The citizen. (Honesdale, Pa.) 1908-1914, March 31, 1909, Image 2

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Woman Electrocuted at
Auburn Prison.
Pathetic Interview With
Doomed Husband.
Jamas Farmer, Who Is Also Under
Sentence of Death For a Share In
tho Killing of Mrs. Sarah Brennan,
Is Allowed to See His Wife Before
She Pays $he Penalty She Is Driven
In a Carriage to the Men's "Death
Row," and the Pair Remain Together
For About an Hour Current of 1,840
Volts and Seven and a Half Am
peres Used by State (Electrician.
James Farmer Asks Priest to Have
the Body Decently Buried.
Auburn, N. Y., March 29. While her
husband, James I. Farmer, himself
under sentence of death, sat In an ad
joining cell iu the men's ward, Mrs.
Mary Farmer was electrocuted today
In the state prison here for the mur
der of her neighbor, Mrs. Sarah Bren
nan, of which both were found guilty.
There was no hitch in the electrocu
tion. Mrs. Farmer and her husband met
in linal communication at daybreak to
day, tho woman being taken over to
the men's prison for the Interview.
Mrs. Farmer wore to the chair a
plain black dress the skirt of which
was bifurcated to facilitate the ad
justment of the electrede-upon the leg.
She was attended by one of the two
women who have watched her day and
night since she came to Auburn prison.
Before she went to the chair Mrs.
Farmer made a confession of her guilt
to her spiritual adviser, Father J. J.
lllckey. who attended her In her last
Brought from the woman's prison to
the receiving cell in the condemned
row, Mrs. Farmer bade farewell to her
husband and was then lodged In tho
cell that adjoins the execution cham
ber to await the call to the chair.
James Farmer, the husband, also un
der sentence of death for the killing of
the Brennan woman and whose case Is
now before (he court of appeals, was
taken to another part of the prison
Unit he might not hear the witnesses
on their way to the room of execution
or the march of his wife to her death.
The wretched woman showed no ev
idences of collapse, though the last
words between herself and husband,
separated In their parting Interview by
heavy bars and an impenetrable
screen, were affecting to the two wo
men attendants and the captain of the
As the law does not permit It, there
was no farewell embrace when IIiq
time came for separation. When the
steel door of Mrs. Farmer's cell had
closed and .Tames Farmer, weeping,
had been led away the woman fell
upon her cot and wept for a few mo
menta and then began to pray. Father
J. J. lllckey, pastor of the Holy Fam
ily church, visited Mrs. Farmer and
prayed with her. The priest adminis
tered the last sacrament and offered
prayers for the dying before the short
march to the execution chamber.
In the subdued light of early morn
ing Mrs. Farmer dressed for her exe
cution. She clothed herself In a prison
sown and waist and then carefully ar
ranged her hair. A woman attendant
bifurcated the gown to the knee and
slit the stocking so that the electrode
might be applied to the limb. A lock
or two of hair was clipped from the
woman's bend In order to form a per
fect contact with the electrode.
The prison building was quiet when
Mrs. Farmer, accompanied by the two
women attendants, Dr. John Gerin, the
prison physician: Father Hlckey and
Warden Benham, was brought down
from her cell on the second tier of the
women's building.
Across the silent yard the woman
and her escort walked to the end of
tat men's building, where a carriage
was in waiting to drive them to tho
entrance, of the "death row." It was
only a short drive along by the cloth
Huops and oilier prison departments,
but the fall of the horse's hoofs and
the crunching gravel In the roadway
told tho prisoners In their cells the
story of what was happening In tho
yard below.
The caralage with Mrs. Farmer and
her attendants camn to a stop, and
the door leading to the condemned
row was opened. Once Inside the door
was closed, and Mrs. Farmer was
placed within a cell In the receiving
room, and her husband was sent for.
It might have been an hour beforo
Captain Patterson, who, with the two
women attendants, were in tho room,
gave n quiet warning that the time
had come for the parting.
There was an Inaudlblo word ipoken,
a lust creating, tho shuffling footstep
of u woniun us alio was being led along
the dark and narrow corridor and the
closing of a. cell door next to tke exo-
sutlon chamber. Farmer was then led
iway, and Mrs. Farmer was taken to
the death chamber.
