America's First Serial Killers and Many More Deadly Historic Figures

‘Gateway to the West, Daniel Boone Leading the Settlers Through the Cumberland Gap, 1775’, by David Wright. Cumberland National Historic Park

39. America’s First Serial Killers

The Harpe brothers began their career of deadly mayhem during the American Revolution. British Loyalists, they fought for King George III as volunteer militia and irregulars. After their side lost the war, they became outlaws, and took to robbing and killing settlers on west of the Appalachians.

Their depravities seem to have been driven by sheer bloody mindedness and blood lust, rather than financial gain. That has led scholars to designate them as the country’s first documented “serial killers”.