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Tag Archives: Murder

Now Available: Early American Criminals

My new book, Early American Criminals: An American Newgate Calendar, Chronicling the Lives of the Most Notorious Criminal Offenders from Colonial America and the New Republic, has been published and is now available for purchase! Amazon.com (Paperback and Kindle e-book) Barnes and Noble (Paperback and Nook e-book) Smashwords (All e-book formats) Amazon.co.uk (United Kingdom) Amazon.ca […]

Special Announcement: Forthcoming Book, Early American Criminals

It has been a long time since I have posted on this website, but that is because I have been hard at work writing my next book. Now, I am thrilled to announce the forthcoming publication of Early American Criminals: An American Newgate Calendar, Chronicling the Lives of the Most Notorious Criminal Offenders from Colonial […]

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 […]

Places and Events: Old Jails in Maine

I had to duck my head as I passed through the low doorway that led into the dungeon of the Old Gaol in York, ME. The sole electric lamp trying to replicate what the lighting would have been like in the jail cell in the 1700s and the musty smell resulting from a lack of […]

Early American Criminals: “The Wicked Flee When None Pursue”

The final chapter in the fall of John Ormsby began when he stabbed a man in the chest with a fork in Boston in 1734. In his Last SPEECH and Dying WORDS, Ormsby says that he was hanging around a friend’s shop when some of the boys who worked there persuaded him that a customer […]

Early American Criminals: Joseph Quasson’s Repentance

When Native American, Joseph Quasson, learned that he would spend eight or nine months in prison before he could face trial for murder, he secretly believed that he could properly repent in a quarter of the time. After all, he had once regularly attended church when he was young. But as the time for his […]

Early American Criminals: The Conversion of Esther Rodgers

The night before the special event, Esther Rodgers exclaimed to the group of people who had gathered in her cell, “Oh! I have had the joyfullest day to day that ever I had in my whole life. I bless God that ever I came into this Prison.” Rodgers’s exclamation is remarkable. She had little exposure […]

Early American Criminals: Elizabeth Wilson’s Secret

Near the beginning of the year in 1785, a traveler paused while walking through the countryside near Chester, PA to watch as his dog began to sniff and scratch among some brush. The man’s curiosity soon turned to horror when his faithful companion emerged from its feverish digging with the separated head of an infant […]

Jeremiah Swift, Convict and Child Murderer by Robert Barnes

Note: This week Early American Crime welcomes historian and genealogist Robert Barnes as a guest author. Even though Robert’s guest post is a first for him on this website, it is not the first time his work has appeared in this space, since his book, Colonial Families of Maryland: Bound and Determined to Succeed, served […]

Early American Criminals: The Mother of the Infant in the Well

On Saturday morning, August 11, 1739, a female infant was discovered in a well near the outskirts of Portsmouth, NH. Warrants were immediately issued, and a search was conducted to find the mother who presumably had murdered the baby. By the afternoon, officers focused their attention on Sarah Simpson, a 27 year-old widow. Neighbors believed […]