CHAPTER XVIII

CRIMES AND PUNISHMENTS

We have little or no information as to the criminal code which maintained among the early Swedish and Dutch settlers on the Delaware.* The fragmentary records which have been preserved incidentally in correspondence and official reports do not enlighten us as to the manner of trial or the authority exercised by those holding the courts at that early day. Hence the most important criminal case which presents itself in our annals, if the proceedings can be designated a trial, when the instructions given by Governor Lovelace and Council are considered, wherein the sentence is actually pronounced on the prisoner nearly two months before he was arraigned, is that of the "Long Finn." The circumstances of the case are briefly these: It was near the middle of the year 1669 that an adventurer, one Marcus Jacobson, alias John Brinckson, etc., hut better known to the then inhabitants of the Delaware as the "Long Finn," because of his lofty stature, had succeeded in imposing himself on the Swedes as the son of Konnigsmark, a noted general of Sweden. Jacobson, it was alleged, was inciting the settlers of that nationality to rebellion against the English authority, with the design of re-establishing the Swedish power in the province. With him was associated a wealthy Finn, Henry Coleman, while Rev. Lawrence Lock, the former Swedish chaplain, was said to have "played the Trumpeter to the disorder," and Mrs. Pappegoya, the daughter of Governor Printz, was charged with intermeddling "in so unworthy a design." Governor Lovelace, Aug. 2, 1669, issued an order for the arrest of the Long Finn and his fellow conspirators, accompanying the order with instructions as to the manner in which the trial should be conducted. In accordance therewith Capt. Carry caused the arrest of the Long Finn, who was thrown into the fort at New Castle, in irons (in those days the irons were riveted on the limbs of a prisoner, and at West Chester, among the records in the commissioners’ office, in the next century, are bills paid to blacksmiths for removing the fetters from culprits), while Henry Coleman, learning of his intended apprehension, abandoned his property, fled to the Indians, with whom he seemed to have had great influence, and is never more heard of. Dominie Lock and Mrs. Pappegoya gave security for their appearance to answer the charges against them when required. The commissioners appointed by the Governor to try the case sat at New Castle, Dec. 6, 1669, and, as was to be expected, the jury returned a verdict of guilty against Jacobson, who was thereupon sentenced in accordance with the punishment prescribed by Council, the 18th of October previous, which was, "that the Long Finn deserves to die for the same, yet in regard that many others concerned with him in that insurrection might be involved in the same Premunire, if the rigor of the law should be extended, and amongst them divers simple and ignorant people, it is thought fit and ordered that the said Long Finn shall be publicly and severely whipped and stigmatized or branded in the face with the letter R, with an inscription written in great letter and put upon his breast, that he receive that punishment for attempted rebellion, after which he be secured until he can be sent and sold to the Barbadoes, or some other of those remote plantations." On Jan. 25, 1670, the Long Finn was placed on board the ship. "Fort Albany," to be transported and sold to the Barbadoes, after which date nothing further respecting him is now known. His accomplices were sentenced to forfeit to the king one-half of their goods and chattels, while a small fine was imposed upon those of lesser note who had taken part in the rebellion. The case will always be an interesting one to the annalist, for therein is the first recorded trial under English procedure on the Delaware, in which a prisoner was formally indicted, arraigned, and a jury of twelve men impaneled, subject to challenge on the part of the prisoner, who are charged to render a verdict in accordance with the evidence.

The penal laws of the early English settlers partook in a large degree, so far as the punishment prescribed for their infraction was concerned, of the fierceness which characterized the criminal code of the mother-country at that period, while many of the legislative enactments were intended to correct, by severe penalties, those matters which are now regarded as subjects purely of personal concern and in no wise coming under public police regulation. The rigor of the law was then so extended that servants tipling at inns or houses of public entertainment were punished by being put in the stocks for at least an hour; unruly children and servants, on complaint of their parents or masters, if the offender was sixteen years old, were whipped not exceeding ten stripes, while a servant who was convicted of assaulting his master, dame, or overseer, was to receive corporal punishment, in the discretion of the court, "saving life and member." The denial of God or his attributes was punishable with death, as was also the kidnapping of any person within the province. He that bore false witness against his neighbor in a capital case was to be put to death, as was also the child that smote his natural parent. The publisher of false news from the mother-country was subject to fines, and for the third offense was whipped not exceeding forty lashes. No marriage could be solemnized unless both parties swore that they were single and legally qualified to enter into that relationship, while, in case of perjury, the party offending was ordered to "be bored through the tongue with a red-hot iron," besides incurring the penalties for adultery, which inflicted whipping, as well as fine and imprisonment. Fornication between single persons was punishable by enforced marriage, or whipping, in the discretion of the court. Laborers and servants were compelled to work the whole day, and "Sundays are not to be prophaned by Travellers, Laborers, or Vicious Persons."

The Duke of York’s laws, however, announced full freedom of religious opinion to all Christian sects, as follows:
     "No congregation shall be disturbed in their private meetings in the time of prayer, preaching, or other divine services, nor shall any person be molested, fined, or imprisoned for differing in judgment in matters of religion who profess Christianity."

After Penn acquired the title to the province of Pennsylvania, and the great body of laws was enacted at the Assembly convened at Chester, Dec. 4, 1682, much of the severity of the criminal code was done away with. Profanity was made punishable by fine or five days’ imprisonment; adultery subjected the party convicted to public whipping and one year’s imprisonment, while for a second offense the term of incarceration was for life. Under the act of 1705 adultery was punished by whipping with twenty-one lashes and imprisonment for one year, or a fine of fifty pounds; a second conviction increased the imprisonment to seven years, and on the third conviction, in addition to the foregoing penalty, the culprit was directed to be branded on the forehead with the letter "A." For the crime of rape the convict forfeited half his estate to the party aggrieved, was publicly whipped, and underwent one year’s imprisonment, while for the second offense he was incarcerated for life. Drunkenness was punished by a fine, "or five days in the house of correction at hard labor, and being fed only with bread and water." A conviction of arson made the criminal liable to pay double damages, undergo incarceration for one year, and be subjected to such corpora1 punishment as the court thought proper to impose. Bigamy made the party convicted liable to imprisonment for life, while burglary was punished by imprisonment at hard labor for three months; the prisoner was compelled to make fourfold satisfaction, and failing to do so, was imprisoned for seven years. The child who should assault his parent was committed to the house of correction at hard labor during the pleasure of the parent. Forgery was punished by three months’ detention at hard labor. If the crime was forging the seal of any county, the prisoner should undergo twelve months’ imprisonment and be fined, while, if the offense was forging the seal of this province, he should suffer seven years’ imprisonment and be fined at the discretion of the Governor and Provincia1 Council. The theft of hogs or other cattle was punished, for the second offense, by a fine threefold the value of the articles taken and imprisonment for six months, while for a third offense the convict should be whipped with twenty-nine lashes and banished never to return again. Persons convicted of premeditated murder, "according to the law of God, suffer death." This punishment did not work an entire forfeiture of his estate, but one-half of his possessions was "to be disposed of as the Governor shall see meet." The robbery of orchards, or the theft of any linen, woolen, or other articles left without doors, rendered the party convicted of any of these offenses liable to pay threefold the costs of the articles taken, or to be publicly whipped by the constable not exceeding twenty-one stripes; while the forcible robbery from any person of money or other articles was punishable by restoring fourfold the value of the goods stolen and being whipped not exceeding twenty-one stripes.

The minor regulation interdicted all persons from taking part in stage plays, revels, masques, or offering of prizes, under a penalty of five shillings or ten days imprisonment, while card-playing, dicing, lottery, and evil sports and games were punishable by a like fine, or five days’ detention in the workhouse at hard labor. The drinking of healths was punishable by a fine of five shillings or five days’ imprisonment, while railers and scolders were incarcerated at hard labor for three days, which, at the next General Assembly, was made punishable by gagging, and in that condition to stand one hour in a public place. Subsequently horse-racing, shooting-matches, and such idle sports were interdicted, and if the offenders chanced to be servants, negro or Indian slaves, they were whipped with fifteen lashes and imprisoned six days, while for the second offense the whipping was increased to twenty one lashes and the imprisonment to ten days.

The humane penal laws prepared by Penn and enacted at his suggestion, were summarily repealed by the act of May 31, 1718. William Bradford, who had been attorney-general and a judge of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, and died while discharging the office of Attorney-General of the United States, in an essay on the criminal law of this commonwealth, declares that the privilege which the act just alluded to conferred on Friends - that of testifying in court of justice on their solemn affirmations, instead of taking a corporal oath - was the inducement for adopting, in 1718, the sanguinary rigor of the English law, in violation of the humane policy which had previously influenced the Legislature of Pennsylvania on the subject of crimes and punishments. By the act mentioned high treason, petty treason, counterfeiting the currency, murder, robbery, burglary, rape, sodomy, manslaughter, witchcraft, and conjuration were punishable by death. Receiving stolen goods or concealing robbers, and murder where benefiting of clergy was craved, was punished by branding on the fleshy part of the left thumb the letter T for the first crime, and M for the latter, which branding was ordered to be done in open court by the jailer. By the act of Feb. 21, 1767, knowingly receiving stolen horses subjected the party convicted thereof to public whipping, not exceeding thirty-nine lashes, standing in the pillory one hour, and to be imprisoned at hard labor not exceeding three years, while by the same act counterfeiting gold and silver coins was punished by standing in the pillory one hour, to have both ears cut off and nailed to the pillory, to be publicly whipped not exceeding twenty-one lashes, and to forfeit a hundred pounds, which was divided equally between the government and the informer. The severity of the punishment, it seems, did not lessen the number of horses stolen. Therefore, March 10, 1780, the Legislature increased the penalty, providing that in the case of a second conviction, in addition to the foregoing punishment, the culprit should be branded on the forehead, "in a plain and visible manner, with the letters H T." That hardly over a century ago men were branded as a punishment we know, for at the special court for the trial of negroes, held at Chester, March 3, 1770, before William Parker and Richard Riley, justices, Negro Martin, the slave of Thomas Martin, was convicted of an attempted rape, and sentenced "to be whipped with thirty-nine lashes, well, laid on his Bare Back, at the common whipping-post, between the Hours of one and three this afternoon, and be branded with the letter R on his forehead, and be exported out of this Province by his master within six months, never to return unto the same upon pain of death, and to be kept in Prison till exportation at his master’s charge, and to pay the costs of Prosecution." And on Jan. 4, 1772, in the case of Negro Dick, the slave of mulatto Dinah, otherwise Dinah Jones, tried at a like special court, before John Morton and William Parker, Esqs., the defendant was convicted of a similar crime, and sentenced to a like punishment. On Sept. 15, 1786, the act was passed by the General Assembly which swept away many of the harsh features of our criminal code, substituting therefor in many cases a milder form of punishment.

In the early times public acknowledgment by the party accused of the wrong he had done, in many cases seemed to fill the measure of atonement demanded by the judges who dispensed justice among the first settlers of our county. Hence we find that at the court held at Chester, the 3d day of first week, Tenth month, 1689, Allen Robinett, Sr., who was arraigned "for writing scandalous and abusive papers against John Bristow, one of ye King’s Justices and representatives in Council of ye People of this county, contrary to ye 29 law of this Province," having pleaded guilty, was sentenced that "he shall here in Publick acknowledge in particular his fault and crimes for which he stands Indicted, and pay all county charges," while at the same court Nicholas White and William Thomas, who were indicted for "Speaking words tending to sedition and breach of Peace, and persuading people (contrary to an order of court) not to pay ye Publicke Levies of this County, when thereunto lawfully required," who acknowledged the fact and prayed the mercy of "ye King and government," were acquitted, paying their fees. On the 14th day of the First month, 1693, Thomas Poe and Sarah Butler, convicted of fornication, were sentenced "to stand at the common whipping-post and for the offence to declare their offence to the People and also to pay a fine of twenty shillings and court charges." And at the same court John Clowes and Eleanor, then his wife, were also convicted of the like offense. They were sentenced to pay a fine of fifty shillings, and "Eleanor shall stand at the common whipping-post for one-quarter of an hour, with a paper upon her breast that I stand here for an example to all others for committing that most wicked and notorious sin of fornication." As late as February court, 1753, Owen Oberlacker, alias John Bradley, convicted "of speaking seditious words," was sentenced to stand in the pillory one hour, with the inscription, "I stand here for speaking seditious words against the best of Kings, wrote in a large hand, to be affixed to his back." Oberlacker was also subjected to the punishment of twenty-one lashes upon his bare back, well laid on.

This whipping of convicts, as is seen by the brief summary of the provincial criminal laws, heretofore given, was a favorite form of punishment in the early days, and continued to be inflicted until after the Revolutionary struggle had ended. One of the first cases I have found when this penalty was imposed is at the court held at Chester, 3d day, Twelfth month, 1684, when the record states that "John Martin being convicted of stealing money out of ye house of William Brown, was ordered twelve stripes on his bare back, well laid on, at the common whipping-post at Chichester, the 4th inst., between the ten and eleven hour in the morning." Samuel Jury, Aug. 29, 1704, for being the father of an illegitimate child, was sentenced "to be whipt with twenty-one lashes on his bare back, well laid on, and pay for the maintaining of said child as the law directs." This is the only instance, so far as I have learned, of a man being subjected to corporal punishment for this offense. May 25, 1708, "Grace Phillips was sentenced to be whipt with twenty one lashes, well laid on, at the common whipping-post in Chester." The last time when I find records of this corporal punishment being imposed is at the November court, 1788, when John Tully, convicted of horse-stealing, was sentenced to be whipped. The case will be referred to hereafter.

