Capt. Gordon’s Notable Death

Only person hung in U.S. for slave trading

On a frosty day in Feb. 1862, hundreds of people gathered in New York’s “Tombs” prison to watch the execution of Nathaniel Gordon. A sea captain from a respected Maine family, Gordon was about to become the only person in U.S. history to be hanged for slave trading.

The execution of Capt. Gordon in 1862.

The execution of Capt. Gordon in 1862.

Although a crime for some 40 years prior, the law against slave trading had never before been enforced. What events led up to this pivotal moment? At 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 14, at the Putnam Valley Grange Hall, Ron Soodalter of Cold Spring will discuss the many compelling issues surrounding the case and his book, Hanging Captain Gordon: The Life and Trial of an American Slave Trader. The talk is part of the Putnam Valley Historical Society’s Our American History series. The Grange Hall is located at 128 Mill St.

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