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Tag Archives: Animal theft

Early American Criminals: Francis Burdett Personel and the Liberty Pole

Constable Mr. Van Gelder was just about to abandon his search. He had recently been sent to New Haven, CT to find Francis Personel by New York City mayor Whitehead Hicks, who had learned that Personel was possibly hiding out in that city. But what Van Gelder did not know was that at the same […]

Early American Criminals: Daniel Wilson: Horse Thief, Burglar, and Rapist

Daniel Wilson was confident he could escape from prison one more time. He was being held in the Providence jail after committing a rape back in December 1773 in Smithfield, RI. He had escaped from the jail twice before, although both times he was caught and returned. But he vowed to himself on this early […]

Early American Criminals: The Curse on Joseph Lightly

Joseph Lightly relates in his Last Words and Dying Speech that when his mother learned he had enlisted in the British army, “she told me she hoped she should hear of my being hanged, for my Cruelty of going to leave her against her Will.” Lightly’s mother may simply have been reacting to the moment, […]

Early American Criminals: Henry Tufts’s Partners in Crime

Note: This post follows “Henry Tufts’s Thanksgiving.” Henry Tufts returned to his family in Lee, NH after slipping away from Mr. Pickard, who in good faith had released him from the Old York jail. When Tufts arrived in his home town, though, he discovered that his reputation was as bad as ever, especially when […]

Early American Criminals: Henry Tufts’s Thanksgiving

Note: This post follows “Early American Criminals: Henry Tufts’s Bill of Goods, a Preamble.” Over the last year or so, Early American Crime has focused on burglars in early America, and Henry Tufts was one of the most prolific. He committed burglaries throughout New England for a good part of his life before retiring […]

Early American Criminals: The Canadian Burglars

On Friday, December 4, 1789, William Mooney Fitzgerald and John Clark were scheduled to appear before the court in St. John, New Brunswick. They were to learn their sentence after being tried and found guilty of burglary the day before. That morning, Rev. Charles William Milton entered their prison cell and later wrote that […]

Early American Criminals: The Race of Johnson Green, Burglar

Johnson Green was born in Bridgewater, MA on February 7, 1757 to unmarried parents. His father was a servant who worked for Timothy Edson. His mother was a widow named Sarah Johnson. His mother’s maiden name was Green, so he was sometimes called Joseph-Johnson Green. Green’s father was African American; his mother was Irish. Green […]

Early American Criminals: John Dixon, the Recalcitrant Burglar

On August 21, 1784, a man entered the house of Capt. James Dagget of Reheboth, MA in the middle of the night and took several valuable items. He was soon caught and committed to the Taunton Gaol, where he gave his name as Abiel Brigs. The authorities knew better. They easily recognized him as John […]

Early American Criminals: Isaac Frasier’s Strike Out

Isaac Frasier was colonial America’s most prolific burglar. In his Brief Account of the Life, and Abominable Thefts, of the Notorious Isaac Frasier, he recorded over 50 acts of burglary and theft and stated that he committed many more that he could not specifically remember. He toured all over New England and into New York, […]

The American Malefactor’s Dictionary: antelope and antelope lay

antelope – a hog (ironic: “a hog’s ugliness and clumsiness are contrasted with an antelope’s beauty and grace”). antelope lay – hog stealing. Image by johnmuk via Flickr Sources Barnes, Daniel R. “An Early American Collection of Rogue’s Cant.” The Journal of American Folklore 79, no. 314 (Oct.-Dec., 1966), 600-607. Partridge, Eric. A Dictionary of […]