Thomas Granger

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Thomas Graunger or Granger (1625? – September 8, 1642) was the first person hanged in the Massachusetts Bay Colony (the first hanged in any of the colonies of New England being John Billington) and the first known juvenile to be sentenced to death and executed in the territory of today's United States. He was a servant to Love Brewster, of Duxbury, in the Plymouth Colony of British North America. Graunger, at the age of 16 or 17, was convicted of "buggery with a mare, a cowe, two goats, divers sheepe, two calves, and a turkey", according to court records of 7 September 1642.[1]

Graunger confessed to his crimes in court privately to local magistrates, and upon indictment, publicly to ministers and the jury, being sentenced to "death by hanging until he was dead". He was hanged on September 8, 1642. Before Graunger's execution, following the laws set down in Leviticus 20:15 ("And if a man shall lie with a beast, he shall surely be put to death: and ye shall slay the beast"), the animals involved were slaughtered before his face and thrown into a large pit dug for their disposal, no use being made of any part of them.[2]

An account of Graunger's acts is recorded in Gov. William Bradford's diary Of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647. Graunger's crime represents the colonies' first recorded act of bestiality.

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References[edit]

  • Bradford, William Of Plymouth Plantation, 1620-1647. Ed. by Samuel Eliot Morison. New York: Knopf (1952)
  • Lauria, Lisa M. (1998) "Sexual Misconduct in Plymouth Colony", The Plymouth Colony Archive Project