Executions by Hanging
in New York State
(Page 1: 1779 -1784)
Can you fill any data gaps? Please e-mail webmaster Thomas C. McCarthy at NYCHS2@nyc.rr.com
ESPY has Smith hanged for murder; Delmar and Gordon for housebreaking. Hearn lists their convictions as: Smith, high treason; Delmar, burglary, and Gordon, horse stealing.
Web information on Claudius Smith is extensive; the only web mention of the latter two is in the ESPY file.
Claudius Smith led a band of British Loyalists who conducted guerrila war on Revolutionaries and their sympathizers in northern NJ and southern NYS. A cave reputed to have been used by him and his gang is a hiking trail attraction in Harriman State Park.
Smith and a gang member "Brown," arrested for stealing oxen from the Revolutionary Army, were jailed in Goshen on July 18, 1777 by Orange County Sheriff Dumont. But later the gang seized the sheriff and broke Smith and Brown out of jail.
The Tory gang's exploits terrorized Ramapo Valley residents who supported the Revolution. Smith raiders waylaid Gen. Washington's couriers and plundered Patriot farms. On Oct. 6, 1778, during an attack on one such farmhouse, its owner, Revolutionary Major Nathaniel Strong was killed. That Oct. 31, Gov. Clinton issued proclamation offering a large reward for the capture of Smith.
Claudius fled to Long Island but was caught and eventually transported back to Orange County where Sheriff Isaac Nicoll took custody. Smith was placed in heavy irons. Several extra guards were assigned just to keep watch on him and to prevent his escaping again from the Goshen jail. Claudius was tried and convicted on Jan. 13, 1779. He was publicly executed Jan. 22 in Goshen. In due course, stories involving his dramatic activities evolved into legend, For more, visit:
During the summer of 1779, two British loyalists, Lieutenant Henry Hare and a Sergent William Newbury, were captured as having led Seneca tribe warriors for attacks in then Tryon County. General Clinton had them tried by court martial as spies and hanged at Canajoharie. For more, visit:
On April 21, two white convicted horse thieves James Farrell and John Hodges, both 25, were hanged at Poughkeepsie. For more details, see Hearn Page 22.
On May 12, two white convicted horse thieves Hendrick Rush and Joseph Hodges were executed at Albany. See Hearn, Page 22.
On June 2, a burglar William Hallenbeck, white, was executed at Albany. See Page 22, Hearn.
But, whereas Arnold betrayed fellow Americans for money and to advance his career with the British, Andre was simply a brave British officer who took on a dangerous mission behind enemy lines as part of his sworn service to his own country.
The night of Sept.21, Andre had come came ashore from the British sloop "Vulture," anchored in the Hudson River below West Point. He met with Arnold from whom he received secret documents. But during the night, eager West Point troops fired upon the Vulture without waiting on Arnold's command to do so. The ship moved out of range and out of reach for Andre's return.
Dressed as an American solder, Andre attempted to get through American-held territory to a British-controlled area but encountered a trio of American volunteers in British uniforms. When the British major tried to order them to let him pass, they revealed their true identity, captured and searched him, whereupon they found Arnold's papers in Andre's boot.
André sent a plea to Washington, not asking that his life to be spared, but rather that he be shot ("a gentleman’s death") rather than hanged, an ignominious death. Washington communicated to British Gen. Henry Clinton that he would trade André for Arnold so Arnold could be hanged "instead," but absent such an exchange, Andre would be hanged as a spy.
In 1821 Andre's body was disinterred and reburied in the Heroes Corner of Westminster Abbey. For more, visit:
On Oct. 27, 1780, John McMullen and Jacob Schell, white, British spies, were executed at Albany. See Page 22, Hearn.
On April 21, Abraham Ackerly, John Vermillon and Henry Weeks, white, British spies, were hanged at Poughkeepsie. Hearn, Page 22.
On May 21, Solomon Baker, white, British spy, was hanged at Poughkeepsie. Hearn, Page 22.
On May 31, Wilhelmus Lampman, white, counterfeiter, was executed at Albany. More details, Hearn, Pages 22-23.
On Sept. 8, Daniel Duncan and Jacob Storm, white, burglar/robbers, were executed at Poughkeepsie. More details, Hearn, Pages 23.
