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James Aitken
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Birth: Sep. 28, 1752
Edinburgh
City of Edinburgh, Scotland
Death: Mar. 10, 1777
Portsmouth
Hampshire, England

known as "John The Painter" He was a misfit who became known as a terrorist after several fires set in Royal Naval shipyards. He was caught and hanged to the mast of a ship before 20,000 people.

He had been a vagabond traveling throughout England and to the American Colonies committing crimes like theft, robbery and one admitted rape.

While in America he became opposed to the British government and thought he would be helping the Americans by doing damage to the British Navy by setting fires. He was hung for setting fire to the Rope House in Portsmouth ship yard.

As was the custom of making an example of criminals, his body was tarred and hung from a newly built gibbit at Blockhouse Point at the entrance to the harbor. Tar was used to slow decomposition of a body and they would be hung in irons. Some bodies treated this way were spirited away by friends but he had none. Others were chipped away at by goulish souvenir hunters. To discourage this the authorities would drive hundreds of nails into the supporting poles. 
 
Burial:
Body lost or destroyed
Specifically: gibbeted until decomposed
 
Created by: Ash Montagu
Record added: May 01, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 69212114
James Aitken
Added by: Ash Montagu
 
 
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