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Hanged in Colonial America

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  • Benjamin Goard (1657 - 1674)
    Not for the faint of heart: Massachusetts, to the End of the Year 1849. (Salem, Massachusetts: Essex Institute, 1925-1926) Vol. 1, p. 147. GOARD, Benjamin, s. Richard, bp. 7 : 7 m : 1656. CR1**↑ Roxbur...
  • Hugh Pugh, I (1685 - 1718)
    execution- appeal to King for trial was not forwarded in violation of criminal code. Was accused in murder (wit 2 others) of the murder of John Hasys, Justice in Chester County, PA in 1718
  • Spencer Martin (1774 - 1795)
    Isaac 1 did mention a John in his will and it is theorized that John was the father of Spencer Martin who was hanged for horse stealing in 1795. It was Spencer's 2nd offence. He was granted clemency th...
  • Sarah (Averill) Wildes, Salem Witch Trials (1627 - 1692)
    Sarah Averill Wildes (c1627 - 1692) - Sarah Averill, daughter of William Averill, Sr. (c1611 - 1652) and Abigail Hinton (c1610 - 1655), was born about 1627 at Chipping, Norton, England; convicted of wi...
  • George “Goodman” Spencer (b. - 1641)
    The Origin of Hannah Spencer"… a "Goodman" Spencer was steward of Capt. Lamberton on the voyage over, but dying on the passage was succeeded as steward by Roger Alling. He left an only daughter in the ...

If you know of a profile representing someone hanged in Colonial America, please add to this project. Additional resource links welcome for the "overview."

From Wikipedia

John Billington is thought to be one of the first men to be hanged in New England. Billington was convicted of murder in September of 1630 after he shot and killed John Newcomen.[6]

During the Salem witch trials, most of the men and women convicted of witchcraft were sentenced to public hanging. It is estimated that seventeen women and two men were hanged as a result of the trials. However, modern scholars maintain that thousands of individuals were hanged for witchcraft throughout the American colonies.[7]

Hangings during the colonial era of America were mostly performed publicly in order to deter the behavior for which the criminals were hanged. Thousands of townspeople would gather around the gallows to hear a sermon and observe the hangings of convicted criminals. Such experiences were deemed as good lessons on morality for the children and townspeople.


  • 6. Bradford, William. Of Plymouth Plantation. The Vision Forum, Inc, 1999
  • 7. Stack, Richard A. Dead Wrong: Violence, Vengeance, and the Victims of Capital Punishment. Greenwood Publishing Group, 2006.

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