Time and History 12:40 P.M. Charles Guiteau is Hanged

About major and minor historical events around the clock such as the hanging of Charles Guiteau assassin of President James Garfield at 12:40 in the afternoon.


12:40 in the Afternoon

June 30, 1882. Charles Guiteau, the assassin of President James Garfield, was hanged in Washington, D.C. Approximately 250 people were admitted to watch the execution; some paid up to $300 for the privilege. In his cell Guiteau prepared himself as if he were going on a first date. He carefully brushed his hair and trimmed his bushy beard, then spent some time shining his black shoes to such a high gloss that he whistled with satisfaction.

On the walk to the scaffold his otherwise brave appearance was interrupted by occasional soft sobs. At the foot of the scaffold he told the witnesses that he had shot the President by divine order. His little speech ended with the words "I therefore predict that this nation will go down in blood, and that my murderers from the executive to the hangman will go to hell." After that pronouncement, he recited a poem he had written in the death cell; it was entitled "I Am Going to the Lordy." Guiteau was still talking when the hood was put over his head. His last words were "Glory, glory, glory." The night before his execution Guiteau had written a curious will, which bequeathed his body to the Rev. William Hicks "provided, however, it shall not be used for any mercenary purposes."

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