Surprisingly few accounts exist of the execution of an Englishman named Thomas Bird in Portland in 1790, even though Bird's execution was the first of the nation's young federal court system. The newly established U.S. District Court for the District of Maine tried Bird for the ''piratical murder" of Captain John Connor, master of the English slave-trading sloop, Mary. Crew members killed Connor and threw his body overboard off the canst of Africa in 1789. When authorities captured the Mary off the coast of Maine, they arrested three men: Bird; Hans Hanson, a Norwegian; and Josiah Jackson, an American. Yet the court only tried Bird and Hanson, and Bird alone was convicted, though he swore in his dying statement that he was innocent. Jerry Genesio, a freelance writer, recently retired historian/abstractor, and former employee of the Portland Public Library, has written numerous articles for The Lewiston Daily Sun, The Bridgton News, Yankee Magazine, New England Outdoors, and other periodicals, as well as an organizational history of a national non-traditional military veterans' group titled "Veterans for Peace: The First Decade." Hw currently resides in Bellingham, Massachusetts.
Genesio, Jerry. "The Trial and Execution of Thomas Bird in Portland, Maine, 1790: The First Execution under the United State Constitution." Maine History 42, 4 (2006): 199-214. https://digitalcommons.library.umaine.edu/mainehistoryjournal/vol42/iss4/2