A Hanging in Dover
This day in Dover history, June 3, 1788, is the anniversary of the first hanging in Dover. Elisha Thomas was executed for the murder of Captain Peter Drown. “In February of the year 1788 , at the tavern of Mr. Randall in New Durham, Elisha Thomas, a veteran of the Revolutionary War, got into an altercation with another man, both were badly under the influence of old New England rum. Captain Peter Drown of New Durham, a fine Revolutionary officer, tried to separate them; in so endeavoring he was stabbed by the knife of Thomas and he died a few hours later. Thomas expressed his regret and deep grief at the death of this friend whom he had not intended to wound but he was arrested, brought to old Dover goal, leaving a wife and six children at home. Some little time later, she came to Dover with the youngest child being left at a neighbor’s house, and stayed over night at the jail. In the night the house in New Durham, with the five other children in it asleep; caught fire, and four were burned to death, the oldest one alone escaping.” Check the online history section of our website for the rest of this tragic story.
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