Sunday, April 30, 2006

Live Free or Die in Prison

Milli Knudsen's new book sounds like a page-turner. Hard Time in Concord, New Hampshire: The Crimes, the Victims and the Lives of State Prison Inmates, 1812-1883 has 2,100 ne'er-do-wells on its companion CD-ROM—every one of them worth a chapter in someone's family history.

There's also some background on the law in New Hampshire, including a list from 1679 of fifteen capital offenses.

Some of those offenses involved creative Colonial spelling, such as “Idollitry,” “Blassphemy,” “Publique Rebellion” and — I am not making this up — “Chill’n Cursing Their Parents.”

My other favorite offenses involve an unhealthy affection for animals, if you get my drift, plus “Man Stealing” and “Slaying by Guile; poison, Devilish practices.” [Link]

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