James Porter

James Porter (alias James May), Abraham Poteet, and George Wilson worked as highwaymen in the area around Philadelphia in the late 1820s. After being arrested in February 1830, Poteet and Wilson confessed to robbing travelers in November 1829, robbing the Washington to Philadelphia mail the same month, and robbing the mail en route from Philadelphia to Reading a month later, and implicated Porter. A non-fatal shooting occurred as part of the first robbery.

Gettysburg Compiler, February 16, 1830

Based on that information, Porter was arrested on February 27, 1830.

After being convicted of mail robbery and sentenced to death in federal court in Philadelphia, Porter was hanged on July 2, 1830.

Wilson’s death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment.

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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