Posts Tagged ‘Teddy Roosevelt’

A Brooklyn wife’s life ends in the electric chair

June 11, 2011

Three men had already been executed by the state of New York by the time it was Martha Place’s turn in March 1899.

As the first woman to be sentenced to death via electrocution, she received lots of media attention.

Place, 44, was living at 598 Hancock Street in Brooklyn with her husband, William, a widower who had a 17-year-old daughter, Ida.

When William came home one night in 1898, he was met by an ax-wielding Martha. Upstairs lay Ida’s body, with her eyes burned out. Later it was determined that Martha suffocated her after throwing acid in her face.

Martha was put on trial; every day she wore the same black dress. Convicted of Ida’s murder, she was sentenced to be electrocuted at Sing Sing within six weeks, reported The New York Times in July 1898.

“The indifferent, rather cynical look which was on her face throughout the trial had entirely disappeared,” the Times stated.

“She was pale, and wept as she entered the room. She trembled as she faced Judge Hurd, and seemed for the first time to realize the position in which her crime had placed her.”

Appeals for a new trial, plus a request by Governor Teddy Roosevelt to spare her life, didn’t work out.

On March 20, 1899, Place was strapped into the wooden chair; out of deference to her sex, electrodes were put on her ankles rather than a more intrusive spot on her body. She was buried in New Jersey.

Who is watching Lincoln’s funeral procession?

March 27, 2009

See the two little figures looking out the second-floor window facing south in the building on the corner? Supposedly it’s a young Teddy Roosevelt and his brother Elliot (future father of Eleanor); they’re viewing President Lincoln’s funeral procession. The future president would have been seven years old when this picture was taken on April 25, 1865.

That’s his grandfather Cornelius Roosevelt’s property on Broadway between 13th and 14th Streets; the procession is heading to Union Square.


Cornelius Roosevelt’s house was torn down and an eight-story terra cotta and brick structure put in its place in 1894. Called the Roosevelt Building, it stands at 13th and Broadway today.

The barkeep who tried to kill Teddy Roosevelt

March 16, 2009

By 1912, John Schrank had been through a lot. The 36-year-old resident of East 10th Street, who owned a bar on 10th between Avenue C and D, had lost his girlfriend in the 1904 General Slocum ferry disaster. His parents and the relatives who raised him died when he was a kid.


And he had a beef with Teddy Roosevelt. That year, New York native Roosevelt was running again for President on the Bull Moose ticket.

Apparently Schrank didn’t like that Roosevelt was seeking a third term. Plus, as he wrote later, the ghost of William McKinley told Schrank to avenge his death by shooting TR.

So while Roosevelt was campaigning in Wisconsin, Schrank tried to assassinate him.

But the bullet ricocheted off Roosevelt’s steel eyeglass case and the copy of the speech in his coat pocket; it only caused a minor chest wound. Roosevelt declined to go to the hospital and went right on campaigning.

Schrank was committed to a mental home in Wisconsin. He died in 1943.


Right after the assassination attempt, Roosevelt supposedly told the crowd, “I don’t know whether you fully understand that I have just been shot, but it takes more than that to kill a Bull Moose.”