Retrieved November 28,from http: Arthur Conan Doyle, "Adventure 4:
Martha "Patty" Cannon circa — May 11, was the leader of a gang in the early 19th century that kidnapped slaves and free blacks from the Delmarva Peninsula and transported and sold them to plantation owners located further south.
Later accounts of her life refer to her as Lucretia P.
Cannon, although there is no evidence to indicate she used the Lucretia name in her lifetime. She was indicted for four murders in and died in prison while awaiting trial, purportedly a suicide via poison.
Personal background Cannon was the wife of local farmer Jesse Cannon and was widowed at some point in or before.
She lived near the town of Reliance, Maryland, U. Cannon and her husband had at least one daughter, who twice married men engaged in the criminal slave-stealing trade. The daughter's own name is unknown, but her first husband was Henry Brereton, a blacksmith who kidnapped black people for sale.
Brereton had gone to prison in for kidnapping, but escaped from the Georgetown, Delaware jail. Brereton was captured, convicted of murder, and hanged with one of his criminal associates, Joseph Griffith. At some point after this, Cannon's daughter, now a widow, married Joe Johnson, who became Cannon's most notorious partner in crime.
Their band included white criminals, black men used as decoys, and Cannon's own husband before his death.
In addition, a relative of Cannon's daughter's first husband, a Robert Brereton, continued to be involved with the gang as late as at least Political and economic context The U. Congress banned the importation of slaves in Many free blacks lived in Cannon's neighborhood near the Maryland-Delaware border, and were convenient targets for her kidnapping forays.
Kidnapping enslaved blacks was riskier, as their white owners would protest; likewise the murder of white slave traders was taken seriously.
However, the kidnapping of free blacks left their land and other property behind, and failed to outrage the white community the way the theft of white-owned slaves did, or the murder of whites.
A novel written about Cannon sixty years after she was most active, The Entailed Hat, Or, Patty Cannon's Times oftheorizes that the political and economic situation created by the War of made Cannon's crimes possible. It also may explain why whites failed to come to the aid of their free black neighbors.
The war in this passage is the British—American War ofwhich lasted until The British begun to run the black people off in the war. Captives were taken in covered wagons to Cannon's Ferry now Woodland Ferry.
At the ferry, they would sometimes meet a schooner traveling down the Nanticoke River to the Chesapeake Bay and on to Georgia slave markets. The gang's activities continued for many years. Local law enforcement officials were reluctant to halt the illegal operations, given the lack of concern that most people in authority felt for blacks in those days, and may have been afraid of the gang's reputation for violence.
When Patty Cannon learned the police were coming, she would slip across state lines away from local police forces. According to depositions from victims who fought their way back to the north, Joe Johnson kept the captives in leg irons.
He also "severely whipped" captives who insisted they were free. His wife, Patty's daughter, was overheard saying that it "did [her] good to see him beat the boys. Johnson was not referring to male children. A year-old free black woman named Lydia Smith testified that she was kept in Cannon's home before being moved to Johnson's tavern.
There, she was held for five months until she was shipped south with a large lot people being sold into slavery. Legal consequences The gang was initially indicted in May Joe Johnson was sentenced to the pillory and 39 lashes; records show the sentence was carried out.
Cannon and several other gang members, though charged with Johnson, apparently did not go to trial nor receive sentences. Inhowever, bodies were discovered on the farm property Cannon owned in Delaware by a tenant farmer doing plowing there.
In April,she was indicted on four counts of murder by a grand jury of 24 white males: Witness Cyrus James stated he saw her take an injured "black child not yet dead out in her apron, but that it never returned. Cannon died in her cell on May 11,at an age estimated to be between sixty and seventy years old.
Sources differ on whether she was convicted and sentenced to hang before her death in the cell, and on whether she committed suicide or died of natural causes.
The Entailed Hat attributes her death to self-administered poison. Her body was initially buried in the jail's graveyard.My complete alphabetized index of more than silent movie reviews.
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