The punishment by whipping, to our modern ideas, was most cruel, and that it was extremely painful we have the authority of the editor of the London Medical Times, who a few years ago witnessed the flogging of a wife-beater at Newgate. The degradation of the punishment and the effect the shame had upon persons of sensitive natures is well shown in a case recorded by Watson, wherein a negro, in 1743, who was brought to the whipping-post in Philadelphia to be scourged, took a knife from his pocket, and in the presence of the crowd, cut his throat, dying immediately of the self inflicted injury.

May 10, 1698, the Assembly passed a supplemental law respecting "robbing and stealing," whereby for the theft of any article amounting to five shillings or upwards, in addition to fourfold restoration of the value and public whipping, the punishment was increased, the culprit being "ordered by the court, upon penalty of banishment, to wear such a badge or mark of his or her thievery upon the outside of his or her outer garment in open view, upon the outer part of the Left Arme betwixt Elbow & Shoulder att all times when ever hee or shee shall travel or be seen from his or her habitation or plantation where hee or shee shall live on every day from Sun rising unto Sun setting, for the space of six months, which mark or badge of his or her thieving shall be thus, with a Roman T, not less than foure inches in length each way, and an inch in breadth, of a different colour from his or her said out garment either Red, Blew, or Yellow, as the Justices of the said court shall direct." This law, or rather the similar one of 1700, remained in force until superseded by the act of Feb. 24, 1721. Under its provisions we find that at the court held at Chester, Third month 26, 1702, Benjamin Patterson being convicted of breaking into the house of Joseph Baker, of Upper Providence, and stealing ten pieces of eights, "the court gave judgment for two pounds eight shillings, to be paid to Joseph Baker, with lawful fees and" (Patterson) "to be whipt with eleven lashes on his bare back and wear a T according to law of yellow colour." Patterson was also sentenced to serve Joseph Baker, his master, one and a half years in consideration of the damages he had sustained. The graphic picture which Hawthorne, in the "Scarlet Letter," has drawn of Hester Prynne, who "on the breast of her gown, in fine red cloth, surrounded with an elaborate embroidery and fantastic flourishes of gold thread, appeared the letter A," will recur to almost every reader. Although the persons who wore the insignia of their shame among their fellows in this county, in colonial days, may not have as romantic a story as that the novelist has elaborated, doubtless they felt keenly the degradation the hated letter entailed upon them. It is unnecessary to refer to all the cases in which this punishment was imposed. Sufficient is it to my purpose to state that the last instance which I find of this penalty being inflicted was at the court held Aug. 28, 1716, when John Eburnethy, convicted on two indictments, was sentenced to receive twenty-one lashes on each judgment and to wear a Roman T, of a blue color, not less than four inches each way and one inch broad, for six mouths, and also to wear a Roman T, of a red color, of the like size, for six months.

Standing in the pillory was one of the ordinary punishments of our colonial days. The first case in which this penalty was imposed that I have found was at the court held at Chester the third day of the first week, 1689, when Thomas Lasy, an indentured servant of Richard Few, who was convicted on his own confession of counterfeiting pieces of eights, "and a bartering and exposing ye same for goods and other merchandize," was sentenced to stand "at ye Public Place of Correction att ye Town of Chester two Several Court days three hours each day with a Paper of his Crimes written in Capital letters afixed upon his Brest, and that he remaine in ye Sherifes Custody until he gives good Security to perform this Judgment and pay his fine." That this sentence was carried out we know, for John Simcock informed the next court that Robert Wade was passing the place where Thomas Lasy was "Suffering ye last Courts sentance," and that Wade said aloud, "What law has he broken? or what King’s law hath he Broken?" The court, very sensibly, seems to have taken no notice of Wade’s remarks, although in those days the dignity of the bench was sternly maintained, as the following instances disclose: Abraham Buffinjall, at the court held the 3d day of Fourth month, 1685, being "lawfully convicted for abusing and menacing the magestracy of this county was ordered Twenty-one lashes at the public whipping-post on his bear back well laid on and fourteen days imprisonment at hard labour in the House of Correction;" and at the court held at Chester the "3d day of 1st week of ye 8th month, 1687," Jeremy Collett, "for his Insolency and abuse of ye Court and asserting laws which he could not Produce being thereunto required by the Court," was ordered to find security for his appearance at next court and to be of good behavior, "Butt upon refusal was Committed to ye Sherifes Custody." At the following court he was fined five pounds, which fine he petitioned might be remitted, and "the Court considering his Petition and that he putts himself upon ye King and Govern’t milligates his former fine and admitts him to a fine of ten shillings to be levied upon his goods, &c., and all manner of Court charges to Sherife & Clerks, &c." Standing in the pillory for stealing or receiving stolen horses after the act of 1767 meant something more than merely being exposed to the gaze of the idle populace. John Bartiff, at Chester, Aug. 9, 1780, was found guilty of horse-stealing, and was sentenced by the court to receive "twenty-nine lashes on his bare back well laid on, to have both his ears cutt off and nailed to the pillory, to pay all costs of prosecution, to be imprisoned six months and to stand committed until this sentence be complied with." On Nov. 28, 1780, Christian Gotlibb, convicted of the like offense of an aggravated nature, was sentenced "to pay a fine of one thousand pounds, to restore the stolen property or the value thereof to stand one hour in the Pillory to-morrow morning between the hours of eight and ten o’clock, to be whipped on his bare back with twenty nine lashes well laid on, to have his ears cut off and nailed to the Pillory, to pay all costs of prosecution and to be imprisoned six months and to stand committed after till fine and fee is paid."

It is rather a peculiar circumstance in our county annals, then including Chester County, that after the passage of the act of Sept. 15, 1786, which specifically abolished the punishment of the pillory, whipping, branding, cutting off the ears of criminals and nailing them to the pillory for certain crimes, that on Nov. 27, 1788, John Tully, who was convicted, of horse stealing, was sentenced "to stand one hour in the pillory between the hours of nine and twelve o’clock to-morrow morning, to be whipped with thirty-nine lashes on his bare back, well laid on, to have both ears cut off and nailed to the pillory and to be imprisoned six months," besides the payment of a fine and the costs.

From the time of the promulgation of the "Duke of York’s Book of Laws," in 1676, until the Constitution of 1790 gave power to the judges of the several counties to hold Courts of Oyer and Terminer, all cases of great crimes were under the duke tried by the Court of Assizes, under Penn, by the Provincial Council, until the law of March 10, 1685, made it the duty of the judges of the Provincial Supreme Court to hear and determine "heinous and enormous crimes in the respective county courts where the said crimes were committed." Although this act was repealed in 1690, the same rule prevailed until changed by the second Constitution of the State. The first sitting of the Supreme Court in a criminal case in Chester which I find was on Oct. 3, 1705. The suit is an interesting one, hence I give the proceedings somewhat at large:
     "Whereas James Gibbons, of the county of Chester, yeoman, being bound over to this court (county court held May 28, 1705) to answer such matters and things as on the Queen’s behalf shall be laid to his charge by John Hoskins, High Sheriff of the said county, appeared, whereupon the Attorney General gave the court to understand that the crime laid to the charge of the said Gibbons amounts to Burgulary, and for the court further satisfaction then he produeth the Sheriffs examination which being read as followeth:
     "Chester the 30th day of April 1704 the deposition of John Hoskins, High Sheriff of the County of Chester, aged about twenty-seven years, being solemnly attested in the presence of God saith that last night about one o’clock James Gibbons, of the county, aforesaid, came with another person with him to this deponent unknown, and did break open the lock of his stable door and took out a sorril horse with a bald face which this deponent as Sheriff had taken on execution and when this deponent ran to him he with the other person with him made his escape thro’ the lot and broke down the pails, whereupon this deponent seized on the horse with a halter on his head, which he supposes the said Gibbons brought with him, and also found a club in the stable, he presumes they brought with them and further saith not.
     "The circumstances of the fact being considered it is ordered that the said James Gibbons shall be and is hereby by the Justices committed into the jail of this County of Chester there to remain till he shall be delivered by due course of law."

The case being called at the Supreme Provincial Court, Oct. 3, 1705, "the Sheriff was ordered to set the prisoner at the bar, which being done the indictment was read." (The indictment had been found by the grand jury at the county court.) "David Lloyd moved that he may be admitted to speak of matters of Law unto the indictment before the prisoner plead, which is granted unto him, whereupon he desire it may be inspected by this Court whether or no the Justices session had power by their commission at that time of taking that indictment to enquire of that burgulary in the indictment mentioned." The court concluded to hold the matter under advisement until the afternoon session, when they decided that the justices had no jurisdiction, and on motion of David Lloyd the defendant was admitted to bail. Gibbons appears, from the silence of the record, never to have been called on further to answer the charge.

The first trial for homicide in this county, so far as has been ascertained, was that of Hugh Pugh, a millwright, and Lazarus Thomas, laborer, who were indicted for the murder of Jonathan Hayes, a resident of Marple and a justice of the county, in the year 1715. At the October court of that year the following reference to the trial will be found:
     "This Court request Henry Worley, Robert Carter and James Sandelands to see if they can procure some place yt may be more Convenient than the Court house for holding the Supreme Court for ye Tryall of those persons yt are holden in ye Gaol of ye County on Suspition of murder and to make such agreement as they may see needful for change and damages to be payd out of the County stock."

The records of the county at West Chester, from 1710 to 1720, are very meagre, and little or no information can be had by an inspection of the court paper of the circumstances surrounding the case. We know, from the minutes of the Provincial Council, that the accused "had for several years appeared at the head of a lawless Gang of Loose fellows, common disturbers of the public peace," and that for some reason they had been admitted to bail. The records of our county, however, are silent as reference thereto further than already given. April 17, 1718, before David Lloyd, chief justice, and his associates, at Chester, the case was tried, resulting in a verdict of guilty. Deputy Governor Sir William Keith was also present. The prisoners were sentenced to be hanged on May 9, 1718.*** The following is a copy of the death-warrant:
     { SEAL. } "CHESTER, ss:

     "To the Sheriff of the County of Chester:
     "Whereas Hugh Pugh & Lazarus Thomas have this Day before us at a Court of Oyer & Terminer & Gaol Delivery held for the sd County been convicted of the murder of One Jonathan Hayes & have received Sentence to be Hanged by the neck until they be Dead.
     "These are therefore in his majesties name by virtue of the Power to us Granted by the Governours Comission Comand you that upon Fryday the Ninth day of May next betwixt the hours of Eight & Twelve in the forenoon of the same Day you Cause the sd Sentance to be put in Execucon, ffor which this shall be your Warrant. Given under Our Hands & Seals at Chester aforesd the Seventeenth day of April In the ffourth year of the Reign of our Sovereign Lord George King of Great Britain &c. Annoq Dom. 1718.
     "DA’D LLOYD
     "JASPER YEATES
     "RICHARD HILL
     "WILL’M TRENT"

The day previous to that fixed for their execution -  May 8th - the condemned men petitioned the Governor for a reprieve until the pleasure of the king could be known, they having appealed to the crown, alleging that the following legal errors invalidated the whole proceedings:
     "1st. Because seventeen of the Grand Inquest who found the bill of Indictment against them and eight of the Petty Jury who found them guilty were Quakers or Reputed Quakers, and were Qualified no otherwise than by an affirmacon or Declaracon contrary to a statue made in the first year of your Mat’ies Reign.
     "2d. Because the Act of Assembly of this Province by which Judges, Jury & Witnesses were pretended to be Qualified was made & past the Twenty eight Day of May, in the first year of your Majesties Reign,(4*) which was after sd murder was supposed to be committed, and after another Act of Assembly of the same nature was repealed by her Late Majesty, Queen Anne.
     "3dly. Because sd Act of Assembly is not consonant to Reason, but Repugnant & Contrary to the Laws, Statutes and Rights of your Majesties Kingdom."

The petition for a reprieve was rejected, and doubtless the culprits were executed at the time designated in the warrant. Although the legal matter suggested in the prisoners’ petition was never passed upon by a competent tribunal, for we have no record of any action of the supreme judges thereon, yet the points taken aroused such public alarm as to the legality of the proceeding, that in twenty-two days after the execution of Pugh and Thomas May 31, 1718 - the law was passed, which adopted the fierce criminal law of England in the province, simply in exchange for the right to use affirmations in place of "corporal oaths," the Assembly well knowing that the king would approve and confirm the act, which was done early in the following year.(5*)

At the Court of Oyer and Terminer, held at Chester, June 20, 1722, by David Lloyd, chief justice, and associates, the case of Rex vs. William Hill and Mary Woolvin, was tried on an indictment for murder. They were convicted, and as the sentence ran, "must be hanged by ye neck until they and each of them be dead." The case of these convicts, together with one William Batten, who was then in Chester jail under sentence of death, was considered by the Provincial Council, Aug. 3, 1722, "and it was the advice of all the members present, to which the Governor was pleased to agree, that the said William Hill and Mary Woolvin be reprieved for the space of twelve months, in case no orders shall come from the Crown for the execution before the expiration of the said term; that the said William Batten, being convicted of divers horrid complicated crimes, be executed and hung in irons in the most public place at such times as the Governor shall appoint, and that the warrant for the execution be issued before the Governor set out for Albany."(6*)

Aug. 27, 1723, Edward Murphy was tried for murder and acquitted. "Same day Elizabeth Murphy was indicted for murder and found guilty by ye Petty Jury and must be hanged by ye neck until she is dead. And ye Sherif is ordered to Execute her accordingly on ye 13th of 7 month 1724."(7*) Sept. 1, 1724, the bill of costs in the above cases, amounting to £2 6s. 6d. each, signed by Robert Assheton, was allowed by the commissioners and assessors.(8*)

At a Court of Oyer and Terminer, held May 21, 1727, "John Hendricks who was indicted for shooting by misfortune one Albert Hendricks, late of the county of Chester, Labourer and found guilty by his own confession, whereby ye Goods and Chattles of the said John Hendricks become forfeited to our Sovereign Lord, ye King. Upon which he puts himself on the mercy of our sd Lord the King and produces in court his pardon from ye Governour of this Provence, under ye Great Seal of the said Provence and prays ye same may be allowed and ye same is allowed per cur."(9*) At the same court Rachel Lindley and Robert Box, indicted for murder, were acquitted.

