The Data and Its Challenges

T

he information contained in the database is based on the 1960s research of amateur historian M. Watt Espy from state Department of Corrections records, newspapers, county histories, proceedings of state and local courts, holdings of historical societies, and other listings of executions. In 1977, the University of Alabama offered their support of Espy's goal to document every legally sanctioned execution in the United States since 1608. Likewise, in 1984, the National Science Foundation provided a grant to codify the research.1 The version of the database that underlies this study extends this research into 2002.

Scholars Paul Blackman and Vance McLaughlin undertook an extensive quality assurance review of the Espy file in 2011 and found issues with the coding of information in the database. These included minor human-error data entry errors common to most freely available databases and discrepancies with the classification of information, including specifically the classification of crimes and occupations (the latter is not relevant to this study.) They found that certain types of executions were misrepresented. Military executions as well as those of pirates and Indians, they found, were under-represented in the database. Additionally, the database contains a British bias, they argue, ignoring executions prior to British settlement. The nature of my exploratory research, however, allows me draw very broad conclusions based on initial patterns and queries despite these issues.2 There will be no close reading of the information in this database without verification from external sources.

Fundamentally, the biggest potential gap in the information pertains to the difference between the number of individuals whose sentences were actually carried out as opposed to those who were pardoned, stayed, commuted, etc. It is impossible to tell in this database where circumstances prevented the execution. I have designated in the pages that follow other areas where further study is needed to understand and verify the trends. As with any good distant reading, this project raised more questions than it answered.

Breakdown of totals of women by race.

Afr. Am: 198
White: 138
Unknown: 21
Nat Am: 5
Hispanic: 3

Details

Details of all the executions of women, in chronological order.

