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Tag Archives: Virginia

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: Thomas Hellier’s “Hell upon Earth”

With the ill treatment by his mistress “burning and broyling in [his] Breast,” Thomas Hellier, an indentured servant on a Virginia plantation, knew he had to escape. In 1677, Hellier was tricked into signing an indentured servant contract back in England with the promise that he would not be forced to perform physical labor and […]

Early American Criminals: The Last Stand of Edward Teach, a.k.a. Blackbeard

The merchants and planters in and around Bath, North Carolina had had enough of Edward Teach, a.k.a. Blackbeard. The pirate had been living–and carousing–in town, and had been pillaging ships up and down the inlets and rivers of the colony. But the citizens knew that they could not complain to Governor Charles Eden of North […]

Special Announcement: My New Book on Convict Transportation Is Now Available

My new book, Bound with an Iron Chain: The Untold Story of How the British Transported 50,000 Convicts to Colonial America, has just been published by Pickpocket Publishing and is available for purchase. I hope you enjoy reading it. Amazon.com: Paperback ($16.99) and Kindle ($4.99). Smashwords: All e-book formats ($4.99). The book will soon be […]

Crime and Prison Songs: “John Henry”

“Take My Hammer” is a work song that possibly has roots going back to the time of slavery and was sung by convicts who were leased to dig tunnels through the Appalachian Mountains: Take my hammer, Carry it to the captain, Tell him I’m gone, Tell him I’m gone. If he ask you was […]