In April, 1728, a few Indians belonging to the Twetchtweys, a tribe without the borders of the province, made their appearance near the Warwick Iron Work, on French Creek, and, being well armed, created wide-spread alarm among the settlers. The air was filled with rumors of Indian outrages and murder. John and Walter Winter, two brothers, respectable farmers, it is thought under the apprehension of the savages, and believing that they were doing the State a service, fell upon a party of Indians at Cassea, when Walter Winter shot and killed an aged man named Toka Collie, who was friendly to the whites. John Winter, at the same time, shot one of the Indian women, and then ran and knocked out the brains of an old squaw, "Quilee," otherwise "Hannah." The Winter brothers, with Morgan Herbert, bore the corpses of the two Indian women from the road where they had fallen, and covered them with leaves. The two former men carried two Indian girls (one a cripple) before one of the county officers, demanding a reward for what they had done. Samuel Nutt, the iron-master at the forge, dispatched John Petty to the Governor with a letter informing him of the occurrence. The latter had warrants issued for the arrest of the men, and, on a "hue and cry," the two Winters, together with Morgan Herbert, their neighbor, were taken into custody and lodged in the jail at Chester, in all probability the old prison on Edgmont Street. John and Walter Winter were tried before David Lloyd, Richard Hill, and Jeremiah Langhorne, for the murder of the Indian woman, Quilee, June 19, 1728, and the jury found the defendants "Guilty of ye murder afd and must be hanged by the necks until they and each of them be dead." (10*)

Governor Gordon issued the warrant, fixing Wednesday, July 3, 1728, as the date of the execution. Morgan Herbert was convicted at the same court as an accessory to the murder, but he was recommended in a petition numerously signed by citizens, as well as by the judges who tried the case, setting forth that "though in strictness of law Herbert’s offence may be adjudged murder, yet it appeared to them that he was not active in perpetrating thereof, but unhappily fell into ye company of those that committed it." The Governor granted a reprieve to Herbert, who was finally pardoned. The Winters seem to have done the deed under the impression that the Indians were at war with the whites, "and they felt justified in killing any of the natives with whom they met." A reason which, considering the times in which they lived, takes from the act that wicked animus which constitutes morally the crime of murder.

At the Oyer and Terminer, held at Chester, "27, 7 ber, 1728," William Davis was indicted for murdering his master, William Cloud. The jury returned a verdict of guilty, "And ye sd William Davis being asked what he had or could say why sentence of Death should not pass against him says no more than what he has sayd before.

"Therefor it is considered by ye Court here that he be taken back to prison from whence he came and from thence to ye place of execution and there be hanged by ye neck untill he be Dead and his body at ye Disposal of ye Governor."(11*)

On Saturday, Aug. 1, 1752, at the house of Eleanor Davis, in Tredyffrin, a brutal murder was committed by Bryan Doran, James Rice, alias Dillon, and Thomas Kelley. It seems that Rice and Kelley were told by Doran that Eleanor Davis, an old woman, John Thomas, an aged man, and Rachel Jones, a young woman, lived together in the house; that they kept good cider, and "that the old woman had a great deal of money, he believed three or four hundred pounds, in the house." It was thereupon arranged that Doran should go to the dwelling and ask a night’s lodging. At bedtime he was to come to the door and cough once, which was the signal to the men outside that no persons save the usual inmates were there. Rice and Kelley, who had disguised themselves by rubbing black earth on their faces, loitered about the premises until the signal was given, when they, with Dillon, entered the house. The latter, armed with a short broad-bladed sword, then called "a hanger," declared that he was going to England, and demanded all the money the old people had. Receiving no answer, he began to strike and stab the parties who had given him shelter. Rice and Kelley, who were armed with sticks, joined in the base assault. The inmates succeeded in escaping at the doors, were followed by the assassins and knocked down, but the old lady continued to scream, which so alarmed the robbers that they fled without plundering the house, making their escape on two horses which they appropriated to their use. Eleanor Davis and John Thomas were killed, and Rachel Jones was dangerously wounded. The Provincial authorities offered a reward of one hundred and fifty pounds, and the friends of the slain man and woman forty pounds, for the apprehension of the murderers. Rice and Kelley were shortly afterwards arrested, and tried at Chester, November 27th of the same year, the latter pleading guilty to the indictment, while Rice was found guilty by the jury. James Rice was executed Dec. 9, 1752, and Kelley (who had been respited to identify Bryan Doran, as a person of that name had been arrested in Maryland, but subsequently shown not to be the assassin) was hung Dec. 16, 1752.

At a Court of Oyer and Terminer, held at Chester, Aug. 25, 1760, John Lewis was convicted of the murder of his wife, Ann. The Provincial Council, Sept. 8, 1760, issued a warrant directing his execution.

In 1705 an act creating a special court for the trial of negroes was passed by the colonial authorities, and, although a Supreme Court for the trial of negroes was created and judges commissioned by Lieutenant-Governor John Evans, in February, 1706-7, our records show nothing respecting any tribunal under that enactment until May 28, 1762, at which time a "Special Court" was held at Chester, "before John Hannum and John Morton, Esqs., two of his Majestys Justices of the peace within the County aforsd particularly Commissioned," with the assistance of six of the most substantial freeholders of the neighborhood, who were "duly & legally summoned, returned, Sworn & affirmed well and truly to give their assistance and judgment on the tryal of such Negro or Negroes as shall be charged or accused before them of committing any Murder, Manslaughter, Buggery, Burglary, Rapes, attempts of Rapes or any High or Heinous offence committed acted or done within the sd county." The first case was that of Negro Abraham Johnson, a slave of Humphrey Marshall, who was arraigned on an information exhibited by Benjamin Chew, attorney-general, charging the defendant with "murdering a certain negro man named Glascow, the slave of Alexander Boyd." The court assigned Joseph Galloway, Esq., to defend the accused. "The court find defendant not guilty of murder, but that he is guilty of homicide se defends," and thereupon discharged the prisoner from arrest on the charge, but held him for payment of costs.

At a like special court held March 2, 1764, Phoebe, the slave of Joseph Richardson, was tried for "Feloniously & Burglarily breaking and entering the Mansion house of Thomas Barnard, and stealing there-out divers Goods and Chattles, the property of the said Thomas Barnard." . . . "And now on hearing proof in this Case It is considered and adjudged by this Court that the said defendant Negro Phoebe is Guilty of the Felony & Burglary aforesaid in Manner and form &c. And thereupon it is further considered and adjudged by this Court that the said defendant Negro Phoebe be led to the prison from whence she came and from thence to the place of Execution and there be Hanged by the Neck till she be dead." By the act of March 5, 1725-26, negro slaves convicted of capital offenses were to be valued, and such valuation was to be paid to their masters out of the colonial treasury. In this case Phoebe was valued at fifty-five pounds, which it seems was paid to her master, Joseph Richardson.

On Nov. 30, 1754, Chief Justice William Allen and Alexander Steadman, the latter commissioned that year one of the puisne judges of the Supreme Court, presided at the Oyer and Terminer, at Chester, at which Jane Ewing was tried and found guilty of the murder of her bastard male child, on April 3d of the previous year, and was sentenced to death. "It being reported to the Governor by the Justices of the Supreme Court that they discovered on her trial no kind of remorse," and that the evidence showed that her crime was an aggravated one, a warrant for her execution on Saturday, Jan. 29, 1765, was issued.

Aug. 15, 1768, John Dowdle and Thomas Vaughan were tried for having, March 31, 1768, murdered Thomas Sharp. The prisoners were convicted and sentenced to be hung. The Provincial Council ordered that they be executed in the county jail on Saturday, September 17th, of the same year.

At the Court of Oyer and Terminer, held by the justices of the Supreme Court at Chester, June 11, 1770, Matthew McMahon was tried and convicted of the murder of John McClester, laborer, of Middletown. A warrant directing his execution on Saturday, June 30, 1770, was issued.

At a similar court held at Chester, March 23, 1772, Patrick Kennedy, Thomas Fryer, Neal McCarther, and James Dever were tried on a charge of rape, committed on Jane Walker, of Thornbury, in November of the year previous. They were all convicted and sentenced to death. Patrick Kennedy was ordered to be executed on Saturday, May 2, 1772, but the others were reprieved during the pleasure of the Lieutenant-Governor, Richard Penn.

On Saturday, Dec. 26, 1772, Henry Philips, a laborer, who had been convicted of the murder of Richard Kelley, was executed at Chester by order of the Provincial Council.

John Jones, Aug. 23, 1773, was convicted of burglary and sentenced to death, but Lieutenant-Governor Richard Penn commuted his sentence to transportation, conditioned that he should "never return unto the Province."

In the summer of 1775, James Willis was convicted of the murder of Daniel Culin, and Governor John Penn ordered his execution to take place Saturday, Sept. 30, 1775.

During the gloomy days of the Revolution several murders appear to have been committed, the perpetrators of which, so far as the records show, were never discovered, or at least not brought to justice. On Sept. 16, 1775, John Faughnar, a peddler, was brutally murdered and robbed on the highway, near the Red Lion Inn, in Uwchlan township, in the county of Chester. Suspicion pointed to Fleming Elliott, who could not be found, and the Governor offered a reward of fifty pounds for his arrest, apparently without success. Early in 1778, Benjamin Harmon was murdered under aggravating circumstances in Chester County, and Henry Skyles was charged with being the principal in the crime, while Thomas Boyd, James Wilson, John Hastings, and Charles Caldwell, all of Lancaster County, were said to be accessories thereto. They all escaped arrest, although Thomas Wharton, Jr., president of the Executive Council, on March 24th of that year, offered a reward of one thousand pounds for the apprehension and delivery to justice of the men named, or two hundred pounds for any one of them. In the fall of the year 1779, Jesse Jordan, who had brought suit in Philadelphia against Gen. Benedict Arnold several weeks before, was found murdered in Chester County, the place of his residence, and again the perpetrators of the act escaped "unwhipped of justice."

James Fitzpatrick. The character of "Sandy Flash," in Bayard Taylor’s "Story of Kennett," is founded on the adventures and the deeds of a sturdy freebooter, who for more than a twelvemonth kept the good people of the county of Chester in constant alarm and dread by his audacious and frequent crimes. The name of James Fitzpatrick in Chester and Delaware Counties is still surrounded with that peculiar glamour of crime which is so often associated with the acts of bold, bad men, and to this day his deeds are recalled by the representatives of the old families of this section with no little local pride, for the subject of their theme was, at least, no ordinary desperado.

James Fitzpatrick was born in Chester County, and when quite a lad was indentured by his father, an Irish emigrant in indigent circumstances, to John Passmore, of Doe Run, as an apprentice to the trade of blacksmithing. His early life was distinguished by no unusual incidents. He worked faithfully at the anvil until he attained his majority and acquired some local prominence as a shoer, and was known the neighborhood round as an excellent judge of horses. His bodily strength is said to have been enormous, his physical endurance noticeable, and he conspicuously excelled all the young men of the locality where he resided in athletic sports. Personally he was handsome; above the average height in stature, he was erect and graceful in carriage, his complexion florid, his features well formed, his eyes a clear bright blue in color, and his hair sandy and luxuriant. On several occasions he had exhibited extraordinary personal courage, circumstances which, subsequently remembered, increased the alarm of the Whigs when Fitzpatrick became an active, unscrupulous partisan of the cause of the king.

After serving the full term of his apprenticeship with Mr. Passmore, he worked as a journeyman at several forges in the county until the outbreak of the Revolutionary war, when he enlisted in the military service of the province. Subsequently, in the shaping of events, he became attached to the Flying Camp, and accompanied that organization to the city of New York. There, for some slight breach of military discipline, he was punished by flogging. The penalty imposed for his dereliction was more than he would bear, and deserting in the night-time, he swam the Hudson River, and made his way across New Jersey to Philadelphia, intending to proceed to his home in Chester County. In the latter city he was recognized, apprehended, and being absent without leave of his commanding officers, was lodged in the old Walnut Street prison, whence he was released on consenting to re-enter the Continental army, for at that time men were eagerly sought for to bear arms. The imprisonment was resented by Fitzpatrick as a wrong that had been done him; therefore, at the first opportunity which presented itself, he again deserted and returned to his home in Chester County, where, for a time, he worked honestly at his trade and in odd jobs at harvesting for the farmers in the neighborhood.

