Join the ONUC gals this week as the discuss the wrongful hanging of John Gordon, what they did during their time off, and the crazy circumstances that surround this case.
Trigger Warning Level: Low
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Sources: New England Historical Society, Small State Big History, and Murder By Gaslight
You are listening to one nation under crime, a historical chronological, true crime podcast. Each week we go through our nation's history and discuss one case from each year starting in 1800. I'm Kayla And I'm Leah. We are back we're back, Back in black. Not necessarily, no, No Kayla for me. Yes. All the time. That's fine. Wiring. A bright coral-y Hedgehog. It's very fitting. I'm only got it for me. We took a break. We had well, and what's funny Is Mr. Hamilton reference. That is True. How dare you?
I Mean, where's your mind Go? Let's go stay Kevin's. Gosh, I've at least. I mean, So yes. And for those of you who don't know, we actually recorded a bunch of episodes, like ahead of time. So we took a Longer Break than most people probably realize we have not recorded in a month. Yeah. Sweet Fletcher did not know what to do when I, it up in the door, he was just all over me. Y'all I was given a kissy face. He looked at Gol. I kissed his tongue. It was He's fine. He, He was fine.
He was Like, let it happen. Let it happen. It was a moment for me. It was a moment We have, it's been, yeah, it's been a month since we recorded last. And we've had so many things go on I've I have now been to a wedding. Yes. Someone at the wedding is now engaged. Oh, I didn't know that. Congrats to all involved. You know who you are. I'm not going to say your names. One of them has goats And Precious. I love good precious getaway. His name is blueberry. Blackberry. Blackberry gets named by. They have goats.
They're the ones that just got engaged. They are precious. Congratulations to them. I would like to come visit your kids. You could, they have an Airbnb. So yes. So they recently got engaged. So yeah, like lots of changes. We, it was literally, we went to a wedding and the next week, the, one of the couples we were with at the wedding got engaged and Corinne's absolutely gorgeous. It's a pretty, and we were sitting at the wedding and I was talking to her and I was talking to someone else too. And they were asking, they were like, so what do you, you know, what do you do? And everything. I was kind of saying what I do and all of a sudden, cause she's sitting to the left of me. She goes, she also has a podcast.
And now it's like, She knows who she is. Hello. And so That shout out. So she and her engagement ring is gorgeous. I mean, Oh, I love so for Ankle, it is the sparkliest sparkle you've seen. And so it's precious, but, And I love, love That's that's true. So, you know, we went to that wedding. It was really fun. We went to a bar after the wedding and This is Kayla, not me. I was not involved in, This was here at home. I've got this wedding was so much fun.
And I, we went to a bar after the wedding and that's how you know that it's me Speaking. And so this guy and the same, the same girl that I'm talking about, we we'll call, we'll call her. He and she, we went to this bar afterwards and all of a sudden, I turn, there's a dog Sitting in a seat by the bar. And I was like, I need to see this dog. Oh My God, that's a dog. And my boyfriend knowing me turns around a minute later and sees me petting the dog and becoming friends. The dog's name was Sage. I mean, John was precious.
So I mean fits into my aesthetic perfectly. Cause its name was Sage and that's A way to get me to come over and talk to somebody. So The guy we're sitting there, we're talking like, I'm petting the dog. I'm like, oh my gosh, what's his name? You know? Oh my God also had like six drinks by this point, Fun time, Kayla So much fun. And so the guy goes, you know, he's talking. He's like, oh, where are y'all staying high to Share A hindsight's always no. So I just said Clearwater, because we technically where we were staying in Clearwater and loved it. You know how I am with outside. And we were on the bay, but not on the beach. So I loved it because we could sit right there and like, it was, there was nothing in front of us.
It was just the water. So it was perfect. But You didn't have, like, if you stand on your feet, No. And I can't stand. See, and my, my boyfriend Says in the sand, My boyfriend says, I'm crazy. But I was like, I can't, I agree With him This. So there was side story, the hotel to the left of us. They had like beach chairs set up. Oh, along this wall that backed up to the base. So you could kind of like sit on the wall and hang your legs over. And the water would just barely touch your feet. Or there were all these chairs. And so there were like, I kind of don't trust that though. Well, there were tons of people like laying out on the edge and he can get, he goes, come out here and look this.
And I go out there and I'll look over. And I was like, to be honest, they have it figured out you're in the sun. You can touch the water. There's no sand. I don't. There is a waiter who was bringing you drinks. I don't know who these people are, but they're geniuses honestly. And it was so good. But so we were staying in Clearwater and the guy at the bar, he's like, oh, that's so cool. You know, you know how, when you see someone and like, this is not as Syria types or stereotypes for a reason. Yeah. I mean, I'm Passionately. Like we're Southern. We understand stereotypes better than anyone. We have all of our teeth we do where We don't marry our cousins.
Usually We don't, we don't look. I'm married out of county. My daddy went out of country to bring in new blood. My mom's adopted and we don't know who her family is. So I'm just, we'll see, Listen, I, her daughter is very smart. She does not have any sorta she has any sort of defects or anything. But this guy, he goes, yeah, that's really cool. And he, my boyfriend goes, he sized you up in two seconds. Cause he goes, did you know that Clearwater is owned? 90% of it is owned by Scientologists. And I went, tell me more, stop it.
And my boyfriend goes, all right, just grabs me, Kayla. You've got to pay closer digit. And I was like, he was really nice. He had a dog and he goes, he knows what he was doing with the dog. How do you not know this? And I was like, his dirty Dog was so cute. It was in a bar stool chair. Oh my gosh. It's like this little white precious, like, like almost like a king Charles, but not quite, but like my Penny. Oh no, but it was all right. It was white. And it was not just Throw some shade at It. Doesn't look at all like penny, because it was, it was like a cross between like a king Charles cavalier, Springer spaniel, but something that also made it white because I've never seen one that's white and it was Gonna be white.