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First NameLast NameCrimeMethodStateYear
JaneChampionUnknownHangingVA1632
MargaretHatchMurderHangingVA1633
DorothyTalbyMurderHangingMA1638
MaryLathamAdulteryHangingMA1643
Mrs.CornishMurderHangingME1644
MaryMartinMurderHangingMA1646
AliceBishopMurderHangingMA1648
MargaretJonesWitchcraftHangingMA1648
MaryJohnsonWitchcraftHangingCT1649
GoodwifeBassettWitchcraftHangingCT1651
KendallWitchcraftHangingMA1651
MaryParsonsWitchcraftHangingMA1651
ElizabethKnappWitchcraftHangingCT1653
AnnHibbensWitchcraftHangingMA1656
MaryDyerOtherHangingMA1660
MaryBarnesWitchcraftHangingCT1662
RebeccaGreensmithWitchcraftHangingCT1662
IsabellaYousleyMurderHangingMD1671
(lamb)MarjaArsonBurnedMA1681
Henry Mrs.LakeWitchcraftHangingMA1684
RebeccaFowlerWitchcraftHangingMD1685
JudithRoeMurderHangingDE1688
GoodyGloverWitchcraftHangingMA1688
MaryParkerWitchcraftHangingMA1692
SarahGoodWitchcraftHangingMA1692
BridgetBishopWitchcraftHangingMA1692
MargaretScottWitchcraftHangingMA1692
WilmotReadWitchcraftHangingMA1692
AnnPudeaterWitchcraftHangingMA1692
MarthaCoreyWitchcraftHangingMA1692
MaryEastleyWitchcraftHangingMA1692
AliceParkerWitchcraftHangingMA1692
MarthaCarrierWitchcraftHangingMA1692
ElizabethHowWitchcraftHangingMA1692
SarahWildWitchcraftHangingMA1692
SussanahMartinWitchcraftHangingMA1692
RebeccaNurseWitchcraftHangingMA1692
ElizabethEmmersonMurderHangingMA1693
MurderHangingMA1693
SusannaAndrewsConcealing BirthHangingMA1696
MurderHangingMA1698
SarahSmithMurderHangingMA1699
EstherRodgersMurderHangingMA1701
AnnTandyConcealing BirthHangingVA1702
(custis)SarahArsonHangingVA1705
(hallett)MurderBurnedNY1708
ElizabethGordonUnknownHangingVA1712
BettyUnknownHangingMA1712
(vaninburgh)AbigailSlave RevoltHangingNY1712
(pels)SarahSlave RevoltHangingNY1712
MargaretCallahanMurderHangingMA1715
MurderBurnedNY1717
(sherron)HagerMurderBurnedNJ1717
ElizabethMurphyMurderHangingPA1724
Slave RevoltHangingLA1730
CatharineBevanMurderBurnedDE1731
RebeccaChamblettConcealing BirthHangingMA1733
AliceRileyMurderHangingGA1735
PatienceSampsonMurderHangingME1735
ElizabethGreenleyMurderHangingVA1736
CatharineConnerHousebreaking-BurgHangingPA1737
(prudden)MurderBurnedVA1737
CatherineGarrettMurderHangingCT1738
SarahChamberlainMurderHangingSC1738
ElizabethTwopenceMurderHangingVA1739
ElizabethMazeMurderHangingVA1739
SarahSimpsonMurderHangingNH1739
CatherineSullivanUnknownHangingNC1739
PenelopeHenryMurderHangingNH1739
MargaretKerrySlave RevoltHangingNY1741
SarahHughsonSlave RevoltHangingNY1741
(randolph)LucyMurderHangingVA1742
(montague)EveMurderBurnedVA1745
EstherAndersonMurderBurnedMD1746
ElizabethRobinsonHousebreaking-BurgHangingPA1750
MargaretSextonMurderHangingDE1751
Unspec FelonyHangingVA1751
MaryPowellMurderHangingMD1752
MarthaBassettMurderHangingMD1752
SarahBrambleMurderHangingCT1753
(croft)ArsonBurnedSC1754
MaryMurrayUnknownHangingVA1755
(codman)PhillisMurderBurnedMA1755
ElizabethGraulMurderHangingPA1759
(fickling)PoisoningHangingSC1761
(sutton)NanUnknownHangingVA1763
(clapham)MurderHangingMI1763
(richards)PhoebeHousebreaking-BurgHangingPA1764
JaneEwingMurderHangingPA1765
ElizabethErwinMurderHangingPA1765