During the summer of 1777, Fitzpatrick, with several other men, was mowing in the field of his late master, John Passmore, in West Marlborough township, when he was taken into custody as a deserter by two Continental soldiers, who had been sent from Wilmington to arrest him. Fitzpatrick having been captured by surprise, was compelled to resort to subterfuge to recover his liberty. By a plausible story respecting clothing that he would require, and a request to be permitted to bid good-by to his aged mother, he prevailed upon the soldiers (who were instructed to bring their captive to Wilmington) to accompany him to his mother’s residence, a tenant-house on Mr. Passmore’s land. When they reached the dwelling, Fitzpatrick opened the door and quickly grasped his rifle from behind it, where he was accustomed to keep that firearm, leveled it at the soldiers, and swore that he would kill them if they did not leave immediately. They had learned sufficiently of the determination of character of their prisoner to believe that he would not hesitate an instant to make his threat good; hence, acting upon the better part of valor, they hastily retreated. Fitzpatrick, as soon as the men had fled, returned to the meadow where he had been at work, and renewed his labor as coolly as if no unusual incident had occurred to disturb the placidity of his every-day life.

The implacable hatred to the patriot cause which was engendered in the mind of Fitzpatrick as the result of corporal punishment inflicted on him while with the Continental army in New York soon had the opportunity to vent itself upon the Whigs of Chester County, whom he believed had betrayed his whereabouts to the colonial military authorities. On the 25th of August, 1777, the British forces, eighteen thousand men, under Gen. Howe, landed at the head of the Elk, in the movement against Philadelphia which resulted in the capture of that city. Fitzpatrick promptly repaired to the camp of the British army, was subsequently present at the battle of Brandywine, and accompanied the victorious enemy to Philadelphia, from which city he made many petty plundering excursions into Chester County, in which predatory expeditions he was accompanied by Mordecai Dougherty, a Tory from the same neighborhood whence Fitzpatrick came. The latter had been reared in the family of Nathan Hayes, residing near Doe Run, and, as supposed, the two worthies had known each other in their youth. After Fitzpatrick joined the English forces, he always spoke of himself as captain, and dubbed Dougherty with the title of lieutenant; but whether either of them were ever commissioned as such by Sir William Howe is very doubtful.

In June, 1778, while Fitzpatrick and his associate were engaged in one of these predatory raids, the British army evacuated Philadelphia, and the two men determined to remain in Chester County and carry on the war as an independent, irregular body. To that end they made their headquarters at a point known as Hand’s Pass, near the present town of Coatesville, and had also secluded hiding-places along the Brandywine in Newland and West Bradford townships, one of which, J. Smith Futhey says, "was on the high hill on the west side of the creek, near the present Marshall’s Station, on the Wilmington and Reading Railroad." From these retired places of concealment Fitzpatrick and Dougherty issued to make desperate expeditions, or to undertake daring adventures, which, in a short time, rendered their names a terror to the Whigs of that neighborhood, for, as to the Tories, they regarded them as their friends, and never molested them. The collectors of the public revenue, however, were their especial prey, and oftentimes unfortunate tax-gatherers who fell in their way were made the victims of the utmost brutality. Frequently, after stripping them of all their money, they would tie the unhappy officials to convenient trees and flog them unmercifully. On one occasion, one of these men was not only robbed of a large sum of money by Fitzpatrick and his companion, but he was taken to one of their hidden lurking-places in the woods, where he was, detained for two weeks, to the consternation of his family, who could only account for his absence by the supposition that he had been murdered.

At another time two tax-collectors, armed with muskets, met a man walking alone whom they did not know, and entered into conversation with him. During the interview one of the officials inquired of the stranger whether he had seen Fitzpatrick, or if he could give him any information as to the whereabouts of that individual, remarking at the same time that he rather preferred that he should encounter that person, for if he did, he, Fitzpatrick, should not escape from him so easily as he had done from other collectors who had fallen in with him. The stranger continued the conversation a few minutes longer, when, turning suddenly upon the men, he disarmed them both, then quietly informed them that he was Capt. Fitzpatrick, and that he would be obliged to them for their money. From the boastful Capt. McGowan, one of the collectors, he took his watch, but as the latter said it was a family relic, doubly valuable to him on that account, he returned it promptly. Capt. McGowan wore his hair in a neat queue, of which he was very vain, and as a particular indignity Fitzpatrick cut it off close to his head. He also despoiled the unfortunate military officer of his sword and pistols, and then tied him to a tree and administered a sound flagellation. At its conclusion Fitzpatrick informed the crestfallen man that he had heard him, McGowan, boasting while at an inn a few miles distant, what he would do with him should he encounter him, and he had therefore given him the opportunity to make his boast good. A local writer of the rude verse of the period in commemorating Fitzpatrick’s exploits alludes thus to this incident:

"Some he did rob, then let them go free,
Bold Capt. McGowan he tied to a tree.
Some he did whip and some he did spare,
He caught Capt. McGowan and cut off his hair."

Subsequently, when the outlaw was in chains in his cell in the jail at Chester, Capt. McGowan visited Fitzpatrick to inquire what he had done with the sword and pistols he had taken from him. The prisoner asked him if he remembered the tavern where he had expressed his wish to meet him, and the tree to which he was tied to be flogged by the man he was looking for. These questions were answered in the affirmative. Thereupon Fitzpatrick told him that about three hundred yards to the southwest of that tree he would find his sword and pistols, concealed between the bark and wood of a decayed oak log. It is stated that the arms were found at the place thus designated.

The audacious courage of the man frequently manifested itself in the most reckless acts of bravado on his part. On one occasion fifty or more persons, all well armed, gathered together with the avowed purpose of taking Fitzpatrick, dead or alive, but being unsuccessful in their search they repaired to an inn, where, seated upon the porch, they discussed the recent exploits of the outlaw and the liquors of the tavern at the same time, until the crowd became excited, and many of the men expressed a desire to meet Fitzpatrick, who was well known to almost every one present. Suddenly, during the heat of the conversation, the outlaw, with his rifle in his hands, presented himself before them, called for a glass of liquor, drank it, and after paying for it withdrew as quietly as he had come, excepting, as he backed off, he announced that he would shoot the first man who stirred to molest him. Then walking backward, holding his rifle menacingly toward the body of men, he moved away until he had attained, as he regarded, a sufficient distance from his enemies, when he turned and fled into the woods.

Several weeks before the British army evacuated Philadelphia, Fitzpatrick and Dougherty, in one of their expeditions from that city, repaired to the houses of Joseph Luckey and Peter Burgardine, where they committed acts of the most flagrant lawlessness. The whole neighborhood was aroused by the outrages, and Col. Andrew Boyd, the then lieutenant of the county, wrote to the Executive Council of Pennsylvania that he had caused diligent search to be made for the culprits, but unsuccessfully, as the loyalists of Newlin and adjoining townships aided and secreted the male-factors. Council thereupon declared the two men outlaws, and offered a reward of a thousand dollars for their arrest, or a like sum for that of Fitzpatrick alone. The Whigs of Chester County thereupon made cause against the men, and repeatedly large bands assembled to capture the outlaws, and numerous plans were resorted to to effect that object. Nevertheless the best-laid schemes looking to that end miscarried, the proscribed men eluded every ambushment, and by fresh outrages, in other sections of the county, added to the consternation which their deeds had created among the patriots. It is related that on one occasion a meeting of the Whigs was called at a tavern on the West Chester road to devise plans for the capture of Fitzpatrick and his companion. With amazing effrontery Fitzpatrick presented himself in disguise at the assembly. A militia captain present rendered himself peculiarly conspicuous by his repeated declarations that he wanted to see Fitzpatrick, whom he had never met, and volunteered to capture him and bring him to justice. The outlaw, who had heard these boasts, unperceived took a candlestick from the mantel-shelf, secreted it in his pocket, and then approaching the noisy captain, told him if he would withdraw with him into another room he would inform him how, when, and where he could see the brigand, and have an opportunity to capture him. The latter consented to go with him. Fitzpatrick, after they had entered the room designated, shut and locked the door, then leveled the candlestick at the captain’s head, saying as he did so,

"Young man, you want to see Captain Fritz. I am that person. I’ll trouble you for your watch and the money you may have about you."

The entrapped hero hastily complied with the request, whereupon Fitzpatrick tied his hands behind him with his own handkerchief.

"Now, sir," he said, as he unlocked the door, "you may go back to your friends and tell them that you wanted to see Captain Fritz and you have seen him."

The prominence given to Fitzpatrick by the Executive Committee in proscribing him and offering a large reward for his capture was accepted by the latter as a flattering recognition of his abilities, and the alarm with which his deeds were regarded by the Whigs. He was repeatedly shot at by concealed marksmen, but always escaped unscathed, until the notion became prevalent that his was a charmed life; his shrewdness in avoiding snares to entrap him, his ability, courage, and readiness in eluding pursuit, together with his apparent recklessness in thrusting himself almost within the clutches of his enemies merely to disappoint them afresh, served to deepen the general impression heretofore mentioned. A short time after a price was set upon his life, to manifest his contempt of the proclamation and his mean opinion of the bravery of his foemen, in broad daylight, armed only with a pair of pistols and a dagger, he entered the hamlet of Kennett Square, deliberately walked through its streets, the people whom he met making way for him to pass, and repaired to the "Unicorn," the ancient and most noted hostelry in the village, destroyed by fire in January, 1875.

He unhesitatingly entered the bar-room, in which a crowd of twoscore men were assembled, talking of the outlaw for he was the constant topic of conversation - and making copious draughts upon the good cheer of "mine host," the jolly, jovial Maj. John Bell, until they had become boisterously intoxicated. In that condition many of the men - as seems to have been customary on those occasions - expressed the desire to meet Fitzpatrick, whose personal peculiarities were well known to almost every one present. The reckless man, apparently as if an accustomed frequenter of the inn, called for a glass of liquor, drank it, and quietly walked away, without the least molestation by word or sign from any one. The insolent intrepidity of the act so utterly astonished the crowd that they did not recover their amazement until Fitzpatrick was out of range of their firearms.

His robberies were bold and to the sheer effrontery of many of his deeds was he indebted for his immunity from arrest. On one occasion, when a number of men were harvesting in a field on the farm of James Shields, Fitzpatrick and Dougherty presented themselves, and the former informed Mr. Shields that he had called at his house and borrowed his watch, his silver shoe-buckles, and his shoes. Shields said, promptly,

"You must return them."

"That will depend altogether upon your behavior towards us," was the reply of the outlaw, with a laugh.

Archibald Hambleton, a young man who was reaping in the field at the time, was taken into custody by Fitzpatrick and his companion, who compelled him to go with them to his parents’ home. There the outlaws appropriated to their own use a rifle, powder-horn, and shot-pouch, and Fitzpatrick forced Hambleton to swear on a Bible that he would not follow, betray, disturb, or molest any of his (Hambleton’s) neighbors, many of whom were Tories, in retaliation for the theft. He also told Hambleton if he violated his oath in any respect he and Dougherty would return there and burn not only his parents’ house, but the houses of every rebel in the neighborhood.

The brutal punishment of flogging, then a part of the military law of every nation, which had caused Fitzpatrick to desert the cause of the colonies and sustain that of the loyalists, seemed, after his personal experience in the Continental army, to have become his favorite mode of punishment. On all occasions he employed castigation as a remedy for every wrong, suppositious or actual, which he had sustained. It is related that on one occasion a man from Nottingham township, when in pursuit of Fitzpatrick, went to the house of the latter’s mother, where he behaved in an insolent manner, hoping thereby to compel her to tell him the whereabouts of her son. Among other things, to show his authority when dealing with a proscribed outlaw, he broke her spinning-wheel. Fitzpatrick, when informed of the indignities which had been shown his parent, vowed that he would be revenged, and contrived to have a message delivered to the offender, in which he apprised him that he might expect a visit from him shortly, and could, if so disposed, make whatever arrangements he deemed necessary to receive his guest in a proper form. The man laughed at the threat, said he would be glad to see Fitzpatrick (they all said that), and if he came he would not, in all probabilities, have occasion to ask the hospitality of any other person after he had gotten through with him. Nevertheless, Fitzpatrick kept his promise. One morning he suddenly confronted the man who had ill-treated his mother at the door of his own house, and commanded him, in a peremptory manner, to immediately follow him to the woods. He who had been so prolific in defiances when the danger was remote had not the courage to resist when Fitzpatrick presented himself in person, but cowardly obeyed his orders. The outlaw tied him to a tree and administered a castigation, which was laid on with a strong arm, and, perhaps, with more good will on the part of the whipper than in any case when Fitzpatrick punished his enemy by flagellation.

