Pyrates, Negroes, and Thieves

From True Crime Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Blog Posts

The Vial Poured Out upon the Sea


Background on Pirates


  • Keep in mind that this took place in 1726, BEFORE torture and public executions disappeared from society

Crimes Committed

  • Happened in Cape Hatteras
    • It was closer than we think
  • Some of the ships were headed to Virginia or North Carolina
  • Asked for a Pilot
    • The pilot had a battle plan in case there was a pirate attack
      • p.113 top of the page
    • Fly Pretended to be the captain
  • Torture used to take command the ship


  • Fly refused to eat anything while in prison
  • Wouldn't go out to see the Mob
    • I get a sense that Fly thinks he is "Royal"
    • The public is "unworthy" to see him
  • Was hung from at the entrance to the harbor by chance
  • Cole was very remorseful
    • warned other seafaring men that they would be put to death
  • He confessed and repented his sins before death
  • Torture before death was still very popular

Joseph Mountain


Joseph Mountain was born on July 7th, 1758 in Philadelphia. The first seventeen years of his life were spent in the house of Samuel Mifflin, where he was a servant for the Mifflin family and Mr. Mifflin raised him based off the Presbyterian religion. Mountain was taught to read and write by Mr. Mifflin and at the age of seventeen Mountain was allowed to head off to England with the consent of Mr. Mifflin.

Reading the Narrative

  • His master let him go to London to start off new.
  • He wouldn’t be surprised if he joined in on the crime

a. p. 289 “It will not be surprising to find me speedily initiated in practices disgraceful to human nature,”

  • Met Francis Hyde and Thomas Wilson and their business was “highway robbery”
  • They robbed a mail coach together on page 290

a) p. 290 “Deliver, or death.”

  • Continued robbing people at gunpoint including a military officer
  • Mountain decides to change his way of life and becomes a cook on page 292
  • Then on 293 he decides he wants to go back to his old ways and he fails at robbing a coach and he ends up being shot at by Lord Garnik
  • On page 294 he works his way over to Liverpool and starts robbing people there
  • Page 295 he robs a Quaker
  • He begins to spend his time in ale houses just cheating in games with fixed dice
  • Joins a mob shortly after
  • On page 297 he stops his ways because he met Miss Nancy Allingame and married her after six months and they lasted three years
  • Started to rob again but he moved over to France to test his Luck with Hyde and Wilson
  • Joined the British Navy on page 298
  • Met up with his old companions again and robbed on their way to Amsterdam
  • On his was from New York to Boston he was caught stealing $5 and he was to be “whipped Ten Stripes”
  • On page 299 he meets two girls and he tries to “effect his purpose on them” and they become uncomfortable and he grabs the oldest girl and she escapes but he snatches the younger girl and everyone thought he was raping her
  • He goes to court and is sentenced to death
  • He even agrees that he dies a death worthy of his crimes

Blog Posts

  • Abigail's blog pretty much summed up how the central crime in the readings was about thieves and robberies.
  • Chelsea also made a good point about how both the thieves were convicted for rape rather than their usual crimes.

The Narrative and Confession of Thomas Powers, A Negro

Background on Thomas Powers

Born in Willingford Connecticut on Sept. 15, 1796 Lived at home until two years old, when he was sent to Mr. Moses Tharp, of Norwich, Connecticut. Stayed only 1 year until his father wanted him back to instruct him in his several duties. At 9 years old he was sent to Isaac Johnson of Lebanon, Connecticut. He stayed there for 2 years in which he "began [his] career in the gratification of that corrupt and lawless passion". (343) Engaged in "sin" with a negro woman who lived at the house with him He returned home for a few months, until he was sent to live with Mr. Oliver Hyde of Norwich, Connecticut Here his master taught him to read and write Powers started to steal things and play pranks

The Crimes of Thomas Powers

Although only charged with rape, Powers also was a thief (he would steal money from his master and money and goods from a store owner) After he moved with his master from Norwich, Conn. to Lebanon, New Hamshire, he continued to commit many crimes "which black as I am, I should blush to repeat" (344). Tried to "ravish a young girl, who was visiting the neighborhood" but she "escaped the snare [he] had laid for her" (344). Dec. 7, 1795, he "overtook a young woman" to "make an attempt on her virgin chastity" (344)

  • Chilling image of him just leaving and going back to playing checkers with the kids of his masters house

Arrested not more than two hours after going to bed, he was sentenced to prison The notice posted about the rape

  • "A rape was committed last week in Lebanon, on the body of Sally Messer, [by] Tomas Powers, a Mullatto, from Connecticut. N.B. The gentleman has gone to Jail!" (349).

The Escape

April 5, 1796, after 4 months in jail, Powers with the help of two friends broke out He was caught again and hauled back to prison He had another prison escape until he met Mr. Colburn, who told him no one would hurt him and then proceeded to strike Powers. Powers ran until he fainted and Colburn's dog found him

The Trial

Powers was taken to Plymouth and was sentenced to death

  • "It had no impression on my mind- for my heart was hardened beyond description" (347).

Asked for forgiveness from the lady he "had injured" and she sent an answer saying she could and she hoped God would too June 9th -- for 10 dollars he gave permission to have his body to be given to be dissected after death and his bones to "be of service to mankind after the separation of soul and body"(347)

The Execution

Condemned to be hanged on the 7th Given a reprieve of 21 days WIll probably be executed on the 28th

Source Notes

Argument over the first publishing

  • Evans says the 1st edition was probably printed by Nathaniel Coverly in Haverhill

"On July 26th, the Courier of New Hampshire printed the first of several notices warning readers to beware of spurious 'Dying Speeches' " (350)

Printers "unwilling to allow Powers to rest in peace" (351) after his execution and included a humorous piece on the jailbreak

Fun Fact

Thomas Powers is the only non-white person to be executed in the state of New Hampshire [2]