EXECUTIONS of convicted criminals sentenced to die were carried out at the local level in Ohio prior to 1885, when the state legislature moved all executions to the state penitentiary. Between 1812-85, 9 convicted murderers were executed by hanging in Cuyahoga County; the last execution occurred in 1879. The first execution in Cleveland was the only public hanging in the city. JOHN O'MIC, an Indian convicted of the murder of trapper Daniel Buell, was hanged on 24 June 1812 (sometimes given as 26 June). In 1844 the state legislature prohibited public executions, and the next 8 men executed in Cuyahoga County were hanged inside the jail.
English immigrant Jas. Parks was hanged on 1 June 1855 for the 1853 murder of Wm. Beatson in Cuyahoga Falls. Dr. John W. Hughes, a local physician convicted of murdering his mistress, Tamzen Parsons, in the streets of BEDFORD, was hanged on 9 Feb. 1866, on the same gallows used to hang Parks. The cases of Parks and Hughes attracted much public interest and aroused much sympathy on their behalf; those who followed their footsteps to the gallows were less colorful, and their plights failed to attract similar feelings of sympathy. Alexander McConnell, an Irish immigrant who lived with his wife and 6 children in Canada, was executed on 10 Aug. 1866 for the 24 Mar. murder of Rosa Colvin. Lewis (or Louis) R. Davis was executed on 9 Feb. 1869 for firing the murder weapon during the 12 Sept. 1868 robbery of prosperous farmer and dairyman David P. Skinner of INDEPENDENCE. John Cooper was hanged on 25 Apr. 1872 for killing and robbing a friend who had refused to loan him money for train fare. Stephen Hood, convicted of the 17 July 1873 murder of his adopted 14-year-old son, was executed on 29 Apr. 1874. On 22 June 1876, Wm. Adin was hanged for the 4 Dec. 1875 murders of his wife, his stepdaughter, and the latter's friend. The last execution in Cleveland occurred on 13 Feb. 1879, when Chas. R. McGill was hanged for the 2 Dec. 1877 murder of his mistress, Mary Kelley.
As the history of executions in northeastern Ohio unfolded, the execution process became a grim ritual: the same gallows and rope traveled throughout the region for use in hanging condemned men. Despite the law against public executions, large crowds were present at several hangings inside the jail; the crowds were admitted by special passes distributed by the sheriff. Larger crowds gathered outside the jail and sometimes did not disperse until allowed to view the body.
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