102 years ago, the United States, along with much of the world, was slowly descending into a state of terror. The devastating and bloody Great War was receding, but influenza was advancing.
The spread of the Spanish flu, as most people called it, looks very familiar. As people and governments struggled to get a handle on the disease, everyday life began to alter and new precautions became the norm.
As part of the response to the pandemic, the American Red Cross Emergency Ambulance Station in Washington DC held a demonstration. Masked nurses picked up a patient on a stretcher and put him into an ambulance.
Tennessee’s Governor Malcolm Patterson occasionally granted reprieves to a condemned prisoner so he could study the case first. But the governor was going to be married December 7, three days before the hanging. Peter’s case didn’t appear to register in his consciousness.
On December 9, Sheriff Reeder prepared for the execution, noting the rope and scaffolding were ready to be used the following day. But late that evening, Governor Patterson granted a reprieve until January 11, 1908.
Ultimately, the governor agreed with the courts. Turner was guilty of premeditated homicide. On January 10, Peter was notified the he would be hanged the next day at 1:30 p.m.