California · Executions · Famous Last Words

FLW: Don’t do that again

Famous Last Words
Danforth “Sailor Jim” Hartson
Siskiyou County, California
July 15, 1857

“For God’s sake, don’t do that again.”

Hartson was hanged for the murder of a man after an argument, whom Hartson pushed down then shot in the chest. The victim gave a statement and named his killer before dying, and Hartson confessed to the murder at his trial. However, he claimed the death was in self defense.

At his execution, an error was made and as the trapdoor fell Hartson slipped from the noose after a “severe jerk.” His final words were directed to his executioner begging for his next drop to be done correctly. Adjustments were made and Hartson was executed much cleaner his second trip through the gallow’s trap door.

Source: History of Siskiyou County California, Illustrated with Views of Residences, Business Buildings and Natural Scenery, and Containing Portraits and Biographies of Its Leading Citizens and Pioneers by D. J. Stewart & Co., 1880, page 100

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