(rabour)RoseArsonHangingNC1766
(wise)EstherMurderUnknownVA1767
MarthaSharpMurderHangingVA1767
CatherineKrebsMurderHangingPA1767
RuthBlayMurderHangingNH1768
MaryKennedyMurderHangingPA1768
(sands)DollyMurderBurnedWV1769
(knox)WinnyMurderHangingVA1769
(ormond)MurderHangingNC1770
(ormond)MurderBurnedNC1770
(ward)MurderHangingNC1770
(harrison)JudithPoisoningHangingVA1772
(loftain)SallMurderHangingVA1773
CatherinePeppersMurderHangingVA1774
ElizabethMurderHangingPA1774
SusannahBrazierMurderHangingVA1775
AnnWyleyRobberyHangingMI1777
BathshebaSpoonerMurderHangingMA1778
CatharineFisherMurderHangingPA1779
(blount)EstherUnknownHangingNC1779
(bobbitt)PollMurderHangingVA1779
SuckyArsonHangingPA1780
JennyMurderBurnedNC1780
(sawyer)VioletArsonHangingVA1780
MollyGlassMurderHangingLA1781
(copeland)PenelopeUnspec FelonyHangingVA1781
(tyson)RoseMurderBurnedNC1783
(clark)MollUnspec FelonyUnknownVA1783
BarbaraStillwellMurderHangingNY1784
HannahPiggenConcealing BirthHangingMA1785
ElizabethWilsonMurderHangingPA1786
HannahOcuishMurderHangingCT1786
SarahKirkMurderHangingDE1787
AnnConnollyRobbery-MurderHangingSC1788
AbigailConverseMurderHangingMA1788
DineArsonHangingNJ1788
(braine)NellyArsonHangingNY1789
(fisher)CreeseArsonUnknownVA1789
RachelWallRobberyHangingMA1789
(marshall)MollUnspec FelonyHangingVA1791
(francis)DaphneMurderHangingVA1793
(travis)NellyMurderHangingVA1793
DeanArsonHangingNY1794
BetArsonHangingNY1794
(kirby)LucyMurderHangingVA1794
ArdenMurderHangingSC1795
(randolph)ChloeMurderHangingVA1795
(stanfield)MollMurderHangingVA1796
(robe)MillayArsonHangingWV1798
(milles)PollyMurderHangingVA1798
(gresham)AmeyMurderHangingVA1799
SarahClarkMurderHangingPA1799
(lafferty)ChaineyMurderHangingVA1800
ChloeMurderHangingPA1801
(smith)NanUnspec FelonyHangingVA1801
(lawson)ChasityPoisoningHangingVA1803
(jernegan)MurderBurnedNC1805
HannahMillerMurderHangingPA1805
(goodeFannyPoisoningHangingVA1806
(morrasitty)SallUnknownHangingVA1806
PollyBarclayConsp to MurderHangingGA1806
(morriasitty)CreaseUnknownHangingVA1806
(pentross)CharlotteMurderHangingVA1806
(holcomb)MollyMurderHangingTN1807
(rainey)PhoebeMurderHangingKY1808
MurderHangingTN1808
(rhodes)NancyArsonHangingKY1808
SusannahCoxMurderHangingPA1809
(jackson)FloraMurderHangingVA1809
ElizabethMooreMurderHangingPA1809
MaryColeMurderHangingNJ1812
(tate)AmyMurderHangingVA1812
(rumsey)MurderHangingKY1812
MaryAntoineMurderHangingNY1814
(shelton)ClaraMurderHangingVA1816
MargaretSeabornMurderHangingGA1817
EllenorGillespieMurderHangingKY1817
MargaretHoughtalingMurderHangingNY1817
(vaughan)CatyMurderHangingVA1818
(berkeley)SarahMurderHangingVA1818
MurderHangingTN1819
EveMartinAccessory to MurderHangingTN1820
(barnes)ChaneyConsp to MurderHangingVA1820
LaviniaFisherRobbery-MurderHangingSC1820
(daughtry)CeliaMurderHangingVA1821
(baker)KittyMurderHangingMD1821
(farris)PatMurderHangingVA1821
(colter)RebeccaMurderHangingWV1825
(gorman)PatsyMurderHangingAL1825
(stuckey)MurderHangingSC1825
PeggyFactoMurderHangingNY1825
(hanley)MollyMurderHangingVA1826
(ware)JudyMurderHangingVA1827
(shield)NellyMurderHangingVA1828
(long)MollyMurderHangingNC1828
(green)AnnisAttempted MurderHangingVA1829
CatharineCashiereMurderHangingNY1829
