10 September 1801 – Jason Fairbanks

George ‘Dubya’ Bush has been known for being trigger happy when it came to sanctioning executions as governor. But did you know one of his ancestors was strung up?

Jason Fairbanks was hanged for the murder of his sweetheart after she refused to marry him.

Fairbanks was from a family which can be traced back to 1636 Massachusetts, and before that Yorkshire. The house they originally built and have lived in since still belongs to the family to this day, which makes it the oldest timber-frame house currently in North America.

Notable descendants include William Taft, plus George Bush Senior and, naturally, the current president of the United States. But there’s often a black sheep in any family (and let’s not count George Bush for now). Jason fitted that bill.

Backed into a corner

As a result of being charged with murder, he bizarrely claimed that Elizabeth Fales had committed suicide and that he’d vainly attempted to follow in her footsteps.

Strangely his girlfriend’s corpse showed evidence of 11 wounds, including one stab wound to the back.

That was the clincher. How could Fales have stabbed herself in the back?

Fairbanks was sentenced to death and miraculously managed to escape, but he was soon apprehended again and hanged in 1801, aged just 21.

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One Response to “10 September 1801 – Jason Fairbanks”

  1. brian sitterley Says:

    Most governors in the united states have authority to pardon or commute sentences. Governors of Texas do not; they can give only one 30 day reprieve. Poor George got raked over the coals on one case early when a man was executed, who had received a 30 day reprieve from George’s predeccesor Ann Richards. George has executed at least two federal prisoners while president, including Timothy McVeigh, and has signed death warrants for executions stayed by the courts. I have no doubt that had George been able to issue commmunations, he would seldom have done so. But in fairness, as governor he had no such authority.

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