On July 2, 1778, Bathsheba Spooner, the daughter of prominent British Brig. Gen. Timothy Ruggles, became the first woman to be executed in the United States by Americans.

Spooner, the daughter of a leading Loyalist exile, seduced a 16-year-old American solider, Ezra Ross, who had served in the American Revolution under George Washington. Spooner convinced the teen to kill her husband because she was pregnant with Ross' child.

Ross backed out, and Spooner recruited two runaway British prisoners of war to kill her husband. The men fatally beat Spooner's husband, and Ross helped stuff his body down a well.

The four were arrested, convicted and hanged, despite Spooner's protest that she was pregnant. An autopsy confirmed that she was five months with child.

-- Scott McCabe