The Story Of Mary Surratt, The Lincoln Assassination Conspirator Who Became The First Woman Ever Hanged By The U.S. Government

On July 7, 1865, Mary Surratt and three other convicted prisoners marched through the courtyard of the old Arsenal prison outside Washington, D.C., surrounded by more than 1,000 people. Each prisoner was bound by his wrists and ankles, accompanied by General John F. Hartlandft. They bowed their heads as they approached the gallows.

Surat was at the front of the line in a black dress, hat and veil. It was too weak to walk alone, and two soldiers and a priest supported her.

In the years following Surat’s execution, the death penalty for women dropped sharply. Less than a year later, in April 1866, the Supreme Court ruled that it was unconstitutional to try citizens before a military committee—a decision that ultimately saved the life of John Surat Jr.

Surratt House and Tavern remains the oldest house in Clinton, Maryland, maintained by the Surratt Society as a museum and historic landmark.


PIC: Britannica, ThoughtCo, National Women’s History Museum, Owlcation

Leave a Comment