Thomas Jones

Thomas Jones (alias John Robinson) was a Black sailor aboard the brig Holkar sailing from New York to Curacao in 1818. Trouble while in port led the captain to jail Jones and other crew member on the ship until they departed Curacao. After departing in January 1819, Jones and three other crew members sought revenge, killing Captain Samuel Brown, his mate, Henry Dulett, and a passenger, John Williams.

Soon after, another ship sailed nearby. Fearing detection, the men abandoned Holkar for a smaller boat they brought to shore in Jacquemel, Haiti. From there they made their way back to the United States as crew on other ships.

Five years later in New York City, Jones was identified by Oliver King, the one member of the crew of the Holkar who was not complicit in the murders.

Arrested, Thomas Jones was tried in the U.S Circuit Court in New York City and found guilty on May 3, 1824. King was the principal witness against him.

Long Island Star, May 27, 1824

Thomas Jones subsequently confessed. He was hanged in New York City on June 11, 1824.

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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