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Hannah: A Fictional Life Account of The Youngest Child Executed in U.S. History [Kindle Edition]

Sonya Dickerson
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $0.99

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Book Description

If someone were to ask you who was the youngest child executed in the United States, you're bound to get a few answers. Many people believe that the title belongs to George Stinney who was executed in 1944 at the age of fourteen by South Carolina.

The title actually belongs to Hannah Ocuish, who was executed in 1786 for murder.

"The story of twelve-year-old Hannah Ocuish is a story that needs to be told. Had her story been preserved, it would have served as a cautionary tale for society so that no more children had to die under an unfair justice system..."

This story takes you back just weeks before the deed occurred, and the events that led up to this fatal outcome.

Hannah Ocuish was just twelve years old when she committed murder. This book will take you to a dark place in a child's mind that ultimately chose to commit such an unspeakable crime.

Editorial Reviews

From the Author

Why Hannah Ocuish?

One day I was doing research on capital punishment when I came across the name. I Googled it and saw that she was the first child executed in the United States. I tried to find information from various websites, but not much information is known about her or her life. I felt compelled to tell her story the best way that I could. Even though she committed an unspeakable crime, I wanted to know why she did it.

What do you want your readers to know about Hannah?

That history wasn't so kind to her for obvious reasons. I want the readers to realize that Hannah, like Eunice were just children at the time. Hannah didn't have the benefit of social services to help her nor did she have a parent in her life to steer her in the right direction. I want my readers to know that Hannah was just a child when she committed this crime. That doesn't absolve her of anything because she was aware that murder was wrong. She didn't have the support system that is required to raise healthy children, physically and emotionally.

Tell us more about the process of writing a historical fiction novel.
It isn't easy that's for sure. I did a ton of research on this book before I wrote one word. Since very little is known of her life before the crime was committed, I thought that I would fill in the details. The first half of the book focuses on the lives of Hannah and the family that she worked for to give the reader a taste of life in Colonial America.

The second half of the book focuses on the crime that she commits but how Hannah faces her own mortality. Numerous sources talked about how Hannah was "indifferent" when it came to her execution: almost as if she didn't understand what was going on. Many people attributed it to her mental status but that explanation is far too convenient.

I feel that at the age of twelve, one would worry about what would happen to them when they died. Hannah didn't have the benefit of a sophisticated mind to ponder this thought, nor did she have an adult leading her down the right path.

In colonial America, Hannah wasn't a little girl, she was a simple servant...a possession.

What is your stance on capital punishment?

(smiles) Well I go back and forth with the issue all the time like many people. I can say that it definitely isn't a deterrent for people to not commit crime. If it were, we'd have less of it, not more. Colonial America was a very pious and strict place to live. Merely stealing, not going to church enough, or adultery could get you the death penalty in many situations: especially if it wasn't your first time committing the offense.

What about James Arcene? Wasn't he the youngest? 

He was the youngest  sentenced to death but he didn't have a meeting with the hangman's noose until he was twenty three. That still makes Hannah Ocuish the youngest child executed in the United States.

Anything else?

I just hope that I did Hannah's story justice. Thank you all.

Product Details

  • File Size: 173 KB
  • Print Length: 66 pages
  • Publisher: BabyGirl Publishing (July 25, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008P5VYCK
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #687,431 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Fiction Based on Fact August 15, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is an interesting subject. I did not know of Hannah until I read this book. I have since investigated a bit. I believe there are always several sides to a story such as this one...Hannah's, Eunice's and the truth. We shall never really know the absolute of any of the three. I thought the author did a good job telling Hannah's side of the story. It is not riveting but then life at that time was not riveting. It does, however, give voice to someone who had no voice and brings up an important subject matter. The author certainly got my attention and has me thinking about Hannah and child execution. She wrote a short, fictional story that has whetted my appetite for more information. Since I love books that do that, I believe the author wrote a worthy story for Hannah. I would recommend the book as an introduction to Hannah and one example of what might have happened.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Solid, but left me wanting more. October 3, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
"Hannah" is a solid story with a tight plot line and a straightforward story arc.

Overall the story kept my interest and was a quick read, but I couldn't help wanting much more from the author. Character development, prose, and storyline were too simplistic. I finished the story wondering why (given that effort had been expended to create a fictional account of these events) the author didn't spend more time developing the relationships between the characters to show the motivations behind Hannah's actions. While the impetus is there, it takes quite a bit of assumption and inference on the part of the reader to truly believe this character is capable of her actions for the reasons that are expressed.

Samuel, in particular, was a disappointing character in that he was used more as a plot device than an actual well-rounded personality in the story...and the author brings him back in when his essential task (giving Hannah a doll) is finished, leaving us wanting more from him to justify the relationship Hannah apparently feels she has with him. Similarly, the other characters internal motivations and relationships with Hannah are not well developed; the basics are there, but too much is left to the reader's imagination. Additionally, the author's stated purpose is to bring to light the injustice of these events: more detail on the legal proceedings (trial, investigation, etc.) beyond the basics offered could have bolstered said purpose. Less may be more as a general rule in writing, but in this case a little more would have been helpful.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Tragic Story January 21, 2013
By Angel
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I rated this 3 stars because it was a short story and not enough known to flesh it out.

This was a novel based on true facts. Since there wasn't much information having happened in 1786, the author did a good job filling in the blanks of what she perceived could have happened in this tragic story. It made me keep reading to see what this poor child did.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very well researched story September 6, 2012
By Terry
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Hannah: A Fictional Life Account of The Youngest Child Executed in U.S. HistoryThe author did a service to female historians by capturing this story for readers. Bravo! The story is told in understandable terms, supported by characters that carry the era naturally and truthfully.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hannah September 6, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is my second book read by this author. She is OUTSTANDING. She is credible.. I love the way she writes. Cannot wait to read more by her! Couldn't put the books down...:)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
"Hannah: A Fictional Life Account of The Youngest Child Executed in U.S. History" imagines an historical USA where it is possible and even acceptable to hang this child. Sonya Dickerson inhabits the life of Hanna. She will make you believe.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read, but some lousy grammar August 13, 2012
By Catty
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I thought the book was quite interesting. I normally don't read short books like this one, but I love history and historical fiction. I only had a problem with the grammar in a number of places. For example, "Hannah thought about poor Eunice and what she had did." I mean... really! "what she had did"? Not what I would expect in a book by an experienced writer. Alas. The English language is being butchered on television now, so why not in print.
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More About the Author

I'm a single mom fighting many chronic illnesses. I've been in love with the written word ever since I wrote a teacher a poem in preschool.

I've published poetry, written three screenplays, and penned two television series.

A dark room, a computer, and green tea is all I need in this world. I hope you enjoy my written words.

Visit my Yahoo Contributor page at


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