There have been children who have been murdered throughout history. Mary Bell was ten years old when she murdered two boys. Juliet Hulme and Pauline Parker were in their teens when they murdered Juliet’s mother. Also, Clementine Baranabet was the leader of a cult that had the black community in fear after murdering several families. Even so, none of them were executed. Instead, they were let go. However, there have been other children who weren’t so lucky. George Stinney was 14 years old when he was executed on the electric chair for allegedly murdering two little girls. There are thoughts that he was innocent, and 70 years later, the conviction was overturned. Celia was a slave who had been repeatedly raped by her slave owner, and she was hung for murdering him. In the late 1700s, there was 12-year old Hannah Ocuish. She was executed for the murder of a six-year-old girl.
Hannah Ocuish, a Native American girl, was abandoned by her mother and didn’t know her father. She had become an orphan as a little girl. It is thought that she was not mentally sound. This was in the late 1700s, so there aren’t many artifacts on Hannah before the crime. The only thing that I found was that she was in a series of foster homes. It might be my ignorance, but I didn’t know the foster care system was around back then. Maybe not in the form it is today, but I found that interesting.
In June 1786, Hannah Ocuish had her encounter with Eunice Bolles.
During a harvest, six-year-old Eunice Bolles accused Hannah of stealing strawberries. The emotions that Hannah must have felt were embarrassment and anger towards the girl. Therefore, Hannah started plotting her revenge. Five weeks later, on July 21, 1786, Hannah lured Eunice into the woods by telling her she would give her calico. Calico is a soft fabric that seems to be have been popular during those times. When the two girls got into the room, Hannah beat and strangled Eunice to death.
Eunice’s body was found next to a stone wall on the road between New London and Norwich. Hannah had tried to cover the murder by covering Eunice’s body with rocks to make it seem like the stonewall accidentally collapsed and killed the six-year-old girl.
People started questioning kids to find out what really happened. When Hannah was questioned, she told them that she had seen four boys in the area that Eunice’s body was found. This did not convince them, so they took her to see the body. When Hannah did, she confessed to murdering Eunice.
12-year-old Hannah Ocuish stood trial. Even though many thought she was not fit to stand trial due to disability, the judge didn’t care. He sentenced her to hang. His reasoning was that her execution would be a message to the local community. Throughout the entire trial, Hannah didn’t show any emotion to the point that she seemed unconcerned.
On December 20, 1786, Hannah stood in front of the old meeting house where a crowd had gathered. While she was walking to the hanging rope, Hannah was silent, but her eyes said another story. It was said that it seemed she had fear in her eyes. In front of all those people. 12-year-old Hannah Ocuish was executed by hanging after thanking the sheriff for his kindness.
Her execution is the last in Connecticut’s history. She is also thought to be the youngest female to be executed in US history.
This was heartbreaking to find. 12 years old and executed. I remember seeing the pictures of George Stinney circulating on different social media platforms when they were putting him in the electric chair, and my heart ached. I think it also might be because he was probably innocent. Should a child murderer not be executed because of his/her age? The answer will be different depending on the person responding. For me, I am torn. She planned the murder for five weeks, killed a six-year-old girl over something frivolous as being accused of stealing a few strawberries, and then setting up the crime scene, so it seemed like an accident. Is she really that innocent because of her mental disability? In those days, they didn’t have mental health resources as we have now, and even now, they aren’t where they should be. Therefore, she would have probably have gotten locked up in prison with adults or in a mental institution. Seeing the deplorable prisons and mental institutions of the past, maybe Hannah was better off being executed than suffering in those places. As I said, I am torn. I just hope that Eunice didn’t suffer too much while she was being beaten and strangled. I also hope that Hannah, even though she was a murderer, didn’t suffer as well.