It is thought that altogether around 505
women were put to death in America
between 1608 and 1900. My friend, Rob Gallagher's, excellent "Before the
Needles" website details the names, crimes, race and other details of 317
of these women whose executions can be fully verified (Link to this site at the
end of this article). Little interest was paid to the execution of slaves in
the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries so precise numbers are hard to define.
Some states such as Mississippi
kept virtually no records of executions although they are thought to have
hanged around 8 women.
There has always been a marked reluctance to execute women, especially white
women, and thus they only represent a tiny proportion of all the executions
carried out in this period. Initially most hangings were carried out in Virginia, Massachusetts and Connecticut, as these
were the first areas colonized and subjected to British style laws and capital
punishment by hanging. Some states never executed a woman.
Of these 317 verifiable cases, 211 women were put to death for murder, 7 for
attempted murder and 2 for conspiracy to murder. 26 were hanged for witchcraft,
17 for arson, and the rest for various other crimes including concealing a
birth and burglary in a dwelling house. One woman was hanged for adultery.
Just nine more women were to die on the gallows in the 20th century, as states
moved away from hanging and adopted the electric chair and the gas chamber.
Hanging was the normal method of execution,
nationwide, inherited from British rule, for both sexes up to the introduction
of the electric chair in 1890, and was the method in 310 of these cases. 15
women were burned at the stake, during this period, the last in North Carolina in 1805.
One woman, Martha Place,
was electrocuted in New Yorkstate in March 1899. She was the only woman to die by
this means in the 19th century.
The bulk of these executions were public spectacles and women were frequently
put to death alongside men, especially where they had been both been convicted
of the same crimes. There were 156 instances of this up to 1899 - just over
half of all the female executions. Most hangings were carried out by the sheriffs
of the town or county where the death sentence had been passed. The prisoners
seldom had pain free deaths as the sheriffs were not typically proficient
hangmen and did not know how to work out the correct drop to ensure breaking of
the neck, thus the prisoner usually died by strangulation. In early times,
condemned prisoners were often hanged from the branch of a tree, being turned
off the back of a cart, or from a horse on which, in the case of women, they
rode side saddle. The use of a gallows with a trap door and a drop was only
common from the 1870's onwards. In some instances, the gallows was designed to
jerk the prisoner into the air by the release of a weight and this was used on
several women in the late 1800's.
Women were often executed for the murder of their illegitimate children - it
was a great stigma to have a baby outside marriage and this was why some of
them decided to risk killing these unwanted children. Concealing the birth of a
child was also a capital crime at one time and five women were to hang for it.
It did not need to be proven that the baby was murdered.They could be convicted even if the baby had
actually been still born or had died of natural causes in the first hours of
Female prisoners usually liked to look their
best for their executions and if they could afford it, would buy or make a new
outfit for the occasion. Where they were poor it was not unusual for their
friends, the townsfolk, or even the sheriff to provide them with new clothes.
At least seven teenage girls were hanged. Hannah Ocuish being, at just 12 years
old, probably the youngest person to be executed in America. Rebecca Nurse was
the oldest at 71.She was hanged for
witchcraft at SalemMass. on July 19, 1692.
Here is a selection of the cases of some of
these women. There is little detail of many of the earlier hangings as there
was no media at that time. Newspapers only began to be commonplace in the mid
1800's and even then were often only published weekly.
The earliest recorded female hanging in America was
that of Jane Champion in 1632 in Virginia
for an unknown offense.
Margaret Hatch was hanged in Virginia on the 24th ofJune 1633 for murder.
On December 6. 1638 -DorothyTalby,
was hanged in Salem, Massachusetts for the murder of her infant daughter,
Difficulty. Dorothy was a strong willed, rebellious woman who had a very
troubled marriage. She had been whipped for attacking her husband prior to
On March 21, 1643 - 18 year old Mary Latham was hanged in Massachusetts alongside
James Britton, for adultery, the only woman to be executed for this offence in America.