Father lllckey and an assistant led
the death inarch. The leg electrode
was adjusted by Captain Patterson,
and the two women nurse assisted
him. When all was in readiness Slate
Electrician Davis turned on tho cur
rent, which measured I.S40 volts and
Vj nmperes.
Tho autopsy on the body of Mrs.
Farmer was performed by Dr. Kd
ward Spltzka of Philadelphia and Dr.
Charles Lambert of the Pathological
Institute, Ward's Island, New York.
James Farmer asked Father lllckey
to take charge of the body, and the
priest will have the body dccentl.
burled Iifyit. Joseph's cemetery.
The list of official witnesses of tbr
execution was as follows:
Ezra B. Bellinger, sheriff of Jeffer
son county. Watertown, K. Y.; Dr. Ed
win Ai Spltzka, Jefferson Medical col
lege, Philadelphia; Dr. Charles I.
Lambert, Pathological Institute, Ward's
Island, Now York; Dr. P. M. Donovan,
Canandaigua, X. Y.; Dr. E. M. Som
nicrs, assistant superintendent of St.
Lawrence hospital, Ogdensburg, N. Y.;
Dr. Fred M. Boyle, Buffalo; Dr. II. M.
Westfall, Moravia, N. Y.; Miss Agnes
Balrd, Troy, X. Y.; Miss Margaret T.I
Byrne, Auburn, X. Y.: E. H. Thom
son, Auburn, X. Y.; William II. Smith.
Watertown. X. Y.; Carl S. Brandebury,
Xew York: M. It. Fletcher, New York;
Frank E. Davis, South Butler, X. Y.,
and William C. Bell, Auburn, X. Y.
Mrs. Farmer was the second wo
man In this state to die In the electric
chair. Mrs. Martha Place, who killed
her daughter In Brooklyn, was the
first, she having been put to death
March 20, 1809, in Sing Sing prison.
Exceptional efforts were made to save
Mrs. Place from the chair, but Theo
dore Boosevelt, then governor, refused
to Interfere.
In denying the application for execu
tive clemency in the case of Mrs.
Farmer, Governor Hughes said:
"A most careful examination of tho
facts in this case leads to the conclu
sion that the conviction was just. The
murder was most brutal and was un
attended by any circumstances afford
ing the slightest basis for extenuation
or appeal to sympathy on the prison
er's behalf."
The crime was committed on the
morning of April 23 in the Farmer
homo In the town of Hounsfield. Four
days later the body of Sarah Brennan,
wife of Patrick Brennan, was found in
a trunk In the rear reoni of tho Bren
nan home, into which the Farmer fam
ily moved two days following the kill
ing. The motive of the murder as estab
lished by the prosecution was to gain
possession of the Brennan home. In
October last a deed of the property
was executed from Sarah Brennan to
James D. Farmer, Mrs. Farmer Imper
sonating Mrs. Brennan and forging her
name to the document before a Wa
tertown notary. A few weeks later
the Farmer woman, again impersonat
ing Mrs. Brennan, executed a bill of
sale of the personal property In the
Brennan house.
The Brennans and Farmers lived side
by side. Mrs. Brennan and the Farm
er woman were Intimate friends. On
April 23 Mrs. Brennan was last seen
entering the Farmer home. Between
10 o'clock and noon Mrs. Brenuan's
skull was crushed with a blunt Instru
ment and her face mutilated almost
beyond recognition.
Mrs. Farmer's execution will be the
last early morning execution at Au
burn. Superintendent Collins has au
thorized Warden Benham hereafter to
conduct electrocutions at C o'clock In
the evening rather than at 6 a. m.
Discusses Needs of Trade With Secre
tary of Commerce and Labor.
Washington, March 21). The first of.
licliil meeting of Secretary of Com
merce and Labor Nagel with the na
tional council of commerce took place
today In the department over which
the secretary presides. Secretary Na
gel expressed much Interest in tho
work of the council, which was or
ganized during the term of his prede
cessor. Secretary Straus. Plans for
extending the usefulness of, the coun
cil were discussed.
The council bears the character of a
national chamber of commerce or board
of trade, furnishing the secretary with
Information as to the needs and con
ditions of various industries.
