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Cemetery; Great Smoky Mountains NP
Inside The 19th Century Execution Of ‘Yankee Jim’ Robinson
History - Science
The cemetery El Campo Santo, which also doubled as an execution yard for much of the 19th century, is one of the most evocative sites in Old Town, the historic heart of the City of San Diego. Undoubtedly, the most famous execution to be held at the infamous cemetery was that of James Robinson, also known as "Yankee Jim."
In 1852, Yankee Jim and two other men were arrested for stealing a rowboat in the San Diego Harbor. Jim was tried for grand larceny; however, the punishment fixed by the jury (which included the two men who owned the boat) was death, which Jim thought was a prank until he was led to the gallows in El Campo Santo the following day.
Jim was made to stand on a mule cart with a noose around his neck, and when the mules drove off — because of his tall height — the fall didn't break his neck, instead, he slowly choked to death, with his boots grazing the sand. Additionally, Jim was too tall to fit into the standard coffins, so his legs had to be broken to accommodate him.
El Campo Santo and the Whaley House next door are reputed to be one of the most haunted places in the United States; it's even less surprising that the unhappy Yankee Jim is known to be one of the most commonly reported visitors. The house was built in 1855, three years after Jim had died, but on the spot where his gallows had stood.