|The Hanging of Susanna Cox: The True Story of Pennsylvania's Most Notorious Infanticide and the Legend That’s Kept It Alive
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.
- Investigation into a child’s gruesome murder
- New findings on a justice system that failed a young woman
- The real story behind the legend
About the Author:
Patricia Earnest Suter lives in Dover, Delaware, and operates Russell D. Earnest Associates, a clearinghouse of Pennsylvania German documents. Russell and Corinne Earnest of Clayton, Delaware, have studied and written about early American documents for more than thirty years and have published nineteen books on the subject.
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