the fifty-year period, from 1796 to 1846, when the death penalty was legal within its boundaries. Simmons was the second and last person to be executed under Michigan law. In A Hanging in Detroit David G. Chardavoyne vividly evokes not only the crime, trial, and execution of Simmons, but also the setting and players of the drama, social and legal customs of the times, and the controversy that arose because of the affair. Chardavoyne illuminates his account of this important moment in Michigan's history with many little-known facts, creating a study that is at once an engrossing story and the first historical examination of the event that helped bring about the abolition of the death penalty in Michigan.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780814331330
Publisher:
Wayne State University Press
Publication date:
06/15/2003
Series:
Great Lakes Books Series
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
264
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.62(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsix
Prefacexi
Chapter 1Introduction1
Chapter 2A Son of the Revolution7
Chapter 3"A Country That Will Suit Your Mind"31
Chapter 4"A Crime at Which Human Nature Shudders"51
Chapter 5The Bench and Bar of the Michigan Territory67
Chapter 6Trial and Sentence81
Chapter 7Preparing for the Last Drop113
Chapter 8The Day of Execution127
Chapter 9The Abolition of Capital Punishment143
Chapter 10Afterword163
Appendix A169
Appendix B173
Notes181
Bibliography217
Index229

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