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November 2013 Staff Picks: The Killing of John Sharpless: The Pursuit of Justice in Delaware County


In the late 1800s, Delaware County was a prosperous suburb filled with economic promise, good schools and influential Quaker families—including the Sharpless clan, whose ancestors had arrived in Pennsylvania in 1682. But one night in November 1885, John Sharpless was found murdered in his barn. After a $3,000 bounty was offered, a black man was convicted and sentenced to death, despite eye-witness accounts that vindicated him. Who really killed Sharpless? Historian Stephanie Hoover deftly investigates turn-of- the-century law (such as it was) to find fresh answers.

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