Women and Capital Punishment in America, 1840–1899

Death Sentences and Executions in the United States and Canada


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About the Book

Perhaps the single medium in which women have been consistently treated as equal to men is the American judicial system. Although the system has met with enormous public condemnation, equality under the law has justified the legal execution of nearly six hundred American women since 1632.
This book profiles the lives and cases of selected women sentenced to capital punishment in America between 1840 and 1899, most of whom were executed by hanging. The book is divided into chapters by decades, chronologically following a summary of the long and heated debate regarding women and capital punishment. Also evident is the influence of the 1870s women’s rights movement on the issue. Each chapter concludes with a comprehensive list of all women executed in the United States during the respective decade, specifying age, ethnicity and criminal conviction.

About the Author(s)

Cultural historian Kerry Segrave is the author of dozens of books on such diverse topics as drive-in theaters, ticket-scalping, lie detectors, jukeboxes, smoking and shoplifting. He lives in British Columbia.

Bibliographic Details

Kerry Segrave
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 218
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2008
pISBN: 978-0-7864-3823-5
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1084-9
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface      1

1. Women and Capital Punishment      3

2. 1840s and 1850s

Elizabeth Van Valkenburgh      17

Mary Runkle      18

Ann Hoag      20

Elizabeth Harker      23

Henrietta Robinson      25

Charlotte Jones      31

Mary Twigg      33

Mary Hartung      34

Ann Bilansky      43

Executions of Women in the 1840s and 1850s      47

3. 1860s

Martha Grinder      49

Mary Surratt      56

Bridget Durgan      62

Lucy Parnell      69

Sarah Victor      70

Hester Vaughn      74

Harriet Grier (Crittenden)      75

Executions of Women in the 1860s      76

4. 1870s

Mary Wallis      79

Laura Fair      80

Phoebe Campbell      85

Susan Eberhart      88

Libby Garrabrant      89

Elizabeth Workman      93

Lodecea Fredenburg      94

Anna Hollenschied      95

Johanna Turbin      98

Jennie Smith      99

Kate Sothern      105

Executions of Women in the 1870s      109

5. 1880s

Margaret Meierhofer      111

Lucinda Fowlkes      113

Catherine Miller      115

Mary Booth      115

Matilda Carter      117

Ella Moore      117

Lucinda Teasdale      118

Emeline Meaker      118

Barbara Miller      121

Margaret Harris      123

Angenette Haight      125

Roxalana Druse      128

Matilda Jones      140

Sarah Jane Robinson      141

Sadie Hayes      143

Mary Garrett      144

Axey Cherry      145

Chiara Cignarale      146

Sarah Jane Whiteling      151

Milly Poteat      153

Pauline McCoy      154

Executions of Women in the 1880s      154

6. 1890s

Elizabeth Potts      157

Emily Boon      161

Margaret Lashley      161

Amanda Umble      161

Anna Tribble      161

Milbry Brown      162

Caroline Shipp      163

Lizzie Halliday      163

Maria Barberi (Barbella)      169

Maggie Tiller      176

Elizabeth Nobles      177

Mary Snodgrass      179

Martha Place      179

Cordelia Poirier      185

Emily Hilda Blake      186

Executions of Women in the 1890s      186

Chapter Notes      189

Bibliography      199

Index      209