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Encyclopedia > Bathsheba Spooner

Bathsheba Ruggles Spooner (c. 1746 – July 2, 1778) was the first woman to be executed in the United States by Americans rather than the British. She was the daughter of Brigadier General Timothy Ruggles. July 2 is the 183rd day of the year (184th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 182 days remaining. ... 1778 was a common year starting on Thursday (see link for calendar). ... A Brigadier General, or one-star general, is the lowest rank of general officer in the United States and some other countries, ranking just above Colonel and just below Major General. ... Timothy Ruggles (October 20, 1711 - August 4, 1795) was as an American military leader, jurist and politician. ...

Spooner had become involved with a sixteen year-old soldier in the Continental Army, Ezra Ross, whom she was nursing from injury. She became pregnant by him and convinced him and two escaped British prisoners of war, Williams Brooks, James Buchanan, to kill her husband, a wealthy gentleman farmer in Brookfield, Massachusetts. The three men ambushed him in his front yard as he returned home. After beating him to death, they dumped his body down a well. Illustration depicting uniforms and weapons used during the 1779 to 1783 period of the American Revolution by showing four soldiers standing in an informal group General George Washington, was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army on June 15, 1775. ... Geneva Convention definition A prisoner of war (POW) is a soldier, sailor, airman, or marine who is imprisoned by an enemy power during or immediately after an armed conflict. ...   Brookfield is a town in Worcester County, Massachusetts, United States. ...

Spooner and the three men were convicted in April 1778 and sentenced to death. Spooner pleaded extenuating circumstances due to her pregnancy, but her plea was rejected and she was hanged alongside Ross, Brooks and Buchanan on July 2. An autopsy revealed that she had indeed been pregnant. This expression is used in law with reference to crimes, to describe cases in which, though an offence has been committed without legal justification or excuse, its gravity, from the point of view of punishment or moral opprobrium, is mitigated or reduced by reason of the facts leading up to... An autopsy, also known as a post-mortem examination or an obduction, is a medical procedure that consists of a thorough examination of a corpse to determine the cause and manner of a persons death and to evaluate any disease or injury that may be present. ...



  • Deborah Navas (2001). Murdered by His Wife. University of Massachusetts Press. ISBN 1-55849-334-4.

External links

  • Review of Murdered by His Wife by Daniel A. Cohen, Florida International University.
  • Table of Executions in Massachusetts
  • Brookfield Woman Put to Death on massmoments.org, the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities website.

  Results from FactBites:
Bathsheba Ruggles, wife of Joshua Spooner (855 words)
Bathsheba Ruggles Spooner was the daughter of Brigadier General Timothy Ruggles and Bathsheba Bourne Newcomb.
Although Bathsheba Ruggles Spooner pleaded for a stay of execution due to her pregnant condition, it was in vain.
Bathsheba's only clue about the child's paternity is when she said that "it was lawfully begotten." (Read the book, Murdered By His Wife, by Deborah Navas, which is a very interesting account of the murder which also includes biographical and genealogical material).
  More results at FactBites »



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