In the 18th century, in old colonial Bahamas, hangings were public events. If not during, there was definitely the opportunity to view the aftermath. Once the court had adjudicated the case, sentences were pronounced and the terms of the sentences were carried out quite quickly.   In April of 1791, there were two hangings. Both men were negroes. Both were slaves.  And both were hung in chains on Hog Island at the entrance to the harbour.  According to the local newspaper of the day, these were the first hangings to be carried out in six years.

By the language of the very brief report, it appears that the men were left there for some period of time (possibly a week or so), no doubt as a warning to others.

The first hanging was of a runaway negro man named Emanuel.

NASSAU, APRIL 15, 1791

“A Negro Man named Emanuel, who has been for some times past, advertised runaway from Samuel Kemp, was taken up at sea near Hyburn Key, in a sailing boat, belonging to the brig Eliza, Stuart, in the beginning of last week, and brought to town.

He has since been tried for stealing the boat, condemned and sentenced to be hanged on Tuesday next.

The second hanging is of a negro, whose name is not known.

NASSAU, APRIL 29, 1791

“A negro man found guilty of murder, was executed last Tuesday. —He and the negro who was executed on Tuesday last week, are hung in chains on Hog Island, at the entrance of the harbour.”