In the fall of 1648 - 32 year old Alice
Martin Clarke Bishop was hanged at Plymouth,
Massachusetts for stabbing to death
her 4 year old daughter, Martha, an event of which she said she had no
On June 1, 1660 - Quaker Mary Dyer was hanged from a tree in Boston, Massachusetts
by the Puritans for returning from exile and for refusing to accept their religious
beliefs. This despite having been reprieved the previous
year. She seemed determined to be hanged. A statue of her is on Boston Common.
During 1692 - 13 women were hanged at Salem, Massachusetts
after the notorious witchcraft trials. They were:
Bridget Bishop on June 10, Rebecca Nurse, Susannah Martin, Elizabeth Howe,
Sarah Good, and Sarah Wildes on July 19, Martha
Carrier on August 19 and Martha Corey, Margaret Scott, Mary Easty,
Alice Parker, finally Ann Pudeator and Mary Parker on
September 22. They were all hanged from a tree having been taken to their
execution in a cart which also served as the means of getting them suspended.
June 8, 1693 - 28
year old Elizabeth Emmerson was hanged on Boston Common,
for the murder of her two children who were conceived with her boyfriend.
Strangely for the time, two years was to elapse between sentence and execution.
On July 17, 1701 - 21 year old Esther Rodgers was hanged at Ipswich, Massachusetts
for the murder of her illegitimate child.
September 27, 1733-RebeccaChamblett, 27, was hanged in Massachusetts for concealing the birth/death
of her baby. It must be realized that she did not necessarily murder the baby -
it could well have been born dead but concealing it was still a capital crime.
Jan 19, 1735 - Alice
Riley became the first woman to be hanged in Georgia (at Savannah), for the murder of her master,
William Wise, in which she was assisted by her boyfriend, Richard White. She
was pregnant at the time of her trial and was allowed to deliver the baby
before her execution. The day after Alice's
execution, White was hanged on the same gallows.
July 31, 1735 - 23
year old Patience Sampson, a Native American, was hanged at York, in Maine for the murder of 8 year old Benjamin
Trot, whom she had hurled down a well where he drowned. (She was the second
woman executed in this state, a Mrs. Cornish having been hanged there for
murder in 1644, but there are no other details ofher crime.)
On May 3, 1738 - 27 year old Catherine Garrett, a Native American,
was hanged in Connecticut
December 27, 1739 -
Sarah Simpson, a widow, and Penelope Kenney, a servant girl, were found guilty
of murdering a child and were hanged side by side from a tree at Portsmouth, New
Hampshire. The sheriff who executed them was Thomas
Packer, who also hanged Ruth Blay (see next).
December 30, 1768 -
School teacher Ruth Blay was executed at Portsmouth, New
Hampshire, having been convicted of concealing the
body of her stillborn child in the floor of her classroom. She too was hanged
from a tree, having been turned off the back of a cart. Ruth was the last
female executed in New Hampshire.
The state Governor granted a last minute "Stay of Execution," but it
arrived minutes after Ruth had died.
On July 2, 1778 - 32 year old Bathsheba Spooner was hanged at
Worcester, Massachusetts for the murder of her husband,
Joshua. She attempted a defense of insanity but this was rejected. She was
found to be about 5 months pregnant after her execution. Her 3 male
co-defendants, Sergeant James Buchanan, Private William Brooks and her lover,
Ezra Ross, were hanged with her.
January 3, 1786 - 27
year old Elizabeth Wilson was hanged from the back of a cart at Chester, Pennsylvania
for killing her two illegitimate infant children. She was granted a reprieve
but it came 23 minutes too late to save her.
On December 20, 1786 - Hannah Ocuish,
a Native American, was hanged in Connecticut
for the murder of another child. She was the youngest girl to be executed in America, at
just 12 years and 9 months old. She was convicted in New London of beating and choking 6 year old
Eunice Bolles to death out of revenge. A few weeks
previous to the killing, Eunice had reported Hannah for stealing fruit.
October 8, 1789 - Rachel Wall became the
last of 39 women to be hanged in Massachusetts.
