Old West Catacombs

Indian Scouts Hanged

Indian scouts hanged

March 3, 1882, Fort Grant, Arizona Territory – Indian scouts hanged: Dead Shot, Dandy Jim and Skippy, were hanged here today in the presence of about 200 persons, mostly soldiers, for the murder of Capt. Hentig, Sixth Cavalry, and his men at Cibicue Creek last August, the incidents of which are still fresh in the memory of all. They were tried by a court composed of army officers last November and sentenced to be hanged, which was approved by the President, who designated March 3 as the day for the sentence to go into effect.

Indian scouts hanged Upon receipt of the sentence and the President’s action thereon, every precaution was taken to prevent an escape. Each prisoner was confined in a separate cell, securely locked, and when necessary to allow them out of their cells, were carefully guarded and only one allowed out at a time. 

Notwithstanding the vigilance and precaution exercised, Dandy Jim succeeded in separating his shackles some three weeks ago and made a desperate attempt to escape, but was fired on by the guard. After running about 500 yards, he was wounded in the left arm, from the effects of which he was suffering when he appeared upon the gallows.

They ate sparingly of the breakfast placed before them this morning, and did not once look in the direction of the gallows. After breakfast, Dandy Jim asked how many hours he had to live, and when told, it caused a marked effect on his appearance. Immediately afterward they were handcuffed, the first tie since their confinement, and conducted back to their cells, from which they were never again to depart only to die.
At 12:20 p.m. the shrill note of the trumpet was heard, which proclaimed that the hour for the execution was near at hand, and the troops assembled in front of their quarters, under arms, and marched to within about twenty yards of the gallows, where the orders promulgating the sentence were read to them.

During this time the three doomed men looked for the last time from their place of confinement, and were conducted to the gallows, which they mounted singly, and showed no sings of fear.

The platform was reached by steps ascending from the rear. The height from the ground was six feet, with a four-foot drop, giving two feet of clearance. The trap door extended the full length of the platform, which was twelve feet.

The prisoners were ranged along the platform, the rope adjusted, and a man behind each one to steady him. Their hands and feet were then securely pinioned, and they were told that if they had anything to say time would be allowed them.

All gave much the same answer that it was not right to hang them; the white man had given them good clothes and food, but were now going to take all away from them; they were satisfied to die, and they would meet all their friends gone before them. Dead Shot said he had suffered a good deal in this world.

The chaplain then offered up a prayer for their souls, and at three minutes past 1 o’clock, the black caps were drawn over their heads. The nooses were examined and at five minutes past one the lever that supported the trap was pulled and the three men were launched into eternity.

There was no perceptible struggle, only with Dandy Jim, over whose body a slight tremor passed for a couple of seconds. After handing ten minutes, the physicians felt their pulse and pronounced life extinct. Seven minutes after the bodies were cut down and consigned to coffins.

There was no excitement whatever and the successful manner in which the affair was managed and conducted was commended by all who witnessed it.

The bodies will be interred in the vicinity of this post.