Well, it's name was Sage. And apparently I was almost trafficked That Sage was a birdie. I was apparently on this traffic hindsight, as I said, always 20, 20 looking back, I might have, he might have tried to take me. He might, that might have been, as I'd told my boyfriend, I was like, no, like he looks totally fine the next morning he goes, you remember that guy last night? And I go, yeah. And he goes, now looking back, did he look totally fine? And I was like, oh no. He looked like, he'd keep me in the basement. And he goes, this is why I can't trust you. And I was like, what? The dog?
And I was like, it was sitting in E's lot. Cause I turned around like two minutes later. And he was sitting there like with the dog in her lap, like petting the dog and everything. And I go, why can she pet the dog? And I can't. And her boyfriend goes because you're easily persuaded and she's not. I was like, I do not subscribe to this fallacy that you are trying to portray of me. So I don't agree. Gosh, all it takes is a dog. That's what he said. He goes, apparently all it takes is a dog. And you're just like, yes, sir. I'll climb into your creepy non windowless panel van. I mean I'm like, well, All it takes is a dog.
I mean, no, no Candy. It's it's fine. It Is a Dog. It's fine. This is just, it should already be known anyways. But welcome back To we're Back. We're Back. We Have stories Go down now back in the mindset of serial killers after my experience, My close call. I mean, but honestly, if somebody comes up to me at the bar and they're like, let me tell you about Scientology. I'm like, tell me Everything, stop it. I'll be like, I want to know, are you a part of it? I need everything.
I've seen Tom cruise jumping on Oprah's couch. That's I need to know. Thank you. I'll say this super nice guy. Oh Sure. Anyways. So, you know, John Travolta is too Sure, but We all, we all love Leah Romney who had to go and she did the whole show on got A great name. And I just, I love her anyways. She's really funny in general, To love her accent as much Just as a person. She's super funny. So that's what I've been doing since. So, you know, that's my life, but we are going into an interesting case this week.
It pulls from some of the same aspects of other cases that we have covered in the past. I like it when we link things. No you don't because We are once again, discussing Irish immigrants. So that tells you where we're going. And I have to, And I have to shout out a specific source that I used Pacific because that's a notion. Correct. And I have to say this source, I actually got a lot of information from, and the title of it is going to tell you exactly what the case is about.
Oh, that it's a book. You can purchase it. You can purchase it on Amazon. It is very good. As far as covering this case. And it is called the hanging and redemption of John Gordon. The true story of Rhode Island's last execution by Paul F Caron C. And I hope that I said that last name, right? I believe it's car on is either car on C or crunchy. Okay. So I might go back and forth between both, but that is his name. It's a very good book. There's actually an article.
One of the sources it's called small state big history that he actually wrote that article as well and pulled a lot of excerpts from his book. So there are going to be times where I'm going to say like, this is what Paul Cronsy says about this because he did a lot of in-depth research into this case has a lot of really good information. And there are going to be times where I'm going to say, this is legitimately straight from his book as like his ideas and what he thought happened because he's just looked into it so, well, there's not a better way to say it than what he said. So why reinvent the wheel? Exactly. So our sources, we have the new England historical society.
I've used this before To say you've used them a lot, A lot and such, such a good resource. Then, as I said, small state, big history. And then the one website that always puts me at the top of the NSA list, murder by Gaslight, you got it. Our events, we are in 1843 this week, our events, January of 1843, the old Chestnut Edgar Allen Poe. You know, I love him. I love him. Interesting, interesting character. His short story, the telltale heart was published in January of 1843. Then February 1st, the mutual life insurance company of New York opened.
And it is now the oldest continuous writer of insurance in the United States. That's near and dear to our Heart case you're ever on jeopardy. And you need to know that. So March 3rd, Congress appropriated $30,000 to test the practicability of establishing a system of electromagnetic telegraphs by the us, huh? March 7th, Edward Kavanaugh was elected as the governor of Maine, which as a tie to our story this week made him the first Catholic governor in the United States.
Interesting. That's a big deal. A lot of Catholics, some of them anyway, we we've all seen the news in the past couple of years. Not those, not the ones on the news, but I have a lot of friends here who are Catholic. So anyways, they're also, a lot of them are Irish. I also should share Irish ancestry. So possibility. Anyways, March 21st passed me as leeriness. This is the date Passed me.
I love it. This is the date that preacher William Miller first predicted that the world would end. And I just put, he was wrong. Dot, dot, dot. It did not. Nope. Guess again, Obviously May 22nd. The first major wagon train for the north west part of America set out on the Oregon trail with about a thousand people. Hmm. Did, is that the one that set out from Missouri where to send out from yes. Okay. I've been there July 1st. Ulysses S grant graduated from west point 21st in his class.
Would you like to guess how many are in the Claim? One in the class 39. Good. Still I Love the slight shade. He crashed weighted from west point. Now that would be super impressive, like 21st in his class. And then they just put of 39. I mean, Hey, he did pretty well for himself. You know, he seemed to, you will find great humor in this and this, this is the reason that it is included strictly for you, just for me, for you. Oh, you're so kind July 2nd. Okay.
And alligator OMA Fell from the sky, Omar during a thunderstorm in your favorite place on earth, Charleston, South Carolina, the papers reported that the two foot long alligator quote had a look of wonder bewilderment about him. He said, what the graph here, Which is no surprise after his wild ride on a thunder storm described as so terrible quote, the whole firmament, growled, thunder, and shot lightning, which burst overhead with a power that shook the solid list of structures report stated that the Gator quote was doing as well as an alligator could be expected to do under the circumstances.
