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Tag Archives: Branding

Early American Criminals: Owen Syllavan’s Bunker

After one week, hunger finally drove Owen Syllavan out of his hiding place in the Connecticut woods and forced him to seek refuge with an acquaintance. Syllavan cut open a plank in the floor of his friend’s house, dug a large cavity that went under the hearth of the fireplace, and rigged a vent so […]

Early American Crimes: Burglary Wrap-Up

Over the past year or so I have been writing about burglars and burglary in early America. To conclude this informal series I am going to try something a little different. Please click on the audio media file attached to this post to hear me talk about my reflections and conclusions about burglary in […]

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, […]

Early American Criminals: The Life of Levi Ames in Print

Note: This post continues “The Stories of Levi Ames, Burglar.” After Levi Ames was sentenced to death for his part in the burglary of Martin Bicker in the early fall of 1773, he was held in prison to await his execution. At first, he hoped to find a means of escape, but he came to […]

Early American Criminals: William Linsey and the Telltale Candle

Even though William Linsey was orphaned at a young age, this rough start did not appear to have any negative impact on him. Linsey was originally born in Palmer, MA in 1746, but at the age of two he went to live with Phinehas Mixture in Dudley, MA. By Linsey’s own account, Mixture raised him […]

Early American Criminals: Joseph Cooper and Philadelphia’s Lime and Onion Burglar

In May 1744, Elizabeth Robinson was sentenced at the Old Bailey in London to transportation to the American colonies for her involvement in the theft of 104 China oranges from a warehouse. She was loaded onto the Justitia that same month and eventually landed in Virginia. She ended up in Maryland, where she reportedly continued […]

Early American Criminals: Arthur Nottool’s Escape

Sometime around midnight on June 10, 1664, Arthur Nottool, a tailor by trade and a servant living in Abington Cliffs, broke into the house of John Hunt of Eltonhead Manor in Calvert County, Maryland. Poking around in the dark, Nottool spotted an open trunk and removed a shirt from it. He also spied a gun, […]

Early American Criminals: Punishment of the Harvard-Educated Burglars

Note: This post is the conclusion of the story of the “Harvard-Educated Burglars.” In his History of New England, John Winthrop notes on June 5, 1644, Two of our ministers’ sons, being students in the college, robbed two dwelling houses in the night of some 15 pounds. Being found out, they were ordered by the […]

Early American Crimes: Burglary, Part I

Outside of murder, which cuts to the core of who we are as human beings, burglary is perhaps the ultimate criminal transgression in America. Burglary violates two strong American principles at the very same time: the protection of property and the right to privacy. It also brings with it a potential for violence, since confronting […]

Transported Convicts in the New World: Committing Crime in America

Note: This post is part of a series on Convict Transportation to the American colonies. On July 15, 1751 the New-York Gazette, or Weekly Post-Boy reported that Onesiphorus Lucas was executed in Annapolis in a follow-up to a newspaper story that appeared two weeks earlier about how Lucas was found guilty of burglary and sentenced […]