Two Men Parish on the Scaffold

Submitted by Deborah Brown Musgrove


New Era
Sept 3, 1879

Last Friday two men, Henri Steward and Wm. Elliot Wiley, were hung here, convicted last May term of the U.S. Court for crimes committed in the Indian Territory. Both were men above average class of criminals brought from that country. Henri Stewart was a native of the Choctaw nation, but undistinguishable from a white man, and educated in New England, where his mother has resided since 1855. He graduated at Yale and studied medicine too at Philidelphia and was a practicing physician for many years. He married in Kansas and lived in the Choctaw Nation again since 1874.
About a year ago he and his cousin Wiley, attacked, while drunk, Dr. Jones of Caddo. Henri wounded the Doctor in the hand, while his cousin killed him instantly with a shot-gun. The murderer is not caught yet. Henry was caught in south-west Missouri. He was about thirty years old and of fine appearance.
Wm. Elliot killed a man named Brown in a house of postitution at Muscogee last February in a druken quarrel. He claims to have done it in self-defense. He was a native of Ohio, served in the Union ARmy, but led a dissolute life in the Indian Territory. He was caught in less than six hours after killing Brown. . .
The execution was strictly private, the enclosure around the scaffold excluding all curious gazers. They only persons present, besides the officials, were members of the press, three physicians and a few citizens. Both men made brief addresses on the gallows. Elliot protested his innocence to the last, claiming to have acted in self-defense, while Steward declared to have made his peace with God and was ready to die. Rev. Mr. Sample and Rev. Mr. Harlan attended to their spiritual wants during their confinement, the fromer accomplanying the condemned to the gallows.
The drop fell at 19 minutes to three o'clock and twenty minutes later both were cut down. Elliot was put in a plain pine coffin and interred on the reservation, while the body of Stewart was placed by his brother in an elegant casket and taken in a hearse to the city cemetery and there interred.