In Pawtucket, John Gordon's memory lives on

John Gordon was honored with this beautiful monument, which was recently unveiled by the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick.

Gordon was the last person executed in the State of Rhode Island, on February 14, 1845, having been charged and convicted in the 1843 murder of a wealthy business owner, Amasa Sprague. The Gordon saga has lived on for 150 years in the political and judicial arenas, with his execution cited as a case against capital punishment ever since.

At the bare minimum it is accepted that Gordon did not receive a fair shot at proving his innocence, facing anti-Catholic and anti-Irish sentiment across the state, particularly from the judge and jury assigned to the case. On Wednesday, June 29, 2011 Governor Lincoln Chafee granted an historic pardon to Gordon in the same room in which his trial and conviction took place.

Gordon was secretly buried in an unmarked grave at St. Mary's Cemetery by his fellow Irishmen, and it is to there the Friendly Sons returned on October 8, honoring him by unveiling a monument.

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Father William Ledoux, Father Bernie O'Reilly, Shaun O'Brien (President, Friendly Sons of St. Patrick, Pawtucket) and Representative Peter Martin (Newport) are pictured among a group gathered to honor John Gordon. The Pawtucket, Rhode Island chapter of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick honored the memory of John Gordon on Saturday October 8 at a ceremony at St. Mary's Cemetery, 103 Pine Street, Pawtucket.