An NYCHS Timeline
Executions by Hanging
in New York State

(Page 2: 1785 -1791)

With links to more information on selected cases.

Open Note on ESPY and Hearn
* --- --- † *
Close Note on ESPY and Hearn
* --- --- † *

Can you fill any data gaps? Please e-mail webmaster Thomas C. McCarthy at


John Benson was hanged for housebreaking/burglary. † * Hearn identifies Benson as black and the burglary scene as the house of a "Mr. Ramage." Benson, who had been shot in the course of his arrest, later admitted to having shot a Capt. Solomon Davis some years earlier, according to the Hearn entry that puts the execution in New York City on Sept. 23.

Stephen Grimes was hanged for robbery.*

Benjamin Lewis and John Heinbrow † * ESPY has a "John Heinbrow" and Benjamin Lewis hanged for forgery whereas Hearn has a "John Hambrow" sentenced to die for counterfeit coining but escaping from jail. The Hearn account has his accomplice Benjamin Lewis, white, hanged in New York City on July 16.

Dennis Kearney was hanged for housebreaking/burglary.*

Jacob Pickings was hanged for housebreaking/burglary.*

James McCormick and Hieronymous Swingle, whites, hanged at Kingston on or about Sept. 1 for horse stealing. More in Hearn.

Christopher Cooper and Petrius Cooper, whites, brothers, highway robbers executed at Albany June 18. More in Hearn.

Benjamin Russell, white, hanged in Gosehn in October for killing his own child.


On Aug. 26 a male white named Whiting Sweeting of Stephentown, Rensselaer County, N.Y., was hanged for the murder of Albany County Constable Darius Quimby who was killed Jan. 3, 1791, while attempting to make an arrest on a warrant for trespass.

Sweeting was tried and convicted in the New York State Supreme Court of Judicature during the July term. He was executed the following month.

Whiting was a member of the well-regarded Sweeting family in the Stephentown region. His first name was his mother's maiden family name: Whiting. His father was a prominent doctor. Dr. Lewis Sweeting and his sons played leading roles in the Revolutionary war effort. The physician performed as an army surgeon. His sons saw military action. After the war ended, some members of family moved to other counties including Onondaga and Oneida.

Stephentown, N.Y. was once Jericho Hallow, Ma. The Sweetings served with patriot units of Massachusetts. Later that western part of Massachusetts became the eastern part of New York State, first within Albany County and later within Rensselaer County when that was carved out of Albany County March 24, 1791, the same year as the Whiting Sweeting case.

While incarcerated, Sweeting was visited frequently by William Carter who thereafter authored a small book entitled:

The remarkable narrative of Whiting Sweeting who was executed. . . for the murder of Darius Quimby. . . written by himself, and published for the benefit of precious souls, at his particular and dying request. --To which are added--an account of the behavior of the unhappy sufferer, from his confinement to execution, and the substance of his address at the gallows. By one who had free access to, and frequent conversation with him.

While the text is not available on-line, descriptions of printed and microfilm copies can be found on the special collection pages of the Cornell University and New Hampshire University libraries' web sites.

Constable Quimby seems also have lived in the Stephentown area. A 1790 census lists a Darius in the family of Ephraim Quimby there and of an age eligible to be a constable.

Constable Quimby's name is the earliest dated entry on the NYS Police Officers Memorial in Albany.
Civilian members of the Albany Police Pipes and Drums wear badges honoring the names of decease officers killed in the line of duty. Piper Ron Racicot wears the Memorial Shield for Constable Quimby.

Also in 1791, Samuel Cooke was hanged for forgery. ESPY spells the name without an "e" and gives no age or execution date whereas Hearn spells the name with an "e," reports the hanging took place in Johnstown June 24, and that at age 84 Cooke was one of the oldest persons legally hanged in the U.S. The crime involved a falsified legal document used to defraud. † *

In 1791, a black male slave named Guss was hanged for rape. ESPY puts the execution date as Aug. 26 whereas Hearn reports the hanging took place in Claverack Nov. 26.† *

On May 29, 1791, a white male named Silas Horton was hanged in Poughkeepsie for burglary.

On Oct. 5, 1791, a black male named William Erskine was hanged in Riverhead for rape.


James Carr was hanged for housebreaking/burglary.*

William Wright was hanged for robbery.*

Thomas Lee, black, hanged for housebreaking/burglary. † * Hearn dates the execution as Dec. 29 in New York City.

