Palace of Death
by H.M. Fogle, 1908

Chapter 17
Charles Craig
September 9, 1892

Just an ordinary type of the well-meaning negro. While under the influence of liquor he killed his unfaithful wife. They were living apart and she virtually hounded him to the deed by appealing for aid whenever she was cast aside by one of her "frequent" lovers. Hanged Sept. 9, 1892.

The End of a Negro "Bad Man"

Preparations were immediately begun for Charles Craig's execution, serial number 21,911, and three minutes later he was on the scaffold.

Craig's appearance was a surprise to those who had read of his career and never saw the man. He was a good looking colored man, with a bald head and round face, without a line indicating viciousness. He weighed probably 210 pounds.

As he approached the drop there was a smile on his face, which soon gave way to serious resignation. His size made some trouble in adjusting the straps, and the ordeal told on the doomed man, who was forced to bite his lips to keep from showing his nervousness. He maintained his composure, however, and like McCarthy shook hands with all and kissed the crucifix held by father McGovern. When it came time for him to speak, the strain was too much and he was only able to mumble in a low voice that he asked forgiveness of all he had harmed.

The black-cap was put on and the trap was sprung by Deputy Playford. Craig shot through with terrific force, his neck being broken by the fall. There was not a quiver of a muscle, and in twelve and a half minutes he was declared dead.

The trap was sprung for McCarthy at 12:07, and at 12:45 Craig was cut down.

The execution was conducted in a manner which was evidently intended by the law. The utmost quietude prevailed in the room; and the witnesses standing with uncovered heads added impressiveness to the scene.

Craig's Crime

At Riddle's Mills, Kentucky, lived a woman named Anna Johnson, who married a man named Crock. She had little regard for virtue, or anything else. When her husband died suddenly she was suspected of poisoning him, but was never arrested. Soon after this, Craig began living with the woman, and it was openly charged they had put Crock out of the way, but for some reason the authorities never took cognizance of the affair. There were other colored men after Anna, and once when Craig had a fight with one of them he was struck on the head with a club and, it was claimed his skull was fractured. When he recovered he went to Cynthiana, Ky., taking Anna with him, where they pursued the even tenor of their way unmolested.

While living in Cynthiana, George Currier accused Craig of being too familiar with other people's turkey roosts. Craig drew a knife and stabbed Currier to death. He ran away to escape arrest and located in Covington. Anna soon followed and they lived in peace for some time. Finally he was located, arrested, convicted, and sent to the Frankfort Penitentiary for four years.

He served his time, and then went back to Covington to live with Anna, who had led a promiscuous life during his incarceration. While there he followed plastering, and got along very well. Finally he and the woman moved to Cincinnati, where Craig worked at his trade, and Anna went to work for Jake Wolford.

They had not lived in the Queen City long, when Craig sent for his mother to come and live with them. She came, but could not get along with Anna, and in April, 1890, located in Columbus. After his mother left Cincinnati Craig furnished a house in gorgeous style for himself and Anna and made a good living for both. Things went well for a time, but finally Anna began staying out late at night. Craig remonstrated with her and she told him she had met a man named Horace Wilson, who had captivated her, and it was with him she spent her nights.

When Craig became convinced that what Anna told him was true, he told her they would divide their household goods and she could go to Wilson. They did so, but in a few days Anna came back and begged to be taken in again, promising she would be true to him ever after. He forgave her, and again they lived together for some time, but finally Anna returned to Wilson.

On Saturday morning, September 13, 1890, Anna returned to Craig's house to get some clothing she had left there. Craig was drunk and immediately assaulted her with a knife. She ran out into the back yard. He followed, and in the presence of a large crowd of people who had gathered in response to the cries for help, stabbed the woman to death. After she fell to the ground the demon continued to drive the steel into her body time and again until he was exhausted with the effort.

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Palace of Death
The Ohio Penitentiary