About fifty large bodies belong to the
council, Including such organizations
an the National Association of Manu
facturers, the American Cotton Manu
facturers' association and the Cattle
Raisers' association.
Negro Almost Decapitates Woman and
Then Mutilates Body.
Kingston, X. Y March 2!). Daniel
Ford, a negro employed on the Asho
kan dam, murdered his wife In their
home at that place.
Ford almost decapitated his wlfo
with a razor and then disemboweled
her. The crlmo followed a quarrel re
suiting from tho wife's discovery that,
he had drawn his pay and squandered
Ford escaped, but was arrested at
Missing Lawyer Probably Stumbled
Over Forty Foot Bank.
Dunkirk, N. Y March 29,-Bert B.
Farnham, a prominent lawyer, was
found dead at the foot of a forty foot
cliff at Laona.
He disappeared last Tuesday, and it
is bellvred bo acctdently stumbled over
the edg of the cliff.
Market Street. Philadelphia, to be Repaved with
Wood, Stone or Asphalt.
The Hemlock Paving Block Freslict in the Dyberry and Liiick.
awaxen. An 111 Wind that Blew the Boys Some Good.
For some time past the question of re"
paving Market street lias been the special
bone of contention among the usually
peace loving people of Philadelphia.
That something must be done, and done
quickly, to put that business thorough
fare in creditable condition has been
conceded by the parties most immediate
ly interested those who will have to foot
the bills, but there seems to have been
a radical difference of opinion as to the
material to be employed, asphalt, granite
and wood each having their strenuous
Finally contractors were invited to sub
mit bids, and last week the Department
of Public Works opened the various
sealed offers handed in. While the bids
demonstrated that wood paving would
be virtually the same in cost as granite
block, the amount asked for asphalt was
far cheaper than for either wood or gran
ite block. In some instances a number
of bids for wood block surface were be
low the prices asked for the better grades
of granite block. Bids for asphalt as
low aH $1.94 a square yard were sub
mitted, while the cheapest price of wood
block was $3.10, and of straight granite
block, $3.00.
After the proposals were opened and
referred to be scheduled, Mayor Reyburn
declared that the paramount question
was to obtain a pavement which would
prove lasting and be a credit to the city
in every way. Great consideration, he
said, should be given to the selection of
the character of paving. This matter
will be taken up in a few days, so that
the contract may bo awarded early this
Meanwhile the Market Street Business
Men's Protective Association has pub
licly placed itself on record as favoring
wood blocks. It has also declared flatly
that it will accept full responsibility for
such a pavement, and the Philadelphia
Inquirer declares that the expressed wish
of this body should be the last word on
the subject, as it gives the city tho best
authority for going ahead with the wood
It must be remembered, however, adds
the Inquirer, that the merchants demand
that the city assume responsibility for
tho quality of material used and the
manner of laying it. The Association is
a body of responsible men acting in good
faith. Its members as individuals will
benefit most largely by an adequate pav
ing or suffer most through a poor make
shift. Their enormous business invest-
njents are most closely associated with
tho public interests in this particular dis
trict because it is on the public they
must depend for returns. They want this
great commercial artery placed in the
fcest possible shape and the city admin
istration should see that it is done.
We are a little curious to know just
why this prominent association of l'hila
delphians have taken such a fancy to
wood blocks for pavement purposes.
The best authorities on road making,
whose opinions have been cryfrtalized in
cyclopedias and general books of refer
ence, seem to entertain no such pref
erence. One says : "Wood pavements
have been used for roads more as a
makeshift that) with serious thought of
permanence. Wooden 'blocks, sawed in
lengths of seven or eight inches, and
laid end up will stand a great deal of
wear, but exposure to alternate moisture
and drying heat rots them in the course
of a decade or two. Chambers speaks
of "blocks of wood with the end up and
blocks of cast iron" as having been tried
for paving purposes. "The wooden
block is delightfully easy and not noisy,
but in wet weather it is exceedingly
slippery. Cast iron is too hard, and
causes too much jolting.
