2014 marks the 275th anniversary of the first executions in New Hampshire's history in 1739. Benedetto will exhume the Granite State's first death penalty cases, especially the tragic saga of Elisha Thomas, a Revolutionary War veteran who was hanged in Dover for a 1788 murder. Thomas is buried at Pine Hill Cemetery.
The early history of the death penalty in New Hampshire also exposes many of the major legal and social issues which challenged our predecessors, and how many of them remain unresolved. New Hampshire is one of the last states in New England where capital punishment is still legal and currently has its first person on death row since 1939. Understanding the state’s historical struggle with this controversial issue is more relevant than ever.
Chris Benedetto lives in Rollinsford, and attended Wheaton College and Brown University. Mr. Benedetto has published numerous articles on New Hampshire history for the New England Historic Genealogical Society and co-authored the book, “Union Soldier of the American Civil War: A Visual Reference” in 2012. He has been a member of various living history units, including the 5th NH Volunteers, for over twenty years. Mr. Benedetto has taught history at Granite State College since 2009, and in 2013, was the recipient of a "Good Steward" Award from the Campus Compact of New Hampshire for his continuing contributions to community education and historical preservation.
This program is free, sponsored by the Friends of the Dover Public Library, and refreshments will follow. For more information, please call the Library at 603-516-6050.