coloured folk: to clarify

Thu Jul 21 17:44:57 UTC 2011

        In an account written 23 years after his ride,, Revere
wrote, "After I had passed Charlestown Neck, and got nearly opposite
where Mark was hung in chains, I saw two men on Horse back, under a
Tree."  That seems to me to be ambiguous as to whether the body was
still there in 1775, although it was certainly long gone when Revere
wrote in 1798.  Mark was hanged in 1755 for petit treason (the killing
of his master, considered a crime more serious than murder).  As with
some other very serious crimes, such as piracy, he was first hanged, and
then his body was brought to the gibbet to be left there in chains until
it disintegrated over a period of years.  Mark's body is said to have
remained on the gibbet until a short time before the Revolution, so it
likely was removed shortly before or after Revere's ride.  For anyone
who is interested, there is a full discussion of Mark's case at

John Baker

-----Original Message-----
From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf
Of Wilson Gray
Sent: Sunday, July 17, 2011 4:09 AM
Subject: Re: coloured folk: to clarify

On Sat, Jul 16, 2011 at 9:33 AM, Joel S. Berson <Berson at> wrote:
> Phillis was the name of one of the two slaves executed for the murder
> of John Codman in Charlestown, Mass., in 1755.  (The other slave
> condemned was hanged, and then his body was left on the gibbet in
> Charlestown for a number of years.  Paul Revere mentions the location
> "where Mark was hanged" -- it was at a crossroads -- in his
> description of his ride, but it's not likely the body was still
> hanging then; rather, he was probably using the location as a
> "landmark" to describe his route.)

Good to know!

All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"---a strange complaint
to come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
-Mark Twain

The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

More information about the Ads-l mailing list