One of the first, but not the first person executed in the colonies was a teenager who committed the crime of buggery. Now, for those who are not sure what buggery is we can inform you that the crime is more commonly known today as bestiality, although it isn’t exactly a crime in all states. In fact, it can even deliver some amusing penalties for the convicted, just like this one. Enough of that for now. How about we get a little more into this most unusual of executions.
While many sources incorrectly attribute the first person executed in the colonies as being this pervert, a young man by the name of Thomas Graunger, it’s not actually the case. The first person to face the doom of the executioner was John Billington, an Englishman who was one of the signers of the Mayflower Compact. Billington was executed in September 1630 for murder. It was another twelve years before the execution of Granger for one of the most disgusting things a person can do.
Executions are one of the most severe forms of punishment a society can deliver. While the majority of the developed world has forgone this form of punishment, it’s still in widespread use in many countries today. Some countries reserve the punishment only for the most sadistic of violent crimes, but regrettably there are countires that deliver the death penalty for crimes, and I use that word loosely, that are more of violation of a religious edict or moral failing. To be brutally honest, had young Mr Granger been alive today he may have faced only a very short period of time in prison, or maybe even walked away with a fine. So what did he actually do?
Alright, so I will be honest. This wasn’t exactly a one off indiscretion. He kind of had a taste for it. Thomas Granger was so into bestiality that he managed to have sex with a mare, a cow, two goats, divers sheepe, two calves, and a turkey. Don’t ask me how he managed to have sex with a turkey. Maybe the feathers flying is how he got caught. We know this because they were the animals in which he admitted to having raped to local magistrates, and once he was indicted, to the jury and ministers. I suppose, like the turkey, he knew he was fucked.
Granger was sentenced to hang for his crime, and the punishment was carried out on September 8, 1642. But what about his victims? Was there a happy ending for the sexually tormented animals?
Sorry to disappoint you, but it was a cruel and misguided world back then. Before he was hung, all of the animals that Granger had sodomized were killed in front of him and tossed into a hole so no one could use any part of their carcass. This was following the law set out in Leviticus 20:15.
And if a man shall lie with a beast, he shall surely be put to death: and ye shall slay the beast
So while Thomas Granger wasn’t the first person executed in the colonies, he certainly was the first person hanged for having sex with an animal.