Hanging of Susanna Cox

The True Story of Pennsylvania's Most Notorious Infanticide and the Legend That's Kept It Alive

Book Description

  • Investigation into a child's gruesome murder
  • New findings on a justice system that failed a young woman
  • The real story behind the legend

    The unfortunate Susanna Cox gained notoriety for killing her illegitimate infant son. The fatal episode led to her hanging in Reading, Pennsylvania, in 1809, the last public execution of a woman in the commonwealth. But was Susanna really the culprit? The legend of her fate, repeated in Pennsylvania German broadsides by the generations that followed, suggests she herself was a victim. Now, in this first full-length investigation into the tragedy, new evidence reveals some startling facts about how indifference, an undeveloped court system, and the inexact science of nineteenth-century forensics combined to determine Susanna's tragic fate. A full look at how Susanna's "sad song" became romanticized through broadside ballads follows, complete with illustrations.

  • About Suter, Patricia Earnest

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