February 01, 2015
"Gallows Fail, Builder Quits." A real headline, a true tale, an example for us all.
One day I’m sure that the reckless exuberance that I bring to professional rhetoric will cause me to make a fatal error in judgment. I only hope I suffer my downfall with the same grace that one Harry Stanton did on Jan. 1, 1927, according to a Chicago newspaper account, “GALLOWS FAIL, BUILDER QUITS.”
Disgusted with hanging, Harry Stanton, for 29 years builder of scaffolds at the county jail, resigned yesterday after the 65th gallows he erected took the lives of two men.
It has been Stanton’s duty to test the gallows, making them deadly efficient. When the trap sprung on James Grieus and Thomas McVane, murderers, yesterday, it failed to break their necks, and they strangled to death.
“I don’t like the job,” Stanton said, “I’m sick of it. I’m 60 years old and I’m going to quit and forget what I’ve seen.”
That’s what I’m gonna do one day. I’m gonna quit and forget what I’ve seen. —DM