|Death: ||Apr. 17, 1891|
Wednesday, April 22, 1891
Submitted by Lamana Abraham
THE EXECUTION ON LAST FRIDAY.
At 12:50 on last Friday, April 17th, George and Fred Dunawas were taken from their cell in the National Jail to the gallows within the enclosure, each of them dressed neatly in a suit of blue cloth wearing bouquets on the lapels of their coats. They mounted the scaffold with firm and steady tread without manifesting any trepidation or nervousness, so far as could be seen. They were seated in two chairs facing to the east. Prayer was offered up in their behalf by Rev. Mr. Wilson of the Baptist Mission at this place in a fervid and eloquent appeal to the Throne of Mercy.
The fatal noose of each rope was hanging silently above their heads, and when told to stand up, they did so without hesitation. To the inquiry whether or not they desired to say anything, George responded he did, and in substance said: "I acknowledge I committed the crime and did it willfully without cause. I have violated the laws of my country and of God and am willing to suffer the penalty, having, as I believe, obtained forgiveness for the crime I have committed."
This was spoken in English in rather a subdued tone of voice. Fred then made a talk in his native language corroborating what George had said in reference to the willfulness of the killing and added that it was the tattling of women that had brought him to the gallows. He then went on to lecture the young men advising them not to do as he had done, to be quiet, orderly citizens and keep away from bad and vicious people or they would come to what he had. If he had been talking in a Sunday School he could not have done so with more composure and self-possession of tone of voice and manner of delivery. He reiterated what his brother George had said in relation to forgiveness and readiness to suffer the penalty of the law. George wore a serious expression without any visible signs of dread or fear of his impending fate, but Fred's deportment was that of respectful indifference to the situation. They were of medium size, well-formed and good looking, especially Fred. The ropes were adjusted around their necks when they both uttered a short prayer; the black caps over their faces, they signified their readiness, the trap was sprung at just five minutes after one o'clock p.m.
Drs. J. A. and Joseph M. Thompson, Treadwell, Fite, and Ross, witnessed the execution and pronounced them dead in fifteen minutes, the pulse of Fred being perceptible a minute longer than that of George. They were placed in their coffins and taken by their friends and relatives to Going Snake District for interment. The High Sheriff, the guards, and parties who assisted in the preparation of the execution, are entitled to commendation in the arrangement of the details which resulted in the least possible pain to the doomed parties.
The crime for which these unfortunate young men suffered the death penalty was committed on the 27th of last September, in the killing of Washington Lee, Ex-Sheriff of Going Snake District. As is too often the case, a woman stood in the dark background of the dreadful tragedy. A white family had come into the country a year or two since and rented land of Lee. In this family there was a young woman, barely grown, and said to be handsome or good looking, at least. Fred became enamored of this "pale face", wooed and won her, it is said. It was not long before a scandal of disreputable import was gotten up involving the family of Lee. It is said this "pale face" and Lee's wife had a fight and were parted by Lee, who it seems was present. She goes home and tells Fred of the fight she had and that Lee had give her a terrible beating, when such was not the fact. Then it was she used her artful persuasion to have revenge taken on the Lee family. Fred, unfortunately for him, was too ready to believe the stories she related. Things went on from bad to worse until, it is said, Lee and Fred had an altercation in which Fred got the worse of it. About this time George, the elder brother, seems to have become interested in the trouble brewing. The evidence in the case goes to show, so we are informed, that preparations were being made for a deadly attack upon Lee, and it is said this woman was urging Fred the while, telling him unless he killed Lee she would leave him. On the fateful day, Lee had occasion to go to the house of his renter above mentioned and after being there a short time, George and Fred came. Nothing occurred just at that time worth mention, but directly Lee starts home and after getting a little way, one of the brothers called to him and said he understood that he (Lee) had dared them to come there. Lee stopped and turned round, facing the parties, replied, he had said no such thing. They then mentioned something else they had heard he (Lee) had said about them. This Lee also denied. In a moment or two the brothers commenced firing on Lee with their pistols. Lee, drawing his pocket knife, advanced towards them but only got a short distance when he sank down mortally wounded, from the affects of which he died in about thirty-six hours.
It has been stated by the press here and elsewhere this is the first "double hanging" that ever took place in this Nation. This is true so far as the execution of two at one time is concerned, but it is not correct if the idea is intended to be conveyed that not more than one has ever been hung at a time. In about the year 1846 three boys, barely grown, murdered a man in Flint District by the name of Bigelow. Strange to say, Bigelow was an adopted citizen, a white man. The U. S. authorities did not interfere and these boys were tried before a jury of their countrymen. The motive for the murder was robbery which was proven in the trial. Judge John Thompson Adair was the presiding officer. The jury returned a verdict of murder in the first degree against all three of the accused. The Judge sentenced them to be hung, the execution to take place in five days, that being the law at that time, and the three boys were hanged at the same time by the sheriff of the district.
Fort Worth Gazette
Thursday, April 23, 1891
Submitted by Lamana Abraham
A MOTHER'S SUFFERING
TWO WAYWARD BOYS CAUSE A
MOTHER'S HEART TO BLEED.
She Begs for Their Lives and Failing
Stays to see the Black Cap Drawn Over
Their Faces and Then Faints.
Special to the Gazette.
TAHLEQUAH, I. T., April 22 – The loving devotion of a mother to her child is almost as enduring as the heavens above, and is not to be compared to earthly things. This fact has many times been exemplified, and the extreme hardships undergone last week by Mrs. Nancy Sixkiller, mother of the two Dunnawas boys who were hanged at this place Friday, was only another substantiating instance of this assertion. After learning that the principal chief had refused to pardon her boys or commute the death sentence, the old lady was wild with grief and determined to go to the chief in person and make a last appeal to him for their lives. The distance from Mrs. Sixkiller's home in Going Snake district to Chief Mayes' residence on Grand River is not less than ninety miles. Although an aged and feeble old woman of seventy years she made this long journey afoot and alone.
And all in vain!
Her pleadings with the stern old chief came to naught, and the heart-broken mother was back at this place the day before the hanging so that she might be with her doomed boys during their last hours on earth.
When she left her home, Mrs. Sixkiller had on an old pair of shoes but when she arrived in Tahlequah her feet were bare, torn and bleeding, and she was in an utterly exhausted condition caused by her grief, hunger and fatigue. She had waded creeks and climbed mountains until the shoes were worn completely from her feet.
George and Fred Dunawas were the only children of Mrs. Sixkiller, and she loved them as only a mother can. She beseechingly pleaded for their lives as only a mother can plead. She was with them in their last hours, followed them to the fatal gallows and saw the rope placed around their necks. As the ominous black caps were being drawn down over the faces of her boys, with anguish and horror depicted in her face, she gave them a last pleading look, screamed piteously and sank prostrate to the ground. She was tenderly removed from the horrible scene by High Sheriff Cale Starr, in a pitiful and insensible condition.
Who will ever know the troubles and sufferings of that devoted old mother? Truly, there must be something infinite in such devotion! Those wayward boys died an ignominious death on the scaffold, but that mother must have suffered a hundred deaths on their account.
Nancy Sixkiller (1817 - 1925)
George Dunnawas (1868 - 1891)
Fred Dunnawas (1871 - 1891)*
Created by: Luke Williams
Record added: Feb 27, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 66243306