Caranci will present book on John Gordon Thursday

Caranci will present book on John Gordon Thursday

NORTH PROVIDENCE - Local author Paul F. Caranci will speak about his new book, "The Hanging & Redemption of John Gordon: The True Story of Rhode Island's Last Execution," at the North Providence Library this Thursday, Oct. 10, at 7 p.m.

Caranci's book chronicles the intersecting lives of the financially and politically powerful Sprague family of Cranston, and the Gordon family, Irish Catholic immigrants who settled in Cranston as early as 1836 when William Gordon left the hardships of his homeland for the promise and opportunity that America represented.

"William worked hard and opened his own business giving him the opportunity to pay the passage of the other members of his family to join him in America," said Caranci. "After a joyous reunion in July of 1843 the Gordons seemed destined for wonderful things in their new country."

All that changed, said Caranci, "when Amasa Sprague was brutally murdered on New Years Eve day and the Gordon family was set up to take the fall." What followed, said Caranci, "was an unbelievable betrayal of decency." After the trials, only 29-year-old John was convicted and hanged, on Valentine's Day 1845. He was buried in the St. Mary Cemetery in Pawtucket.

Caranci, who previously served as a member of the North Providence Town Council, will recount "the awful events" of 1843-1845 that "changed Rhode Island history and led to the abolition of the death penalty in the state."

Following the presentation, Caranci will answer questions and sign books that will be available for purchase.