Execution of Charles Houlden
Petersburg Observer, date unknown


Sheriff W. E. Pike is shown above with a hangman's noose that was used
to execute Charles Houlden on Friday, May 15, 1885, in what was the only
execution in the history of Menard County. The noose, together with the
scaffold used to hang the convicted murderer, have been in storage in
the attic of the Menard County Jail since the time of the hanging and
eventually will be turned over to the Menard County Historical Society.

Complete records of the trial of Houlden are on file in the Courthouse
and these, together with transcripts of news stories that appeared in
the county newspaper at the time of the murder and execution, will be
used in a feature story that will appear in this newspaper next week.

Houlden was convicted of murdering his wife of Saturday, March 22, 1884,
in a farm house located southeast of Petersburg. Following the murder he
was taken into custody by the Sheriff and was indited by the grand jury
in October. Following his indictment, a continuance was granted and the
trial came up in court during the term of March 1885, when he was found
guilty and sentenced to hang.

Contributed by: Hugh Hinds


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