American female hangings 1632 to 1937.

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 306 of these women whose executions can be fully verified (Link to this site at the bottom of this page). 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 the death penalty by hanging. Some states never executed a woman.
Of these 306 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 for both sexes up to the introduction of the electric chair in 1890. Martha Place became the first woman to be electrocuted in New York state 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 its life.

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 Salem Mass. 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 of  June 1633 for murder.

On December 6. 1638 -  Dorothy Talby, 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 committing murder.

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 recollection of.

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 Commons.

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 Commons, Massachusetts 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 -  Rebecca Chamblett, 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 of  her crime.)

On May 3, 1738 - 27 year old Catherine Garrett, a Native American, was hanged in Connecticut for murder.

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 was hanged for murdering a sailor. She and her husband, George, a Boston fisherman, engaged in piracy. After stealing a ship at Essex, they began pirating off of the Isle of Shoals. Pretending to be in distress, Rachel would stand on deck and cry for help. When rescuers arrived, George and his men would kill them, rob them of all valuables, and sink their ship. In 1782, George Wall drowned in a storm but Rachel was rescued. She returned to Boston where she continued to steal from the cabins of ships docked in Boston Harbor. She was accused and convicted of murdering a sailor - a crime that she denied. At her hanging, she confessed to being a pirate. She is the only known woman pirate of New England.

Friday, May 13, 1806 - Polly Barclay was hanged in Wilkes County, Georgia, 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 Jersey.

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 at Charlestown in South Carolina, for the robbery murders of guests at their inn, known as the Six Mile House, 6 miles north of Charlestown. At her execution behind the behind the Charlestown Jail she told the crowd "If any of you have a message for the Devil, give it to me, for I am about to meet him!".  She is generally regarded as America’s first female serial killer. Her husband John had been hanged a few minutes earlier from the same gallows.

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 the killing 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 husband.

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 by a “jerker” gallows.  Williams’ neck was broken but Ann’s was not although she died quite easily.  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 reports.

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 necks.

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 1.15 p.m. 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, Stewart County, Georgia 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 10:26 a.m. on that Friday morning.

January 6, 1881 - 40 year old Margaret Meierhoffer (white) was hanged in the Essex County 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 moment.

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 County Jail 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 day.

September 14, 1883. Barbara Miller, a young black woman aged about 29, was hanged in the jail yard in Richmond Virginia 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 one.

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 1:30 p.m. before an invited audience and was certified dead 14 minutes later.

February 28, 1887 - 40 year old Roxalana Druse 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 York State.)

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 sheriff’s deputies.

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 10:07 a.m., 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 10:44 a.m., 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, Charlotte County Virginia, for the self confessed murder of her 8 year old child

January 22, 1892 - Caroline Shipp (age somewhere between 18 and 21, black) was publicly hanged in Gaston County, North Carolina for the murder of her son by poisoning. She was taken to the gallows, set up about a mile from the county jail, in a horse drawn cart, seated on her coffin.  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 which would drop her just 4 feet, 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 for killing 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 11 a.m. 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 7 a.m. 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 unaided 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 1 p.m. at Windsor in Vermont on a gallows erected in a closed courtyard in the prison, the drop being sufficient to break her neck.  Mary wore a long black dress for her execution and was reported to be the calmest person there.  She 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 noon 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 Sussex county in Delaware at 5.07 a.m. 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 5.41 a.m. 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 1.32 p.m. They had been jointly convicted of the robbery murder of Mary’s employer, Mr. E W Cook May 29 1936.

Click here for a full listing of American female executions. See also American female executions since 1900 Return to Contents page