KENDALL-L ArchivesArchiver > KENDALL > 2008-03 > 1204768359
Subject: Re: [KENDALL] George Kendall of Jamestown, VA
Date: Wed, 5 Mar 2008 20:52:39 -0500
Captain George Kendall was apparently the first person to be executed in
the new colonies.
The Death Penalty in America
Britain influenced America's use of the death penalty more than any other
country. When European settlers came to the new world, they brought the
practice of capital punishment. The first recorded execution in the new
colonies was that of Captain George Kendall in the Jamestown colony of
Virginia in 1608. Kendall was executed for being a spy for Spain. In
1612, Virginia Governor Sir Thomas Dale enacted the Divine, Moral and
Martial Laws, which provided the death penalty for even minor offenses
such as stealing grapes, killing chickens, and trading with Indians.
Laws regarding the death penalty varied from colony to colony. The
Massachusetts Bay Colony held its first execution in 1630, even though
the Capital Laws of New England did not go into effect until years later.
The New York Colony instituted the Duke's Laws of 1665. Under these laws,
offenses such as striking one's mother or father, or denying the "true
God," were punishable by death. (Randa, 1997)