On Dec. 22, Wheeler and Wood, white, burglar/robbers, were hanged at Albany. More details, Hearn, Pages 23.
When the war began, Bettys, aka Beattys, lived in Ballston, Saratoga County, N.Y., and became a sergeant in Col. Wynkoop's regiment. In the Summer of 1776 he was assigned to a Lake Champlain fleet under Gen. Arnold's command. During the October 1776 engagement with British fleet under Sir Guy Carleton, Bettys fought with such great skill and bravery that Arnold's seond in command, Gen. Waterbury made him his chief aide. Despite spirited resistance, Bettys was among several Americans captured and taken as POWs to Canada. While there he "turned" and became a spy to the Crown.
When caught spying, Bettys was tried and condemned to be hanged but Gen. George Washington pardoned him in response to pleas by the family and others who cited his heroism before his imprisonment as a POW in Canada. However, soon after release, he reneged on a promise to stop his Loyalist activity and instead he returned to serving the British, robbing and kidnapping or killing Patriot rebels.in the Albany region.
In the winter of 1781-82, three Ballston residents (Cory, Perkins, and Fulmer) recognized and captured him in their town's vicinity before he was able to destroy a coded message he had been carrying for delivery to British forces in New York City. He was taken to Albany, where he was tried, convicted, and executed as a spy and traitor. For more, visit:
According to Hearn (Page 22), Thomas Lovelace, one of Beattys' raiders, was hanged with him in Albany on April 1, 1782. The Lovelace/Loveless Family and Genealogical Research reports Thomas Lovelace left New York and went to Canada where he helped form a company of anti-patriot raiders. He returned with them "to abduct, plunder and betray his former neighbors in Saratoga, Schnectady, and Albany Counties." He is reported to have robbed General Schuyler's house and attempted to carry off Col. Van Vechten. For more, visit:
On June 6, Canfield, a deserter, spy and marauder, was hanged at Saratoga. More details, Hearn Page 23.
In the summer of 1782, two soldiers Porter and Tench were executed in Brooklyn for the murder of a civilian. More details, Hearn Page 23.
William Buckley was hanged for robbery.*
Tunis Casey was hanged for murder.*
Daniel Moore was hanged for robbery.*
Francis Higgins was hanged for robbery. Hearn on Page 24 dates and places the execution as April 29 in NYC and adds the name of another felon also hanged the same date and place and for the same kind of crime, Henry Blake. *
Barbara Stillwell, white, was hanged for murder. Hearn dates and places the execution as June 22 in NYC for murder -- the fatal neglect and abuse of a Tory couple's 3-year-old son entrusted to her care. For more deails, see Hearn, Page 24. *
William Flannagin was hanged for housebreaking/burglary. Hearn on Page 24 dates and places execution as Oct. 15 in NYC. *
Joseph Alexander and William Gutherie, burglars/robbers, white, were executed in Jamaica, Queens Nov.2. For more deails, see Hearn, Page 24.
Forward to Page 2: 1785 - 1791
Forward to Page 3: 1792 - 1794
Forward to Page 4: 1795 - 1801
Forward to Page 5: 1802 - 1806
Forward to Page 6: 1807 - 1812
Forward to Page 7: 1813 - 1815
Forward to Page 8: 1816 - 1817
Forward to Page 9: 1818 - 1819
|This NYCHS web survey/timeline uses, as a starting point, the NY list from Rob
Gallagher's version of "Executions in the United
States, 1608-1987: The ESPY File" on his interesting Before The Needles site. NYCHS ran Google searches on all the relevant names listed in ESPY and on execution histories of the state's counties. To offset shortcomings in ESPY and gaps in web information, NYCHS also includes data from the authorative Legal Executions in New York State: A Comprehensive Reference, 1639-1963 by Daniel Allen Hearn. NYCHS acknowledges and appreciates Mr. Hearn's permission for the use we have made of data from Legal Executions in New York State: 1639-1963 to which he retains all rights under his copyright.
Only the briefest outlines of Hearn data are provided in the listings above. Most entries in his book contain much more extensive detail. Information about his book can be found at the web sites of its publisher McFarland & Co., Inc. and major on-line book dealers such as Amazon and Barnes&Noble.
More 'Timeline on NYS Executions' under construction.