On March 20, 1899, Martha Place became the first woman to be executed by electric chair. It happened in New York under the governorship of Theodore Roosevelt, despite a campaign to stay the execution by women’s rights advocate Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Place had been convicted of murder the previous year.
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Widower William W. Place had a young daughter and was looking for a new wife to help raise the girl. In 1893 he hired a housekeeper named Martha who seemed to care deeply for his daughter. Place admired Martha’s devotion and married her that same year. Having cemented her place in the household, Martha’s true nature started to come out. The upshot is that she wasn’t that great of a stepmother. It took five years for her murderous tendency to reveal itself, but when it did, the killing was quite gruesome. Read the story of the murder that landed Martha Place in the electric chair at Sing Sing Prison at Murder by Gaslight. -via Strange Company