William Finch

Born into slavery in Georgia, William Finch was stationed at Fort Sill in 1882 as a U.S. Army tailor. When threatened with punishment for a minor offense, Finch fled to Texas. Captured there, he was returned to Fort Sill. En route, Finch killed two of his captors, Sergeant Johnson and Private Grimky, and fled back into Texas.

The third soldier in the arresting party survived and alerted authorities. Finch was arrested again in Texas.

Taken to Fort Smith, Finch was tried for murder in February 1883. He was convicted of murder and sentenced to death. William Finch was hanged on June 29, 1883.

Author: Bill Lofquist

I am a sociologist and death penalty scholar at the State University of New York at Geneseo. I am also a Pittsburgh native. My present research focuses on the history of the death penalty in Allegheny County (Pittsburgh), Pa. This website is dedicated to collecting, analyzing, and sharing information about all Allegheny County cases in which a death sentence was imposed. Please share any questions or comments, errors or omissions, or other matters of interest related to these cases or to the broader history of the death penalty in Allegheny County.

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