I mean, But you know, The Original Shark NATO, he is The original Gator native Listen. When I taught, I had a weather book of just odd weather and there was a, a rainstorm that it rain frogs like it literally right. Frogs And alligator fell from the sky At that is awesome. I love, I love that the paper said he's doing as well as an alligator could be expected to do, Can be expected. That's awesome. Thank you. Thank you. Welcome that fat. Thank you. I'm sorry. Okay. We have to favorite fact alligator falling from the sky doing as well as he could expected me to do or bipedal tale is beaver Alligator Shutting down the telescope of which that found him To then wander the streets and be made into a hat of women who were then protesting a trial.
And then I was just on, Hang on this episode, Frankie, for putting that tidbit in for me on this, I'll let the beavers. Now I'm just Meeting on bills, self look, I have a Creek in my backyard. I don't even uprising. What are the alligator? And the beavers joined forces. You should write that as a book, TM <inaudible>, let's do it. Beaver tailless and bipedal from outer space and an alligator that fell from the sky become best friends because they are unlikely friends who also both came from the sky And unexpectedly dropped in.
Then they both formed an Alliance to destroy a telescope so that the Beaver's family can not be found because Th the alligator has to explain some things about earth. Yes, that that's the light. And they form a home in my backyard. Boom, done TM. Yes. Done. We will Sue you if anyone else comes up with this idea, Because with our $0, I'm Never going to get some money. And I mean, you know, July 12th in the total opposite direction, Joseph Smith claimed to receive a revelation from God calling for polygamy in the LDS church.
Just wait until next week, August 19th, Edgar Allen Poe's short story. The black cat was first published in the Saturday evening post. I had a black cat, You know, well, I guess I technically do the one that comes to the front porch. He's he's our friend. Did I tell you about the day that I walked into the living room after like walking into my bedroom to make up the bed, turn around, walk back into the living room. And I see my daughter, Ellie, sceney at the door door open just as if we run the power company. And there is a black cat standing in the middle of my living room.
Guys. I do not have a black cat. You do now. And this is our friend, the black cat that comes to visit the front porch. And we feed him. He's very sweet. He or she, I can't say that it has a polka dotted color. His name is also Blake, but I also know Blake lively. So I don't know sure. They will go with that. So they come to our front porch all the time. You never know. I mean, so anyways, Blake found themselves in the middle of my living room one day. I was like, Because your daughter is Jyzelle, You don't belong here. So that was, that was fun.
So August 23rd, Mexican president Antonio Lopez de Santa Ana announced that the annexation of Texas by the United States would be considered an act of war by Mexico, Retro, August 26, Charles Thurber patented the typewriter, October 13th, Henry Jones and 11 others founded the benign breath. I believe that's how you say it. I am not Jewish. So sorry, but it is the oldest Jewish service organization in the world.
Oh, December 4th Manila paper, which has made, which makes like sales, canvases, and ropes. Everything was first patented in Massachusetts, December 19th, a Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens was published and sold 6,000 copies. That is my mom's favorite Christmas movie. She wants to watch it every Christmas season. I don't know what my favorite Christmas movie would pay. You know, I love elf and I love a Christmas story. Both of those that I love to watch. See, that's very fitting for you. I'm pretty sure. I don't know what my favorite of all favorites would be up.
There is national Lampoon's Christmas Vacation to get to Why is the carpet wet? I don't know. Margo. We went to a Sunday school, Christmas party and it was national Lampoon's themed. And Michael and I went to as Todd and Margo. I found the little workout. Suzy, You being Margo, honestly, for those who don't know, who have not seen Leah, She Does with her Curt today, it's straight, but with her hair curly, which it is naturally, she does a kin to Julia Louis Dreyfus. And I can see that as well. I mean, I just love uncle Eddie.
He's like, look at their, yeah. Look at their Clark. It's the gift that keeps on giving. It was, it was very fun for force my brother-in-law's in our Sunday school class. And he came as uncle Eddie. He had the hat and he, it, he had <inaudible>. That was great. That is the best. Great. My sister may have come as the cat. It was, it was fantastic. All right. So I want you to go as the squirrel it's in the tree anyways, the cat That was In the tree, but cat was the One that writes. Yeah. That's probably one of my favorites just because it is Just so crazy.
It's It is. I like elf. I do like elf. I think Alpha's funny. Gosh, I don't know. And my three-year-old nephew will call you a cotton headed native ninny Muggins but he doesn't quite say it exactly right? That is funny. I mean, oh gosh. Anyways, December 25th, speaking of Christmas, the first theater matinee opened at the Olympic theater in New York city. Our births for 1843, January 10th, we have Frank James. He was an American outlaw in the James' younger gang.
And he is the older brother of Jesse James going To ask, is this any Kansas, Jesse? He is a Capricorn. We will talk about the James younger gang later on as they will probably take up an entire episode. Maybe one, if we're lucky, But Could be two. So April 14th, William Henry Jackson was born. He's an American photographer, painter and Explorer who is famous for his images of the American west. Cool. Also fun facts. He is the great, great nephew of Samuel Wilson.
The influence for uncle Sam. Very Cool back to our December USBs episodes to hear all about uncle Sam and he is an Aries. Then we have September 25th Melville. This is just a fun name, to be honest, all the way around. And you started with Melville on Melville, Rubin, Bissell. Oh yes. He's an entrepreneur and inventor of the carpet sweeper. The prequel to the vacuum cleaner is going to AKA the Bissell. I was going to ask if it had to do with That, Tim, he is a Libra, November 11th. The, we have Cornelius Vanderbilt.
