Historian to speak on Vermont's first hanging

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BENNINGTON — On June 11, 1778, Loyalist David Redding was hanged on the Bennington town green for "enemical conduct." Ethan Allen, newly released from a British prison, served as state's prosecutor. It became Vermont's first hanging.

At 2 p.m. on June 23, historian Phil Holland will tell Redding's story during the Bennington Historical Society meeting in the Ada Paresky Education Center at Bennington Museum.

Redding's trial and execution were only the beginning of his odyssey through history. Denied burial in 1778, Redding's bones were not interred until 1981. In the meantime, his case had caught the attention — to the point of obsession — of the founding Director of the Bennington Museum, John Spargo, who published a small book on the subject in which he accused the Vermont authorities of a miscarriage of justice. With the help of unpublished material prepared by Bennington historian Joe Parks, this talk will sort through the evidence and reflect on the passions aroused by the case.

Holland has written about the Battle of Bennington, Robert Frost and other subjects of historical and literary interest. He is currently touring the state lecturing about "The Black Presence at the Battle of Bennington" through the Vermont Council on the Humanities Speakers Bureau.

All Bennington Historical Society Meetings are free and open to the public.

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