(jones)JennyArsonHangingGA1829
DinahMurderHangingKY1830
(lubbock)CindaArsonHangingGA1830
(insley)HennyMurderHangingMD1831
(dawson)FannyPoisoningHangingVA1832
(dawson)RenahPoisoningHangingVA1832
(allen)ElizabethUnknownHangingVA1832
(wells)LucyMurderHangingWV1832
(bouligny)LucyPoisoningHangingLA1832
ElizabethFreemanMurderHangingNJ1832
FrankieSilverMurderHangingNC1833
(pond)MaryAttempted MurderHangingVA1833
UnknownHangingMS1833
AureliaChasePoisoningHangingMD1833
(grey)CassyMurderHangingKY1833
MaryAndrewsMurderHangingMO1834
(wheat)NellyMurderHangingVA1834
HannahHazelwoodMurderHangingKY1834
(leblanc)ArsonHangingLA1835
(lumpkin)PhoebeMurderHangingVA1836
(holley)MurderHangingAL1836
(holley)MurderHangingAL1836
(stevenson)FannyAttempted MurderHangingAL1836
(harkins)DelseyUnknownHangingAL1837
(gorman)JaneMurderHangingLA1837
(warren)BellaMurderHangingGA1837
MaryMurderHangingMO1838
(mayse)LucindaMurderHangingVA1838
(risk)MarthaAttempted MurderHangingKY1839
(wilson)BetsyMurderHangingVA1840
(jones)UnknownHangingAL1840
(smith)MaryUnknownHangingAL1843
(beasley)NancyAttempted MurderHangingAL1844
EstherFosterMurderHangingOH1844
RosanKeenMurderHangingNJ1844
LaviniaBurnettMurderHangingAR1845
ElizabethReedMurderHangingIL1845
EmalineMurderHangingGA1845
LucyMurderHangingLA1846
(rabbeneck)PaulineAttempted MurderHangingLA1846
Valkenburgh Eliz.VanMurderHangingNY1846
MaryRunkleMurderHangingNY1847
(hamilton)LucyMurderHangingKY1848
(griffin)ElizaPoisoningHangingVA1849
(ezell)RobertaPoisoningHangingVA1849
(shepherd)PherebeMurderHangingAL1849
MargaretteMurderHangingNC1849
CicilyMurderHangingMS1850
JuanitaMurderHangingCA1851
MilyFoxPoisoningHangingLA1851
(depp)JaneMurderHangingVA1852
(mason)MahaliaMurderHangingVA1852
(champion)MollyAttempted MurderHangingVA1852
AnnHoagMurderHangingNY1852
Jane (winstoWilliamsMurderHangingVA1852
MargaretBucknerMurderHangingVA1853
JaneElkinsMurderHangingTX1854
(mckeller)MarthaArsonHangingAL1855
(newsome)CeliaMurderHangingMO1855
(frilvox)MelvaineMurderHangingLA1855
(clarke)AmeliaMurderHangingVA1856
MinervaArsonHangingKY1856
(wilson)AnnaArsonHangingVA1856
(thompson)CatharineMurderHangingVA1857
(green)MurderHangingVA1857
(green)MurderHangingVA1857
(brothers)NancyAttempted MurderHangingVA1857
(norwood)MassyMurderHangingNC1857
MaryTwiggMurderHangingPA1858
(hall)JennyMurderHangingVA1858
(musgrove)JaneMurderHangingVA1858
(dougherty)LucyMurderHangingTX1858
CharlotteJonesRobbery-MurderHangingPA1858
(shacklefor)AngelinaArsonHangingVA1859
NancyMurderHangingAL1859
(croxton)ElizaMurderHangingVA1860
(croxton)AnnMurderHangingVA1860
(berry)FrancesPoisoningHangingKY1860
(jones)JuneMurderHangingAL1860
AnnBilanskyMurderHangingMN1860
(witherspoon)SilvyMurderHangingSC1861
PaulaAngelMurderHangingNM1861
(witherspoon)RhodieMurderHangingSC1861
(jones)LizzieUnknownHangingAL1861
ChipitaRodriguezRobbery-MurderHangingTX1863
(dillard)SarahMurderHangingVA1863
(butt)MargaretMurderHangingVA1863
MaryNaylorMurderHangingMD1863
(dillard)JaneMurderHangingVA1863
(dillard)BetMurderHangingVA1863
(bantling)ElizaUnknownHangingAL1864
AmySpainOtherHangingSC1865
DeloresMooreMurderHangingAZ1865
MarySurrattAccessory to MurderHangingDC1865