She was executed with two men for separate highway robberies.In her case she was convicted of stealing a
bonnet from a teenage girl.The hangings
were carried out on a portable gallows on Boston Common.It is doubtful that she was a pirate and this
is most probably an urban myth.
Friday, May 13, 1806
- Polly Barclay was hanged in Wilkes
as a co-conspirator in the murder of her husband.
June 10, 1809 -
Susannah Cox (white, aged 24) was hanged at Reading, Pennsylvania
for murder of her illegitimate infant child. Susannah walked from her jail cell
to the gallows and after praying with her ministers, she was made to get up
into a cart placed under the gallows beam and stand on top of her own coffin.
Once the preparations were completed, the horse was led forward and Susannah
was "launched into eternity." She died after a short struggle and was
taken down for burial after 17 minutes.
June 26, 1812 - Mary
Cole was hanged for the self confessed murder of her mother in Sussex County, New
September 30, 1814 -
20 year old Mary Antoine, a Native American, was hanged in New York for murder.
October 17, 1817 - Margaret Houghtaling was
hanged in Hudson, New York, having been convicted of killing
her baby. Later a neighbor confessed to the crime.
On February 18, 1820 – 27 year old Lavinia
Fisher was hanged in South Carolina
for murder, alongside her husband. She wore her white wedding dress for her
execution. They were executed for the robbery murders of guests at their inn,
known as the Six Mile House, at Charlestown.
July 12, 1833 -
Frankie Stewart Silver was hanged in Morganton,
North Carolina, for the ax murder
of her husband. She was 18 at the time of the crime and was the first woman to
be hanged in North Carolina.
Frankie claimed that she killed her drunken husband in self defense as he was
loading his gun, intending to shoot her. As Frankie stood with the rope around
her neck she attempted to make a final speech, but was interrupted by her
father, who shouted at her as: "Die with it in you, Frankie!" One is
left to wonder what secret she took with her to the grave.
September 30, 1838 -
A 19 year old African American, named Mary, was hanged in Missouri for murder.
February 9 1844. –
Ester Foster (coloured) was hanged for the murder of
a fellow inmate outside the prison at Franklin,
Ohio.With her on the gallows was William Graham
who had killed a prison guard.Ester
sold her body to a local surgeon in return for all the candy she could eat!
April 26, 1844 - 16
year old Rosanne Keen, an African American domestic servant, was hanged in New Jersey for murder.
May 23, 1845.-
Elizabeth Reed (white, aged 40) was publicly hanged at Lawrenceville, Illinois
for the murder by poisoning of her husband. She was the first woman to be
hanged in Illinois.
January 24, 1846 - 47
year old Elizabeth Van Valkenburgh was hanged at Johnstown, New
York for poisoning two husbands.
On November 9, 1847 - Mary Runkle (white) was
hanged in Oneida County, New York. She had been convicted of
strangling her husband and was suspected of drowning her two children as well.
The execution took place in the Whitesboro jail. To spare her the sight of the
gallows, a hole was cut in the upstairs floor and the rope passed down to the
office below where she sat waiting tied to a chair.
September 22, 1848 -
A slave, known only as Celia, became the first and only woman to be hanged in Florida. She was
executed for thekilling of her master,
Jacob Bryan, whom she battered to death with a hoe. It has been suggested that
Celia was Bryan's
daughter. No other woman was to be executed in this state until Judy Buenoano was electrocuted there on March 30, 1998.
December 11, 1849 –
25 year old Phoebe (Shepherd), an African American, was hanged in Alabama for murder.
January 30, 1852 -
Pamela Lee Worms was hanged in Pittsburgh,
Pennsylvania for poisoning her
July 30, 1852 - Ann Hoag
(white, aged 31) was hanged on this Friday in Poughkeepsie,New York for poisoning her husband. She was
hanged side by side with Jonas Williams and both were hoisted into the air
together.Ann died quite easily for the
time.Her prison confession filled a
reported 70 pages and implicated others in the murder.
September 10, 1852 -
Jane Williams and her husband John, both black slaves, died side by side for
the slaying of their master's wife and child at Richmond, Virginia.
