Posts Tagged ‘jack ketch’

CATCH 22 – JAMES FREEMAN

Tuesday, February 21st, 2017

 James Freeman – ‘Hang or be Hanged’. 

 

Part of the original document pardoning a convict if he acts as executioner

Extract showing a pardon on condition of becoming the public executioner. Dated 1 March 1788, signed by Governor Arthur Phillip.

‘For here was an opportunity of establishing a Jack Ketch who Should, in all future Executions, either Hang or be Hanged’. Dr John White, Chief Medical Officer, First Fleet Journal.

 Friday 29th February of 1788 shaped as another busy day for the infant colony’s’ criminal court. It was decided, after the long drawn-out dramas of the previous two (2) days, as well as to avoid Sydney’s intense midday sun and drenching humidity, court would convene earlier than usual. See: Blind Man’s Bluff

At 8 am convicts James Freeman and William Shearman, accused the previous day of stealing from government stores, were the first to appear in the dock. Both were found guilty but while Shearman was sentenced to 300 lashes Freeman was condemned to death the execution to take place that same day.

Next to appear George Whitaker, Daniel Gordon and John Williams charged with stealing eighteen (18) bottles of wine. Whitaker was discharged but Gordon and Williams, both Afro – Americans, were found guilty and sentenced to hang with Freeman.

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