Capital Punishment in the 1700s: Women Burned at the Stake

If you committed murder in 1755 you were dealt with severely. However, the punishment for the crime was not always the same for a man as it was for a woman.

notice of a 1755 execution in Massachusetts, Evening Post newspaper article 22 September 1755

Evening Post (Boston, Massachusetts), 22 September 1755, page 4

In this article from an old 1700s newspaper, we learn that a man and a woman servant were found guilty of the murder of their master. The woman was burned at the stake for the crime.

Meanwhile the man was hanged on the gallows, and then later his body was hung in the town square by a chain.

Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL, the Legal Genealogist, will be speaking this Saturday to the Seattle Genealogical Society about the differences in applying the law and punishments between men and women throughout history. Her remarks are entitled: “Don’t Forget the Ladies—A Genealogist’s Guide to Women and the Law.” Get the event details at the Seattle Genealogical Society website here: http://seattlegenealogicalsociety.org/content/seminars.

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Written by Thomas Jay Kemp

Thomas Jay Kemp

Thomas Jay Kemp is the Director of Genealogy Products at GenealogyBank. Tom Kemp is an internationally known librarian and archivist – he is the author of over 35 genealogy books and hundreds of articles about genealogy and family history.

He previously served as the Chair of the National Council of Library & Information Associations (Washington, DC) and as Library Director of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania and the New England Historic Genealogical Society.

An active genealogist, he has been working on his own family history for 47 years. With the rapidly growing online archives at GenealogyBank – it is a great day for genealogy!

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