1789.013: Last Letter of Frederick Briggs to his Wife.

Published: 1789

Full Title: The following letter was written by Frederick Briggs to his wife, while sentence of death, for horse stealing : and who was executed, together with his comrad [sic], M’Elheney, on the 16th October, 1789, in the county of Prince Edward.

Author: Briggs, Frederick (d. 1789).

Place Issued: Virginia

Issuing Press: Uncertain

Description: 1 sheet [1 pg.]; 41 cm. x 34 cm. (broadside).


Sheet lacks printer credit; only two surviving copies held in state archives at the Library of Virginia, as part of the records of Prince Edward County; nearest press to Prince Edward in 1789 was at Petersburg, so this title was likely issued there by William Prentis; but lacking more definitive evidence, an attribution cannot be made. Broadside is a classic gallows confession; the Library of Virginia reports that "In August 1789, Frederick Briggs and William McElhany … stole two horses from John Spencer in Charlotte County and were apprehended in Nottoway County by a posse led by Colonel Freeman Epps. They were transported back to Charlotte County and subsequently sent to the district court in Prince Edward County for further trial. The district court found both men guilty of horse thievery and sentenced them to die on 16 October 1789 by hanging."

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