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Abram ANTONE

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

   
 
 
Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Revenge
Number of victims: 1 +
Date of murder: 1815
Date of birth: 1750
Victim profile: John Jacobs (principal witness against his daughter)
Method of murder: Shooting
Location: Madison County, New York, USA
Status: Executed by hanging on September 12, 1823
 
 

 

Mary Antone was hanged at Peterboro Sept. 30, 1814, for the murder of an Indian girl who had won her lover. Abram Antone killed John Jacobs who was the principal witness against his daughter Mary, in 1815. For several years he was in hiding, but he was executed at Morrisville Sept. 12, 1823.


Abram Antone

Abram Antone was born in the year 1750. His father was a Stockbridge Indian, his mother the daughter of an Oneida chief. In the year 1776 he took up arms in favor of the Americans. He claimed that he was in three battles and also that at one time he was employed by Gov. Geo. Clinton on a secret mission.

Antone was accused of and later confessed to several murders, one of which was the murder of his own child. History states that liquor was probably the cause of this act. The murder for which he was convicted and executed was that of an Indian named John Jacobs, who furnished the evidence by which Antone's daughter was convicted and later executed.

Authorities tried for a long time to bring about his arrest and finally by trickery he was captured and placed in jail at Morrisville. He was executed Friday, September 12, 1823. When word was spread about of his capture, the whole population, of this region breathed more freely for he was feared as well as hated and when it was decreed that he was to be publicly executed, the people far and near came to witness the execution. Hunters came with their rifles as they feared that the tribes would try to rescue him at the last hour. However, there was no disturbance and Antone went to his death like the stoical warrior that he was.

Smith in his history of Madison and Chenango Counties says that the ferocity of Antone, who is represented as a most wily and ferocious savage, has been greatly exaggerated by tradition and history and that he had many noble traits of character. This trial was the last at which the Indian's rights in a judgment before his own people had to give way to the courts of civilization.

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Abram Antone

The following are the circumstances connected with the murder for which he was executed. In the year 1810, Mary, the daughter of Antone, formed a connection with a young Indian, it said of the Stockbridge tribe; however, the connection was soon broke off, and the young savage left his former mistress for one more agreeable.

This so enraged the heroine that she determined to kill her rival, which she effected by stabbing her with an Indian knife. When arrested, and on her way to prison, she manifested a remarkable indifference as to her fate, justifying herself concerning the murder of the squaw, by observing that she had got away her Indian, and deserved to die. She was executed in Smithfield in this county.

John Jacobs was the principal evidence against her. He had also been very active in her arrest. In short, he was considered by Antone as the principal cause of his daughter's death, and both before and after her execution he openly threatened to kill him the first opportunity. Jacobs hearing of it, left the country, and did not return till Antone sent him word that he would not molest him, probably for the purpose of getting him into his power.

The circumstances of the poor fellow's death are these: Relying on Antone's promise, he did not take all the precaution which seems to have been necessary. He was hoeing corn in a field, with a number of men, when Antone came up in a friendly way, shaking hands with each one until he came to Jacobs, and while grasping his hand, in apparent friendship, slipt a long knife from out the frock sleeve of his left arm, pronouncing "How d'ye do, brother!" and quicker than lightning plunged it into the body of Jacobs, striking him three times under the short ribs. He fell at the first blow. Antone giving a terrific yell, bounded off before any one had recovered presence of mind sufficient to pursue him.


ABRAM ANTONE was born in the year 1750, on the banks of the Susquehanna. His father was an Indian of the Stockbridge tribe---his mother, the daughter of an Oneida chief. When quite young, his parents removed to the county of Chenango, where for the most part he has since lived.

Bold and adventurous, having been bred in the true spirit of his savage ancestors, he took up arms in favor of the Americans in the year 1776. It has been asserted that he was a British Indian, which he altogether denied. "I was," said he, "in three battles. I fought for the Americans, and fought bravely."