The second he is an American socialite and a member of the prominent Vanderbilt family. He is said to be the favorite grandson of Mr. Vanderbilt himself. That's a tough role being the favorite. Well, it's a tough, tough, tough dropping the Vanderbilt right now. Our thoughts go out to all nurses across the United States right now, who are currently dealing with the implications of everything that has recently happened. We greatly think about you and you are wonderful. All nurses are wonderful for everything that you do.
Lord knows. I could not do those things. So you were wonderful. You are needed. Do not let the decisions of one organization take away your sparkle. As Leah says, you are all Pink Starbursts. There you go. So he is a Scorpio and our deaths in 1843, January 11th, the end of an era, Oh Dear Francis, Scott Key. He was a lawyer and the author of the star Spangled banner.
He was also a lawyer in the wonderful case that we covered A star studded star Studded case. If there ever was one. I really think that's what my favorite episode. Just because all the names that came, It's a funny one. That's for sure a world. I know it's just like the names. Just keep coming. Yes. April 17th, we have Samuel Maury. He holds the earliest patent for an internal combustion engine, as well as 19 other patents. That's A lot of patents, a Lot May 28th, Noah Webster.
You may know him as the Miriam Webster dictionary guy. He died November 10th. John Trumbull known as the painter of the revolution. Ah, if you listen to the Hamilton remix, there is a song on it called this is no John Trumbull. It's that John Trumbull in case anybody was wondering. So onto our case this week, we barely caught 1843 in this one, because December 31st, 1843, The last day Masa as, as, as the days of the year, do you go? Yes. Of Masa. Sprog was found in the road between his mansion and factory murdered in three Irish brothers, Nicholas, William and John Gordon were named immediate suspect.
Yes. So they weren't just found walking nearby. And they said, oh, you're the ones that did it. We will see, Ah, they were found walking nearby. Yeah, they were not called it. They were not, they were actually not found walking nearby. Okay. So our story this Week is, are found riding Nearby. They were nowhere nearby. That's even worse. Our Story this week is in Smithfield, Rhode Island. It is a precious little town with historic villages. This area was first settled in 1636 as a farming community by British colonists. It did share the original area of Providence Rhode Island until 1731.
When Smithfield was incorporated as a separate town, it was named after Smithfield, London during the industrial Smithfield transformed from an aggregate Korean community to a manufacturing center with several textiles and mills being founded. Yep. Founded. That's not it. Yep. Nope. We're going to say built. They were built. The companies were built. That's apparently where my mind was going. They were wrong along the Lorna suss squa Tucket river wows had that again?
Nope. By the mid 18 hundreds, there is a colonial ghost town of Hampton city that is located within the boundaries of present day. Smithfield. Nope, but was a completely separate community in the 18th century. And if you know me, which you should by now, you know, that I looked into Hampton city for, she did, it is known by the locals as the lost city. And today the remains consists of a few stone foundations, a burial site and a defunct dam, which provided irrigation for the city as well as a few deteriorating stone walls.
The area is very overgrown. And in fact, if you didn't know what you were looking for, you might not even be able to see it. Hanton said he was very isolated and there are a couple of theories of how it even came to exist. One theory is that those who founded Hanton city were loyalists. Mm. You can also become a loyalist on our Patrion page, but it's unclear whether they were forced to live in exile by the Rhode Island Patriots or whether they choose to form an enclave of like-minded people, Several Tories, which are American colonists that supported the British case. Anybody's forgot.
We talked about them before, but they're from Newport and they were exiled to Smithfield and Gloucester in 1776, the most likely theory, according to local historian, Jim Ignatia, that's a name it is, is that Hanton city was first settled by three English families, the pains, the Hamptons, and the shipping bees who possibly were given land as a payment for service in king Philip's war, which lasted from 1675 to 1676. And the last of the and family members is said to still be there, although they died in 1900.
Hmm. And for anyone who isn't familiar with ghost towns, we're about to talk about him. I'm so shocked. They're also called deserted or abandoned cities. There are a few requirements that have to be in place for a town to qualify as a ghost town. There have to be a substantial, visible remains from some sort of infrastructure. You'll notice that I said before Hampton city could almost be missed if there's any type of overgrowth in the area. However, due to the age of this specific city, it's pretty common, especially depending on how long it's been a ghost town. And if that area is kind of irregular path for people, if not, if people don't regularly come in that area, they're not going to keep it up.
There's going to be more, you know, land is just not going to really look the same as it did before. So any kind of overgrows in the spring or in the summer, this one could actually be missed. There are many reasons that a town will fall into being a ghost town. Many of them are boom towns that were established to accommodate an influx of workers during an economic boom. Typically it's agricultural or industrial. Once the resources in that area are depleted, then people move on and the town is left with nothing. Do you know what I think of when I think of a ghost town? Hm. Well, I think of the Brady bunch episode when they see a ghost town when they're going out west, but I mean, get a sound.
I always think of out west, you know, the, when they had the gold rush out west, you know, the, the towns came up, but then when the gold was gone, the towns were gone. Oh, We're about to talk about something. Yeah, but that, I mean, that's what I think of, I think of the Brady bunch episode when they went to a ghost town, because of course I think of a Brady bunch episode course, of Course, of Course. And you probably never watched any episodes of the breakage. Okay, good, good. George Glass, Same as George class. I think he, Jan frailty Anyway, the town could also be a victim of a natural disaster, such as a flood earthquake, extreme winters and summers or a major drought, but we also have war pollution, nuclear disasters, Chernobyl Government actions, think of Waco alert, just uncontrolled crime.
Sometimes ghost towns consists of many abandoned buildings as in Bodie, California or standing ruins as in rhyolite Nevada, while elsewhere only the foundations of former buildings remain as in Gastonia, Arkansas or Hanton city, Rhode Island, old mining camps that have lost most of their population at some stage of their history, such as Aspen, dead wood Oatman tombstone and Virginia city. They are also sometimes referred to as ghost towns. All those, they are presently active towns and cities. It could be due to tourism that it isn't considered a ghost town, but it makes me kind of wonder if it's not a ghost town than what is the actual residential population versus just the total.