Despite his many crimes, there was a rough chivalry in the character of the man which exhibited itself in his marked gallantry towards women, in his open, generous disposition to aid them on when ill fortune bore heavily; indeed, he was never known to rob a poor man or ill-treat a female. Many are the instances related when he bestowed upon the destitute that which he had taken from those in good circumstances, and the weak or defenseless never suffered at his hands. On one occasion an old woman, who made a meagre living by peddling from house to house odds and ends of female apparel, encountered Fitzpatrick in the neighborhood of Caln Friends’ meeting-house. She was at the time on her way to Philadelphia to buy goods, and all the money she possessed was on her person. She had never seen Capt. Fitzpatrick, and she informed, the tall, handsome stranger that she was told that the outlaw had made some demonstrations in that neighborhood a short time before, and she was afraid that she might fall in with him and be robbed of all her money. Fitzpatrick, by a few questions, drew from her the particulars of her business, and her difficulty in winning an honest livelihood. He then good naturedly told her she need be under no apprehension, Fitzpatrick never warred upon the weak or defenseless, that she was talking to that personage; and taking a purse from his pocket containing several gold pieces, he gave it to her to aid her in increasing her scanty stock of goods. Then, wishing her a safe journey, he turned into the woods and disappeared.

The short but eventful career of the outlaw was rapidly drawing to an end. On Saturday afternoon, the 22d day of August, 1778, shortly after five o’clock, Fitzpatrick went to the house of William McAffee, a well-to-do farmer, who resided in Edgmont township, in the present county of Delaware, near Castle Rock, a cluster of peculiar rocks, bowlder upon bowlder in picturesque confusion, a place often visited by tourists as a natural curiosity, not far from Crum Creek, where that stream is crossed by the West Chester road, and about ten miles from old Chester, on the Delaware. The house stood on a plantation known as the Castle Rock Farm, now owned by Mr. William Taylor, whose present dwelling stands on the site where McAffee’s house was then located. It seems that Fitzpatrick had visited the family, who were ardent Whigs, on a former occasion, and had taken from them some articles of value. On the afternoon above mentioned, Mr. and Mrs. McAffee and their son, Robert, a captain of a military company, were at tea, when the latter glancing out of the door saw a man armed with a rifle, a pair of pistols in his belt, and a sword at his side approaching on horseback. As he came from the direction of the American camp, the captain supposed the horseman was a soldier in the Continental service. The latter rode to the door, dismounted, and asked whether William McAffee lived there. An affirmative response was made to this interrogatory, whereupon the stranger entered the room and inquired,

"Are you Capt. Robert McAffee?"
"I am Robert McAffee," was the rejoinder of the son.
"And I am Capt. Fitzpatrick."

"If that be so," quietly said the young man, "sit down and take a cup of tea with us; you are welcome to it."

But Fitzpatrick, who seemed to have entertained personal enmity against the McAffees, rudely refused the invitation, declaring, with an oath, that he would neither eat nor drink, nor would he leave the house until he had stripped its inmates of all the money they had; that he was levying contributions from the rebels, and that he had fixed upon one hundred and fifty pounds as the sum to be paid him by the McAffees. Thereupon presenting his pistol at Capt. McAffee, he ordered the members of the family to deliver to him all articles of jewelry and money they had upon their persons. A pair of well-made low shoes, or pumps, with silver buckles, worn by the son, particularly pleased Fitzpatrick’s fancy, and, kicking off those he wore, he immediately appropriated those articles to his own use. The shoes, however, were rather small for the outlaw, and when he put them on his heels pressed the counters down. During a moment when Fitzpatrick’s attention was drawn elsewhere, Capt. McAffee threw the keys of his chest, together with some Continental bills which he had had in his pockets, behind the door. His mother obtaining possession of the keys went up-stairs, and unlocking the chest in which a large sum of money was, secreted it under a quantity of wheat which was stored in the garret. Fitzpatrick, as soon as he became aware that Mrs. McAffee had left the room, threatened to kill her son if he did not immediately cause her to descend. In response to the call the mother promptly appeared, accompanied by Rachel Walker, the hired woman. Fitzpatrick having ransacked every place in the lower rooms where he supposed money or plate could be secreted, ordered all the inmates of the dwelling to ascend to the upper apartments. In the passage the outlaw observed Capt. McAffee’s rifle, which he discharged and threw out of the door, remarking that it could lie there until it was wanted. At the foot of the stairs William McAffee endeavored to dissuade Fitzpatrick from ascending, promising him immunity from punishment for what he had already done to them; but the latter, believing that there was a large sum of money in the house, adhered to his purpose, and drawing his sword, placed the point of it at the breast of the old man, threatening to run him through if he did not immediately proceed.

When in the upper rooms, Fitzpatrick commanded Capt. McAffee to unlock his chest and produce the one hundred and fifty pounds already demanded. The latter, in a tone of well-assumed astonishment, exclaimed,

"How can you expect that so young a man as I am would have so large a sum of money in my possession?"

However, he promptly opened the chest, the keys of which his mother had returned to him, and told Fitzpatrick to search it. The outlaw complied with this invitation, but not finding the money, which, it is supposed, he had learned was in the possession of Robert McAffee, his disappointment was great, and, turning to the captain, said that in lieu of the money he would compel him, as he was his prisoner, to take part in his next campaign, and to that end he must provide himself with a horse and clothing, for it would be a long and severe expedition. The threat was not to be misunderstood, and Capt. McAffee was convinced that his only hope for liberty, possibly life itself, was in the capture of the outlaw.

Fitzpatrick ordered Capt. McAffee, his father and mother, in the order given, to stand in a row on his right hand, while Rachel Walker stood a short distance from and in front of him. The pumps which the outlaw had appropriated to his own use, being down at the heels, seemed to have annoyed him. He laid his arms, except a pistol which he kept in his hand, on the bed, and placing one of his feet on the side of the bedstead, he strove to force, with both hands, the shoe on his foot. Capt. McAffee, who was a large and muscular man, saw that the opportunity to put his resolution into effect was now presented, and, springing suddenly, he seized Fitzpatrick from behind in such a way as to prevent the latter the full use of his arms, and then, after some struggling, managed to throw him to the floor. The outlaw strove desperately to free his hand in which he still clutched the pistol. Rachel Walker thereupon caught the weapon, and, although in the scuffle her hand was badly hurt by the lock, she stoutly maintained her hold until she wrested the firearm from his grasp. As the men were still struggling, Rachel threw a double woolen coverlid over the head and face of Fitzpatrick, holding it in that position, which partially smothered him, and gave McAffee complete mastery over the prostrated man.

David Cunningham, a hired man on the farm, who had entered the house, hearing the noise of the scuffling, came up-stairs. He was immediately ordered by Capt. McAffee to get a rope and secure Fitzpatrick. While Mrs. McAffee was striving to bind his feet, he kicked her so violently in the side that she fell against the partition at the other end of the room. After the unhappy man was firmly bound, he begged earnestly of his captor that he would blow out his brains and make an end of his misery. Capt. McAffee told him that he would deliver him to the proper authorities, and to that end he sent David Cunningham to inform the nearest Whig neighbors of the capture, with a request that they would aid in guarding the prisoner from any attempted rescue. This being done, Cunningham was instructed to proceed to the American camp, and ask that a guard be sent to take Fitzpatrick to a place of safety.

Rachel Walker, after the capture had been made, armed with the pistol she had wrested from the outlaw, stood sentinel at the door of the apartment, but when David Cunningham rode away on his errand, she remembered that Dougherty and other companions of the outlaw might be lurking in the neighborhood, and she immediately started to bring Miss Jane McAffee home from the house of a friend near by before night came on. As the two women were returning they met a young man and woman walking together. The news the former had was too momentous to be kept, and they therefore imparted to the latter the fact that Fitzpatrick had been taken and was then a prisoner at McAffee’s. This information aroused the latter’s curiosity, and together the four repaired to the house. When they came into the room the young woman seated herself on the bed on which Fitzpatrick was lying, and apparently deeply moved with pity at the sight of the handsome man pinioned, her womanly sympathies exhibited themselves in an effort to comfort him. She smoothed his hair with her hand, and when he complained of being chilly, she threw a covering over him.

The immediate neighbors of the McAffees were loyalists, and the nearest Whigs were about two miles distant, hence it was between eight and nine o’clock before any assistance was had to prevent a rescue. Capt. McAffee then, exhausted by the struggle and the excitement which he had been under, repaired to an adjoining apartment to rest himself. Some time after he had retired it was discovered that Fitzpatrick, whose body was covered by the quilt, had freed his arm from the rope, and it was suspected that the young woman had been mainly instrumental in loosing the bonds. He was speedily rebound, and the rope was drawn so tightly that he complained that it hurt him. No attention was paid by the men present to the remonstrance of the prisoner, and he appealed to Miss Jane McAffee, who called her brother. The latter declared that Fitzpatrick should not be ill used, and although he must be bound, the ropes should not be drawn unnecessarily tight to cause him pain. About eleven o’clock one of men who were guarding Fitzpatrick sat near the window, when he was immediately fired at, the ball lodging in the weather-boarding of the house beneath the sill. A number of the men present made search for the assailant, whom they believed to have been Dougherty, but failed to apprehend him. They merely found a sword, which was recognized as one that Fitzpatrick had taken from a patriot officer. Two hours after midnight the guard dispatched from the American camp to escort Fitzpatrick to a place of safe detention arrived, and taking him in charge, conveyed him to Old Chester, where he was lodged in jail early the following morning. Dougherty, after the capture of his superior, passed entirely out of public notice, and nothing is known of his subsequent career. He may have taken part in the series of annoyances to which Capt. McAffee and family were subjected after the capture of Fitzpatrick. Two stacks of oats were burned, the spring house opened, all the milk-pans therein ruined, and the manes and tails of the horses on their farm cut off, and other outrages perpetrated.

On the 15th of September Fitzpatrick was tried and convicted of burglary and robbery, and sentenced to be hanged. The Executive Council of the State approved the sentence, and designated the 26th day of the same month as the time when the execution should take place. While confined in the old jail in Chester, after conviction, Fitzpatrick made an effort to escape. He filed his chains and would have succeeded in his attempt had it not been that iron bars, imbedded in the masonry of the flue of the chimney, prevented his egress in that way, and the noise made in striving to break them out aroused his keepers. He was, therefore, removed by order of Council to the then recently-erected prison on Walnut Street, Philadelphia, as a place of greater security. There he twice broke his handcuffs off in one night, but was prevented from effecting his escape by the vigilance of the guards. The day previous to his execution he was conveyed to Chester.

On the morning of the 26th day of September, 1778, at the intersection of Providence and Edgmont Avenues, in North Ward, Chester, James Fitzpatrick met his fate. Tradition hath it that after the rope was adjusted about his neck and the cart drawn from beneath the gallows he fell to the earth on his feet, and that by standing on his toes the strain on his neck was removed. This the hangman saw, and springing upon the shoulders of the doomed man, the increased weight forced the body down until James Fitzpatrick was actually strangled to death.

Joseph Bates, who had been convicted of burglary, was ordered by the Executive Council to be hung May 20, 1780, at two o’clock P.M., "at the usual place of execution(12*) in Chester."

In May, 1780, William Boyd, a collector of the public taxes in Chester County, while in the discharge of his duties, was murdered by John and Robert Smith, who, after the commission of the act, fled. President Joseph Reed, with the approval of the Executive Council, offered a reward of twenty thousand dollars for the arrest of the murderers. They were making their way across New Jersey to join the British army, in New York, when they were apprehended by Sheriff Furman, of Monmouth County. They were brought to Chester, where, June 26, 1780, they were tried, convicted, and ordered to be hung, at the usual place of execution, on Saturday, July 1st, four full days alone intervening between their condemnation and death.

On Oct. 26, 1784, the Executive Council directed a warrant to the sheriff of Chester County requiring the execution of Joseph Clark, John McDonnell, and John Varnum, alias Benson, who were then under sentence of death for burglary, on Tuesday, Nov. 2, 1784.

Elizabeth Wilson, The unhappy life-history of Elizabeth Wilson is one of the most popular traditions of Delaware and Chester Counties, and for nearly a century has been told and retold by the old residents of Delaware and Chester Counties and by their descendants, until many of the details, as so related, have gathered about the true narrative much that is unreliable if not absolutely false. Although I have striven to substantiate every item by careful investigation, perchance some of the imaginary particulars which have clustered around the sad, true history of Elizabeth Wilson may yet cling to the story in the present narration.

Elizabeth Wilson was the daughter of a farmer residing in East Bradford township, Chester Co., who in the conflict of political opinions preceding and during the Revolutionary war was earnest and honest in the advocacy of the crown. His means barely raised him above poverty, but he was esteemed and respected by the community in which he lived. His daughter, a bright, sprightly lass at the age of sixteen, was noted for her personal beauty, which as she matured was more and more conspicuous. At that time she became much interested in the religious exercises conducted by Elder Fleeson, an itinerant Baptist clergyman, who was earnest in his efforts to establish permanently the peculiar tenets of his faith in Chester County, wherein several congregations of that religious belief had existed from an early date.

The strong Tory sympathies of her parents caused him to regard the capture of Philadelphia, in 1777, as the harbinger of the good time approaching when the king should come to his own again, and Elizabeth, during the occupancy of the British army of that city, visited it, and remained for several weeks at the Indian Queen Inn, on Fourth Street, which at that time was kept by a distant relative of her parents. While there her loveliness attracted the attention of a young man, an incident which years afterwards brought her to an unnatural death, that of a convicted felon.

