John Williams, Francis Frederick, John Rog, and Peter Peterson

These four men were sailors aboard Plattsburgh, a Baltimore-based merchant schooner. On a voyage to Turkey that began in the summer of 1816, the four men were part of a group who killed Captain William Hatchett and sailors Thomas Baynard and William Gaison and absconded with the ship’s cargo.

They were apprehended in Denmark and returned to the United States to face trial in federal court in Boston.

The men were convicted of murder and piracy on December 30, 1818, and sentenced to death on January 21, 1819.

Pittsfield (Massachisetts) Sun, February 24, 1819

John Williams, Francis Frederick, John Rog, and Peter Peterson were hanged together near Boston on February 18, 1819.

Sentinel and Democrat (Burlington, VT), February 26, 1819

See Niles Weekly Register, November 16, 1816

Author: Bill Lofquist

I am a sociologist and death penalty scholar at the State University of New York at Geneseo. I am also a Pittsburgh native. My present research focuses on the history of the death penalty in Allegheny County (Pittsburgh), Pa. This website is dedicated to collecting, analyzing, and sharing information about all Allegheny County cases in which a death sentence was imposed. Please share any questions or comments, errors or omissions, or other matters of interest related to these cases or to the broader history of the death penalty in Allegheny County.

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