Fire destroys Berks County site of infamous 1890 murder

Written by The Associated Press | Apr 7, 2014 11:25 AM

(Oley) -- Fire has destroyed an old Berks County farmhouse that was the site of a murder that resulted in the last public execution of a woman in Pennsylvania history.

The cause of Saturday night's Oley Township fire, which killed three dogs, remains unknown.

Berks County historian George Meiser says an unwed domestic servant was convicted of having killed her newborn on the property in February 1809. He says 24-year-old Susanna Cox said the child had been stillborn, but a physician's examination concluded he was killed by a wad of tow or flax forced into his throat.

Cox was executed on June 10, 1809 on Gallows Hill in present-day City Park.

Her story has been re-enacted at the Kutztown Folk Festival for years.

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