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"Annie Laurie" is performed by Albert Williams of Columbia College, Chicago. It was recorded for the Chicago Historical Society's 1986 Haymarket Centennial exhibition, "Haymarket 1886!" The image on the left is the first page of the sheet music for the ballad, ca. 1856-62. The arrangement is by Finlay Dun, and the publisher is Firth, Pond & Company.
The guards on the deathwatch kept their eyes on the prisoners' every move because of Lingg's suicide and the special interest in this case, both of which intensified the drama inherent in the last hours of the prisoners.
On the afternoon of November 10, before he received the news from Springfield that his and Fielden's sentence had been commuted, Schwab had a brief conversation with his wife. Engel met with his daughter, Spies with his mother. Spies was also allowed a few moments to embrace his wife, as was Fischer. Shortly after, the sheriff told the prisoners of the governor's decision to spare Schwab and Fielden, and to allow the execution of the others to proceed.
Engel, Fischer, Spies, and Parsons were served their last suppers, ordered in from Martell's restaurant. Each was watched by two bailiffs, with whom they conversed well into the evening. They all managed to sleep, though the quiet of the night was broken by the sounds of the gallows being assembled at the east end of the north corridor, and of the arrival of a wagon bearing four coffins. A police matron had been assigned the task of purchasing white muslin and tape from which to fashion the shrouds and hoods the men would wear during the execution.
About midnight Parsons began to sing the Scottish ballad "Annie Laurie" in his fine tenor voice. The image on the right memorializes that moment. With its recollection of a lost love for whom one would "lay me doune [down] and dee [die]," "Annie Laurie" seems an apt choice, suggesting Parsons's undying dedication to a pure ideal that transcended even his own death.