William Tell was known as an expert marksman with the crossbow. Hermann Gessler, the newly appointed Austrian mayor of Altdorf, raised a pole in the village's central square, hung his hat on top of it, and demanded that all the local townsfolk bow before the hat. When Tell passed by the hat without bowing to it, he was arrested. He received the punishment of being forced to shoot an apple off the head of his son, Walter, or else both would be executed. Tell had been promised freedom if he successfully shot the apple. On 18 November 1307, Tell split the fruit with a single bolt from his crossbow.