Crime in Philadelphia in 1731

The Pennsylvania Gazette was one North America’s most prominent newspapers from 1728 until 1800. On October 2, 1729, Benjamin Franklin and Hugh Meredith bought the paper. Franklin not only printed the paper but also often contributed pieces under aliases.

These crime reports appeared in the January 12, 1731 issue.


WHEREAS on Saturday Night last, being the 2d of this Instant January, the Shop of Christopher Tuthill, Goldsmith, next Door to the Star and Garter in Front street, was broke open and robbed of the following Pieces of Plate, viz. One Part of a Skellet of Silver, wt. ten Ounces; One Bar of Silver, wt. 12 Ounces, One Ebony Snuff box with Silver Hinge; One Silver Tooth pick Case, marked at the Bottom A. D. with a Crown over it; and ten Yards of silver Wire rolled up. If the said Plate should be offer’d to be pawn’d or sold, whoever will stop it, and secure the Person or Persons, so that he or they may be brought to Justice, shall have Three Pounds Reward, and all reasonable Charges paid, by me Christopher Tuthill.

ON the 30th of December last, was broken open the House of John Falconar, opposite to the Sign of the Scales, near Walnut street Wharff, Philadelphia, and the following Goods were taken out, viz. 12 Yards of light cinamon colour’d fine Drugget; 2 or 3 Yards of copper colour’d ditto; 1 dos of double worsted Caps, 1 doz of single, ditto; 6 single Caps flowered; several doz. of Handkerchiefs; several doz. of Buckles; two Pieces and an half of Seersucker; two Yards 3 qurs. of dark colour’d Broad cloth; 12 Yards of wide Scotch Linen; a nutmeg colour’d broadcloth Coat, strong Drab, plain Fashion with a wastecoat Sleeve; grey Broadcloth Coat, lined and trimmed with black; 1 black Calimanco Wastecoat somewhat worn: a black broadcloth pair of Breeches lined with Fustian, new; a bright cinamon colour’d Pea Jacket, double breasted; 5 or 6 blue serge Wastecoats unlined; 5 checked Shirts. Whoever can discover this Person or Persons, by their offering the Goods to Sale or otherwise, and secures them so as they may be brought to Justice, shall be sufficiently rewarded: Or if any Persons will restore all or most part of the said Goods, he shall have Five Pounds Reward, and no Questions asked. John Falconar.


RUN away from Abraham Gudding, Coroner of this County, a Servant Man named John Fryer, formerly Servant to Col. French, deceas’d, a middle siz’d Man, well set, black complection, wears his own Hair which is strait and black, has a Scar under his Chin having once attempted to cut his Throat: His Cloaths are dark colour’d and made fashionable, with a great Coat of the same colour, and probably for want of Shoes wears his Boots. He was sold out of this Prison by the Sheriff on the 24th Instant, having been try’d for breaking open the Store of Mr. John Reed, out of which he stole sundry Goods. Whosoever secures him will do good Service to the Publick and shall have Forty Shillings Reward with reasonable Charges paid, by Abraham Gudding.

The Pennsylvania Gazette was one of the United States’ most prominent newspapers from 1728—before the time period of the American Revolution—until 1800. Published in Philadelphia from 1728 through 1800, The Pennsylvania Gazette is considered The New York Times of the 18th century.

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