Archive for November 18

18 November 1915 – Joe Hill

Posted in Death penalty, Firing squad with tags , , , on November 18 by Old Sparky

Joe Hill

Joe Hill

Joe Hill joked that he wouldn’t be caught dead in Utah. How wrong he was.

So, what could he say as he faced a row of armed executioners but ‘fire’? And a volley of shots soon met the Swede’s instruction when he was executed by firing squad for murder in Utah. But he was had up for a crime he may not even have committed. A butcher shot an armed robber in Salt Lake City before being shot himself.

Strangely Hill turned up at a doctor’s surgery with a similar wound, saying he’d been shot in an argument over a female. It’s alleged that he wouldn’t name and shame the married woman behind his injury, and it was his gentlemanly discretion that inevitably led to his death.

During his life he’d been a political activist – a songwriter, a left-wing Labourite and staunch member of the Industrial Workers of the World. His song-writing became a theme after his death too when his life was immortalised in folk songs.

There’s even a film about his life, which was made in 1971 and he’s also credited with coming up with the phrase ‘pie in the sky’.

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