This week’s question was: Which president acted as executioner in the years before his term as America’s president? The answer is: Grover Cleveland, America’s 22nd and 24th president. As the sheriff of Erie County, New York, Cleveland personally carried out the hangings of two, or possibly three, murderers, despite his reservations in at least one case as to whether the penalty was appropriate.
The Wikipedia page on President Cleveland includes a short description of his role as sheriff, and later his terms as Buffalo mayor and governor of the entire state. A New York Times article from September 7, 1782, provides the details on the first execution, written in a personal style seldom seen in modern newsprint. (Click the View Full Article link to see the article in PDF format.) You might also want to read a book review I posted on some of the controversy surrounding Grover Cleveland when he was still working as Buffalo’s mayor.