I was going to ask that, is it, I guess most people don't really, I think that's the difference because it doesn't make much sense because we know tombstone and Deadwood are like very especially Aspen. Like Aspen is not a ghost town by any term, but many ghost towns in the U S such as south pass city and Wyoming are listed on the national register of historic places. Some of the earliest settlements in the U S though, they no longer exist in a tangible sense. Once had the characteristics of a ghost town. There are locations in the U S that used to be ghost towns that are actually non-existent That sad, Such as in 1590, when map maker, John White arrived at the Roanoke colony in North Carolina to find it deserted its inhabitants gone.
And we know this as the famous CRO photo in carving on the tree. So then that is when the Z one DL colony became a ghost town when every one of the colonists were murdered in 1632. Can't imagine why no one would want to go live there afterward. I mean, Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement in the Americas was abandoned when Bloomsburg became the new capital of the colony in 1699, there was an attempt to declare a ghost town in Southern California in 2002.
However, it was stalled when an argument broke out as to whether the town of Bodie or the town of Calico were best suited for this recognition. It's kind of an odd thing to want to be known for is which one is the ghost town? What would It be against ghost? Why can't you both be ghost town? Well, Funny you say that because the compromise between the two towns was reached and Bodie became known as California's official gold rush ghost town, and Calico was named as the state's official silver rush ghost Town. There are a ton of ghost towns in the U S that are super interesting.
I think I'm going to make it a series on Patrion Intent because a lot of them do have like really fascinating history of how they started and where they went and how they actually became a ghost town. And there's like several that are in Alabama that aren't known of. Like, there's a lot of ghost towns that even historical ones like tombstone and Aspen and Deadwood, like those also there they're considered Ghosttown. So we might actually do that as a series. So pretty interesting things that come along with that, but back to Smithfield, Rhode Island, we are specifically in the little community of sprog Advil, which doesn't have any clear defined borders on the Greenland side of town.
Sprog Neville was settled in 1733 by Abraham Smith who erected a gristmill and two houses. However, the area is named for Thomas sprog, a former sea captain who came to Smithfield nearly a century later, sometime after 1824, sprog built a large granite cotton mill, which measured 80 by 120 feet and established te sprog and sons, according to old maps of the town, the mill stood on the north side of the mountain Dale road and the area now occupied by present day Richard street, the mill originally drew its power from the Stillwater river, but in 1870 steam turbines were installed today.
It is a modern industrial park, which in its heart of sprog bill, but sadly, like most things in this world. And I just put, remember the Rustbelt, the historic factories that gave the area its rightful place in Rhode Island history are gone. Yeah, well It is outside of one of these factories in 1843, that Amos Nope. Masa. He's got a very interesting name. So Masa sprog was the one found brutally murdered. So yes, Brockville and the murder victim of our story as the same name for a reason. So I thought that was quite interesting.
This is a pretty tumultuous time for Rhode Island politically and socially. You see the constitution of Rhode Island had extreme requirements for voting. And this is probably because they were still using the guidelines from their colonial charter in 1663, White male landowner, Just a casual hundred and 73 years prior to this, just so same rules, But was I right? A Yes. If you wanted to take to the polls and you had to be a white male who specifically owned property, Roughly one third of the white males in the area could vote Dented it.
This is not to say anyone should really feel sorry for them. I put dot.dot because patriarchy, I mean, This did create a massive rift between the upper and lower class. I mean, changes needed the Upper-class did own property and therefore had the votes they needed for any election to go their way. Inter Thomas door stay dry, Then Doors started a movement that was based on the intent of the declaration of independence, which stated that all power belonged to the people in 1841. The door writes the name that Thomas door's followers gave themselves drafted the peoples construction that included a bill of rights and green at voting rights to all white males.
Hmm. Let's not talk about how that's still problematic. I mean, But it's a step Either way. It needs to be a little better, But it was put to a vote and overwhelmingly passed when men were whole allowed to vote a mix of conservative wigs and Democrats formed the law and order a party and had the constitution declared illegal by the state Supreme court. But the door rights had already set up a rival government based on the new constitution. And of course, Thomas DOR was the governor. When the door rebellion occurred, the door EITs attempted to capture the state arsenal and Providence, Rhode Island, and they were defeated and Thomas door fled the state.
Can I tell you that his name is problematic for me? It's D O R R But still yes. It's problematic. When he returned. After some time he was arrested and sentenced to life in prison. Well, simultaneously Rhode Island saw a massive increase in Irish, Catholic immigrants moving into the area and they were seeking work in factories. What I had a lot of Them, you may have wondered how all of this ties in and you know me. So it does any figure. Gee, I figured you were going somewhere. Everyone was really eager to accept the Irish to work for them, but that didn't mean that they were equal to those considered the ruling elite Because of this, the door rebellion had massive support from the Irish community.
Hm. Amos Spragg was a member of the ruling class. He had a brother William who went on to become a us Senator. The sprog brothers owned a textile mill and they started the business with their father. William sprog, Sr Sprog makes me think of a frog. They also own several cotton mills in Rhode Island, but their most profitable factory was a print work factory that specialized in printed Calico prints in sprog Cville, the a and w sprog company employed most residents of Sproutsville and wouldn't, you know, they also owned the tenement housing that their employees had to rent.
Shocking, surprising. Maybe no. They also owns the company store where the employees had to shop. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, you know, That's pretty much how it Worked Masa sprog was actively opposed to the door rights and was instrumental in doors arrest. Seeing as most of the new workers coming in were Irish Catholics who were in support of the door rights. You can see how this could become problematic. Yeah. Nicholas Gordon was an Irish immigrant who came to Rhode Island in 1836. And upon his arrival started to sell alcohol by the bottle.
