Barnett Davenport (1760-1780)

On February 3, 1780, nineteen-year-old Barnett Davenport bludgeoned to death three members of the Mallory family of Washington, Connecticut and burned their house down, with two live children locked inside, marking the first documented mass murder in America by an individual.

Before Davenport had become the Mallory’s farmhand and boarder, he’d been a convicted horse thief, robber, and deserter. For at least one of the murders, Davenport used a swingle, a flat-bladed wooden tool the family used in its linen production.

Davenport was hung in May, 1780.