After the war had ceased Elizabeth Wilson again visited Philadelphia, for the attractions of the metropolis of the commonwealth, the glare and glitter of the city, had made such an impression on her mind that the quiet stillness of the country became distasteful to her, while the drudgery of rural life, much greater than in our day, she endeavored to avoid by seeking employment at the Indian Queen Inn, where as a relative, by rendering some service in the household affairs, she was received as one of the family. The young man heretofore mentioned resided at the inn as a boarder, and Elizabeth, then in the full maturity of her beauty, became warmly, devotedly attached to him. His attentions were so marked that no doubt was entertained by her relatives in the city that a marriage between the young couple would ultimately result. They, like Elizabeth, did not suspect the traitorous heart of the young man, who, during the war, had acquitted himself as a bold, dashing officer. Sufficient it is to my purpose to state that the poor girl, unmarried, when on the eve of becoming a mother, was informed by the parties with whom she was living in Philadelphia that she must withdraw herself from their dwelling.

Whither to go she knew not, but at length she determined to seek the shelter of her father’s house, and learning that a farmer living in the same neighborhood with her parents was in the city, she asked the privilege of riding thither in his market-wagon. It was late in the night, in those days of early hours, that she alighted from the vehicle at the gate of her childhood’s home, and, in great agony of mind and body, she wearily made her way to the door of the house, which stood some little distance from the highway, and when there she was so exhausted that she could not rap for admission, but sank on the steps. Her moanings, however, aroused her father, who raised the window and inquired, "Who’s there?" "A poor sick woman," was the faint response to his question. The old man’s feeling of humanity was touched, and he and his wife - Elizabeth Wilson’s step-mother - hurried to the door, and raising the poor girl, bore her to a settee, without recognizing her as their child. And then before morning Elizabeth gave birth to two male children.

As soon as the mother had again strength she rode to Philadelphia to find the father of her sons, who had, a little while before their birth, absented himself from the Indian Queen, giving out that he had gone away on business and would be absent some time. On her arrival in the city she found him. He received her apparently with pleasure, and after they had been together several hours she remounted the horse and returned to Chester County.

The Sunday following, while her parents were absent at worship, she dressed herself, and taking her babes with her left the house, stating that she was going to meet their father and be married. She walked in the direction of Newtown Square, and for a week (excepting a neighbor going along the road conveyed her a short distance in his wagon, from which she alighted on the King’s Highway leading to Philadelphia, and seating herself on a rock on the roadside, near the farm of Mr. Cope, in East Bradford, where he last saw her nursing her infants) nothing more was heard respecting her for a week or more; although it afterwards appeared that about dusk the same day she came to the Indian Queen Inn, in Philadelphia, haggard, and exhibiting all the indications of an unsound mind. Her children were not with her.

A week or so after the disappearance of Elizabeth Wilson, while some gunners were traversing the woods on the east side of the Edgmont road, above Street road, their dogs discovered the bodies of two murdered babies hidden beneath a felled tree, a little earth and twigs having been thrown upon the corpses to conceal them from sight. The remains were immediately taken to her father’s house, for she was at once under suspicion, where they were fully identified by the clothing as her children. A coroner’s jury was impaneled, and a verdict rendered charging the crime of murder on the absent mother. She was shortly thereafter arrested and lodged in the old jail in Chester. When taken into custody she remained silent, refusing to make any statement as to the deed, and a sluggish apathy marked her demeanor, saving at times when she would weep passionately and appeal to heaven for mercy.

When the Court of Oyer and Terminer for Chester County was held, the grand jury indicted her for murder and she was arraigned for trial, but to the clerk’s inquiry, "How say you, prisoner at the bar, are you guilty or not guilty?" she made no response save weeping violently. Judge Atlee (William Augustus Atlee, one of the puisne judges of the Supreme Court, appointed Aug. 17, 1777), kindly turning to the unfortunate girl, asked her whether she had counsel, and receiving a shake of the head in reply, he ordered that the plea of "not guilty" be taken, assigning also counsel to defend her. The latter asked that the trial might be delayed until the following day, so that he would be afforded an opportunity to consult with his client and make preparation for her defense, a request which was immediately granted.

The next morning when court assembled the prisoner’s counsel announced that he did not know, under the circumstances, what to do; that he had failed, despite his utmost efforts, to obtain a single word in answer to his questions from Elizabeth Wilson; that he was impressed that there was something in this case so exceptionally out of the ordinary course of crime, that the ends of justice might be reached and an endeavor made to fathom the mystery he asked the bench to defer the trial to the next court. Judge Atlee, knowing that to proceed meant conviction for the prisoner, in the goodness of his heart ordered that the trial should go over to the following term.

During the interval an effort was made to solve the mystery which shrouded the murder in obscurity, while, notwithstanding the terrible consequences that would ensue to her if she still remained obstinately silent was made plain to Elizabeth Wilson, not a word could she be induced to say respecting the crime, but every interview with her terminated in an outburst of tears, which would continue for hours. When her case finally came up for trial, although the sympathies of the court and lookers-on were decidedly with the prisoner, the evidence produced all led to the conclusion that she was guilty of the crime for which she had been indicted. Attorney-General Bradford, at the conclusion of the address of the prisoner’s counsel, refused to marshal the evidence for the government, and when Judge Atlee came to charge the jury he turned to the accused and asked her, even at that late moment, to make some declaration, to say something in the terrible condition in which she then stood, but she merely shook her head, muttering, "I cannot! Jesus, have mercy on me!" Atlee, in his remarks, was brief, and simply defined the law of murder, without in any wise intimating to the jury his conclusions on the facts in the case. The latter, although no testimony had been offered for the defense, as an evidence of the general sympathy existing in the community, were several hours deliberating on the verdict, and it is related that as the foreman returned their finding, "Guilty," his voice was scarcely audible to those nearest him, notwithstanding the stillness in the court-room was intense. The judge immediately, as was then the custom, pronounced the sentence of the law, fixing the date of execution for Wednesday, the 7th of December, 1785.

While the friendless girl - for her parents, who had not forsaken her in her misfortune, now turned from her when she was charged with murder, and had remained obstinately silent as to the accusation - was on trial, her only brother, William Wilson, was employed on a farm in a retired part, of Lancaster County, and, as news traveled slowly in those days, he was absolutely ignorant of the great danger in which his sister was then placed. But one morning, less than a week before the time fixed for her execution, William, while engaged in his ordinary labor, suddenly stated to those with whom he was at work that he must immediately go to Chester, for he was wanted there. When he repaired to the house and informed his employer (Dr. Fahnestock’s grandfather, and the doctor narrated this incident), the latter strove to persuade him to remain, and desired to know why he was so anxious to go at that time. William merely responded, "I do not know, but I must go and find out what it is." And he immediately set out for Chester, stopping as he journeyed thither at his father’s house, where he learned for the first time of the children’s birth, their death, and that Elizabeth had been indicted, tried, and in a few days would be hanged for their murder. Without further delay he hastened to Chester, reaching here on the afternoon of Monday, the 3d of December, hardly forty-eight hours before the time designated for her execution. The imprisoned girl had been daily visited, after her sentence, by Elder Fleeson and the rector of St. Paul’s Church, and the former stated to Dr. Fahnestock that her constant prayer for several days before her brother actually came was that the Lord would direct William to her in her great extremity. As soon as the latter had access to the prison, although he had partly promised his father that he would make no effort to have an interview with the woman who had brought such deep sorrow to her aged parent, and after the excitement consequent on his visit had in a measure subsided, Elizabeth stated that she had something to communicate to him in private. He, however, replied that if it was purely a personal matter, he would consent, but if it was aught relating to the crime, he would not hear her unless two other witnesses besides the clergymen who were with her were present. It was court-week, and her brother requested Judge Atlee, Attorney General Bradford, Sheriff Gibbons, and the prisoner’s counsel to come to the cell, and in their presence, at the repeated solicitation of William Wilson, the condemned woman made a full confession, the substance of which was as follows:

That when she visited Philadelphia after the birth of her children, at the interview she had with her "undoer," he promised to meet her at Newtown Square on the Sunday following, at which time they would be married, and he would provide for the mother and her offsprings. On the day designated he met her, but it was several miles beyond the place appointed, where the road led through a dense woods. He received her with warmth of manner, and requested her to walk some distance aside, where they would be removed from the observation of persons who might be passing along the highway. The weary woman seated herself on the trunk of a felled tree, having both the children in her arms. After some conversation the man asked Elizabeth to permit him to take one of the children, that he might see whether it resembled him. He held the baby in his arms for a moment; then, after a pause, he laid it on the ground, and, snatching the other from its mother’s embrace, deposited it alongside of its brother, The inhuman father thereupon demanded that Elizabeth should destroy her infants. She unhesitatingly refused to injure them, but in turn besought him to spare their lives, promising that if he did she would never more trouble him, but would work willingly, or even beg her and their daily bread, for the children were dearer to her than her life. He, however, brutally replied that he could have no mercy for a fallen woman or her sinful offspring; and thereupon drawing a pistol, he pointed it at her, while at the same time he placed his feet on the infants’ breasts, and, before she could prevent him, he crushed them to death. The murderer then compelled the unhappy woman, on peril of her life, to swear by her soul’s everlasting welfare that she would never reveal the dreadful deed nor the name of the chief actor in the crime, but that she would tell all persons who might inquire for the children that they had been taken to New Jersey to nurse and be reared. In conclusion, Elizabeth Wilson declared, "To the truth of this statement I appeal to the Searcher of all hearts, before whose dread tribunal I am to appear next day after to-morrow."

The declaration of the prisoner was reduced to writing, and she swore to its truth, while the signatures of all present were attached to the document, attesting that the confession had been made in their hearing. Armed with this paper, William Wilson, night as it was, with all speed hastened to Philadelphia to obtain a respite from the Executive Council, with what success the following extract from the Pennsylvania Colonial Record (vol. xiv. p. 591) exhibits:
     "The petition of William Wilson, brother to Elizabeth Wilson, now confined in jail of Chester under sentence of death, accompanied by a confession of the said Elizabeth, was read, and, in consideration of the circumstances stated therein, it was Ordered, That the warrant issued by the Board for the Execution of Elizabeth Wilson on Wednesday, the Seventh instant, be revoked, and that another issue, directory of her execution on the third day of January, 1788."

William Wilson, immediately after he had given proper notice to the authorities of Chester County of the action of the Supreme Executive Council, set off for West Jersey, where his sister’s betrayer was said then to be living. He found him, and when confronted by Wilson, he declared that he did not know his sister, and had not been in Philadelphia for two years. Wilson thereupon returned to Chester, had an interview with Elizabeth, and succeeded in finding a witness who would testify that the man whom she accused had not only been in Philadelphia and lodged at the same house with her, but he had procured other important testimony to substantiate her charge, when he was taken severely ill. The time granted by Council had nearly expired, and sick as he was, William Wilson made his way to Chester, intending to go thence to Philadelphia for a further respite. When he reached this place in the afternoon he was astonished to learn that the stay of execution would expire the next day, whereas he had thought it was not out until the day following. Immediately on learning of this error he hastened to Philadelphia through a heavy rainfall, and, according to a statement of one of the members of Council,(13*) "unfortunately he went to the President’s (Dr. Franklin); where, notwithstanding all his entreaties, it was some time before he could get to see him, and when he did he stayed, endeavoring to persuade the doctor to give him a line to the sheriff, which the former, thinking it improper, refused, and directed him to me. I was just leaving the Council-chamber when he came, all the other members but one having gone. I immediately wrote, ‘Do not execute Wilson till you hear further from the Council,’ and directed it to the sheriff. I well knew the board intended to grant a further respite."

Wilson started immediately on his return, the rain in the mean while having increased until it now descended in heavy torrents, and the road in places was submerged in the water which the wayside ditches could not carry away as fast as it fell. On reaching the Middle Ferry over the Schuylkill - there was no bridge at that time - he found it was impossible to get conveyance over the river on such a night as it was and in the pelting storm. At daylight the next morning William was at the ferry, but the river, swollen by the preceding day’s rain, was so threatening that the ferryman refused to attempt the passage of the stream, and, although Wilson told him that a human life hung on his movement, it was all in vain, he declined to endanger his own existence on any consideration. The hours were passing, and at last, fully assured that nothing would induce the ferryman to cross the river with the boat, William Wilson fastened the respite in the lining of his cap, which he placed on his head; then spreading a handkerchief over all, he tied the ends securely under his chin, and with great difficulty forced the horse he rode into the water. Right nobly did the animal breast the swiftly-flowing current which washed down the wide channel with terrific force, and in all probabilities it might have made the way safely to the other side had his course not been frequently impeded by drift-ice, and even heavy pieces of timber came driven onward by the flood, which, striking the beast, turned him repeatedly aside. At length, just when the edge of the current on the western side of the river had been passed, and the most difficult part of the crossing had been overcome, the horse, completely exhausted, sank, leaving William Wilson to battle with the wildly-rushing waters. By this time a number of persons, despite the storm that was raging, had gathered at the ferry-house, and the utmost anxiety prevailed among them as they watched the bold swimmer struggling with the stream, which ran like a sluiceway to the Delaware. The remarkable muscular strength of the man served him well, and although, physically, he was greatly exhausted when he landed on the opposite shore, two miles below the point where he entered the river on the Philadelphia side, he immediately set about procuring another horse, and, after considerable delay, he started for Chester under spur and whip. The highway by this time was mid-leg deep with pasty mud.

