Cudmore: Unfortunate stories from Johnstown record

Elizabeth Woodley, born in Bennington, Vermont, in 1799, was hanged on the Fulton County gallows in Johnstown in 1846. Her mothers and fathers experienced died when she was a baby. The late Joan Loveday, Fulton County Historic Modern society president, in 2008 stated that each of Elizabeth’s husbands were being […]

Elizabeth Woodley, born in Bennington, Vermont, in 1799, was hanged on the Fulton County gallows in Johnstown in 1846. Her mothers and fathers experienced died when she was a baby.

The late Joan Loveday, Fulton County Historic Modern society president, in 2008 stated that each of Elizabeth’s husbands were being “drunkards who were boy or girl and spouse beaters and non-supporters, who produced her and her children’s lives depressing.”

Elizabeth, her to start with partner and their 4 young children, lived 6 many years in Pennsylvania right before transferring to near Johnstown, New York. Her to start with husband’s title is not known.

Her 1st spouse died seemingly of belly issues. Six months later she married John Van Valkenburgh in 1834.

Loveday mentioned, “To cure the abuse of this spouse, Elizabeth laced John’s brandy with arsenic, which of study course produced him ill. Suspicions were raised and when Elizabeth listened to she was needed for questioning she was discovered hiding in the basis of a Kingsboro home.

“She was escorted dwelling for the night time. She ran off once more with the sheriff in very hot pursuit and hid in the loft of a barn. Regretably, Elizabeth fell via the hay hole in the loft and broke her hip.”

When John died, Elizabeth was incarcerated in the Johnstown jail for nearly a calendar year. At her trial she was uncovered responsible and sentenced to be hanged.
Many people, which includes 10 of the jurors who experienced convicted her, petitioned New York Gov. Silas Wright for clemency. Wright wrote he was moved by “her gender and poverty” but discovered no new evidence to halt the execution.

When Elizabeth signed her confession, she confessed to poisoning her first husband with arsenic as nicely. The poison was out there to her as it was currently being used to destroy rats in the house the place she lived.

Given that Elizabeth was unable to stand, the gallows experienced to be modified to hang her in a chair. The execution took put Jan. 24, 1846. Elizabeth is buried without a headstone in the Colonial Cemetery in Johnstown.

Loveday reported, “Sympathy ran significant for very poor Elizabeth, who in 1845 would have had no rights to her young children or belongings, experienced she remaining her husband. It is a unfortunate story, but portion of Johnstown’s historical past.”

The Fulton County Museum on Kingsboro Avenue in Gloversville has the primary gallows utilised for hangings at the aged Fulton County jail in its assortment.
Loveday explained the gallows is a substantial wood beam with a hook on it, “When the Johnstown jail was renovated, I imagine then Fulton County Historian Lou Decker introduced the gallows to the museum.”

FLOODS IN JOHNSTOWN, N.Y. and Pa.

A lot more than 2,000 men and women died on May well 31, 1889, when the South Fork Dam collapsed at Lake Conemaugh, sending a wall of h2o and debris into Johnstown, Pennsylvania, presently suffering from flooding from the Very little Conemaugh and Stony Creek rivers.

6 months later, a flood struck Johnstown, New York along the Cayadutta Creek. Soon after significant rains in July 1889, the Cayadutta Creek raised 8 feet in 30 minutes and the creek banking institutions have been rapidly inundated as hundreds of folks gathered along the creek and bridges to view the flood.

Police experimented with to shift sightseers from the water’s edge, but numerous men and women were being dumped into the raging latest. 5 gentlemen died. 4 dams and seven bridges had been destroyed. Factories and skin mills alongside the creek have been seriously damaged.

The New York Situations printed this account on July 11, 1889. “This town is slowly but surely relieving itself of the terror which came down upon it with the flood yesterday, and … wonders at the bizarre coincidence of name and tragedy with that of the not happy city in Pennsylvania.”

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Edie Villetas

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