this day in crime history: january 3, 1791

Police Officers Memorial, Albany, NY

On this date in 1791, a posse in Stephentown, NY attempted to arrest local resident Whiting Sweeting on a warrant for theft. Sweeting resisted, and in the process of arresting him, Albany County Constable Darius Quimby was stabbed. Quimby later died of his wounds. He is commonly believed to be the first law enforcement officer killed in the line of duty in U.S. history. Sweeting was charged with Quimby’s murder. He was convicted in July of 1791 and was executed the following month.

Further reading:

Officer Down Memorial Page – Constable Darius Quimby (Note: This is one of many online sources that incorrectly state that Quimby was shot)

An NYCHS Timeline on Executions by Hanging in New York State

Ancestry Message Boards – Whiting Sweeting, Darius Quimby


5 thoughts on “this day in crime history: january 3, 1791

  1. John D.:
    Wow, that WAS a long time ago…never knew that happened in NY state.

    I would have thought it would take place in a major city (for that era).
    I DO admire the swiftness of JUSTICE in those days, however.

    Good story.

    Stay safe out there.


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