Friendly Sons to honor John Gordon this weekend


PAWTUCKET - This Saturday, Oct. 8, the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick, Pawtucket Chapter, will honor the legendary John Gordon with a monument in the St. Mary's Cemetery.

Saturday's event will begin at 11 a.m. with coffee and doughnuts at the Irish Social Club, 89 Pawtucket Ave., across from the cemetery. A noon Mass will be held at St. Mary Church, 103 Pine St., followed by a ceremony in the adjoined cemetery at approximately 12:45 p.m. The afternoon will conclude at The Galway Bay Irish Pub, 156 South Bend St., behind McCoy Stadium.

Gordon was the last person executed in the state of Rhode Island, on February 14, 1845. He was charged and convicted in the 1843 murder of a wealthy business owner, Amasa Sprague. The Gordon saga has lived on for more than 150 years in the political and judicial arenas. His execution has been cited as evidence against capital punishment many times.

Gordon was secretly buried in St. Mary's Cemetery by his fellow Irishmen, without a marker on his grave.

At the bare minimum, John Gordon did not receive a fair shot at proving his innocence, according to the Pawtucket Friendly Sons and just about anyone else one might ask. Gordon, say organizers of the event, was faced with a general anti-Catholic and anti-Irish temperament across the state, specifically from the direction of the judge and jury involved in his case.

Through the efforts of many Rhode Island citizens, elected officials, and various people with an interest in clearing Gordon's name, after several proceedings through the House of Representatives and the state Senate, on Wednesday, June 29, Gov. Lincoln Chafee granted Gordon's pardon in the same room that his trial and conviction took place in.

Donations are welcome from anyone who wishes to take part in the placing of the stone and plaque on Gordon's gravesite. Send a check to "Friendly Sons of St. Patrick Pawtucket," P.O. Box 3837, Pawtucket, RI 02861.

For more on the Friendly Sons, visit .

The Valley Breeze