About mid-day at the latter place the storm abated, and as no reprieve had come, Sheriff Gibbons ordered the preliminary arrangements to be made for the execution. Nevertheless, he determined to delay carrying out the sentence of the law to the last moment possible under his warrant, and even after the prisoner had been placed in the cart and the procession, followed by a large number of persons, was on its way to the usual place of execution, he stationed duly qualified deputies at some distance on the road to Philadelphia to notify him by white flags of the approach of William Wilson with the papers he believed he would bring staying the work of death. The solemn cortege had reached the place designated, a wild cherry-tree on "Hangman’s Lot," at the intersection of Edgmont and Providence Avenues, one of the branches extending some distance at right angles to the trunk, and whereon a little over seven years previously James Fitzpatrick had met his fate, and the last moment designated for the execution was at hand. The unfortunate culprit was ordered to stand up in the cart, and the fatal noose was placed about her neck. There, in the presence of death, she reiterated that her former statement was true in every particular, then, after a few moments were spent in prayer, the last moment for carrying out the mandate of the law had come, and the cart in which she stood was drawn from beneath her feet. Elizabeth Wilson had been landed into eternity, but so engrossed were the spectators with anxiety for the coming of her brother that but few in the assembly knew when she was swung off, so intently were they watching the line of white flags leading to the Queen’s Highway.

A deep silence followed, hardly a word was spoken for more than a quarter of an hour save in whispers, when in the far distance a tiny white flag was observed to be waved to and fro, to be caught up and repeated by the other flagmen, and a few moments thereafter a haggard, travel-stained man, bespattered with mud, bestriding a horse struggling from weakness, that put forth renewed effort under the goading whip and spur, came into sight, holding in his hand at full arm’s length a paper. The sheriff immediately cut the rope. The hoarse voice of the man shouting "A reprieve! a reprieve!" was now audible, and a few moments thereafter William Wilson’s horse fell, throwing the rider senseless, almost under the bough where his sister’s body had lately been suspended. He came twenty-three minutes too late. The neck of the unhappy girl had been dislocated, and she had died without a struggle.

When resuscitated, to the surprise of all beholders the man’s face was stamped with lines of age and the dark locks of youth had turned to snowy whiteness. Agony in a few moments had done the work of years.

The Pennsylvania Packet for Jan. 12, 1786, refers to the execution as follows:
     "On Tuesday, the 3d inst., the woman who was tried and convicted at Chester, of murdering her two bastard children, ten weeks after their birth, was hanged at that place pursuant to her sentence, the respite given by the Honorable Council having expired."

The sequel to this extraordinary case is peculiarly marked with dramatic features. When William Wilson was restored to health, for he lingered for some time after his sister’s execution with a low fever, in which he, in delirious dreams, re-enacted his remarkable efforts to save Elizabeth’s life, he withdrew himself from the haunts of men, and taking up his abode in the Hummelstown cave in the Swatara Mountains, Dauphin County, led a solitary life, employing himself at his trade in making grindstones, which he sold to Mr. Wolfersberger, of Campbellstown. His cave was furnished with a table, a stove, a bed of straw, and a few cooking utensils. He was cleanly in his habits, and (a noticeable thing in these days) never shaved his face, but let his long, snowy beard sweep his breast, and he employed all his time when not at work with reading diligently his Bible and religious books. He was popularly known as the "Pennsylvania Hermit."

In the Harrisburg intelligencer of Oct. 13, 1821, I find the following notice of his death:
     "Died lately at his lonely hovel among the hills, twelve miles southeast from Harrisburg, Pa.,-Wilson, who for many years endeavored to be a solitary recluse from the society of men, excepting as far as was necessary for his support. His retirement was principally occasioned by the melancholy manner of the death of his sister, by which his reason was partially affected. She had been condemned to die near Philadelphia for murder, in the hope of concealing her shame from the world, and the day of execution was appointed. In the mean time her brother used his utmost means to obtain her pardon from the Governor. He had succeeded, and his horse foamed and bled as he spurred him homeward. But an unpropitious rain had swollen the stream, he was compelled to pace the bank with bursting brain and gaze upon the rushing waters that threatened to blast his only hope. At the earliest moment that a ford was practicable he dashed through, and arrived at the place of execution just in time to see the last struggle of his sister. This was the fatal blow. He retired to the hills of Dauphin County, where he employed himself in making grindstones for a livelihood. He was very exact in his accounts, but was observed frequently to be estranged, and one morning was found dead by a few of his neighbors, who had left him the evening previously in good health."

Long years ago the residents of Chester would frequently relate the occasional appearance of a spectral white horse and rider which on stormy nights could be seen and heard clattering along Fourth Street at a headlong pace to the prison door, and that reached, the noise ceased and the apparition faded into the darkness. Many of the superstitious people of that day firmly believed that the phantom steed bore the unhappy William Wilson, whose fruitless ride to Philadelphia to obtain a respite for his sister that I have narrated still lingers in the traditions of our county.

Jan. 21, 1786, Robert Wilson, or Elliott (for the "Colonial Record" uses both names in referring to this prisoner), was under sentence of death in the old jail at Chester, but the Executive Council saw fit to defer the execution until February 11th of the same year. Before that date came the Council pardoned him, on condition that "he transport himself beyond the seas, not to return to the United States."

On June 5, 1786, from the proceedings of the Executive Council we learn that at that date John McDonough and Richard Shirtliffe were in jail at Chester, under sentence of death for rape, and that the sheriff of the county was ordered to execute them on Saturday, June 17, 1786. Subsequently, with a refinement of cruelty hardly to be looked for from the men at the head of the State government, Council ordered that Richard Shirtliffe should be reprieved until further orders, directing, however, that the welcome intelligence should not be imparted to him until he had been taken under the gallows. What became of him subsequently I have not learned, but in less than four months there was a general jail delivery from the old jail at Chester, when, under the act of Sept. 25, 1786, Sheriff Gibbons removed all the prisoners to the new jail in Goshen township (now West Chester), and the "black stage, the cross-beam, the rope, and all the hideous apparatus of death" was removed, not to be erected again in this locality for the third of a century.

Although no capital conviction was had in Delaware County for twenty-nine years after its creation in 1789, it must not be supposed that no trials for murder occurred during that interval, for such would be a serious error. At the Court of Oyer and Terminer held April 25, 1797, Jacob Rudolph, of Darby township, was tried for killing John Barr by striking him on the head with an iron rake. The defendant was convicted of involuntary manslaughter, and sentenced to six months’ imprisonment and costs. At a like court held in April, 1801, Samuel Black, Catharine Black, and Sarah Campbell, of Marple, were tried for having beaten a negro girl named Patt with sticks so severely that she died from the injuries sustained. The jury returned a verdict of not guilty as to all the defendants. Patrick Gallahoe, laborer, was tried Oct. 28, 1802, for the murder of Alexander McKettuck by striking him with a stick. The jury found the prisoner guilty of murder in the second degree, and he was sentenced to sixteen years’ imprisonment, four of which was to be solitary confinement and the remainder of the term at hard labor. On Jan. 30, 1806, Samuel Howard, a laborer, was tried for the murder of Abraham Stevenson. The accused had thrown the deceased into the river, where he was drowned. Howard was convicted of manslaughter, and sentenced to five years’ imprisonment in the penitentiary at Philadelphia.

At the October sessions, 1806, Francis Patterson was indicted and convicted of challenging Curtis Lownes, of Ridley, to fight a duel. The accused was sentenced to pay costs of prosecution, a fine of five hundred dollars, and to undergo an imprisonment in the county jail at hard labor for one year. In addition he was deprived of all rights of citizenship within the commonwealth for the term of seven years.

On April 14, 1818, John H. Craig was tried for the murder of Squire Hunter, of Newtown, an account of which crime will be found in the history of that township.

At the January Oyer and Terminer, 1819, Charles Norton was convicted of rape, attended with aggravated circumstances. Judge Ross sentenced him to be confined "in the goal and penitentiary-house of Philadelphia for a period of twenty-one years from this day, and to be confined and kept at hard labour, fed and clothed, as the Act of Assembly directs, and be placed during one-fourth of the said term in the solitary cells, that he pay the costs of prosecution, and be committed till the whole sentence is complied with." Thomas Prevard, who was convicted at the same court of a similar offense, received a like sentence. Henry Duffey, at the January Oyer and Terminer, 1820, was convicted of rape, and sentenced to imprisonment for fifteen years.

At the April court, 1820, Benjamin Bevan was tried for the manslaughter of Ebenezer Cook by a blow on the head with a stick, causing death in three days thereafter. The jury by their verdict acquitted the accused.

At the October Court of Oyer and Terminer, 1824, Michael Munroe, alias James Wellington, was convicted of the murder of William Bonsall, and Washington Labbe of murder in the second degree. An account of this case will be found in the history of Upper Darby township.

On Jan. 16, 1827, James Fleming was tried for the murder of Patrick Gill. The prisoner had a knife in his hand when he was attacked by Gill, and in the quarrel Fleming struck the deceased with the weapon in the left side near the groin, causing the latter’s death the same day. The defense was that the act was done in self-protection, and the jury acquitted Fleming.

On Oct. 23, 1829, Thomas Brooke was arraigned for the murder of William Brook, a Revolutionary soldier, the indictment setting forth that the accused had struck the deceased on the head with a stick, which killed him instantly. Hon. Edward Darlington, the then deputy attorney-general, abandoned the case after a few witnesses had been examined for the commonwealth, stating that "there was not a shadow of proof to support the accusation." The jury, without leaving the box, acquitted the defendant.

Charles Williams, a colored man, who had been convicted of burglary, on Oct. 24, 1829, was taken by Sheriff Broomhall, of Delaware County, to undergo a term of imprisonment at Cherry Hill. It is stated that Williams was the first prisoner from any part of the State ever confined in the present Eastern Penitentiary.

At November court, 1836, Richard Milner Martin, a colored man, was tried for killing William Patton by striking him on the head with a stick of wood. He was acquitted. On Nov. 29, 1838, Thomas McLaughlin was tried for the murder of William Pierce. The defendant, November 16th of the same year, struck the deceased on the head with a handspike, and from the injury death ensued the same day. The jury convicted the accused of manslaughter, accompanying their finding with a recommendation of the prisoner "to the most extended leniency of the court." McLaughlin was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment in the penitentiary.

May 28, 1841, Thomas Cropper was convicted of the murder of Martin Hollis, and executed Aug. 6, 1841, in the jail-yard at Chester. This was the last capital conviction in Delaware County. A full account of this case will be given in the history of Birmingham.

On Nov. 23, 1841, Thomas Vanderslice, known to the detectives as "Old Tom Vanderslice," was tried for passing counterfeit money. He refused to employ or have counsel assigned to conduct his defense, but managed his own case, and made a speech to the court (Judge Bell was on the bench) which was remarkable for its boldness and impudence. He was convicted, and sentenced to three years’ incarceration in the penitentiary. After his discharge, on March 24, 1848, he fell into the river at Dock Street wharf, Philadelphia, and was drowned.

On May 27, 1845, Alexander Harris, alias Dobson, was tried for the murder of Ruth Harris, an infant. The accused was a colored man, and the child was the fruits of his criminal intimacy with a white woman. The body of the infant was found at "Deep Hole," in Darby Creek, at Calcoon Hook, in a bag, in which was a heavy stone to sink it in the water. The jury, after three hours’ deliberation, found the prisoner not guilty.

Nov. 27, 1846, Isaiah Spencer, indicted for shooting William Davis in the left breast, from which wound the latter died instantly, was arraigned. Spencer plead guilty to manslaughter, and was sentenced to two years in the penitentiary.

May 28, 1862, Martha J. Long, of Chester, was tried for the murder of her bastard child. The prosecution strove to show how she had strangled it, but the jury acquitted her of murder, but found her guilty of concealing the death of a bastard child. The court sentenced her to three months’ imprisonment.

On Feb. 23, 1864, George Wilkinson was indicted for the murder of Ellen Jones and John Blair, in Middletown. The particulars of this crime are narrated in the history of that township.

On Feb. 26, 1866, John Ward, charged with engaging in a prize-fight with Farrell, near Linwood, which brutal exhibition took place on February 3d of the same year, was tried and convicted. The court sentenced him to two years’ imprisonment in the Eastern Penitentiary.

Jan. 6, 1869, James Weir, a lad thirteen years of age, living in Chester, was tried for the murder of John Thomas, a youth of sixteen. The boys were employed in Patterson Mill, had quarreled, and in the scuffle Weir, with his pocket-knife, stabbed Thomas, who died almost immediately. The jury convicted the prisoner of manslaughter, and he was sentenced to one year’s imprisonment. On November 25th of the same year Thomas Bryson, a shoemaker, of Marple, was tried for the murder of William Stinson. The deceased and the accused had a difficulty on September 22d, during which Bryson struck Stinson on the head with a stone, inflicting an injury from which death ensued the following day. The jury found a verdict of manslaughter, with a recommendation to the mercy of the court. Bryson was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment.

Aug. 22, 1870, Sarah Seaburn, a widow, was tried for the murder of her father, Geo. Clay, of Upper Darby. She had struck him with a hatchet on the head, producing almost instant death. The jury acquitted her on the ground of insanity, and she was committed to the county-house.

Nov. 25, 1872, Joseph Worrall, Jr., was tried for the murder, in August preceding, of David Neidig. The deceased, with a number of ladies and gentlemen, were walking near Lima, when all of the party, excepting the deceased, went into the yard of Mr. Stork’s dwelling for a drink of water. One of the party in the yard cast a stone, striking the house, and Worrall, who was in the house, came out and threw a stone violently at the crowd, who were then in the road, which struck Neidig on the head. He died three days afterwards. The jury found the accused guilty of involuntary manslaughter, and he was sentenced to one year and nine months’ imprisonment.