It didn't take long before Nicholas figured out that he could make a lot more money if he sold the alcohol by the class, instead sounds like he was married to a Kayla Who was like, bro, dude, we can make like 10 times this amount, maybe a hundred times stick with me. We'll see how this goes. You're a man. So I have no rights, but he listened to me. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Which honestly is how I think most things went back then. I mean, the man is the head, but the woman spends the neck and she can turn the head whichever way she wants. If you don't know my big fat Greek wedding.
Good. Just turn this podcast off and go watch Some Windex on it. Just some someone takes on it. I love that movie so much was one of my favorite movies was she goes, she goes, but he's a vegetarian. And she goes, I make you lamb. And she goes, but he's a veggie cheerleader. So what that mean? He doesn't eat. You don't eat no meat. She Goes, it's fine. I make you laugh. Boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom. They put, They put A potted plant in the middle of it. Oh Gosh, 70. Anyways, This is what Kayla and I are friends because we speak in movie club. If you've not seen my big fat Greek wedding, it is one of the best movies.
It is. So, but it's so good. And so like it honestly watching it when I was little, I was like, I want to peak great, Like so much fun. They're like, they're, they're almost a kin do not be offended. People. They're almost akin to Italian families, how they're very close knit and very like traditional and In what you see in movies. And that just loud. And my family Was The best. When you say mob movies and stuff like that, just like in hop, you know, like the little mice where the mob family, you know, So, so cute. I always think of, I'm not hop, but Oh, not hot.
And it wasn't hot. It wasn't hot. It was Zootopia. And There. Yeah. Yeah. Well it's even funnier that their moles in there. Yeah. Sorry. Yeah. It's shame. Yeah. She goes, that's what I meant. Oh my God, you saved me from lunch. He said, no, this is about wedding day. And she goes, oh my gosh, I love your dress. And she goes, thank you so cute. Y'all With Emily animation Later on she's pregnant. And she Has a girl naming her to the, and she goes, oh, so cute.
There's also a slop in it. I'm just saying. And as I'm as flash Is, It's a good movie. So it's another one of those two that has so many innuendos in it. Like when they go to the, The club where Cheech and Chong, they voiced the, The yak and they Go And they Go, he's like, we're Free range here. And they go into the back and all the animals don't have any clothes on. And she's like, Oh my gosh. And like, it's just, you know, animals. Yeah. It's funny. I watch it.
People, Judy hops. I, I, I, can't Sorry. We got off on a little, It was going to happen. So anyways, our friend, Nicholas Gordon, he applied for a Tavern license and he was approved. Business was booming. And he was able to pay for the rest of his family to come over from Ireland on June 19th, 1843. Nicholas's mother Ellen, his sister, Margaret, his brothers, Robert William and John and Williams brothers. Nope. Williams, whoa William's daughter.
Margaret. Yep. Who was Seven at the time? Came along while the celebration, unfortunately did not last long because the Masa sprog started complaining around town that his Irish workers were drinking before and on the job. He said they were late to work, not coming in at all or coming in drunk. He was losing money because of the downturn in productivity and more employees were getting injured. What's not good. Sprog set his sights on Nicholas and his Tavern in July of 1843. But it wasn't Nicholas who was serving the workers.
This didn't matter much to sprog. And he got Nicholas, his liquor license revoked After All sprog used to be in city government and he had money. So it was pretty for him to do this. Yeah. Nicholas knew that it was another man in the town by the name of Jobe Wilbur, who was serving the mill workers. And Wilbur was actually the one to blame because Wilbur didn't even have a liquor license. And he was selling alcohol to the mill workers illegally. He was under the table, Not only by the glass, but by the bottle.
And Nicholas lost everything just after his family, made it to the states on new year's Eve of 1843 Masa Spragg left his mansion to go check on the furnace at the mill and his cattle, but he would never make it instead. He was attacked and beaten so badly that he was almost not recognized by the time he was found Sprogs cattle were located on a farm near the Johnston Cranston town line. And it was on the bridge that connected the two towns that the attack occurred sprog was shot and beaten. It would be a few hours before. One of Spragg's employees who was walking home from working at the mansion, found him on the bridge.
He didn't even recognize that it was his employer of several years. Due to the amount of damage to his Face is a beating. An examination of the body showed that sprog had been shot in the wrist and then hit twice on the head, fracturing his skull Shot in the wrist. I mean that's Well, so he must've been putting his arm. It was one of the two blows to the head that likely caused his death. However, I have a hard time believing that this is all that happened when it said he wasn't recognizable. That's only two hits to the head. That doesn't make sense to me. So Yeah. Yeah.
The following day a town meeting was held, but of course you were only allowed if you owned property and community watch committees were formed in several school districts to investigate the sprog family offered a thousand dollars reward for information leading to the conviction of the murderer. Sprogs murder was originally thought to be a political assassination by door's followers, the door Dora, Which would make sense. But Since the arrest of their leader, the door rights had gone into hiding. A number of individuals had personal grudges against them, ASA sprog. And it only is natural to assume that the killer was one of them.
There was one name that kept coming up though. And that was Nicholas Gordon. The Providence journal ran several negative stories about the Gordon family. And Nicholas was arrested almost immediately after there wasn't any evidence to suggest that Nicholas was even in the area at the time and to make matters worse. The day after Nicholas was arrested, his brothers, John, Robert, and William, a family friend named Michael O'Brien and Nicholas's mother Ellen were all arrested as well. Oh my heavens. Why? Because why not? And if that doesn't sound crazy enough, Crazy is not the word Crazy is the word.
