The Execution of "Charley"

The British Colonist
Feb. 10, 1862

The Cowichan Indian "Charley," condemned to death for the murder of Thomas Holmes, was hanged in front of the Police Barracks on Saturday morning last, in the presence of 300 spectators. The murderer ascended the scaffold with a firm step and spoke a few words in Chinook, asserting that "one-eye" (Tom) was the real murderer of Holmes. A Catholic priest attended the condemned man to the gallows and seemed to afford him much comfort; but just before the fatal signal was given, "Charley's" knees gave way under him, and at the time the drop fell, he seemed to be in a state of considerable trepidation. The drop was sprung at a quarter to seven o'clock. The fall was about five and a half feet. Death must have been almost instantaneous, as only a few spasmodic jerks were observable, and when the body was cut down, at a quarter to eight o'clock, it was found that the neck was broken. While the body was hanging, some disgust was excited on the part of the spectators at the action of the executioner, who applied his foot to the noose for the purpose of tightening it, and also seized the rope with his hands and shook the body violently to and fro. The object had in view, however, was no doubt a humane one, although the means employed were revolting. The body was given in charge of the Catholic missionaries for interment. Charley's father, who is a convict, did not witness the hanging, nor did he express any wish to see his son either, before or after the execution.

Source: "The Execution of "Charley"," British Colonist, February 10, 1862

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