Brantford's Black History
Public Execution of Robert Over & John Moore
On June 7th, 1859, Brantford’s only public execution took place in Victoria Park. According to Peacemakers & Lawbreakers: A 125-Year History of the Brantford Police Service, it was one of the largest crowds ever to gather in what was then the small town of Brantford. The two men who were hanged that day in Victoria Park were Robert Over and John Moore (both Black men).
It was said that they had confessed that they and a third man, Joseph Armstrong, had premeditated the ambush, robbery and murder of a mail coach driver.
The third man, Joseph Armstrong (a white man) testified for the prosecution and as a result was not condemned to execution.
One could wonder if Moore and Over were even given the opportunity to testify for the prosecution as well. One may also wonder whether or not their “confession” was coerced, and the verity of their involvement in the crime. Do you have access to more information on this case?