The Horrid Murder Of Captain Carson
The Horrid Murder of Captain Carson, Willfully Committed by Richard Smith, Late of the U.S. Army
Philadelphia, ca. 1816-1817.
Watercolor on paper
9 1/2″ x 10 3/4″
Ann Carson, one of the most beautiful women in early 19th century Philadelphia, was also one of the most notorious. Believing her husband, Capt. John Carson, to be lost at sea, Mrs. Carson married Lt. Richard Smith of the 23rd Infantry. Following the unannounced and rather tardy return of Carson, an argument ensued, and Carson was shot by Smith, who was sentenced to death by hanging. A series of events thence transpired whereby Mrs. Carson attempted to coerce Pennsylvania’s governor to free Smith; one effort involved a failed plan to kidnap the governor himself. Mrs. Carson was incarcerated; her lover was hanged. During her imprisonment, she contrived to escape, and as a result, served a full term without parole. Upon her release, she returned to Philadelphia, became involved in counterfeiting, and was again imprisoned. She fell ill with typhoid fever while nursing other inmates at the city’s Walnut Street Prison, and died there on April 24, 1824.
Item ID: WoA-WoP-WC 009