Whiting Sweeting is my wife’s 4th Great Grand Uncle and the subject of enormous interest and controversy. Whiting Sweeting was born 05 Aug 1764, Norton, Bristol County, MA and the son of Lewis & Abiah “Cobb” Sweeting.
On Aug. 26, 1791, Whiting Sweeting of Stephentown, Rensselaer County, N.Y., was hanged for the murder of Albany County Constable Darius Quimby who was killed Jan. 3, 1791, while attempting to make an arrest on a warrant for theft. Sweeting was tried and convicted in the New York State Supreme Court of Judicature during the July 1791 term. He was executed the following month.
The mystery to me is why most accounts of this event specify that Whiting Sweeting was wanted on a Warrant for TRESPASSING and why it is said that Darius Quimby was SHOT.
My review of the Book, “the narrative of Whiting Sweeting”, did reveal in court testimony a warrant for Sweeting’s arrest, but it was for the THEFT of an iron kettle, not trespassing, as indicated most everywhere he is referenced on the internet. Further, the book revealed that Sweeting was involved in an altercation with Darius Quimby (and others in the posse) while trying to escape their capture. The court records denote that when Sweeting jumped off a rock, while trying to escape, he fell down with one of his pursuers (Darius Quimby). It seems he accidently stabbed him with the knife he had been wielding is his defense (while again, the internet sites states he shot Darius Quimby). It is a mystery to me why these anomalies are stated when a quick review of the facts is available.
There is another Book - Pillars of Salt, Monuments of Grace, by Daniel A. Cohen; section on Whiting Sweeting, an Evangelical Insurgent (which is more readily available in libraries and book stores). This book reveals a possible miscarriage of justice surrounding this entire case and is also an interesting read. What seems to make this such a legendary event is the fact that Constable Quimby's name is the earliest dated entry on the NYS Police Officers Memorial in Albany. Constable Quimby is the first known law enforcement officer to be killed in the line of duty in the United States of America, as depicted on his “The Officer Down Memorial Page” at: “http://www.odmp.org/officer/16907-constable-darius-quimby
”. Furthermore, for the reasons pointed out in the Book - Pillars of Salt, Monuments of Grace, it seems this litigation is a frequently studied case in the law schools in America as an example of the early American Justice.
My research indicates he had a wife, Sarah Kilbourne and one daughter, Abiah Sweeting. If anyone knows of other children, I would appreciate being informed. Thank you. Richard Wheeler