An NYCHS Timeline
Executions by Hanging
in New York State

(Page 4: 1795 -1801)

With links to more information on selected cases.

Open Note on ESPY and Hearn
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Close Note on ESPY and Hearn
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Can you fill any data gaps? Please e-mail webmaster Thomas C. McCarthy at


Four males (race not specified) -- Peter Conner, Martin McNeil, John Murray and Joshua Remsen -- were hanged for robbery this year but the month and day is not given for any of them, so whether their cases are connected is not clear.*

Jessup Darling, a white male, was hanged for forgery Dec. 18.*


The village seal depicts the story of how its founder Hugh White, then in his 50s and 250 lbs., accepted an Oneida chief's friendly challenge to wrestle and "though out of practice" somehow won.

Near Whitesboro Village, a male named George Peters, described as a Montauk Indian, was executed for murdering his wife, Eunice. In the ESPY listing, he is the first identified Native American entry after emergence of New York State government independent of British rule and the execution date is listed as Aug. 28. 1801. *

Peters, from Montauk Point, Long Island, resided at Brothertown. Assistant Attorney General Thomas R. Gold was the prosecutor. Peters was tried in Rome, N.Y., and convicted on June 16, 1801 of having struck a fatal blow to her head with a stick, club, or wooden poker after he found her in a local tavern. She had appeared to him to be drunk and acting too friendly with another man.

The hanging was carried out under the supervision of Oneida County Sheriff Charles C. Brodhead who directed it take place on a hill west of the Village of Whitesboro.

The Brothertown Native Americans originated as a group of Christian Indians from Long Island and New England areas. During the Great Awakening, a religious movement in the 1740s, several Native Americans converted to Christianity, including some among the Montauks. Facing hostility from unconverted Indians and treachery from whites with un-Christian converting of tribal lands, a small band of converts sought refuge with the more tolerant Oneidas in north central NY. Because they wanted to live in brotherhood, they named the new home for their community Brothertown.

The victim in the murder case, Eunice Peters, was a daughter of the one of the Christian tribal leaders who had first settled in the Oriskany Creek region of Oneida County before the Revolutionary War: Elijah Wampy.

Unlike most Native Americans of the region, who actively sided with the Crown in that conflict, Wampy was among the relative few who, though officially neutral, were actually more sympathetic with the colonists seeking independence. Rather than joining forces with the British, he was among a handful who remained behind cultivating their land at Brothertown in the day and spending the night at nearby Fort Stanwix.

The story is told, in the idiom of the era, how on one occasion, while journeying on foot from the fort to the town, Elijah encountered

"a hostile Indian [who] sprang from behind a tree . . . and [who] was about to shoot him down with his rifle, when Wampy flew at him, knocked up the muzzle of the gun, so that the ball passed harmlessly over him, and with his knife laid his brother red-skin dead at his feet."

For more, see

  • Northeast Wigwam Genealogy Discussion Board's Annals of Oneida County, Reposted. Make allowances re the year, month and day given for the execution (Aug. 28, 1881) although the date given for the crime appears correct: Feb. 24, 1800.

Hearn's account dates the murder as Feb. 24, 1800 and the execution as March 26, 1802. He notes that the governor had sought to commute the death sentence but the legislature refused to grant commutation. Evidentially, consideration of the matter resulted in the scheduled Aug. 28, 1801 hanging being delayed until the following spring.


A white male named John Thompson was hanged Nov. 10 for burglary and housebreaking.*

A white male named Noah Gardener was hanged for forgery.*

[Interestingly, the search for more about a Noah Gardener hanged for forgery in 1796 only turned up a July 1786 Albany newspaper report about a Caleb Gardner being sentenced to death for passing counterfeit Spanish dollars. It appears that the sheriff advertised for an executioner to carry out the sentence Sept. 15, 1786. The ESPY list includes no entry for an Caleb Gardner being executed that or any other year. The only executions listed for 1786 involved burglary and robbery. A separate search for a Caleb Gardner execution also turned up nothing additional.]


A white male named John Young was hanged for murder. * †

The ESPY list gives Aug. 17 as the date, but Long Islander Augustus Griffin's personal journal puts the month as April and states "John Young was hanged for murdering Robert Berwick, Deputy Sheriff."

Hearn also gives the execution date as Aug. 17 but the murder victim's name as Barwick, places the execution in NYC, and describes the 40-year-old convicted killer as having just been released from debtor's prison when the deputy sheriff sought to re-arrest him for another debt.


A white female named Sylvia Wood was hanged for killing her husband, Major Wood of Augusta.

Hearn reports that the woman, an alcoholic, shotgunned her husband April 29 when he tried to deny her drink. On the day of her scheduled hanging June 29, she committed suicide in her cell but the "execution" is said to have been carried out on her dead body nevertheless.

1799 A male named John Portland was hanged for murder.*

A soldier named Joseph Perkins was executed by firing squad on Governor's Island, NYC, July 24 for accepting bribes to let prisoners escape the stockade he was assigned to guard.

1800 A male named Benjamin Holmes , was hanged this year but ESPY's entry provides no other information.*

Hearn dates the execution March 28, places it in Salem, Washington County and reports that Holmes was convicted for the slaying of Abraham Francis (both white) and that Governor John Jay wanted to commute the death sentence to one of imprisonment but that law then empowered only the legislature to commute death sentences in murder cases.

A web listing of the historical archives of the town and village of Salem, NY, includes an entry for Box 20F entitled "Benjamin Holmes' dying speech and newspaper account, charged for murder in Salem 1800."

1801 A male white named Timothy Parks, was hanged Dec. 10 this year in Albany for the Sept. 21 sniper slaying of passerby Lyman Parker, also a male white, shot for no apparent reason, according to Hearn.

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Back to Page 3: 1792 - 1794
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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 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.

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