The First Lady – Jane Elkins hailed a policeman walking by who upon entering the house found Mr. Andrew C. Wisdom lying in bed with an ax berried in his skull. Jane claimed to have seen a well know gentleman leaving the house just before she returned from running errands. The policeman escorted her to the county courthouse where she was charged with First Degree Murder.
During the trial her lawyer never mentioned the mysterious well know gentleman. Instead, he proposed that Mr. Wisdom had raped Jane, and she killed him in self-defense. This being Texas in 1855 the law was clear that a white man could not be charged with raping a black woman. When asked to defend herself Jane remained silent. She was hung on May 27,1853. The scaffolding was erected on the side of the courthouse and hundreds of people came to see the first woman to be legally hung in Texas. Jane was buried in a nearby cemetery, but that night she was dug up by a local medical fraternity.
I refer to Jane Elkins respectfully as Jane because the surname Elkins is the name of the person who purchased and owned Jane, and probably sold her body to the medical fraternity. Old Red Courthouse, Dallas TX.
All Images copyrighted by the artist, Brad Ford Smith 2023