On Sept. 22, 1875, Charles McDevitt, a peddler, sixty years of age, living in Upper Darby, was tried for the murder of James Fletcher, of Haverford. On May 21st McDevitt was ordered away from Fletcher’s house, was put out of the gate, and his bundle was tossed over in the road to him. "Throw my stick over, too," he said to Fletcher. From this a quarrel resulted, and during the scuffle the peddler stabbed Fletcher near the heart, killing him almost immediately. The jury convicted, McDevitt of manslaughter, and he was sentenced to imprisonment for one year.

James Sheridan, a hired man on the farm of Samuel H. Hibberd, of Haverford, was killed Dec. 6, 1875, under the following circumstances: Six young men, accompanied with dogs, were gunning on Mr. Hibberd’s farm, where persons were interdicted from trespassing. The owner of the place took a double-barreled gun, and, going to where the parties were, shot one of the dogs. This brought on a serious difficulty between the trespassers, Mr. Hibberd, and his hired men. In the struggle Sheridan grappled with John Baird, and the prosecution strove to show that Thomas Cromie, who had a gun, fired the shot killing Sheridan, or that Frederick Troup had deliberately shot him from a lot adjoining. The case was tried March 10, 1876, the jury retired on Saturday night, and on Monday afternoon returned a verdict of voluntary manslaughter. The court sentenced Frederick Troup, John Baird, and Thomas Cromie each to three years’ imprisonment in the county jail.

On March 8, 1876, Josiah Porter, a colored man, was tried for the murder of Joseph Murray. The supervisors of Ridley were repairing the Lazaretto road, just above the Queen’s Highway, and Porter, Murray, and a number of other men were there working. Some difficulty occurred between the two men respecting a shovel, which Murray took from Porter and then threw it back. The latter seized the shovel, and as Murray turned to walk away struck him over the head with it. Murray died several hours after receiving the blow. The jury found the prisoner guilty of murder in the second degree, and he was sentenced to ten years’ imprisonment in the county jail.

On the night of July 29, 1876, Lewis Kershaw, a police officer of Chester, arrested three young men in South Ward, and while he was taking them to the lock-up several persons interfered, and James McGinley broke away and ran, pursued by the officer. The latter overtook his prisoner, a scuffle followed, during which the officer’s pistol was discharged, the ball lodging in McGinley’s side, wounding him so severely that he died before morning. The grand jury at the September court ignored the bills of indictment against Kershaw which were laid before them by the district attorney.

John Duffey, charged with the murder of Thomas Conner, at Rockdale, on the night of Aug.  , 1880, was tried Sept. 27, 1880. The commonwealth sought to show that Duffey and William Frame had had a dispute, and a short time afterwards, when at the Rockdale depot, where there were a number of persons, Duffey fired at Frame, the ball striking Conner, a young man in no wise party to the difficulty, killing him instantly. The defense alleged that in drawing his pistol it was accidentally discharged, and there was no intention on Duffey’s part to injure any one. The jury convicted him of involuntary manslaughter, and he was sentenced to nine months’ imprisonment in the county jail.

On Sept. 23, 1881, Patrick Kilcorse was tried for the murder of his wife on the 4th of July previous. The prisoner had quarreled with his wife the night before, and she had sought shelter in an outhouse, where she remained all night. In the morning the neighbors heard a heavy blow, and going in found Mrs. Kilcorse lying on the floor, blood trickling from her head. It was proposed to send for a doctor, but the prisoner said, "No, d--n her, let her die." The jury convicted Kilcorse of murder in the second degree, and he was sentenced to twelve years’ imprisonment in the penitentiary.

On June 7, 1883, Dennis Green, a colored man of Chester, was tried for the murder of James Clark. The defendant struck the deceased on the head with a blackjack, on the night of the 23d of February. Clark, after receiving the blow, went home, and was found dead in his bed the following morning. The jury convicted Green of murder in the second degree, but recommended him to the mercy of the court. He was sentenced to ten years’ solitary confinement in the penitentiary.

William H. Collins, on Sept. 26, 1883, was arraigned for the murder of his wife, near Lee’s Dam, at Leiperville. The prosecution sought to show that on June 5th the accused, an intemperate man, had beaten his wife, also of intemperate habits, and had stamped on her with his feet, inflicting such injuries that she died the same night. Collins was convicted of murder in the second degree, and sentenced to twelve years’ imprisonment in the penitentiary.

* The first trial recorded on the Delaware was the following: "In the year 1645, November 25th, between ten and eleven o’clock, one Swen Wass, gunner, set Fort Gottenburg on fire. In a short time all was lamentably burnt down, and not the least thing saved excepting the dairy. The people escaped naked and destitute. The winter immediately set in, bitterly cold; the river and all the creeks froze up, and nobody was able to get near us (because New Gottenburg is surrounded by water). The sharpness of the winter lasted until the middle of March, so that if some rye and corn had not been unthreshed I, myself, and all the people with me on the island would have starved to death. But God maintained us with small quantities of provisions until the new harvest. By the sad accident the loss of the company, testified by the annexed roll, is four thousand riksdaler. The above-mentioned incendiary, Swen Wass, I have caused to be brought to court, and to be tried and sentenced; so I have sent him home in irons, with the vessel, accompanied by the whole record concerning him, submissively committing and referring the execution of the verdict to the pleasure of Her Royal Majesty and Right Honorable Company." Report of Governor Printz for 1647, Penna. Magazine of History, vol. vii. p. 273.

Under the Dutch, the first instance of a criminal proceeding occurs in a letter from Alrichs, dated at New Amstel (New Castle), May 14, 1659, to Stuyvesant. He says, "In regard to the four men-servants of Cornelis Herperts de Jager, who established in the county near here a brick-kiln, and employed four persons at it, one of them, Peter by name, has come from Fort Orange as a brick-maker, and was married to a woman who came from Amsterdam, and with him owed a large sum to the city. He has committed wicked crimes of theft of small cattle, as sheep, also of the city’s weapons from the former ensign of the citizens, and has stolen several other things, for which he was publicly flogged and banished this town or place, but allowed to do his work outside in the country to earn his living and get out of his debts. This one has been the leader, and he stirred up the others under this or that pretext. They have together taken away four good muskets and other goods belonging to their master, and thus run away to the Manhatans." Alrichs desires Stuyvesant to arrest and return the men by "the first vessel" to New Amstel (Penna. Archives, local series, vol. vii. p. 561). William Beekman, April 28, 1660, writes to Stuyvesant that at "the last court day" Oele Stille and he had a difficulty in regard to a fine imposed on the Swedish priest. On the 19th of August, 1659, and on the 7th of April, 1660, court was held at Christiana, at which Peter Mayer, who was charged with an assault and battery, did not appear; was fined for his contempt ten guilders (Ib., 635). In 1661 there was a prison at Christiana (Ib., 655).

Certain it is that the first record we have of a capital conviction and execution on the Delaware is related in a letter from William Beekman to Stuyvesant, dated Oct. 24, 1662 (Penna. Archives, second series, vol. vii. p. 691). It appears from this and other authorities that Alexander D’Hinojassa (who held that part of the river from New Castle to Cape Henlopen in opposition to the authority of Governor Stuyvesant, claiming that he had been appointed Governor over that territory to look after the company’s interest, under the will of Jacob Alrichs) ordered the prisoner to be tried. The circumstances are briefly these: A vessel was wrecked on the coast, and a Turk on her succeeded in gaining the land, where he was taken by the Indians, who sold him to Peter Alricks, a resident of New Castle, who in turn sold him to an English planter in Maryland. The Turk, with several other servants, made his escape to the Delaware, where he was pursued. He was subsequently captured, and while being taken up the river in a boat, at Bombay Hook attempted and succeeded in making his escape. In doing so he wounded two of the men seriously and the third slightly. He was, however, again captured, taken to New Castle, and thrown into prison. D’Hinojassa refused to deliver the man to his English master, who claimed him, but ordered him to be tried before Van Sweeringham, who sat as judge. The Turk was convicted of resisting and wounding his captors, and was sentenced to be hung. On Sunday, Oct. 19, 1662, the man was executed at Lewistown, his head afterwards "cut off and placed on a post or stake in the Horekill" (Penna. Archives, vol. vii. p. 728; Duke of York’s Book of Laws, p. 459). The following account of the seditious false Königsmark in New Sweden was translated by Professor G. B. Keen (the original manuscript, date 1683, is preserved in the Royal Library at Stockholm), and published in Penn. Mag. of History, vol. vii. p. 219: "In Provost Acrelius’s ‘Beskrifning om de Swenska Törsamlingars Tilständ uti Nya Swerige,’ p. 123, is introduced what Pastor Rudman noted in the Wicaco Church-book about the rioter among the Swedes, who called himself Königsmark. These are the particulars which I received from the oldest Swedes. This impostor was by birth a Swede, but, for some crime committed by him in England, he was sent to Maryland, to serve there as a slave for a number of years. He ran away from there, however, and came to the Swedes in New Sweden, who were then subject to the English government. Here he made the Swedes believe he was descended from, a great and highly-honorable family in Sweden; that his name was Königsmark; that a Swedish fleet of war-ships lay outside of the bay, and were, as soon as they entered, to take the land again from the English; and that he was sent to encourage the Swedes who lived here to shake off the foreign yoke, and to fall upon and slay the English as soon as they had heard that the Swedish fleet had arrived. A great many of the Swedes permitted themselves to be persuaded by this. They concealed the pretended Königsmark for a long time, so that no one else knew anything of him, supplying him with the best meat and drink they had, by which means he fared very well. Moreover, they went to Philadelphia** and bought powder, balls, shot, lead, etc., to be ready at the first signal. Hereupon he caused the Swedes to be summoned to a supper, and after they had been drinking somewhat exhorted them to free themselves from the yoke, reminding them what they suffered from the English, and how the latter, partly by fraud and partly by force, had taken from them one large piece of land after another, and finally asked them whether they held allegiance to the king of Sweden or to the king of England. A part immediately declared themselves for the king of Sweden; but one of the most honorable of the Swedes, Peter Kock by name, said that as the country was English, and had been surrendered by the king of Sweden to the crown of England, he deemed it just to hold with the king of England. Thereupon Kock ran out and closed the door again, laying himself against it, that the so-called Königsmark might not slip out, and called for help to make him prisoner. The impostor labored with all his might to open the door. Kock endeavored to prevent him by hurting him in the hand with a knife. Notwithstanding, be effected his escape, wherefore Kock immediately hastened to give information to the English, who then made search for him, and in a short time took him prisoner. The above-named Peter Kock then said to him, ‘You rascal, tell me what is your name, for we can see well enough that you are no honorable person?’ The impostor then answered that his true name was Marcus Jacobson. He proved, besides, to be so ignorant that he could neither read nor write. Thereupon he was branded and sent to Barbadoes, where he was sold as a slave. The Swedes who permitted themselves to be imposed upon by him were punished by the confiscation of half their property, land, cattle, goods, clothes, etc."

** This, of course, is a mistake. In 1669 Philadelphia had not been located.

*** See for full particulars of the matter before Provincial Council Colonial Records, vol. iii. pp. 40, 41.

(4*) 1715. The act designated was "for the case of such as conscientiously sought to take the solemn affirmation formerly allowed in Great Britain." It was repealed July 21, 1719.

(5*) See also in confirmation of this statement "the humble address and representation of the Governor and General Assembly," the day of May, 1718 (Proud’s "History of Pennsylvania," vol. ii. p. 101), wherein the address to the king sets forth, "That for this end we have laboured, more generally of late, to regulate the proceedings in our Courts of judicature, as near as possibly could be done, to the constitution and practice of the laws of England.

"That, from many years experience, we are not only convinced that the solemn affirmation allowed in Great Britain to the people called Quakers, doth, in all respects, and in every case, here answer the legal and essential purpose of an oath."

(6*) The last case wherein I find that a man was gibbeted in Pennsylvania was that of Thomas Wilkinson, who had been found guilty of piracy April 23, 1781, and sentenced to be hanged. The Supreme Executive Council, May 17, 1781, directed the execution to take place Wednesday, May 25, 1781, between 10 A.M. and 2 o’clock P.M. that day, on Windmill Island, in Delaware River, and that "the body of the said Thomas Wilkinson be taken down to Mud Island, in the said river, and hanged in chains on the north end of the said island." (Colonial Records, vol. xii. p. 730.) Some doubt arising as to the legality of the prisoner’s conviction, on May 22d Council reprieved Wilkinson for twenty-one days (Ib., 732), after which the record is silent as to his fate, except on Oct. 6, 1781 (Ib., xiii. p. 76), David Henderson was paid £17 l0s. 0d. specie, "amount of his account for making a gibbet for Thomas Wilkinson."

(7*) Supreme Court Docket, Prothonotary’s office, Media, Pa.

(8*) Futhey and Cope’s "History of Chester County," p. 407.

(9*) Supreme Court Docket, Media, Pa.

(10*) Ib.

(11*) Ib.

(12*) The intersection of Edgmont and Providence Avenues.

(13*) Martin’s "History of Chester," p. 185.


Source:  Page(s) 157-178, History of Delaware County, Pennsylvania, by Henry Graham Ashmead, Philadelphia: L.H. Everts & Co. 1884