200@200 : October — To Govern and Serve
Date:
1883
Title:
Sam McDonald Hanging
Description:
In 1883, Sam McDonald, a woodcutter, quarreled with Louis Laurent and McDonald struck Laurent over the head with an axe. When Laurent's body was discovered by authorities, McDonald was charged with murder and he was jailed in Fort Wayne. McDonald was tried for the murder of Louis Laurent in the Allen County Courthouse in May of 1883 and convicted of murder; the recommended sentence was death. The case was appealed to the Indiana Supreme Court and the conviction and sentence were upheld. More than 300 citizens signed a petition to overturn the ruling and sentence McDonald to life in prison, but Governor Porter did not intervene.

Using this rope, McDonald's execution by hanging was carried out by the county sheriff on October 10, 1883, at the jail flats in Fort Wayne. The execution was witnessed by a crowd estimated at 15,000 people. The hanging of Sam McDonald was the last public execution in Allen County.
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Sam McDonald noose, 1883Sam McDonald noose, 1883
Sam McDonald murder weapon, 1883Sam McDonald murder weapon, 1883
Sam McDonald hanging rope and badgages, 1883Sam McDonald hanging rope and badgages, 1883
Sam McDonald hanging admission ticket, 1883Sam McDonald hanging admission ticket, 1883
Artist's Rendering of Sam McDonald hangingArtist's Rendering of Sam McDonald hanging