Anthony Vaver, author and publisher, has recently completed a year-long series of articles covering the history of convict transportation to America, and you can find them on his Early American Crime website (www.EarlyAmericanCrime.com)
Vaver created Early American Crime as a means of exploring the history of crime in early America. Before starting his website, Vaver’s primary research interest was crime in eighteenth-century England. He later recognized that early America has its own rich history of crime, so he began researching the thieves, counterfeiters, and murderers of colonial America.
“In the course of my research I learned that my home town has its own criminal celebrity from the eighteenth century,” Vaver says. Tom Cook was born in Westborough, MA on October 6, 1738 and became well known throughout New England as a prodigious thief. He cultivated a reputation as an American Robin Hood who stole only from the rich and readily shared his booty with the poor. Two of Tom’s brothers, Robert and Stephen, also earned notorious reputations when they were imprisoned for killing a Native American in Stockbridge, MA.
Readers of Vaver’s convict transportation series can learn about England’s criminal underworld, the suffocating conditions on board convict ships, and the experience of convicts on the plantations in America. Some convicts ended up running away from their masters and returned to England. Others became plantation owners and purchased their own convicts. Most, however, moved away from the area and happily faded into obscurity, leaving their criminal past behind them.
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Early American Crime is a website devoted to exploring the social and cultural history of crime and punishment in colonial America and the early United States.