The story of Jacob Hodges in Ontario County

As far as jailhouse reformations go, the one for Jacob Hodges worked, although not everyone was sold on his change from accused murderer to God-fearing man of the church.

Hodges, an African-American ex-convict who served jail time for his role in the murder of a man over a plot of land, when he died in 1842 was a member in good standing of the First Congregational Church of Canandaigua and “a converted and useful Christian,” as the plaque at his large monument in Old Pioneer Cemetery reads.

Michael J. Worden, author of the 2013 book, “The Murder of Richard Jennings: The True Story of New York’s First Murder for Hire,” is convinced of his path toward a more pious life, although he has an issue with Hodges’ likely motivation.

“Jack Hodges is, for me, the most fascinating person involved in this case,” said Worden, who is giving a talk Saturday at the First Congregational Church.

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