Located in Smith's parish at the Flatts Inlet, Gibbet is a beautiful island and now belongs to a private trust. Although not accessible to general public, you can see the island and its wonderful tiny beaches from the North Shore road where it meets the Jennings Land Road. Gibbet Island is also unfortunately known as the Gallows Island due a dark history associated with it. This is where in 1600s and early 1700s the slaves used to be executed in full public visibility. That was the time when slavery was highly prevalent in Bermuda.
There used to be a gallows post here where slaves and criminals used to be hanged. A pole seen on the island is sometimes wrongly misinterpreted as being part of the earlier gallows. It is actually an earlier version of a navigation light for the passing ships.
One of the prominent examples of executions was in 1681 when a slave named Indian John from New England state was executed here. He apparently tried to escape, put the house of his owner on fire and wanted to kill all members of the owner's family. After execution, his body was left hanging from the gallows for people to see. Such gruesome practice of public display of executed bodies were meant to warn other slaves who wanted to rebel or escape from the bondage.
In another case, a slave was sentenced for execution in 1754 in Gibbet Island. As per local legend, the slave was tightly bound and hung in chains. After a few days in sheer desperation, he ate flesh out of his own arms and finally died out of starvation. His chain was visible as late as 1898.
Gibber Island is now part of African Diaspora Heritage Trail of Bermuda, and bears the dark historical marks of slavery in the island. The Railway Trail in Smith's parish passes through this area and into the Flatts Inlet. There used to be a railway bridge here that the train used to reach Shelly Bay and beyond.