John Furlong

John Furlong (alias John Hobson) was a crew member of the sloop Lawrence when he and other crew members attacked and killed Captain Henley and First Mate May of the brig Ann.

Furlong and his accomplices were arrested in Savannah, Georgia, in August 1819.

New York Evening Post, August 16, 1819

John Furlong was tried in the U.S. Circuit Court of Georgia in Savannah and convicted of murder and piracy.

The United States Supreme Court reviewed the conviction to determine whether American law provided jurisdiction over foreign sailors on foreign ships in foreign waters. The Court determined that a vessel loses its national character when it engages in piracy, making it subject to United States law (United States v. Furlong, 18 U.S. 5 Wheat. 18, 1820).

John Furlong was hanged in Savannah on April 28, 1820.

New York Evening Post, May 8, 1820

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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