But Philadelphia is not without an ex
perience of its own with wood block
pavement. Something like sixty 'or per
haps more years ago, the eity experi
mented in that direction ; not, if our
recollection serves, very much to the sat
isfaction of its inhabitants. The hem
lock from which the hexagonal blocks
were sawed proved to be not all of tho
same texture or durability, and in a very
short time, the streets were filled, with
nits and holes fringed with slippery and
menacing splinters, annoying if not ab
solutely dangerous to man and beast.
The practical test thus made, resulted
in tho cancelling of an order for more
blocks ; and the loss of u market which
followed led to tho episodes which give
a local trend to our reminiscent article
for this week.
In 1784 occurred what was known as
"The Battle of the Kegs," on the lower
Delaware; inl787 what wascallcd "The
Pumpkin Flood," strewed tho lower val
ley of the Susquehanna with tliu pumpkins
of tho unfortunate Connecticut settlors
at Wyoming, and in tho la to MOa tho
"Paving Block Freshet" astonished tho
residents along tho banks of tho Lacka
waxen. The story of "Tho llattloof tho Kegs"
may bo thus briefly told : In January.
1784, somo Whigs atiJordcntown, N. J,,
where Francis Mopkinson, one of tho
signers of the Declaration of Indepen
dence resided, set afloat a number of kegs
lilted, with powder and furnished with
machinery in such a manner that on
rubbing against any objectin tho stream
they would explode. These were the
torpedoes invented by David Bushnell,
of Connecticut. Tiie British vessels in
Philadelphia had been hauled into the
docks to keep clear of the ice, and thus
escaped any injury from tho torpedoes.
One of tho kegs exploded, however, near
the city, and produced intense alarm.
Not a stick or a chip was seen floating
for twenty-four hours afterward but it
was fired at by the British. This circum
stance afforded the theme for Hopkin
soil's poem, "The Battle of tho Kegs."
The "Pumpkin Flood" was occasioned
by incessant rains atongtheupper waters
of the Susquehanna, resulting in an in
undation of the plains of Wyoming,
which drove the settlers to the hills and
swept away nearly all their possessions,
the pumpkins being buoyant and float
ing in the rushing waters to almost in
credible distances down thestrcam. The
"Paving Block Freshet" came about in
this wise : Deacon Homer Brooks the
pioneer of the family, and his second
son Ezra, built in 1842, a sawmill on the
point near the Dyberry Falls, (now
Tanner Falls) almost directly in front of
the residence of William F. Kiefler, in
Dyberry township. The former had
been engaged in general lumbering for
fourteen years previously, scoring and
hewing wharf timber for the Philadel
phia market, which he ran out of the
Dyberry and Lackawaxen in single rafts
and down the Delaware in what was
called a "double Delaware," being made
up of four "colts" lashed together.
When tho new mill was built the firm
engaged in the manufacture of shovel
and hoe handles, and later, Charles W.
Torrcy, of Bethany, took a contract to
furnish Philadelphia from it with hem
lock paving blocks, polygonal in shape,
about a foot in diameter by eight inches
in thickness. Several consignments of
these symmetrical segments were sent
down on rafts, and for a while seemed
to make an ideal pavement. There was
no noise from clattering hoofs or whirl
ing wheels. Horses secured a good foot
ing on them ; the draft, of loaded vehi
cles was reduced to a minimum ; pleas
ure carriages glided over them without
rattle or jar. But, like the Deacon's
"One Hosa Shay" when they collapsed
they went to pieces all at once. They
became slippery to a dangerous degree
in wet weather ; they warped and split
and splintered ; they got curvature of
the spine, and presented a hump-backed
appearance from end to end of every
street in which they were in use. Then
came a natural revulsion of feeling as
to their merits and a reversal of the pop
ular judgment in their favor. A stop
was put to further delivery of the blocks,
just at a time when the Dyberry saw
millers had perhaps thousands of them
ready for shipment.
Shortly afterward an unusually high
freshet occurred in the stream on which
the mill was located. Both branches of
the Dyberry came down from the hills
"loaded for bear," and when they join
ed forces swept everything before them.
The mill dam, the mill and the hundreds
or thousands of paving blocks, yielded
to the irresistible flood. Much of tho
wreck soon found the bottom, but the
hemlock blocks danced gaily on tho sur
face, as if on their way to the Quaker
City to fill a rush order. When they
reached Honesdalo another "Battle of
the Kegs" scare was narrowly averted.