The execution drew a crowd of 6,000. The state offered to pay Jane's owner $500
compensation for taking away his property by executing them!
February 26, 1858 -
On this day 30 year old Jenny (Hall), an African American, was hanged in Virginia for murder.
February 12, 1858 -
35 year old Charlotte Jones (white) was hanged in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
alongside Henry Fife, for murdering her uncle and aunt, George Wilson and
Elizabeth McMasters, in 1857. On the gallows, Charlotte kissed Henry before collapsing. She
had to be supported on the trap while the final preparations were made.
March 5, 1858 - 40
year old Lucy (Dougherty), an African American slave, was hanged in Texas for murder.
March 23, 1860 - Ann Bilansky (white, aged 34) went to the gallows at St. Paul, Minnesota
for the arsenic poisoning of her husband, Stanislaus - the only female executed
in this state. The hanging was carried out in nominal privacy although people
got onto every vantage point to see the proceedings. They didn't see a great
deal as Ann died with "hardly a struggle" according to contemporary
April 26 1861 - Paula
Angel, a 19 year old Hispanic girl, was hanged by Sheriff Herrera in San Miguel
County, New Mexico for the murder of her
married boyfriend, Miguel Martin, whom she had stabbed to death when he refused
to leave his wife for her. She was taken from the jail in a wagon to a suitable
tree from which she was to hang.When
they arrived at the place of execution, Paula put up such a fight with the
sheriff as she stood on the back of the wagon, that he
had to start over and get her properly tied up before he could draw the wagon
from under her.
Friday, November 13, 1863 - Chipita Rodriguez was hanged from a tree in
Texas for the
ax murder of horse trader John Savage. She was taken to her execution on that
Friday afternoon sitting side saddle on a horse and wearing a new blue dress
made for her by the town's women. She denied her guilt to the last and after
she had said her final words "No soy culpable" (I am not guilty) the
horse was led away from under her.
March 10, 1865 -17
year old Amy Spain, an African American, was hanged from a tree in the town of Darlington, South Carolina for
treason and conduct unbecoming a slave. When she heard that the Union army was
close at hand and would occupy the town she expressed her satisfaction by
clasping her hands and exclaiming, "Bless the Lord the Yankees have
come!" For her it should have meant the end of slavery, but the townsfolk
saw it differently.
July 7, 1865 – 45
year old Mary Surratt was hanged by the military at the Washington Arsenal
Penitentiary in Washington,
D.C., for the role she may have
played in the conspiracy to assassinate President Abraham Lincoln. This was the
first female execution under Federal jurisdiction and unusually for the time,
was well photographed. Her three co-conspirators were executed alongside her.
All were given a drop of about 5 feet which proved insufficient to break their
January 19, 1866 - 50
year old Martha Grinder "The Pittsburgh Poisoner" was hanged in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
for the poisoning by arsenic, of Mary Caruthers and Jane Buchanan, crimes to
which she confessed. She told the astonished jury at her trial "I loved to
see death in all its forms and phases and left no opportunity to gratify my
tastes for such sights. Could I have had my own way, probably I should have
done more." She went bravely to the gallows set up in the Pittsburgh prison yard and seemed quite
serene in the face of death. Martha wore a brown dress, trimmed with white lace
and was, unusually masked with a white hood on the gallows. The trap opened at and she struggled hard for
several minutes after suspension, allegedly due to the noose being allowed to
become damp and not sliding smoothly. It is suspected that the two women were not
her only victims.
August 30, 1867 -
Bridget Durgan, a 22 year old servant girl of Irish
descent was hanged in the jail yard at New
Brunswick, New Jersey
before a crowd of noisy and boisterous crowd of 2000 people, for the murder of
her mistress, Mrs. Mary Ellen Coriell, whom she had
stabbed to death. She wore a brown suit, white collar and white gloves, and
walked steadily to the gallows. A crowd of some 2,000 people watched as Bridget
was jerked into the air by the mechanism (instead of being dropped through a
trap). She died very hard, struggling and convulsing for some minutes in the
agonies of strangulation.