The family dog was taken into custody as well. That's Absurd, absurd as the word. So crazy. Crazy, crazy. Still the word, No upstair Were paw prints in the snow discovered by Sprogs body and the authorities wanted to match the Paul prints. I find it a bit rude that we are not given the name of the dog. I mean he deserves or she, we don't even know I'm going to say he was a good boy. So he's a boy. He's a good boy. The Gordon family's house was searched because it was believed that Nicholas had a gun. And there wasn't one found in the house tracks in the stone near the murder scene had led to a swamp or a coat and a broken gun were found.
The gun was identified as allegedly belonging to Nicholas Gordon. The coat had a hole in the elbow and a shirt found in the Gordon home also had a bloody stain in the elbow corresponding to the hole in the coat. According to the Providence journal, quote, two men were seeing going toward the fatal spot. Shortly before the murder, two men were seen to emerge from the swamp. On the other side, after the deed had been committed, one of them without his coat, Nicholas, John and William were kept in custody for the murder of a Masa sprog while everyone else, including dog, most importantly, we're Released.
I'm just making sure everybody knows. Dog was fine. Paul F Koran C ropes, the hanged and the hanged in redemption note, the hanging in redemption of John Gordon, the true story of Rhode Island's last execution. And like I said, he also wrote the article that I sourced at the top. He made a list of several issues with the investigation and he did such a great job on them. I mean, he literally wrote the book on it. Ha. So why try to reproduce the great thing? The following is from that article, which is linked in the show notes. Here is a partial list of questionable police methods.
Okay. I'm ready. Once again, based on a bias newspaper article that appeared in the anti Irish Catholic Providence journal, tens of untrained, unskilled volunteers flooded the criminal scene in search of clues that might convict the Gordon family. What was the name of the journal? Providence, But it was an anti-Catholic anti Irish Catholic journal, but it was called the Providence journal. Okay. I thought the of it was and okay. I'm sorry. That was Just their byline. Okay. Okay. I was like, whoa, that is wow. Okay. I'm sorry. The only footprints in the snow that led from the murder scene of the murder to Gordon's home were measured and tracked.
All others were trampled altered or ignored. The family dog was arrested in a full hearty attempt to match the dogs. Paul prints to the Paul prints found in the snow at the spot of the murder. The brother of the victim resigned his seat in the us Senate to lead the investigation. Wo Evidence was taken to the sprog mansion for safekeeping rather than the Sheriff's office, thereby destroying any semblance of inappropriate chain of custody. The bloodstain coat found near the scene of the murder was so big that it wrapped around the body of John Gordon. Yet it was alleged in court to have been belonging to him.
As a witness said that she saw him wearing it in the past, Who was his witness? A gun belonging to Nicholas Gordon was alleged to be the murder weapon simply because investigators did not find Nicholas has gun, which at the time of the first search of his store was in plain view behind the counter. There were other abnormalities associated with the investigation of a Masa Sprogs murder. Most of which point to the pre-conceived conclusion, driving the investigation rather than an impartial investigation arriving at a justifiable conclusion, which essentially says we're picking a person and making the facts fit rather than finding the facts and then finding a person.
It doesn't seem like a fair and just trial at all. The wonderful Paul <inaudible> didn't stop there though. He also compelled examples of just how terrible the trial went. The following is also from him. The trial was so fraught with prejudice and anti-car and I Catholic Irish bias Each mouth, right? Well, it's kind of a tongue twister Is there Are a few examples. A decision was made to try William and John Gordon together, meaning that the evidence presented against one brother could not be used against the other. The gun found in pieces at the murder scene was assumed to belong to Nicholas Gordon simply because investigators failed to find Nicholas Gordon's gone.
When they searched his store, the judge allowed this evidence to stand and was the basis for John's conviction. Crazy. It was assumed that Nicholas, his gun was in the hands of John Gordon on the day of the murder, despite no credible evidence to support that fact, a sex worker testified that she was much more than a casual acquaintance of John and William Gordon. Having shopped in Nicholas's store several times a week for several months when asked by defense counsel to identify them. She miss identified John and William as William and John. Interesting. The testimony of many witnesses for the prosecution contradicted the testimony of other prosecution witnesses while tens of defense witnesses offered consistent testimony, which included an alibi for the Gordon brothers, who that day were attending a christening miles away from the murder scene.
Despite that that George, the judge instructed the jury to put more weight on the testimony of the Yankee witnesses and less on the testimony of the Irish witnesses. <inaudible> John and William had only been in the country for six months before sprog was murdered. And without their brother holding a grudge, there really wasn't a motive. The prosecutors were allowed to wildly speculate in establishing the brother's conspiracy, including testimony of legend threats made by Nicholas against a Moss' sprog. The prosecution proved that Nicholas Gordon did own a rifle and it was now missing.
John Gordon had been seen holding the rifle. The coat was identified as belonging to Nicholas, but had been more recently seen as the dog's bed. Instead, John had also been seen wearing the coat. The trial lasted nine days, the jury deliberated for an hour and 15 minutes before returning their verdicts. John Gordon was guilty and William Gordon not guilty when the verdict was read, John Gordon turned to his brother and said, it is you William that have hung me. No one really knew what this meant until nine months later.
Oh no, that sounds interesting. On October 13th, 1845, it was not a Friday the 13th. And fortunately Nicholas, his trial began since he had been the focal point of his brother's trial has pretty much went the same way. The difference was that just as his threats were used against John and William John's conviction was used against Nicholas. His trial also lasted for nine days, but ended in a hung jury eight for conviction and four for acquittal before Nicholas, his second trial. And just prior to John's execution, William revealed the real reason that Nicholas's rifle was missing.
