Strange fruit

In Jackson, in south-east Missouri, the mulberry tree once used for hangings has been chopped down – by official order, according to the Southeast Missourian.

The tree came down because it was rotten.

Missouri stopped using hanging in 1937.

The tree’s last hanging was 15 June 1899, when Judge Henry C. Riley ordered 19-year-old John Headrick to be “hanged by the neck between heaven and earth until he is dead.”

Headrick shot and killed James M. Lail, 44, in July 1898 in front of Lail’s wife and teenage daughter at Lail’s farm south of Jackson.

Headrick also shot Lail’s wife in the back when she threw herself over the body of her husband; she survived.


Picture source: Fah112778 via Wikimedia Commons