Bathsheba Ruggles (Bourne)

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Bathsheba Ruggles (Bourne)'s Geni Profile

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Bathsheba Ruggles (Bourne)

Birthplace: Sandwich, Barnstable County, Province of Massachusetts, (Present USA)
Death: Died in Hardwick, Worcester County, Massachusetts, United States
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Col. Melatiah Bourne, Esq. and Desire Bourne
Wife of Brig. Gen. Timothy Ruggles, Jr. and William Newcombe
Mother of Timothy Ruggles, Jr.; Mary Green; Richard Ruggles; Bathsheba Ruggles Spooner, Executed; Elizabeth Chandler and 11 others
Sister of Sylvanus Bourne; Richard Bourne; Samuel Bourne; John Bourne; Sarah Bourne and 2 others

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Bathsheba Ruggles (Bourne)

Bathsheba Ruggles Spooner (February 15, 1746 – July 2, 1778)[1] was the first woman to be executed in the United States by Americans rather than the British.

The daughter of a prominent Colonial American lawyer, justice and military officer, Bathsheba Ruggles had an arranged marriage to a wealthy farmer, Joshua Spooner, prior to her father's banishment from Massachusetts in 1774, due to his British Loyalist stance. Reportedly growing unhappy in the marriage, she confessed to an "aversion" to her husband. After meeting and becoming lovers with a young soldier from the Continental Army, Ezra Ross, Spooner became pregnant and attempted to involve her reluctant lover and two servants in a plan to murder her husband. Finally she enlisted the assistance of two British soldiers escaped from General Burgoyne's captive troops. On the night of March 1, 1778, one of the soldiers beat Joshua Spooner to death in his dooryard, and the body was put in the Spooner well. Bathsheba Spooner and the three men were tried and convicted of the crime and sentenced to death.

Subsequent issues arose concerning Spooner's petition for a delay in sentence because of her pregnancy, which was first denied and then supported by some members of a group of "examiners." The four were executed anyway, and a post-mortem examination requested by Spooner revealed that she was, indeed, five months pregnant. Historians have pointed out that the trial and speedy execution may have been hastened by anti-Loyalist sentiment, and also that the person who signed Spooner's death warrant was Joshua Spooner's stepbrother.

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Bathsheba Ruggles (Bourne)'s Timeline

November 11, 1703
Sandwich, Barnstable County, Province of Massachusetts, (Present USA)
February 4, 1723
Age 19
Age 21
Sandwich, Barnstable County, Massachusetts, United States
September 4, 1726
Age 22
April 3, 1728
Age 24
Sandwich, Barnstable, Ma
October 21, 1729
Age 25
Sandwich, Barnstable, Ma
January 27, 1731
Age 27
Sandwich, Barnstable, Massachusetts, United States
June 4, 1732
Age 28
Sandwich, Barnstable County, Massachusetts, United States
June 11, 1734
Age 30