Palace of Death
by H.M. Fogle, 1908

Chapter 12
Henry Popp
December 18, 1890

Following a quarrel with a Canton, Ohio, saloon-keeper, he sharpened his knife and literally cut him to pieces. Hanged Dec. 18, 1890.

The Uneventful Death of Henry Popp

The last of Henry Pop, serial number 21,562. Two minutes after Elmer Sharkey was pronounced dead, Henry Popp followed his spiritual adviser, Father Logan, to the scaffold. His face wore the look of a man whom terror had made mad. His glance danced wildly over the audience. At length fixing itself in a gaze of unutterable terror on the waiting trap, he watched the readjustmenr of the trap with spellbound interest. As soon as it was made ready he stepped firmly and quickly upon it. Father Logan reached him the cross, and he pressed it to his lips with wild eagerness, then for a moment fixed a gaze of agony upon the Priest; recalled by the cool tones of the executioner: "All is ready; have you anything to say?" He gave a last wild, sweeping glance over the spectators; no word, no movement of the body, only a slight movement of his thin, bloodless lips, and a dazed expression; that was all. Then the shooting backward of the lever that has plunged so many into eternity.

It was just 12:38 when the drop fell. He shot straight through the trap, the neck was broken, and in twelve minutes he was a corpse. Henry Popp died, so to speak, when his death warrant was read. From that time on he moved as one in a delirium, dumb and awake with terror. He stood on the scaffold and gazed about him as though he dreamed, and some dread vision haunted him.

Popp got into an altercation with a Canton saloon-keeper, went out and carefully sharpened his knife. Returning, he reengaged in the quarrel, and literally cut his man to pieces. This happened April 21, 1890.

Popp was an illiterate German laborer, thirty-one years of age. He emigrated to the United States from Prussia while yet a child. He earned a living by working as a section hand on the railroad, or any other kind of labor he could find to do. He made a statement to the press before his death comprising a sketch of his life, and the causes which led to his untimely end.

"I never had the chance," said he, "that the young men of Ohio have today, and had no education. I can neither read nor write, and because of my ignorance of American ways I have placed myself where I am, and am compelled to leave this earth by the gallows. I did not intend to kill my man. I did it in the heat of passion. I am sorry, and hope God will forgive my sin and save my soul."

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Palace of Death
The Ohio Penitentiary