MarthaGrinderMurderHangingPA1866
LenaMillerMurderHangingPA1867
BridgetDerganMurderHangingNJ1867
LucyPurnellMurderHangingMD1868
SusanMurderHangingKY1868
SarahBradleyMurderHangingDE1869
MaryWallisMurderHangingMD1871
SusanEberhartMurderHangingGA1873
AnnHuntMurderHangingGA1874
AlceeHarrisMurderHangingLA1875
EllenOsgoodMurderHangingGA1878
MargaretMeierhofferMurderHangingNJ1881
CatherineMillerMurderHangingPA1881
LucindaFowlkesMurderHangingVA1881
LucindaTeasdaleMurderHangingSC1882
MatildaCarterMurderHangingNC1882
EllaMooreMurderHangingGA1882
MargaretHarrisMurderHangingGA1883
EmelineMeakerMurderHangingVT1883
BarbaraMillerAccessory to MurderHangingVA1883
MatildaJonesRobbery-MurderHangingLA1885
RoxalanaDruseMurderHangingNY1887
PaulineMccoyMurderHangingAL1888
SarahWhitelingMurderHangingPA1889
ElizabethPottsRobbery-MurderHangingNV1890
MaryO'cammonUnknownHangingCA1890
KateMcshaneUnknownHangingCA1890
MilbryBrownMurderHangingSC1892
CarolineShippMurderHangingNC1892
AnnaTribbleMurderHangingSC1892
MargaretHashleyAccessory to MurderHangingVA1892
AdaHiersMurderHangingSC1893
FlorenceEnglishMurderHangingGA1895
AmandaCodyMurderHangingGA1895
MarySnodgrassMurderHangingVA1896
MarthaPlaceMurderElectrocutionNY1899
DoraWrightMurderHangingOK1903
MaryRogersMurderHangingVT1905
MaryFarmerRobbery-MurderElectrocutionNY1909
VirginiaChristianRobbery-MurderElectrocutionVA1912
PattiePerdueRobbery-MurderHangingMS1922
RuthSnyderMurderElectrocutionNY1928
AdaLeboeufMurderHangingLA1929
EvaDuganRobbery-MurderHangingAZ1930
SilenaGilmoreMurderElectrocutionAL1930
IreneSchroederMurderElectrocutionPA1931
AnnaAntonioConsp to MurderElectrocutionNY1934
EvaCooMurderElectrocutionNY1935
JuliaMooreMurderHangingLA1935
MayCareyMurderHangingDE1935
FrancesCreightonMurderElectrocutionNY1936
MaryHolmesRobbery-MurderHangingMS1937
MariePorterConsp to MurderElectrocutionIL1938
AnnaHahnMurderElectrocutionOH1938
JuanitaSpinelliMurderAsphyxiation-GasCA1941
ToniHenryRobbery-MurderElectrocutionLA1942
SueLogueConsp to MurderElectrocutionSC1943
RosannaPhillipsRobbery-MurderAsphyxiation-GasNC1943
BessieWilliamsRobbery-MurderAsphyxiation-GasNC1944
MildredJohnsonMurderElectrocutionMS1944
HelenFowlerRobbery-MurderElectrocutionNY1944
LenaBakerMurderElectrocutionGA1945
ShellieMckeithenMurderElectrocutionPA1946
CorrineSikesRobbery-MurderElectrocutionPA1946
RosaStinetteMurderElectrocutionSC1947
LouisePeeteMurderAsphyxiation-GasCA1947
MarthaBeckRobbery-MurderElectrocutionNY1951
BonnieHeadleyKidnap-MurderAsphyxiation-GasMO1953
EthelRosenbergEspionage-SpyElectrocutionNY1953
EarleDennisonMurderElectrocutionAL1953
BettyButlerMurderElectrocutionOH1954
DovieDeanMurderElectrocutionOH1954
BarbaraGrahamRobbery-MurderAsphyxiation-GasCA1955
RhondaMartinMurderElectrocutionAL1957
ElizabethDuncanConsp to MurderAsphyxiation-GasCA1962
VelmaBarfieldMurderInjectionNC1984
Karla FayeTuckerRobbery-MurderInjectionTX1998
JudyBuenoanoMurderElectrocutionFL1998
Christina MarieRiggsMurderInjectionAR2000
Betty LouBeetsMurderInjectionTX2000
MarilynPlantzConsp to MurderInjectionOK2001
Wanda JeanAllenMurderInjectionOK2001
Lynda LyonBlockMurderElectrocutionAL2002
AilleenWournosRobbery-MurderInjectionFL2002