Morris, Richard Brandon

Morris, Richard Brandon

Morris, Richard Brandon, 1904-89, American historian, b. New York City. He received his Ph.D. from Columbia in 1930, taught (1927-49) at the College of the City of New York, became a professor at Columbia in 1949, and was made Gouverneur Morris professor of history in 1959. His works in colonial history include Government and Labor in Early America (1946), a pioneering study, and Guide to Sources for Early American History (1600-1800) in New York City (written with Evarts B. Greene, rev. ed. 1953), an invaluable aid to scholars. Also a student of legal history, Morris wrote Studies in the History of American Law (1930) and Fair Trial (1952). Morris is also considered an expert on the American Revolution and wrote The Peacemakers (1965), The American Revolution Reconsidered (1967), and Seven Who Shaped Our Destiny (1973). He edited the Encyclopedia of American History (enl. and upd., 1970) and, with H. S. Commager, was general editor of the "New American Nation Series."
Richard Brandon (? - June 20, 1649) was a 17th century English hangman. Brandon was the Common Hangman of London in 1649 and he is frequently cited as the man who executed the death warrant of King Charles I by beheading the King on January 30, 1649, although the precise identity of the executioner is unknown. It is known, however, that when originally approached, Brandon refused to do the job, although he might later have accepted under threat that he would be next.

A pamphlet purporting to be a confession by Brandon was published posthumously, in which it is stated that he received £30 for performing the execution, which was given to him 'all in half crowns'.

The register of St. Mary Matfellon, Whitechapel, records 1649. June 2. Richard Brandon, a man out of Rosemary Lane. And to this is added the following memorandum: This R. Brandon is supposed to have cut off the head of Charles I. This Brandon was the son of Gregory Brandon, and claimed the headman's axe by inheritance. The first person he had beheaded was the Earl of Strafford, on the orders of Charles I. Rosemary Lane is the modern Royal Mint Street.

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See also

  • Project Gutenberg: The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction; Vol. 10, Issue 273, September 15, 1827

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