November 13, 1867 -
40 year old Lena Miller, of German origin, was hanged in the jail yard of
Brookville prison Pittsburgh,
Pennsylvania for poisoning her
husband, Xavier.She confessed to the
crime and was executed in front of several hundred witnesses.
February 7, 1868 -
Youth was no bar to execution in the 19th century! On this day, a 13 year old
African American girl, named Susan, was hanged in Henry County, Kentucky for
murder. She was a babysitter and was accused of killing one of her charges.
According to a local newspaper she "writhed and twisted and jerked many
times." It was reported that many "solid citizens" asked for a
piece of her hanging rope for a souvenir after they cut her down.
February 10, 1871 -
17 year old Mary Wallis, an African American, was hanged in Maryland for the murder by Strychnine
poisoning of her employer’s child.
May 2, 1873 - Susan Eberhart (white, aged 19) was hanged in Preston, StewartCounty,
for helping her employer, Enoch Spann, to kill his wife, who had been strangled
to death. They were arrested six days after the killing and tried and sentenced
less than a month after the murder. Susan went to the gallows in a new dress
and bonnet supplied by the sheriff and with her hair "neatly
braided." She told the crowd of about 700 witnesses that she did not mind
dying as she would be better off. Like her victim, Susan also strangled when
her turn came to die. Enoch Spann had been hanged on the same gallows on April
11, some 3 weeks earlier.
November 26, 1875 -
24 year old Alcee Harris, an African American, was hanged at Ouachita,Louisiana for murder. Afraid that
her husband, Henry, was going to kill her after they had been quarrelling, she
persuaded a friend, Toney Nellum, to kill him with an
ax. Both confessed to their parts in the crime and they were executed side by
side on a gallows set up outside the courthouse, in front of a crowd estimated
at 5,000. Alcee wore a white dress for the hanging. Both prisoners were given
quite a short drop and while Alcee died fairly quickly, Toney struggled for
some time after the trap fell at on that Friday morning.
January 6, 1881 - 40
year old Margaret Meierhoffer (white) was hanged in
the EssexCounty prison in New Jersey for the murder by shooting of her
husband John.Her accomplice Frank Lammens was executed an hour later on the same
gallows.Both were jerked into the air
by a falling weight and in neither case was the neck broken. Margaret was taken
to the gallows with the rope around her neck and the black hood on top of her
head.It was pulled down at the last
On February 3, 1881 - 29 year old Catherine Miller (white)
was hanged at Williamsport,
Pennsylvania alongside George
Smith for murdering Catherine's husband, Andrew. Smith had tried to make the
killing look like suicide. They were executed in semi-private before invited
witnesses, including reporters and both died easily.
April 22, 1881 - A crowd
of about 100 gathered outside the CountyJail in Lunenburg County, Virginia
for the semi-private hanging of Lucinda Fowlkes
(black, age unknown) who had murdered her husband with an ax. She alleged that
her husband abused her.
June 23, 1882 -
Lucinda Tisdale (black, age unknown) became one of four people hanged this day
at Kingstree, South Carolina. She was executed beside
Anderson Singleton for the murder of his wife (who was Lucinda's sister). Two
other men were hanged for arson and robbery on the same gallows later in the
September 14, 1883.
Barbara Miller, a young black woman aged about 29, was hanged in the jail yard
in RichmondVirginia for her part in the murder of her
husband.Her co-defendant had been
executed in August.She was given a drop
of 7 feet but this was inadequate and she struggled hard for some minutes.
Barbara had requested a white muslin dress and flowered head dress both of
which were provided.She complained that
she had not been allowed to be executed with her co-accused, Charles Lee, and
told reporters that she did not want a pardon even if the governor offered her
October 19, 1883 - 18
year old Margaret Harris (black) was hanged at Calhoun, Georgia
for poisoning a young girl called Lela Lewis. Some 3,500 people came to witness
this execution, including many women. Margaret died without a struggle.
