George Kendall (Jamestown council member)

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Captain George Kendall (c. 1570 – December 1, 1608) was a member of the first council appointed at Jamestown in the Colony of Virginia. Kendall arrived with the first supply, and was sworn to the council on May 13, 1607. After landfall was made at Jamestown Island, Kendall was apparently instrumental in the construction of the first fortification. He was still a member of the council on June 22, 1607, when the first report was written and sent to the council in London. He was removed from the council, stripped of his arms, and imprisoned aboard a ship sometime between July and September 1607.[1]

In fall 1607, a fight broke out between the blacksmith, James Read, and the council president, John Ratcliffe.[1] The blacksmith was sentenced to hang, and while on the gallows, he persuaded Ratcliffe to speak with him in private about a conspiracy to which he had knowledge. The blacksmith named Kendall as a main conspirator in the plot. The blacksmith was pardoned for his crime. Kendall, already a prisoner, was brought before the council to answer to the charges. The verdict of guilty was pronounced by Ratcliffe, to which Kendall objected on the grounds that Ratcliffe was not the president's real name. Kendall argued that because Ratcliffe announced his punishment using his alias Ratcliffe, and not his real surname, Sicklemore, his sentence was nullified. The council responded by having Captain Martin announce Kendall's death sentence.

Kendall was executed on December 1, 1608, by firing squad. He is believed to be the first person executed by capital punishment in the United States.[2]


  1. ^ a b "Personal Narratives from the Virtual Jamestown Project, 1575-1705". Retrieved March 16, 2019.
  2. ^ Frost, Natasha. "Was the First Person Executed in the Colonies a Mutineer or a Spy?". HISTORY. Retrieved March 16, 2019.