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People on H-Law who also get into the site of the Death Penalty Information Center know that the Espy File, a list of executions in the United States from 1608 through 1987, is now available on line. Having the Espy File available is good as long as we keep in mind that the list includes only the minimum number of executions from 1608 through 1987 and might seriously understate them. It is, for example, completely inadequate on colonial Maryland. While the Espy File includes only forty-eight executions in Maryland from 1638 to 1781, I have a list of 268 people who my evidence indicates were executed from 1726 through 1775 alone. Because of the inadequacy of the sources, I do not include the first ten months of 1726. I include anyone for whom a death warrant was ordered or issued, with no later evidence of a pardon or a reprieve, and those for whose hangings there is other evidence, such as reports in The Maryland Gazette. I do not include people who were sentenced to death but for whom there is no other evidence of their executions. It is possible, of course, that some of those 268 people were not executed, but since the sources for this period are quite good it is the figure that I use in my writing. During this same period I also have 183 pardons in capital cases and twenty-six reprieves in cases in which there is no evidence that the reprieved defendants were hanged or pardoned later. To complete the figures, from 1708 through 1772 I have forty-two cases in which convicted defendants pleaded benefit of clergy in capital cases. The Espy File includes no executions in Maryland in 1686 through 1737, but from 1726 through 1737 I have forty-six hangings. Though the sources for the period before 1726 are less adequate than those for the rest of the colonial period, we know that from 1685 through 1725 there were also some hangings that the Espy File misses. I do not claim to have all of those cases, but: In 1685 Richard Vanson was hanged for murder. In 1703 Joseph Sanders of Anne Arundel County petitioned the Upper House for compensation for two of his servants who had been executed for the murder of their fellow servant. In 1708 Richard Clarke was hanged on a bill of attainder for what the Assembly in the bill of attainder against him calls "his most Execrable and Trayterous Designes" and his "Illegal Wicked and Trayterous Actions," including allegedly counterfeiting foreign money. We also know that from 1686 through 1725 many people were sentenced to hang but we have no indication of whether they were actually executed. Examples: In 1687 Thomas Leister was sentenced to hang for murder. In 1693 Mary Lunt was sentenced to hang for stabbing her child to death. In 1701 John Bracker was sentenced to hang for murdering his servant. In 1703 William and Margaret Ward were sentenced to hang for murder. As attorney general from December of 1704 until his death in August of 1718, William Bladen got at least sixteen people condemned to hang. We know that two of these were never hanged, but to believe that all of the other fourteen escaped hanging would require a naivety beyond naivety. Thus it appears clear that the Espy File seriously understates the number of people who were hanged in colonial Maryland, and I suspect that the same thing is true of other colonies in which records have disappeared or are inadequate. To cite the Espy File to support the claim that only forty-eight people were hanged in Maryland from 1638 through 1773 would be vastly misleading, and to accept its figures for the other colonies would appear to require a faith beyond faith. Probably it is also worth pointing out that hanging in chains was never a method of execution in colonial Maryland. People were hanged first and then "hung in chains," which might usually have been iron straps rather than chains. In 1968 a set of irons was still preserved in Westgate Museum in Winchester, England. The two people whom the Espy File lists as being executed by hanging in chains in 1743 are Negro Jack and Negro Harry, who were hanged and then gibbeted on 1 July "at or near the head of Seneca Creek" for the murder of an Indian man. From 1723 through 1775 at least thirty people were gibbeted in Maryland. From 1740 through 1776 another seventeen, all Negroes except for one mulatto, were quartered and their parts displayed in various places in the province. C. Ashley Ellefson Professor of History Emeritus SUNY Cortland firstname.lastname@example.org