On being asked how many of the enemy he had slain, "More that that," he replied, holding up both hands with fingers spread, and then added that he could not tell exactly how many, "because," he said "though I often pointed my rifle, yet on account of much smoke, I could not always tell whether I had killed or not."

He asserted that he had once been employed by Gov. George Clinton on a secret mission, and observed that he was a great friend to him. If this is true, it shows him to have been perfectly trustworthy, even if bloodthirsty and revengeful.

The first murder of his which was well attested and to which he assented, was committed at Chenango Point about 1798. The Indian whose duty it was to distribute the government allowance to the different tribes, defrauded, or was believed by Antone, to have defrauded him of some part of the money.

He consequently declared his intention to kill him, which he effected in the following way: At the raising of an Indian house near the Point, Antone, as usual on such occasions, was present. The Indian whom he had threatened was also present, though not without the precaution of being armed. Antone did not assist much, but sat on a piece of timber within the frame.

He continued sitting there, till the house was raised, and the people assembled together to the number of fifty, for the purpose of drinking, when Antone suddenly taking aim, fulfilled his promise by shooting the Indian directly through the heart. He then arose and walked deliberately off.

The Indians buried the body and here the matter ended, Antone paying a sum of money to the tribe for a ransom.

But the most atrocious deed of all, is one at which humanity starts with horror---a crime at which nature revolts, and which is almost without parallel---the murder of an infant child, and that child his own! The circumstances of this event are almost too horrible to relate. It appears from the account of his wife, that returning from an assembly of Indians one evening to his wigwam, he found his little infant of four or five months old vociferously crying. Impatient at the noise, the monster snatched the child from its mother's arms, and raking open a hot bed of coals, buried the infant beneath them. It might be hoped for the honor of humanity that this account were not true, but the fact was allowed by his wife, and well attested by others, so that no doubt can remain as to the truth of it.

"To look at the old warrior," writes his historian, "one would scarcely suppose he could be guilty of so enormous a crime. He has a noble countenance in which there is not the least expression of malice. On the contrary there is something placable and bordering on serenity in his features. His eye is penetrating but yet expresses no cruelty. His voice is somewhat broken by age, but pleasant and sonorous. In short, no one has seen him, but has gone away with a more favorable impression than when he came."

The next thing of any consequence which occurs in his life is his removal to Canada. This appears to have been ten or twelve years before his death. While residing in that country, in a removal from one encampment to another, he was overtaken by a company of men on horseback, one of whom insulted the squaws in Antone's company. On his resenting it the other struck him with his whip calling him an Indian dog, and rode off with his companions, laughing at the Indian's threats of vengeance, which would probably have been executed on the spot had it not the offender been surrounded by a number of well-mounted cavaliers.

The indignant warrior left his friends to seek their encampment alone. Armed only with his knife he determined to follow his enemy till an opportunity should occur of dispatching him. For many days he pursued the travelers without success, closely dogging them. Grown desperate he at length determined on a bold step. Disguising himself by painting his face warrior fashion, he entered a public house where the horsemen had put up. He was not recognized.

Gaining the favor of the landlord by his peaceful demeanor, he was permitted to lodge before the fire. The observing eye of the Indian had noticed where the bedroom of the doomed man was situated. He arose in the night with a noiseless step, entered the room and finding where he lay, struck him on the left side; the blow needed not repeatal; and the groan of the victim was lost in the exulting yell of the savage, who burst from the house before the family, terrified by the demoniac whoop, could oppose him. The particulars of this murder were received from a civilized Indian of the Stockbridge tribe, who probably heard them from Antone himself. Antone confessed to the murder of a white man in Canada.

The next occurrence in order was the murder for which he was indicted. It will be necessary, however, to briefly mention a few events which took place previous to it. In 1810, Mary, the daughter of Antone, formed a connection with a young Indian, it is said, of the Stockbridge tribe; however, the connection was soon broken off, and the young man left her for one more agreeable.

