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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Warrenton in Fauquier County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Executions in the Yard

The Gallows

 
 
Executions in the Yard Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, October 29, 2011
1. Executions in the Yard Marker
Inscription.  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
Executions in the Yard Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, October 29, 2011
2. Executions in the Yard Marker
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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.”
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Government & Politics. A significant historical date for this entry is July 11, 1842.
 
Location. 38° 42.816′ N, 77° 47.772′ W. Marker is in Warrenton, Virginia, in Fauquier County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of Ashby Street and Waterloo Street (Business U.S. 211). Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 10 Ashby Street, Warrenton VA 20186, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Old Fauquier County Jail (a few steps from this marker); "In Honor and Remembrance" (a few steps from this marker); John Singleton Mosby (within shouting distance of this marker); Lafayette’s Stepping Stone (within shouting distance of this marker); Concrete Bench (within shouting distance of this marker); Warrenton (within shouting distance of this marker); World War II Memorial (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named Warrenton (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Warrenton.
 
Also see . . .  The Old Jail Museum. The Fauquier Historical Society
Executions in the Yard Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, October 29, 2011
3. Executions in the Yard Marker
(Submitted on November 28, 2012, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland.) 
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on November 26, 2012, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. This page has been viewed 673 times since then and 18 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on November 26, 2012, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.

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Apr. 21, 2021