When Was the Last 'Drawing and Quartering' in the U.S.

I was curious when the last drawing and quartering occurred in the United States.

Actually, my question is more political than morbid. You see, under the doctrine of Original Intent–which I strongly disagree with BTW–the standard for cruel and unusual punishment would be “fossilized” to the original standard of 1787, when the U.S. Constitution was established.

So I guess it almost sounds like my question could go in the great debates section. Well, no, actually, for now at least. Because for now I am just asking about this little historical tibit–when the last D&Q occured;).

BTW, the last time the sentence was carried out in it entirety in England was in 1802, to a Edward Marcus Despard. This description makes it sound like just an old-fashioned hanging and beheading. But Despard was the last, at least according to the Encyclopedia Britannica (you have to get the premium service to see the whole entry–but fortunately I have already checked it in the actual encyclopedia in a local library).


Only going by Internet sources (and of course I’m not American, to boot) – I’d say that the punishment of “drawing and quartering” for treason (the usual crime for that penalty from English law) would seem not to have been in force in 1787.

This review page has the claim:

It would seem that capital punishment in the American colonies was mainly, if not totally, by hanging in the 18th century. Even with that, the colonies seemed to follow an English trend and have a high level of commutations. Something as, perhaps, “exotic” and unusual as d&q would have been especially noted – but doesn’t seem to be in any online source I’ve checked so far.

Short of someone in your country doing some in-depth research into this, I’d guess that, possibly, it either wasn’t used in that period, or certainly warranted the “cruel and unusual” label given it in 1848.

This page discusses the case of Benjamin Merrill who was apparently hung, drawn and quartered in North Carolina in 1771.