This so enraged Mary that she determined to kill her rival, which she effected by stabbing her with an Indian knife. When arrested and on her way to prison she manifested a remarkable indifference as to her fate, justifying herself concerning the murder of the squaw, by saying that "she had got away her Indian and deserved to die."

She was executed in Peterboro, in this county. John Jacobs had been the principal evidence against her. He had also been very active in her arrest. In short, he was considered by Antone as the principal cause of her death, and before and after her execution, he openly threatened to kill him.

Jacobs (who was also an Indian, or half-breed,) left the country and did not return till Antone sent him word that he would not molest him. Relying upon Antone's promise, he returned and engaged in his usual avocations. He was hoeing corn in a field with a number of men, when Antone came up in a friendly way, shaking hands with each one, and while grasping the hand of Jacobs in apparent friendship, slipt a long knife from out the frock sleeve of his left arm, pronouncing, "How d'ye do, brother?" and quick as lightning plunged it into the body of Jacobs, striking him three times under the short ribs. He fell at the first blow. Antone, giving a terrific yell, bounded off before any one had recovered presence of mind sufficient to pursue him.

That night he was pursued by a number of Indians and was surprised in his hiding-place, but by his fleetness he escaped. He went constantly armed with a rifle and knives, accompanied by dogs, and his sons daily ministered to his needs while concealed in the forest. He was often surrounded by officers in pursuit of him, but he managed to escape.

There was an attempt to take him while encamped on a Mr. John Guthrie's land, in the town of Sherburne. Two large and resolute Indians having obtained information that Antone was alone in his camp, went with full determination of securing him. They went to his wigwam and discovered him alone, making a broom; but the ever-watchful Indian, hearing a rustling noise, seized his rifle, and, as they suddenly entered, pointed at the foremost, declared if he advanced a step further he would shoot him dead.

His determined manner appalled the pursuers, and after parleying with him a short time, they withdrew, very much mortified at the result of their enterprise. Antone grimly smiled as they turned away, for his trusty rifle was not loaded, a circumstance of which he frequently boasted afterwards. He at length grew so bold and fearless that he marched through our towns and villages in open day, without any fear of being taken. It is said that in the village of Sherburne he entered a store in which there were about twenty men, and drank till he was intoxicated.

Antone was finally betrayed into the hands of a posse of officers, by a man who won his confidence by professions of friendship. He decoyed him by getting him out of his cabin to have a trial with him in shooting at a mark. As soon as Antone had discharged his piece, the officers, who were stationed in secret a few steps away, rushed upon and secured him, though not without a desperate struggle, for the old veteran fought manfully, exhibiting exceeding strength and agility, and was considerably bruised in the conflict.

During Antone's confinement several pious people endeavored to explain to him the principles of the Christian religion. But he either could not or would not understand them. He had no idea of a Saviour. He mentioned through the interpreter that he put his trust in God, or more properly the Great Spirit. He was then asked if it was the God of the Christian, or the spirit which was worshiped by his fathers. The eye of the warrior sparkled as he readily replied, "THE GOD OF MY FATHERS!"

Until toward the last he nourished a hope of being reprieved, but when this hope failed he expressed a willingness to die, and only complained of the manner; the mode of execution he regarded as degrading. "No good way!" he said, putting his hands about his hands about his neck. "No good way to hang like a dog!" then, pointing to his heart, observed that he should be willing to be shot. He was, moreover, very anxious about his body, feeling it would be obtained for dissection. He made no lengthy confession, but assented to having committed the murder herein related, and only these. Several other atrocious murders had been attributed to him, which he utterly denied.

The jury in his case, according to the facts elicited by testimony, and agreeable to our laws, rendered a verdict of "guilty," and according to his sentence he was executed in Morrisville, on Friday, the 12th day of September, 1823. A large delegation of his own race were present. The execution was a public one, and a great concourse of people witnessed it.

 

 

 
 
 
 
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