Date Of Execution: 16 Apr 1823
Execution Place: unknown
Execution of Mary M'Kinnon.
16th April, 1823: with her own account of her I ife.
This morning, at a few minntes before 9 o'clock, the
unfortunate woman, Mary M'Kinnon. appeared on the
scaffold, at Libberton's Wynd, attired in mournings.
Sne had to be supported to the scaffold, where sev-
eral ministers met her and endeavoured to compose her
mind. She made several attempts to address the im-
mense multitude that surrounded her;. and then gave
the fatal signal, and was launched into eternity.
She was daughter of an officer of the army, residing
at Inverness. At the age of about 20 years, she was re-
siding in her father's house, at the above-mentioned
place. Her mother and two sisters, who are ai present
employed at a mill in the Gorbals, were also, then with
her father, who was a quarter-master. And, at that
period which may be reckoned back to about 20 years
ar o, it appears that an Irish officer, of the 7.—-regriment
paid his addresses to her. This person being known to
her fa her as one of loose morals, she was dissuaded from
encouraging his visits; notwithstanding which she con-
trived ro elope with him, and afterwards confided herself
to his protection. Indeed, her father having by th s
time disowned her, such a trust will seem to be more
the act of pitiable necessity, than of implicit faish. The
advantage which this person took of the confidence of
a weak woman, might justify her hatred of the sex during
her life. She is about 40 years of age, but no more.
The result of her connexion with officer was, that he, soon
after, deserted her, when she was then thrown upon the world With
what money she could collect from the sale of her clothes and other
valuables, she was enabled to open a small public house, in Inver-
uess, and in which situation it was that she gave birth to an infant,
the offspring of the guilt of her seducer. There are few tender
hearts but will feel for her at this juncture. This occurrence com-
ing, to the ears of her father, it appears he was prepared to ex.
pect something of that nature, when he Wrote to her making seveva
comments on her disgracing her family. At this period she re-
irioyed to Edinburgh, with her little BEN ONI; on the charms of
whose innocence, her mind always delighted to dwell, with
the most enthusiastic affection. This child at the age of 8 years was
sent to London, and there still remains. This is from her own mouth.
Mayne & Co. Printers, Glasgow,
This execution notice begins: '16th April, 1823; with her own account of her Life.' It was published by Mayne and Co of Glasgow.
Mary MacKinnon was sentenced for stabbing a customer, William Howat, to death in her public house and brothel, on South Bridge, Edinburgh. Howat, a clerk by trade, initiated a drunken brawl which MacKinnon ended with a domestic knife. There are other accounts held in the National Library of Scotland's collection which detail the events on the day of her execution. Here, however, more of her personal details and life are divulged to satisfy the public's morbid curiosity.
Reports recounting dark and salacious deeds were popular with the public, and, like today's sensationalist tabloids, sold in large numbers. Crimes could generate sequences of sheets covering descriptive accounts, court proceedings, last words, lamentations and executions as they occurred. As competition was fierce, immediacy was paramount, and these occasions provided an opportunity for printers and patterers to maximise sales.