Caleb Gardner, convicted of passing counterfeit Spanish dollars, was hanged Friday, Sept. 15, at Albany. Hearn spells the name Gardiner.

John Slocum, white, hanged for horse stealing at Riverhead, L.I., Sept. 4.


A black male named Isaac was hanged for theft-stealing.*

Richard Roach was hanged for housebreaking/burglary.*

Henry Huyleman was hanged for housebreaking/burglary.*

Frederick O'Brien was hanged for housebreaking/burglary.*

James Wilson and William Stewart, whites, were hanged for robbery.† * ESPY merely lists each but without connecting them. Hearn provides some details on their Bowery Lane knifepoint hold-up and dates their execution in New York City as Aug. 27. More in Hearn.

Ithamer Granger, white, convicted of horse stealing despite having Aaron Burr as his attorney and hanged at White Plains in July despite being free a while after a jail escape.


John Davis and two other men were hanged May 30th for horse stealing. † * ESPY lists all three as white and names Davis' accomplices as Jacobus Krelenbargh and Philip Jansen. Hearn lists Davis as black and the other two as white, naming them as Cornelius Vradenburgh and Philip Johnson. He places the hanging in Claverack.


On July 11, a 29-year-old white male, Francis Uss, was publicly hanged, having been convicted of breaking open and burglarizing a store in Poughkeepsie. Hearn names the shop owner as merchant Andrew Phillips.

Anthony Cornish was hanged August 3. ESPY provides no race or charge. Hearn identifies him as black, reports the crime as murder committed on a vessel in Staten Island Sound, and places the execution in Richmond.† *

John Lupton was hanged for robbery. Hearn places the execution in New York City on May 22, 1789. † *

Henry Hombeck was hanged for forgery.*

Abraham Morehouse was hanged for forgery.*

Samuel Waters was hanged for forgery.*

Israel Young was hanged for forgery.*

John Lucas and John Thomas were hanged for robbery. ESPY provides no race, date or charge. Hearn identifies them as white, reports the crime as the robbery and assault of a silversmith at home, and places the execution in New York City on Feb. 13, 1789. † *


Two white males, Henry McKinney and Timothy Jackson were both hanged in Claverack Dec. 18, 1789, for robbery. Additional details in Hearn. Ch. 9 of Capt. Franklin Ellis' 1878 History of Columbia County, New York on the USGenNet Columbia County site hosted by Susan Stalker Mulvey reports that At the December oyer and terminer, 1789, Henry McKinney and Timothy Jackson were indicted and tried for, and convicted of, robbery, and sentenced, December 5, to be hanged December 18. Lawrence McDermod, prosecuting witness, received eleven pounds thirteen shillings for prosecuting the above prisoners to execution, Johannes J. Muller and Elizabeth Muller being the other witnesses for the State. Justice Yates presided, with Peter Van Ness, Peter Silvester, Peter R. Livingston, and Israel Spencer associates, at the trial of the robbers.

Five men, white, were hanged the same day, Oct. 23, 1789, in New York City, according to Hearn, although their criminal activities were not necessarily related: Charles Barry, forgery. Joseph Butler, housebreaking/burglary. Michael Gaines, William Kenny and William Perrin, all for robbery. ESPY lists them without dating their execution. † *


Nelly, 17, a black slave who had been leased to Flushing Town Clerk Jeremiah Vanderbilt was convicted of setting fire to his house, a blaze that also destroyed the town's records. A Bayside Historical Society item notes some Flushing Town-related records of the period survived because they were kept in Albany. According to a Newsday historical essay, she was angry at him because he would not allow her to marry. Aaron Burr, then state attorney general, prosecuted the case. ESPY lists her execution as 1789 but Hearn dates it taking place Oct. 15, 1790 in Jamaica, Queens. Anne Hartell, a history seminar member at Adelphi College, did a paper published in the 1943 fall issue of Nassau County Historical Journal and now appearing on the Long Island Genealogy site, in which she wrote that a slave named Sarah was also hanged with Nelly in connection with the setting of the fire.

William Glover was hanged for robbery. ESPY gives no race nor execution date whereas Hearn identifies him as white, reports that the hanging took place in New York City June 4, and that the crime involved robbery of a mariner aboard a docked sloop. † *

Negro Piets, black, a slave, was hanged in Johnstown Dec. 10 for rape.

Thomas Knight was hanged for robbery.*

Back to Page 1: 1779 - 1784
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
Forward to Page 10: 1820 - 1824
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 authoritative 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.

Home Page
To Executions
in Auburn Prison:
1890 - 1916