March 30, 1883 - Emeline Lucy Meaker (white, age
44) was hanged at Windsor, Vermont for the poisoning murder of her
husband’s niece, 9 year old, Alice Meaker, so that
she could inherit $400. She was the first of only two women to be executed in
this state, the other was 21 year old Mary Rogers in
1905. Emeline chose a black dress with white trim for
her execution and asked to see the gallows beforehand which was permitted. She
was hanged in the prison yard at before an invited audience and was certified dead 14 minutes
February 28, 1887 -
40 year old RoxalanaDruse
was hanged in New York
for murder. Roxalana and her retarded daughter, Mary,
beat her husband John (aged 72) to death and then chopped up his body,
afterwards boiling down the remains. They lived in a frontier cabin in Little
Falls, New York,
and were caught because her 12 year old son informed the police that his father
was missing. The alleged motive for the crime was that her husband worked her
too hard. Her daughter was given a prison sentence for her part in the crime.
At her execution, Roxalana was jerked upwards by a
weighted rope (instead of being dropped through a trap door) and this failed to
break her neck. She took several agonizing minutes to strangle to death on the
noose. The scene so upset the officials that it was decided to alter the method
of execution and this led to the introduction of the electric chair in 1890.
(She was the last woman hanged in New
January 21, 1888 - 19
year old Pauline McCoy, an African American, was hanged at Union Springs in Montgomery, Alabama
for the murder of Annie Jordan, a teenage white girl. The apparent motive was
to steal Annie's shoes.Pauline was in a
state of virtual collapse on the gallows and had to be supported by two
June 25, 1889 - Sarah
Jane Whiteling, a 51 year old white woman, was
executed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the murders by arsenic
poisoning of her husband, son and daughter. She had mounted a defense of
insanity brought on by menopause but this was rejected by the jury. The
execution was carried out in the corridor of the county prison and was attended
by some 30 witnesses who saw the trap fall at , less than a minute after Sarah had mounted it.
June 20, 1890-Mrs. Elizabeth
Potts and her husband Josiah (a middle aged white couple) were hanged in Elko, Nevada
for killing Miles Faucett. Their motive appeared to be
financial gain. After their appeals had been turned down, an execution date was
set and a gallows was brought from California
and re-assembled in the prison yard. Elizabeth
had a new white dress with black silk bows made especially for her execution.
On the trap their wrists were bound, their shoes removed, and their legs
strapped. They leaned forward and kissed affectionately before the black hoods
were pulled over their heads and nooses adjusted around their necks. The trap
was sprung at ,
the force of the drop nearly decapitating Elizabeth who had put on weight in
prison. Blood was seen oozing from the hood and running down the front of her
dress. Fifty two men were present to witness this gruesome spectacle, women who
had applied for jail passes having had their requests denied. Elizabeth was to be the only woman ever
executed in Nevada.
September 29, 1891 -
Henrietta Murrell (colored) was hanged at Smithville, CharlotteCountyVirginia, for the self
confessed murder of her 8 year old child
January 22, 1892 -
Caroline Shipp (age 18, black) was publicly hanged in Gaston County, North Carolina
for the murder of her son by poisoning. She was taken to the gallows in a horse
drawn cart, seated on her coffin.One on
the trap she sang a hymn and prayed with her minister and was then given a
handkerchief to hold and then drop when she was ready for the trap to be
sprung. When asked if she had any final words she turned her head and the knot
moved to the front.As a result her neck
wasn’t broken and she struggled hard until the deputy sheriff added his weight
to hers and strangled her. Caroline was left hanging all day, and it was
reported that people brought their picnic lunches to her execution! It has been
reported that Caroline was pregnant when she was executed but had not told the
authorities which would have saved her.
Also on this day, Margaret Lashley and her boyfriend
James Lyles (both black) were hanged in semi-private at Danville, Virginia
for the murder of Margaret's husband. Margaret had been convicted of being an
accessory to the murder.
October 7, 1892 - 15
year old Milbry Brown, an African American, was
hanged at Spartanburg, South Carolina forkilling a one year old white child. She shared the
gallows with John Williams who had been convicted of the murder of J. Henneman, the mayor. They were executed at before some 20 witnesses and
were given a drop of 6 feet each which proved adequate to break their necks.