When William first learned of a Masa Sprogs murder, he hid the rifle and pistol owned by Nicholas under the floorboards of the attic and their house. He thought it would keep suspicion away from Nicholas. But as we have seen, that is not what happened. Nice. John learned what his brother had done during the trial. And that is why John blamed William for his conviction. Wow. Regardless of the new information, John Gordon sentence was carried out and he was hanged February 14th, 1845 on Valentine's day. And that was done. A very happy Valentine. John Gordon's execution was not public, but there were over 60 witnesses in the yard and the state prison in Providence.
I'm very glad it was not public. Let's not have public executions That didn't prevent over a thousand people from gathering on the hillside nearby though. And they were able to see over the prison walls, Not understand the morbid fascination with executions. Well, I don't get it. John Gordon's last words were quote. I hope all good. Christians will pray for me. More than 1500 Irish men joined the funeral procession to the north burial ground in Providence. Some had come from as far away as Massachusetts and Connecticut to protest the injustice of the execution.
Instead of following a direct route to the cemetery, the procession turned Dow benefit street, where it would pass the state house and several aristocratic homes before going to the burial site. Good in a form of protest For them. Good for them. Nicholas, the second trial began April 7th, 1845. The defense did not use the information about the hidden guns because it would've meant putting William on the stand. Again, his answers on cross examination could not be predicted and said they attacked the credibility of the prosecution's witness who were now not as sure of their stories as they had told in the six months earlier.
But the result was basically the same. There was a hung jury. This time three for conviction and nine for acquittal. Nicholas was not tried again for the murder and he did not have a third trial. Nicholas Gordon was released on bail, but lived under constant threat of another trial. He died in depth on October 22nd, 1846, just 17 months after his second acquittal. What a miserable life William Gordon was later sentenced to debtor's prison for unrelated issues on June 18th, 1850 in 2011, 166 years later, a resolution requesting the posture.
Numerous pardon of John Gordon was passed by the Rhode Island Senate and house of representatives on June 29th, 2011. Governor Lincoln. I think it's chefy. I want to ask me, man, Granted the pardon, the ceremony was held in the same exact room where John Gordon was tried and convicted. Wow. The real killers of a Masa sprog have never been identified. Paul <inaudible> had some ideas on others who should have been questioned. Cronsy is quick to say that he did not speculate anyone in his book due to the passage of time, but here's the list of people in the article that he thinks should have received a second look.
Number one, big Peter Dolan. Peter worked in the sprog mill and was no fan of a Masa. And just a few days before the murders sprog fired him for destroying the loom where his nephew's fingers were torn off. Dolan had been described as an angry man, and he was big. The bloodstain coat found at the scene of the murder while wrapping around John Gordon would have fit big. Pete quite nice. Name is big P people named Dick Pete. It just makes sense that he could like, you know, if he was hit like twice, he could do some big damage. Same from big Pete, Peter Dolan disappeared the day after the murder and was not seen by anyone in Rhode Island.
Again, he Disappeared after the murder. There is speculation that he moved to Pennsylvania where he, while on his death bed confessed his priests that he committed the crime. Oh, a confession. Then there was miss Fenner and her husband. It was widely speculated at the time that a Masa sprog was having an affair with miss Fenner who owned a boarding house in Johnston, just on the other side of the bridge where the murder took place was a Moss' sprog murdered by Fender's husband who learned about the illicit relationship. There was Fanny sprog. Could the murder have been arranged by Fanie sprog who was a Moss's wife after she learned of the affair?
Can I tell you, I can never look at the name Fanny the same way again, now that I know that in Britain it's slang for something else. Okay. Sorry. Continue. Number four. William Barker and Bowen Spencer. These two friends testified that they were near the scene of the crime and saw John and William Gordon both before and after the murder. However, because other witnesses were talking with William Gordon miles from the murder at the same time, their testimony was clearly falsified. No one bothered to question these two men who placed themselves in the vicinity of the murder at the time the murder was committed and the last Williams sprog himself, Charles and Tess Hoffman in their book, brotherly love murder, and the politics of prejudice in 19th century, Rhode Island argue that a Masa was murdered by his own brother, William and a Masa disagreed on the expansion of their mill empire.
A possibly that the expansion would be a mistake. If the economy faltered William disagreed and the two fought openly about the issue just days after a Moss's murder, William resigned his seat in the us Senate to lead the investigation into his brother's murder. What better way to ensure the speculation never led in his direction? Ironically, his clever once in control of the mil empire, William did expand beyond what a declining economy could have handled. And he was forced into bankruptcy several years later, Done done. As it sits today, the murder of a Masa sprog is likely one of Rhode Island's longest continuing cold cases.
And John Gordon's execution was the last in Rhode Island history. Really? And that is the case of John Gordon's Execution on that. He's on big Pete. I think it could be big Pete. I mean, My money's on Him. I mean, who knows? I think it's, I think there's a lot of good Big Pete or his own brother. Yeah. There's Or maybe Ooh, big Pete is in cahoots with the brother Could have been, could have been hired by the brother To that. I say, I say, brother hired big. Pete Could have been at As that. It could have been, I mean, it could have been his lover's husband, so you never know, Or the wife could have life either the brother or the wife hired big.
Pete Could have been Big. Pete did the date that maybe somebody hired big Because why would he go missing? I don't know. It's very weird. Very interesting. So I think big Pete actually did it, but I'm speculating that somebody hired him to do it either his brother or his wife hired big Pete, I think most likely That's what I say. So you're not going to find the answer to the cold case on our website, but you can find our website. Yep. And that is one nation under crime.com. We are on one nation under crime, on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and at OEC pod on Twitter.
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Thank you guys for listening. Yes. To this week's episode of one nation under crime, we will see you here. Same time, Different Crime next week. And remember there isn't always Liberty and justice for all. Especially if you're an Irish Catholic in the 18 hundreds. No Goodbye.