The Lackawaxen was filled with the
bobbing, whirling moss, filling all with
curiosity and somo with apprehension
as to their origin and mijcct. Tho great
body soon passed : but loiterers strap-
filed along for days, nnd indeed, it was
years beforo tho last of them were seen.
Such as were caught in eddies, or on
sandbars, or among bushes by the re
ceding of tho first flood, were dislodged
by the rising waters of the next; and so
on for many years.
needless to say that this river flotsam
was a godsend to many of us town-boys
of that period. We carried tho six-sided
chunks up the cliffs, (thero were vorv
fow houses on tho Ladywood lane sido of
town in those days,) and sent them
nounumg oacK uown tho steep hillsides
for another splash into the river. Like
Jim Smiley's "Jumping Frog," ono
block didn't eem any better than any
other block when they were "tetched
off" for their race down tho long slopes;
but oftentimes thero was u wide differ
ence in tho tlmo required for them to
reach tho bottom. They frequently fol
lowed eccentric courses, moreover, '"'took
tho bit in their teeth" so to sneak, and.
deflected by a stone, or somo other ob
struction, would scoot off in somo entire
ly unexpected direction : ono especially
flagrant runaway crashing through thu
roof of a kitchen thought to be entirely
out of tho range of danger. In the river
wo nailed cleats across their tops and
made for ourselves capital floats from
...l.lnl, in lal. n.wl ,11.,.. . f., ,1..
n,iii vw .ion unu ut,u , tmu, iiiu
more venturesome,, sometimes to go over
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w .... w. ...v ...... 14I,(,D.
And then what a blessing they were
when tho injunction came to "Get your
kindling wood ready for tho morning I"
They were so pxoctly tho right length
when riven nnd so easy to split withal I
And so ended tho first chapter of tho
rniiaueipma woouen ravomcnt story,
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B in ' Facsimile Signature of
Exact Copy of Wrapper.
Is Your
Lying Around idle?
Right, away you will get the desire to enlarge it. Then it
furniahes the very best lesson in economy, weans a person from
habits of extravagance and is one of the greatest comforts in the
world. Jt is not sate in these days.or hold-ups and robberies to
have money lying around idle in your home or pocket. It is safe
in the bank where it works for you day and night.
The modern burglar nroof safe and
protection for your money, and its safety deposit boxes for all other valuables.
Active or savings accounts received. Three per cent, paid on savings deposits.
Its drafts are the safest and cheapest method of sending money to foreign
countries. Call and got a pocket check book. Money loaned on good security
to home people to whom preference is always given.
Vice President.
President .
K; I). 1'lONWAltDHN
II. C. HAND. Prkswknt.
W. B. HOLMES, Vicn Pkks.
We want you to understand the reasons
of this
HAS A CAPITAL OF $100,000.00
MAKING ALTOGETHER - - 455,000.00
EVEHY DOLLAU of which must bo lost before any depositor can lose al'iinnY
It has conducted a growing and successful business for over 35 years, serving
an increasing number of customers with fidelity and satisfaction.
Its cash funds are protected by MODEKN STEEL VAULTS.
All of these thlnirs, coupled with ronservntlve mnnnecmcnt. Insured
by tho UAHKKUL l'KHSONAL ATTENTION constantly Bivcn the
Hank's affairs by a notably able Hoard of Directors assures the patrons
nt that SUI'HKMKHAl'KTYwhlrH Is the. prime essential of a cood
Total Assets,
II, !. HANH.
Telephone Announcement
This company is preparing to do oxtonsivo construction
work in tho
Honesdale Exchange District
which will greatly improve tho service and onlargo tho
Patronize the Independent Telephone Company
which reduced telophono rates, anddo not contract for any
othor sorvico without conferring with our
Contract Department Tel. No. 300.
Foster Building:,
For Infants and Childron.
The Kind You Have
Always Bought
Bears the aJL
Signature JM
AJrv In
X Use
Jr For
Thirty Years
Nobody knows without trying it how easy
it is to make money save money when
an account is opened in the
vault of this bank afford the Greatest
II. U. KLY, M. 1).
W. V. KKm.KIi
II. S. SALMON, Cashier
W. J. WAltD, Ass't Cashier