“We’re going to the seaside for the rest of the summer, Joe,” Henry Osborn told his houseboy, 18-year-old Joe Watson. “Would you like to come with us?”

“No, sir,” Watson replied. “I don’t like the seaside. I’m afraid of the water.”

Osborn, a prominent local politician in Hartford, Connecticut, shrugged. His houseboy had every right to refuse his offer.

But he was less conciliatory when Watson started refusing other jobs, and turned in slipshod work. As a result, in August 1904, the houseboy was dismissed.

One night three weeks later Watson broke into Osborn’s house through a basement window and went to sleep in the servants’ quarters. Next day he went upstairs, confronted his former employer in his bedroom, and shot him three times. Osborn died on the spot and later that day Watson was found hiding in a cellar.

He freely admitted the murder. “I’m glad I did it, even if I have to hang for it,” he told police. He did exactly that on Thursday, November 17th, 1904. After his execution the African-American community of Hartford issued a statement saying that it was ashamed of Joseph Watson.