One the same day unmarried mother Anna Tribble
(black) was hanged in private at Newberry, South Carolina for the murder of her
baby on February 23. She had deserted the baby in a field.
November 22, 1895 -
Amanda Cody (black) and 20 year old Florence English
(black male) went to the gallows in private at Warrenton, Georgia.
These two were having an affair and were hanged for the murder of Amanda's
husband, Cicero.They continued to sing
a hymn together until the drop fell.
July 10, 1896 - 28
year old Mary Snodgrass (white) was hanged at Coeburn, Virginia
for murdering her baby by burning it in the fireplace. She was the last woman
hanged in the 19th century.(Martha Place was the last woman executed in America in the 19th
century when she went to the electric chair in New York on March 20, 1899.)
July 17, 1903.Thirty eight year old Dora Wright (black)
became the first woman to be hanged in the 20th century when she was put to
death at South McAllister, Oklahoma for the murder of 7 year old Annie
Williams.With her on the gallows was
Charles Barrett who was executed for a separate murder.
Dora had beaten Annie over a period of several months before finally whipping
her to death on February 2nd
1903.Just before both prisoners were given a
drop of 7 feet and died without a struggle.
December 8, 1905. -
The next female hanging was that of Mary Rogers, a 21 year old white housewife
who walked calmly to the gallows for the chloroform murder of her husband,
Marcus, on August 13 1902.
She wanted rid of him so that she could have another man and also get his life
insurance of $400.The execution took
place just after at Windsor in Vermont on a gallows
erected in a closed courtyard in the prison.Mary was the second and last woman to be hanged in Vermont.
January 13, 1922. -
The next female hanging took place at Forest,
Mississippi some 17 years later,
when Pattie Perdue (black) was executed. Her co-accused, Leon Viverett was also executed on this day. They were hanged
for the robbery murder of Alton Page, a white man whom they had cut up after
death and attempted to burn the body parts.
October 13, 1922. -
Ann Knight (black) was hanged at Leaksville, Mississippi
with her co-defendant Will Green for the murder of her husband.Ann’s was one of 4 executions carried out on
the same day.
February 1, 1929. -
Ada Bonner LeBouef (white, age 38) was hanged at in the jail yard of the parish
prison at Franklin, Louisiana for the murder of her husband
James. Her co-accused Dr. Thomas Dreher was executed
on the same gallows as soon as Ada’s
body had been removed.Ada and Thomas had hired a local trapper to
shoot James. There case received huge publicity unlike the two Mississippi ones above.
February 21, 1930 -
Eva Duggan (white, age 49) was hanged at Florence,
Arizona for the robbery murder of
her former employer, Tucson
rancher Andrew J. Mathis. She was the only woman ever executed in Arizona and her hanging
was botched. Eva had a wasting disease of the neck muscles and when the trap
was released she was decapitated by the drop to the horror of the 70 witnesses,
particularly the seven female ones.Arizona used the gas
chamber for all future executions.
February 8, 1935 -
Julia Moore was hanged in Louisiana
for the murder of one Elliot Wilson.No
other details of the case, which received minimal publicity, remain.
June 7, 1935 - May
Carey (white, age 55) went to the jail yard gallows of Sussexcounty in Delaware at for the murder of her
brother, Robert R. Hutchins, for his life insurance.Her sons, Howard, 27 and James 23, were also
convicted of the murder.Howard followed
his mother to the same gallows at and James was given a life sentence. Her third son, Lawrence,
was in the same prison serving a sentence for burglary. May was the only white
woman to ever be hanged in Delaware.
April 29, 1937 - Mary
Holmes become the last woman to suffer judicial hanging in the USA.Mary (black, age 35) was hanged at 12.48 at
Rolling Fork, Mississippi.
Her co-defendant, 32 year old Selmon Brooks was
hanged on the same gallows at They had been jointly convicted of the robbery murder of
Mary’s employer, Mr. E W Cook May