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Hanged in Colonial America

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  • Walter Peake (c.1609 - 1668)
    PEAKE (PAKES), WALTER (ca. 1609-1668). BORN. ca. 1609, probably in England. IMMIGRATED: in 1646 as a free adult with his wife and son from Virginia. RESIDED: in St. Mary's County. MARRIED Fra...
  • Thomas Granger (1626 - 1642)
    Thomas Granger or Graunger (1625? – September 8, 1642) was the first person hanged in the Massachusetts Bay Colony (the first hanged in any of the colonies of New England being John Billington) and the...
  • Capt. Benjamin Merrill (1731 - 1771)
    Captain Benjamin Merrill b abt 1730 Hopewell, Mercer, NJ, d 19 Jun 1771 Hillsborough, Orange, NC From This is the famous Benjamin Merrill so brutally executed for his participation in the Regulator...
  • Robert Johann Messer (b. - 1771)
    A concrete slab placed inside an iron railing gives the illusion of a grave here but no one is buried at this spot. The bronze plaque, which replaces earlier black plaque, marks only the site of the ha...
  • James Pugh (c.1747 - aft.1810)
    A Patriot of the American Revolution for NORTH CAROLINA. DAR Ancestor # A106132 James Pugh ~ was a leader in the Regulator movement. He was hanged on 19 June 1771 for his involvement. He was the brot...

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.

related projects


  • 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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