George Brown

George Brown (given name William Tinsdale) served aboard the schooner Retrieve on its voyage from Cadiz, on the south coast of Spain, to New Orleans.

En route, Brown, Nicholas Palermo, and several other sailors mutineed, robbing and killing Captain Lewis and taking control of the ship. They sailed into Omoa, on the Spanish Main (present-day Honduras). While there, one of the crew members reported the crime, leading to their arrest.

The mutineers were transported to New York City aboard the USS Enterprise. While awaiting trial, one unidentified defendant died in jail.

Palermo agreed to testify against Brown. After a four-hour trial, Brown was convicted of murder on the high seas on September 6, 1819, and sentenced to death.

George Brown was hanged onboard the Retrieve anchored amidst numerous boats carrying onlookers in the East River on October 22, 1819.

Lancaster Intelligencer, October 29, 1819

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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