POUND RIDGE, N.Y. – On July 7, 1865 at 1:26 p.m., four conspirators were hanged at the Arsenal Penitentiary in Washington D.C., for their roles in the plot to assassinate President Abraham Lincoln. Included was Mary E. Surratt, the first women to be hanged by the federal government of the United States.
On Saturday, the Pound Ridge Historical Society will commemorate the event that took place 147 years ago with a special presentation, which will enable visitors to experience history hands on, literally.
During their incarceration, the conspirators were kept in separate cells and forced to wear hoods, ankle chains and a unique set of wrist restraints called Lilly Irons. When worn, Lilly Irons kept a prisoner’s hands apart by about 10 inches to limit independent use of the hands.
Saturday’s event will be held at Historical Society Museum at 1 p.m. and visitors will have the opportunity to see a replica of the dreaded Lilly Irons and try them on. Also on display will be the diary of Army Sgt. George E. Dixon, of Pound Ridge, who was a witness to the execution. In his diary, Dixon documented the names of the guards assigned to the prisoners’ cells on the day of the executions, as well as the names the four soldiers who sprung the traps of the scaffold.
“This is the first known document found to list all the names of the guards and their assignments on that day,” said Xenia D’Ambrosi, a spokesperson for the Pound Ridge Historical Society. “It is documented in the handwriting of the man who was actually there and who participated in this historic event.”
The presentation is one-day-only event. Visitors will also have a chance to win one of four DVD copies of the critically acclaimed movie, “The Conspirator.” The Robert Redford-directed film tells the story of the arrest, incarceration and execution of Mary Surratt and the controversy surrounding it.
Admission is free. The museum is at 255 Westchester Ave. in Pound Ridge. For more information, call (914) 764-4333.